Category Archives: Tennessee Pryors

Genealogists: Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Future. Have a Plan for Bequeathing Your Research.

COVID-19 has opened up a lot of time to do research but it also creates time to wonder about my research and what would happen to it I I wasn’t here.

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Category: Tennessee Pryors

A South Carolina John Pryor (deceased by 1799) Shows Up in GA Documents

Just when you think you’ve looked at all the Pryors in GA— POP! another springs up. I found a newspaper notice that mentions TWO John Pryors— one deceased and the other a junior.

Mr. Smith,
In perusing your paper of the 29th June last, I observed a notification signed John Pryor, jun. executor and heir at law of John Pryor, dec. in these words “Having understood that Doctor James Otis Prentiss is about to sell a certain lot of land situate in Broad Street, lately occupied and owned by Benjamin Sims, in the city of Augusta, at present occupied by William Longstreet Esq. I find it a duty which I owe to the community at large, and particularly to those who may be disposed to purchase that Doctor Prentiss has previously entered into such engagements with John Pryor, dec. for the conveyance of said property in fee simple to said Pryor or his heirs, as will compel a specific performance of his contract.” Now sir, permit me through the medium of your paper to assure the public that the above is not founded in fact; it is not true. My obligation to John Pryor, dec. was conditional, and had it been otherwise it would have been void; for John Pryor, decd cruelly and shamefully deceived me, by a long contemplated and artfully digested plan, designedly conceived for the purpose of fraud.

I have already paid John Pryor, dec. quite as much as was his just due, and I trust the laws of my country will verify this fact. Mr. Pryor the younger, says he is the legal heir and representative of the deceased John Pryor. This may be true. But a person who calls himself Dr. Hitchens, who says he is the agent of the said deceased’s widow, this very man told me that he had bought the principal part of the estate of this illiterate young man, and also that of his mother the widow, and to use his own words, “for a mere trifle,” and that he had bound the young man to do as executor whatever he thought proper to dictate to him in regard to the estate. I should not have been so minute in reciting the particulars of what the Doctor said, but the public will please to take notice that Doctor Hitchens (whom I suspect as the parent of that notification, and who as he saith, has the whole direction of Pryor’s estate) came out to my house where he remained for several days, for the purpose as he said and I thought, of compromising the matter now in dispute between myself and that estate. But I have since discovered his object was, if possible to get hold of something that would operate to assist him in the recovery of this bond obtained in fraud. The generous offers I have made to the executor thro this man, to induce an amicable settlement, will come out on trial with other fact that will portray in lively colours the leading features of the case.
James Otis Prentiss
He does not know a letter of the alphabet

The Augusta Chronicle and Gazette of the State – July 06, 1799

The clues to the identity of these John Pryors are in the original notice published on June 29th.

The 1797 will for John Pryor in Edgefield county, SC names a son John and property on Beech Island. I think the deceased John Pryor was the John Pryor from Cornwall, England who left a will in Edgefield County, SC. The name James Otis Prentiss appears in both notices in the GA press. And there are records of John Pryor’s estate back in his native Corwall stating his son left for America with postmaster Nicholas Hichens (the man referred to as Dr. Hitchens?) (see post).

An ad also placed in an Augusta newspaper also includes a name found in John Pryor’s will (his son Tobias Pryor) and the Beach Island location.

LOST, On the 24th inst. between Augusta and the Sand Bar, a Red Morocco Pocket Book, containing about One Hundred and Fifty Dollars in Bank Bills, principally on the Augusta Bank. There is Fifty Dollar Bill, the rest are from Twenty down to One.– No papers recollected being in the Pocket Book, except an account and receipt from Mr. Barrie. A reward of Ten Dollars will be given to the finder on his leaving it with Mr. Barrie, in Augusta
TOBIAS PRYOR,
Beach Island, S.C.
May 25th

Augusta Chronicle, June 25, 1813

Google maps is helpful in understanding the proximity of these two locations: Beech Island and Augusta are only 13 miles apart and about a four hour walk that includes a crossing of the Savannah River.

Augusta Chronicle, and Georgia Gazette, December 13, 1817

A provision of John Pryor’s will was that his son John Pryor should be the executor if he came to America from Cornwall. So did the younger John Pryor come to Amercia to resolve the estate? Who was the widow referred to in this notice— Eve Grubbs the common law wife or the Mrs. Pryor left in England?

Dr Hitchins/Nicholas Hitchens died in 1801. John Prior became the administrator of his estate in Edgefield County.

LETTERS
South Carolina
Edgefield District
By John Zimkins esquire ordinary. To John Prier. Whereas Nicholas Hitchens late of the district aforesaid deceased lately died intestate having whilst he lived and at the time of his death diverse goods, rights, and credits within the District aforesaid by means whereof the full disposition and power of granting the administration of all the singular and good rights and credits of the said deceased and also auditing the accounts calculations and reckonings of the said administration and in final dissmission of the same to me is manifestly known to belong I deserving that the goods, rights and credits of the said deceased may be well and truly administered converted and disposed of do hereby grant unto the said John Prier in whose fidelity in this behalf I very much confide full power of the tenor (?) of these presents to administer the goods rights and credits of the said deceased which to him in his lifetime and at the time of his death did belong and to ask levy recover and receive the same and to pay the debts in which the deceased ??? obliged so far forth as his goods rights and credits will extend according to their rate and order of law being first sworn on the Holy Evangelist of Almighty God to make a true and perfect inventory thereof and to exhibit the same into the Ordinary Office in Edgefield in order to be recorded on or before the Seventeenth day of April now next en—- and to render a just and true account calculation and reckoning of the said administration when I hereunto required and I do ordain depart and constitute you the said John PRIER administrator of all and singular the goods rights and credits of the said deceased. In testimony thereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the sixteenth day of January Anno Domini one thousand eight hundred and one and in the twenty fifth year of American Independence.
Recorded June 29th, 1801
Jn. Zimkins PCD

John Prior Jr. signature on Nicholas Hitchins estate inventory

The tally of credit and debits to Hitchens estate is FASCINATING. I don’t often say that… F-A-S-C-I-N-A-T-I-N-G!! Why the excitement? It literally documents young John Pryor’s travel from Cornwall to South Carolina. Who else has the expense list and travel plans for their ancestor’s travel to the New World? They went from Falmouth (Cornwall) to Bristol then booked passage to Boston NE (New England), then took the brig Jane to Charleston. They stayed about a month in Boston and then arrived in

Inventory taken on March 9th 1801, filed on June 29th. 5 head of cattle, 1 gilt watch, parcel of medicine, 2 doz knives and forks, wearing apparel, 1 bridle and whip. Witnessed by John Starr, Walter Taylor, Casper Nail (Casper Nail, Walter Taylor were also appraisers on John Pryor Sr.’s estate)

I have made an adjustment to the Edgefield county page on the website. I had quoted a book by Carol Wells that states John Pryor Sr. died in Savannah. I can’t find any evidence that the John Pryor from Edgefield county was in Savannah. There was a John Pryor in Savannah and Delphia Pryor was appointed his administrator in 1790 before John Pryor in Edgefield county made his will in 1797. Nope, not the same men.

Percy C Pryor and the Actress (Florence Oakley)

Florence Oakley Pryor Stone
Florence Oakley Pryor

The San Francisco Call announced the speedy marriage of Florence Oakley to Percival C. Pryor with a news blurb titled “Capitalist’s Son Marries Actress” (published September 17, 1909).

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Pryor Lost and Found: Franklin County Grants, Land Warrants, and Notes

I came across a notice of lost or stolen property in a 1820 newspaper. Samuel Polk was on his way between Columbia and Franklin, TN when his saddle bags went missing along with numerous documents. He recreated a list of the documents.

Good lordy, did the Pryor deeds I’ve been looking for meet a similar fate? This notice opens up new possibilities of what happened to documents in the past.

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Estates of Richard and Virginia Pryor of Hempstead County, AR

Grassy Lake Hempstead County, AR

A question came up that caused me to look at the Pryors in Hempstead county, AR once again (see earlier post https://tennesseepryors.com/richard-pryor-and-virginia-boyd-pryor-relationship-to-dallas-pryors/ ) After Richard Pryor died his Arkansas property named Myrtlewood was advertised for sale in a Tennessee newspaper.

LAND AND RESIDENCE IN HEMPSTEAD COUNTY, ARK., FOR SALE
Myrtlewood, the residence of the late Major Richard Pryor of Hempstead county, Arkansas, will be offered for sale, at public auction, on the 10th day of December, 1866. This is certainly one of the most beautiful and highly improved residences in the South, situated near Spring Hill, in the midst of an intelligent and desirable community. The land, consisting of 900 acres, is one of the best high land tracts in the State for raising cotton, corn, and wheat, and has on it a large and select variety of fruit and abundant supply of good water. For further information refer to Col. James W. Finley, Spring Hill, Hempstead county, Ark. Terms on day of sale.
The Daily Memphis Avalanche (TN), October 21, 1866

Richard died intestate. The Administrator’s Bond lists James W. Finley (principal) and lists Jack S. B—?, Edward L Pryor, and Thomas M. Boyd as securities. Edward L. was as on of Samuel Pryor of Clarksville, TN (Montgomery County). Thomas Boyd was probably a relative of Richard’s wife Virginia Boyd. When Richard’s wife died the estate was handled by Charles R. Pryor of Dallas.

Richard Pryor, James W. Finley, H. C. Boyd, and a J. Pryor were named in a list of men who were consignees of merchandise at the docks in Shreveport, LA (The South-Western, May 28, 1856)

I ended up doing one of my relationship/event charts to work out how everyone was connected.

  • Virginia Boyd Pryor died in November 1865 after her husband and after her daughter Elizabeth Pryor Stockdale (her only known child). She willed her property (engraved silver) to her executor Dr. Charles R. Pryor and Virginia Finley, formerly a Boyd.
  • Virginia Finley’s husband James W. Finley was the point of contact in the 1866 ad for the sale of Richard Pryor’s estate.
  • When Charles R. Pryor “of the county of Dallas” filed estate papers in 1865 for Virginia Boyd Pryor, he was represented by F. S. Stockdale, the Virginia’s son in law and the widower of Virginia’s daughter Elizabeth Pryor Stockdale.

I located an announcement of a claim against the estate of Richard Pryor by two Pryor relatives from Vicksburg, MS. Was this the Richard Pryor who died in 1864 or Agnes’ brother? –for whom we have no evidence he was Arkansas.

LEGAL
The heirs and distributees of the estate of Richard Pryor, are warned to appear in Hempstead circuit court, and answer the complaint of Agnes P Howard and William Pryor Creecy for partition and distribution of said estate.
Washington Telegraph, February 21, 1872

A marriage announcement explains Agnes’ name change from Birchett on the census to the surname Howard she was using in 1872.

MARRIED
On the 17th instant, in Richmond, Va., at the residence of Dr. T. P. Mayo, by the Rev. Thos. L. Preston, Colonel Nathaniel Howard, of Grenada, Miss., to Mrs. Agnes P. Birchett of Vickburg, Miss. We wish the Colonel and his happy bride many, many years of joy and happiness, and we know that his friends hereabouts–and that means everybody–join us in a double health to him and his.
Grenada Sentinel, published in the Vicksburg Daily Times, September 7, 1870

I think more research needs to be done on the estate of Richard Pryor. Was Richard’s estate in probate from 1864 to 1872? Or was this another Richard Pryor? Perhaps Agnes’ brother Richard who was last recorded on a census in 1870 working as a druggist in Vicksburg.

The Dallas Daily Herald, February 20, 1869

An interesting connection between several of the people was their occupation: druggist. Charles R. Pryor worked as a druggist in Dallas (see above), so did his brother Samuel B. Pryor, and Richard S. Pryor of Vicksburg worked as one, as did his nephew William Pryor Creecy.