Category Archives: 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
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.

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).

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

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 ) After Richard Pryor died his Arkansas property named Myrtlewood was advertised for sale in a Tennessee newspaper.

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.

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.

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.

Samuel Pryor of Clarksville (b. 1771-1780)

Looking at the Samuel Pryor d. 1811 has caused me to look again at the Samuel Pryor in Montgomery County, TN to see if I could sift through and make better sense of him.

Samuel’s Wife Ann Frances or Frances Ann

Frances’s grave is located in Cadiz, Trigg County, KY. The grave marker helps to establish her birth was in about 1775 (or at least in the 1700’s).

The Mortal remains of
Mrs. Frances Ann Pryor relict of Samuel Pryor Esq.
Obit A. D. Dec. 23, 1847
Aged 62
Entombed beneath this sacred urn,
She lies whom many children mourn
Not for her loss but theirs.
She’s gone
To praise her saviour
at his throne,
Where scenes of joy
and peach and love
Ever delight the blest above.

Estate Settlement in Hardeman County (1836)

When Samuel died in about 1830-1837, he died intestate. His estate was settled in Hardeman County, TN. The division of property, namely the slaves, provided the names of his heirs: widow Ann F., and Richard H. , Frances A., Bernard H., Attaway E., and Samuel B.

Estate of Samuel Pryor, decd 1836
State of Tennessee
Hardeman County
We the undersigned commissioners (after being duly sworn) by leave to present to your worships the following schedule of settlement made in pursuance of the above order
Mr. E. L. Pryor Dr.
For the hire of Sam for 1834 & 1835 at one hundred Dollars each year $200
Hire of Sally 2 years at $50 — $100
Hire of Hellen 2 years at $50 — $100
Cr for keeping 5 negro children $50… $350.00
And the hire of Mary, Ellen, and Spencer (about 9 years old) to be included in the support of the other file unto with the fifty dollars
To present 2 negores sy Saml & Sally sold at Bolivar 19th December 1835. —- $997
Sold at Jackson a negro boy sold at public auction in the Town of Bolivar on 4th Jany 1836 — $305
Hire of Isaac $50
1 cart steer & a cow $60— $110

No. 2 Estate of Saml Pror decd
To E. L. Pryor Dr.
Sudry Duty
Voucher No. 1 paid to Joel L Jones shff Fayette County $198.89
No. 2 ” ” ” $200.00
Int on do 14 monthly $14.00
No. 3 “” $10
No. 4 “” $179.97
Interest & cost on Do $255.23
No. 5 “” $9.62
Interest 2.38
No. 6 ” ” $2.13
No. 7 $116.50
No. 8 $5.88
No. 9 $96.44
No. 10 $14.97
No. 11 $26.00
No. 12 $25.05
No. 13. $18.75
No. 14 is missing a number in the column.
[total] $1788.42

Page 2
Six Legatees Divided $375 each
Mrs. Ann F Pryor widow takes Hellen $475.00
Richard H. Pryor takes Spencer $400.00
Miss Frances A Pryor ” Mary Ellen 400.00
Bernard H Pryor ‘ ‘ Turner 350.00
Miss Attaway E Pryor ‘ ‘ Louisa $250.00
Samuel B. Pryor ‘ ‘ Beverly & Sydney 375.00
Mrs. A. F. Pryor pay to Attaway E Pryor $100
Miss Frances A Pryor to Attaway E Pryor $25
Richard H Pryor to Attaway E Pryor $25 to make equal
This 31st May 1836
Sworn before me in open court June 6th 1836 by J. W. Haden, Wm. Irious? . [additional witness Jas. R. Houston]
My note: John W. Haden, William Irious? and James R. Houston appear near one another on the 1836 Tax list for Hardeman county.

Guardian Bond in Montgomery County (1837)

A guardian bond was filed in Montgomery County in 1837 naming Ann F. Pryor and three minor children: Bernard, Bolen, and a daughter named Attway.

Know all men by these presents that we Ann F Pryor & F H Badger are held and firmly bound unto Charles Baily Esq Chairman of the county court of Montgomery County his successor or successor, survivor or survivors, his administrators or assign in the sum of Twenty Eight Hundred Dollars in trust for the benefit of Burnard, Allaway & Bolen Pryor Infant heirs of Saml Pryor deceased for the payment of which we bind ourselves as his executors and administrators and assign jointly & severally firmly by these presents sealed with our seals and dated this 7th day of August 1837. The condition of the above obligation is such that whereas Ann F Pryor has been appointed guardian of the said Bernard Allaway & Bolen Pryor infant heirs as aforesaid. Now if the said Ann F. Pryor shall well and faithfully make — — and settlement make with the county court of Montgomery agreeable to laws during her said Guardianship and at the exparation thereof shall well and faithfully account with the justices of the county court of Montgomery and pay over to them order the pro–ssts of said Burnard, Allaway & Bolen Pryor that may come into her hands by virtue of said guardianship agreeably to law and then this obligation to be – else remain in full and virtue in law.
Acknowledged in open court this 7th day August Term 1837
Ann F. Pryor
Felix H Badger, by his attorney in fact Chas Baily
Harriet Pattison by her attorney in fact G. A Henry

The photo of Frances the widow of Samuel grave marker is magnificent, not just because her details are legible but also because it captures a small tombstone to the right. This smaller grave is Jesse Armistead, son of “R.A. and Atway E. Armistead.” Attway Pryor married Richard Armistead, a physician, on 27 Nov 1842 in Trigg County. There’s another child named Atway Armistead buried in the same cemetery, perhaps another child of Richard and Attway Pryor Armistead. This helps to confirm we have the right Samuel and Frances both in Montgomery County and Trigg County.

I think the children attributable to Samuel and Frances are:

  • Edward L. Pryor (b. 1805) in VA. He married Martha A. Ryburn. He was in Hardeman County, TN in 1840 and in Hempstead County, AR in 1850. He was security for the estate of Richard Pryor (b. 1798 in VA) in Hempstead County in 1864. See Ryburn v. Pryor that states Samuel Pryor was Edward’s father.
  • Harriet Pryor (b. 1801-1810) A Harriet Pryor married Joseph Hise in Christian County, KY in 1824. There is a Joseph Hise on the 1830 Census in Montgomery County, TN. I wonder if she’s the Harriet Pattison/Patterson on the guardian bond.
  • Richard H. Pryor (b. ?) Named in the estate settlement. There was a Richard H. Pryor who died in Vicksburg, MS about July 1836, after Samuel’s estate was settled. Richard died intestate and his business partner Samuel Gordon was appointed the administrator which may indicate he didn’t have any close kin in MS.
  • Mary Amanda Pryor (b. about 1813). A possible daughter. There are family trees online that show her as the wife of Felix H. Badger (a dentist and one of the parties in the guardian bond filed in 1837), however neither she nor her husband were named in the 1836 estate settlement. She is on the 1850 Census in Hickman county, TN.
  • William Pryor (b. abt. 1814). A possible son. On March 31, 1833 William Pryor was found murdered in Nashville with friend Michael Hoover after a night of gambling (reported in the Nashville Banner). He was a Navy midshipman from Clarksville, Montgomery Co., TN (The Military and Naval Magazine of the United States, Vol. 1,  from March to August 1833). He was deceased before Samuel’s estate was settled.
  • Bernard H. Pryor b. 1823. He was counted on the 1850 Census in Trigg Co., KY with a Frances A. Pryor who was a year younger. If this was a sister then it should be questioned why she wasn’t named on the guardian bond. Although there was a Miss Frances A Pryor noted as an heir of Samuel Pryor on the estate settlement. He married Laura Jane Cole and settled in McCracken County, KY.
  • Attway E. Pryor b. 1826 married Richard Armistead, a physician. They were in Trigg County in 1850 and by 1880 they were living in Vanderburgh County, IN.
  • Frances A Pryor may have been born about 1827 if she is the woman counted in Bernard’s household in 1850.
  • Samuel Bolen Pryor b. 1833. There are slim records for this Samuel. There’s a Samuel B. Pryor age 18 on the 1850 Census in Hickman County, TN. I think he’s the S. B. Pryor who enlisted in the US Army at age 30 in 1863 in Trigg County, KY. He is probably the Samuel B. Pryor in Vanderburgh County, IN who was counted on the 1880 Census and in city directories dating back to 1876. He died in 1884 in McCracken County, KY and in his will he gave his brother Bernard a town lot in Cadiz, Trigg County. I’m a bit concerned that Samuel was not a child born of Frances Ann Pryor because if her grave marker is correct, she was 57 in 1833!
Samuel B. Pryor counted in Hickman County (1850)

The 1830 Census, Montgomery County, TN

How do these children stack up against Samuel’s household on the 1830 census? Edward was probably still at home–the Ryburn lawsuit indicates he didn’t marry until 1836. Harriet (whether a daughter or not) would probably have been in Joseph Hise’ household. So a rough draft of matching possible children to the people counted in the household in 1830:

Males 11111001
1826-1830 Samuel B?
1821-1825 Bermard
1816-1820 William
1811-1815 Richard
1801-1810 Edward
1771-1780 Mr. Samuel

Females 1012001
1826-1830 Attway ?
1816-1820 Miss Frances?
1811-1815 Amanda
1781-1790 Mrs. Frances

If the 1830 Census is correct, Mrs. Frances Ann was younger than the age recorded on her tombstone and of an age to be the mother of Samuel B. in about 1833.

Attway Pryor Armistead was counted on the 1880 census and it was recorded her father was born in Virginia and her mother was born in Kentucky. If her mother was born in KY it should be considered that perhaps Samuel had a wife before Frances who was the mother of Edward. Edward was counted in 1880, stating both parents were born in Virginia.

Hopkinsville Kentuckian, January 7, 1908

Samuel Pryor Timeline

  • Samuel born 1771-1780 in Virginia
  • Frances Ann (maiden name unknown) born 1781-1790, possibly in KY
  • Edward L. born 1805 in Virginia
  • 1820 Census Samuel Pryor counted in Christian County, KY
  • 1823 Bernard H. Pryor born in Hopkinsville, Christian County, KY
  • 1830 Samuel Pryor counted in Montgomery County, TN
  • 1830 Writ of Attachment – 20 Jan 1830 writ returned to the Montgomery County Court of Please and Quarter Session, “commanding E.L. Pryor to be attached to answer the complaint of Saml. Pryor. (Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Law and Equity of the State of Arkansas, Volumes 13-14, pub. 1889)
  • 1830-1836 Samuel Died before his estate was settled in Hardeman County, TN in 1836
Cadiz – Hopkinsville – Clarksville (Google Maps)

Samuel Is Not…

There are a lot of Samuel Pryors. I found only one marriage of a Samuel Pryor to a Frances/Fannie/Ann (and all the variations of the name): Samuel Pryor who married Frances Ferguson in Prince Edward County (1789). The Samuel who was in Clarksville is not the Samuel who married Miss Ferguson. This other Samuel died before this Samuel (see post).

Category: Tennessee Pryors