Category Archives: Texas Pryors

Charles R Pryor b. 1832 in Brunswick County, VA


Time to dot an “i” and cross a “t” in the Virginia Pryor families.  Charles R. Pryor was a physician, a newspaper editor, and a high-ranking member of the Confederate government.

Charles all but disappeared after the Civil War. In 1880 he was living in Kentucky in a Shaker community. I can’t believe it… I found his death record which sheds more light on his later years.

He died 26 August 1882 in City Hospital in Boston, MA. He was buried in Gloucester, MA (cemetery not recorded), The MA death record states he was a resident of Louisville, KY and his occupation was a “reporter”.  He was 50 years old and of course, born in VA.

Mr. Pryor Shot Mr. Green in 1875 – Waco, TX News Report

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It was reported in the October 11, 1875 in The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA) that a Mr. Pryor indicted Mr. Green in a magistrates court for obtaining money under false pretenses. Afterwards Mr. Green and his witness, a Mr. Evans tried to assault Pryor but were stopped by the police. Later that same evening they found Pryor again and this time he pulled out a gun and shot Evans dead. Pryor turned himself in to the police in the morning.

When I first started reading news stories about the Pryors I noticed that some reports were in papers far from the actual event.  I wondered if that was because the parties involved were from the area originally. Possibly. However I see that newspaper editors were subscribing to and reading other news reports– eventually re-printing them much in the same way (but not exactly) the AP syndicates news stories.

The most interesting part of the report was that Pryor, Green, and Evans were brothers-in-law. Sad to know this may have been a family dispute.

A report in The Waco Examiner stated that Evans was shot and killed and that J. S. Pryor escaped.

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An Old West Pryor Family: The Miner And The School Marm

Sometimes exploring a Pryor history has nothing to do with genealogy, and everything to do with the story. And this one is a fun story!

Harry Pryor appears to have come to Arizona as a miner. It was reported on January 25, 1901 in the Graham Guardian (Safford, AZ)

Chris Gish, Enoch Wooworth, Harry Pryor and W. B. Bond started Wednesday last on a prospecting trip.  They will go into Old Mexico by way of Bisbee. We wish them success.

He must have found something sometime after their prospecting trip because on April 7, 1905 the newspaper reported Harry Pryor filed for a $20,000 bond for a deed on “S mines.” Could that be silver mines? Good grief, how much was $20k worth in 1905? Boodles!

Things sometimes got a little out of control for Harry who was in his early twenties:

A shooting was narrowly averted at Safford last week. Harry Pryor, drunk and disorderly, rode through the streets in Rough Rider style against the repeated protests of the local officers: and finally ran over the little son of Marshal A. A. McKenzie.  The boy was severely bruised, but not fatally injured.  The father trailed the rider to a saloon and drew a sixshooter, but was prevented from discharging the weapon.  He finally succeeded in knocking Pryor down with the weapon, cutting his head severely.  Pryor swore out a warrant for the arrest of the marshal on a charge of assault wiht a deadly weapon.
Arizona Silver Belt (Globe, AZ). February 7, 1901

And in 1905 poor Harry was in trouble again:

The case of Harry Pryor charged with assault with intent to kill, was continued until next term of court. Pryor is the man who stabbed J. E. Carpenter with a miner’s candlestick, in September.
Arizona Republican (Phoenix, AZ). October 18, 1905

harry-pryor-azIn 1913 Harry B Prior (sic) is listed in a Phoenix city directory as a lino operator (linotype), so perhaps he had given up prospecting at this point and maybe given up the whooping it up through town and given up whacking other miners. At about the same time a new school marm had come to town and her back story is right out of central casting!

Oehlese Williamson was born Hillsboro, NC (I found that on her DAR file) and attended Converse College in Spartanburg, SC.


Converse College 1905 Yearbook

By 1911 she was in Arizona. Her employment as a teacher is hardly “P.C.” by our standards a hundred years later. Can you imagine a school board hiring teachers based on their good looks?


The faculty of the Osborn school for next year was completed at a meeting of the board of trustees on Saturday night and is now as follows:… Miss Oehlese Williamson, English and physiology… The new teachers are Miss Williamson, Miss Ellingson, and Miss Wiberg. It was stated sometime ago by The Republican and widely published that the trustees of the district, grown wise by the embarassment which had been regularly caused them by the marriage of the lady teachers, had decided to adopt the policy of employing teachers who, though possessing all necessary qualifications as teachers would be less personally attractive and who therefore, could be retained year after year. The board weakened however and that proposed policy was discarded with the result that the standard of beauty has been raised rather than lowered.
The Arizona Republican (Phoenix, AZ). April 24, 1911

After Miss Williamson came to town there were no further reports of Harry Pryor on the rampage. They married in May 19, 1913 in Maricopa County, AZ (she didn’t last long as a single teacher!). A birth record for their son Harry Williamson Pryor identified his father as Harry Browning Pryor. Miss Oehlese was referred to as Mrs. Harry B. Pryor in news articles that stated she was a music teacher and discussed her students accomplishments.

I’ve given it my best shot to figure out which Pryor line can claim Harry B Pryor. Census records state he was born 1879-1880 in Texas. I found a Harry B. Pryor on the 1910 Census in Dallas, TX. I’m wondering if Harry was drifting back and forth between AZ and Texas in the early years.

Justice Precinct 1, Dallas, Texas. Page: 4A; Enumeration District: 0020
Annie P Wiley 25 head AR TX TX married 1
Inez Wiley 4 daughter TX TX AR single
Louise Wiley 2 daughter TX TX AR single
Harry B Pryor 31 brother TX TX TX widowed
Edwin R Pryor 22 brother TX TX TX single
Edwin R Pryor 4 nephew TX TX TX single
Rodger A Pryor 19 brother TX TX TX single

Annie, Edwin R., Harry B. and Roger A. are children of E. R. Pryor a son of the Samuel Pryor who was the first mayor of Dallas.

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Murder of Sally Pryor in Rusk County, TX (1902)

The death of the widow Sallie Pryor was reported in The Liberty Vindicator. The story states Mrs. Pryor was aged 50 when she was shot by a stray bullet when her brother in law Robert Pryor Jr. was out bird hunting. She was in her garden about 200 yards from where the shot was fired. The report contained no information of a police investigation, inquest or any other criminal proceedings.

There was a Prior family on the 1880 Census in nearby Cherokee County, TX. Perhaps this is Robert Sr.

Dist. 11, page 286, house 64/64 Robt. PRYOR 50 farmer SC SC SC, M. P. wife 43 AL TN SC, J. J. son 26 AL SC AL, J. T. son 21 AL SC AL, M. J. daughter 16 TX SC AL, R. son 18 TX SC AL, B. F. son 11 TX SC AL, C. A. son 8 TX SC AL, E. A. Delaney 14 step daughter TX AL AL, R. M. Wier boarder 43 school teacher MS VA KY.

Does anyone have more information on this family or what happened?

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Did you catch the Pryor name on Antiques Roadshow tonight?

photo 2 (3)

A woman on the Antiques Roadshow from El Paso brought in the will of Texas patriot Ben R. Milam. She said she recovered the will from a stack of papers that were about to be burned to make way for new records at the old Nacogdoches Court House. That story got my attention. Makes my stomach sick to think of what records have been destroyed.

BUT… I wouldn’t be writing about this unless there was a Pryor mentioned on the will. Milam named Richard Pryor as one of the executors of his will.

Which Richard Pryor do we think this is?????