Category Archives: Virginia Pryors

Col. John Pryor of VA: An Engineer?

I was reading an old article about canal work on the James River. It mentioned a Pryor so I became interested in the Maiden’s Adventure Dam.  There’s an old book I found on Google Books– 3rd Annual Report of President to the Stockholders of the James River in Kanawha Company, Together With the Proceedings of the Stockholders at Their Third Annual Meeting in December 1837 (see book). I know, catchy title! It mentions the Maiden’s Adventure Dam several times as a project attached to their company.

I did some digging to see where this place is located… Continue reading

Samuel Pryor Associate of President Andrew Jackson?

Who’d want to run for the President of the United States? All the name calling, all the allegations… well what’s true in 2018 was true in 1827! When General Andrew Jackson was starting to position himself to run for office every allegation imaginable (and some of them true) surfaced in the press. A story from a Virginia newspaper was reprinted in Vermont — it names a Sam. Pryor or Samuel Pryor from Virginia who was a gamester and Jackson “crony”.

 

From the Richmond Whig of the 22nd ult.

The affair of Honor, in which the general deliberately shot Charles Dickinson, took place in the summer of 1806. The record of that bloody transaction, has for many years been in possession. We heard it also in 1816, at Plattsburg. When we were in company with Dr. J. Ramsey, of Charleston. From the mouths of an officer of the United States Engineer Corps, then at that station, with all its particulars. He stated, that Charles Dickerson threw away his fire, the General Jackson then advanced, and presented the pistol to the man’s head, and with an oath bid him make concessions or die Dickerson refused, Jackson took down his pistol, picked the flint, and presented it a second time, with similar remarks, and with the like effect, and after repeating this several times, finally shot the man dead on the spot. Several gentleman in the city have heard the same story the last winter, with all the circumstances attending it, from to wealthy, intelligent, and respectable gentleman, natives of New Jersey, who now live in Nashville, and have long lived there.

Appalling  as the statement is, we have circumstance to add to it, which made our informants blood run cold, when we heard it, as well it might. Soon after the duel, Jackson wrote a letter to Sam. Pryor, a noted gamester, and a crony of the general, then residing in this state, giving him an account of it. In the letter  HERO expressed himself to this affect: “I reserved my fire, and when I did shoot him, you may be assured I left the damned rascal weltering in his blood.” It is many years since our informant heard the letter read. But the expressions, he says, and we can believe it, made an impression upon his mind which time cannot obliterate while memory indoors.

National Standard, Middlebury Vermont, July 10th 1827 page 2

Richard Pryor of Richmond and Madison Co, AL

Back in 2014 I posted about Pryor men from Alabama who returned to their home state of Virginia and were accused of causing a ruckus in their relatives’ household. The complaint was lodged by Brown and it sounds like sexual advances were made against the elder Pryor’s wife’s female Anderson kin.

Two Gamblin’ Alabama Pryors in Trouble in the Old Virginia (1835)

Then in 2016 I wrote about Richard Pryor of Madison County and wife Dolly who were named in a notice regarding a Richmond, VA suit. Named in the same notice were John Brown, —-Anderson and Octavia his wife. The notice was regarding a Chancery Court case the estate of John D Brown. Perhaps that was the case of John Brown, etc vs. Nancy Brown, widow filed in the Richmond Chancery Court in 1849 (see LVA index).

Richard Pryor In Richmond, VA and In Madison County, AL

After doing some searches I found that there’s a William Armistead Anderson who married a Catherine Octavia Ruela Brown. The 1850 notice was addressed to Richard Pryor and his wife and also Mr. Anderson and his wife, stating that they were not residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

So if the Anderson and Brown relations are the same families named in both sources, then the father and son team who were accused of causing havoc in Richmond are probably Richard Pryor and his son Beverly Pryor.

When I was searching out the names in the 1850 notice I found an Ursula Ragland age 82 who was born in VA– she was counted in the household of Samuel Ragland age 44 in Franklin County, AL. Researchers have her as the mother of the Ragland males in the household: Samuel 44 (head of household), John 57, William A 52 and Nathaniel 47. I have to include a TN connection– Ursula D Ragland was on the 1820 Census in Smith County, TN. What really piqued my interest was that Samuel had a son living in the household named Beverly Ragland– a nice tie-in perhaps to Richard and Dolly Pryor’s son named Beverly.Ra

In December of 1850 Dolly Pryor died at the home of S J (Samuel) Ragland. Was Dolly a Ragland?

Mrs. Dolly Pryor of Huntsville on the 15, age 62 years. She died at the residence of S J Ragland. (Tuskegee Republican 5 Dec 1850)

African American Pryor Family – VA and Washington DC

While researching another Pryor line I went down the proverbial rabbit hole. While this may not benefit my Pryor line, it may be of interest to other Pryors. It was interesting to me – which explains why I went astray.

I came across Dr Ellsworth Pryor III, an infectious disease doctor who was featured in 1980 in an article from a California Newspaper. I wondered who Ellsworth the 2nd and Ellsworth the 1st could be.

An obituary for Ellsworth Pryor from the Los Angeles Times on October 23, 1982 is for the father of Dr. Pryor and it also mentions that his father, the doctor’s grandfather, was living at the time. Because it states their ages we know Ellsworth Pryor II was born in about 1922 and Ellsworth Pryor I was born in about 1892. Ellsworth Pryor II worked for Pete Wilson who later became governor of California.

Ellsworth Pryor Obituary

Published in the Los Angeles Times on October 23, 1982.

 

Ellsworth Paxton Pryor (Ellsworth Pryor I) born 1892 in Nebraska died in 1991 in San Diego. That means that all three generations of Ellsworth Pryors lived in California. The CA death record states his mother’s surname was Braxton. He was buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Omaha, NE where I see an older Ellsworth Pryor is buried. So this totally shifted the numbering of the Ellsworth Pryors. The Doctor was actually the FOURTH.

The first Ellsworth Pryor was born 1864 in Virginia. I found him and Ellsworth P Pryor in the same household in 1920, living in Omaha, NE. Ellsworth born in 1864 was recorded as black and the younger Ellsoworth, born in 1892, was recorded as mulatto. They were recorded as father and son.

In 1920 the Ellsworths born in 1864 and 1892 were recorded on the census working as a steward and shipping clerk respectively. When I took a hop backward to the 1880 Census, Ellsworth IV was recorded in his father’s household in Washington DC. His father was Charles R Pryor born 1825 in VA. Ancestry.com transcribed Ellsworth’s occupation as a student at Harvard University. A close look at the handwriting reveals he was a student at Howard University, a traditionally African-American university in Washington, DC. He graduated from Howard per a notice in the National Republican on 28 May 1881.

A small blurb in the Washington Bee announced that Ellsworth Pryor (probably b. 1862) and his wife were going to be making Omaha, NE their home. This helps to ties the Ellsworth Pryors in Omaha to the family on the census in Washington, DC.

Ellsworth Pryor b. 1862 would have been the CA doctor’s great-grandfather and Charles R Prior of Washington DC was the doctors’ great-great-grandfather. I’ve run into Charles R Prior on records before. His daughter (Ellsworth’s sister) married William H. Grimshaw the author of “Freemasonry Among the Colored People in North America“.

Charles R Prior, when counted on the 1870 Census in Washington DC, was working as a carpenter. His race was recorded as mulatto. There’s an Ely Pryor age 8 in his household that I suspect was Ellsworth, although the census recorder marked him down as “female”.

Charles R Prior was an interesting man of color because he and his wife, Angeline, were on the 1860 Census, BEFORE the Civil War. He was a free mulatto living in King George County, VA working as a carpenter. It’s likely that he’s the same Charles Prior who was recorded in the household of Henry Stephens on the 1850 Census in King George county. There’s a long history of free African Americans named Prior in King George county. (see King George County census)

Lawsuit Noticing Depositions Names Roane County Pryors and More

 

Somewhere in the middle of this newspaper notice you may imagine a loud thud– that would be me falling down a rabbit hole. Sometimes genealogy can be one rabbit hole after another, but it’s usually fruitful in one way or another to ID all the parties named in a document. Fruitful can mean it’s helpful just to have ID’s on hand for future reference or it helps someone else. So here goes..

JOHN W. WILSON, Executor of Robert Ferguson, deceased, Robert Blackbourn and Lucy Blackbourn his wife, William P Hickerson, John Hickerson, Thomas Powers, and Hugh Raine:

Take notice, that I shall proceed on Monday, the 19th day of October, 1846, between the hours of 6 o’clock in the morning and 6 o’clock in the evening, at the house of Edward Berry, in Jackson County, and State of Alabama, to take the depositions of John Berry, Anna Berry, Mary Berry, Edward Berry, and others, to be read as evidence in Chancery, depending in the Circuit Superior Court of Law and Chancery for Cumberland county, and State of Virginia, in which suit John R Wilson, administrator of Elizabeth Stone, deceased, is Plaintiff, and you are defendants.

And I shall also proceed on Monday the 2nd day of November 1846 between the hours of 6 o’clock in the morning and 6 o’clock in the evening, at the house of Harris Pryor in Roane County and State of Tennessee to take the deposition of Harris Pryor, Alvey Lockett, Robert Williams, and others, to be read as evidence in the above named suit.

And I shall also proceed, on Wednesday the 16th day of December 1846 at the Court house of Carroll county, in the State of Arkansas, between the hours of 6 o’clock in the morning and 6 o’clock in the evening, to take the depositions of William Goforth, Hulda Goforth, and others, to be read as evidence in the above named suit.

And I shall proceed , on Friday the 1st day of January 1847 at the Court house of Barry county, in the State of Missouri, between the hours of 6 o’clock in the morning and 6 o’clock in the evening to take the depositions of Price McMurtry, Barbara McMurtry, and others, to be read as evidence in the above named suit.

If from any cause, the taking of the depositions at the respective times and places above specified should not be completed, they will be continued from day to day— not exceeding three days at each place– until finished; at which times and places you can attend if you think proper.

John R. Wilson
Administrator of Elizabeth Stone, deceased
22 Sept. 1848
Richmond Enquirer (Richmond, VA)

Robert Ferguson died about 1839 in Cumberland County, VA. His sister, per Chancery Court documents, was Frances “Fanny” Ferguson mother of Harris Pryor and Alvey Pryor Lockett in Roane County, TN.  Fanny had another daughter named Mary Pryor who married Berry Hudson. Mary was named in the original Chancery filing, however she was deceased. Perhaps her husband’s first name reflects a connection to the “Berry” surnames mentioned in this notice.

Elizabeth Stone (deceased) was the daughter of John Ferguson and a granddaughter of Robert Ferguson (also deceased). Elizabeth married William Stone and had one known son Bailey Raines Stone b. 1822 in TN– He was in Carroll County, AR in 1850. William “Gofourth” and wife “Huldah” were recorded on the 1850 Census in Carroll County, AR. William was 34 born in MO and Huldah was 25 born in AR. How did these two get involved in this suit? Were they involved as witnesses for Bailey Stone?There’s a Robert Williams born about 1786 in VA who is on the 1850 Census in Roane County, TN. His Find A Grave memorial identifies him as “Rev” Robert Williams born in Cumberland County, VA. Ancestry Family Trees connect him as the father of Rueben Williams, also in Roane County Records and also connect to this branch of the Pryors.

All Roads Lead to Roane: Meet The Virginia People in Roane County and Anderson County, TN

Robert Blackburn and his wife Lucy Ferguson were counted in Coffee County, TN on the 1850 census.  Robert was 54 born in TN and Lucy was 51 born in VA. They are on page 45b. On page 46a is Thomas Powers age 50 born in NC. Lucy was the daughter of John Ferguson, son of the deceased Robert Ferguson.

I pulled out an old chart of the Pryors who passed through Botetourt County, VA for comparison. Some of the names rang a bell: Berry and Blackburn. Molly Pryor, possible sister of Joseph Pryor and Luke Pryor, married William Berry. Their daughter Prudence Berry married George Blackburn. Hmm, seems like a dead-end connection when Molly Pryor and William Berry had no male children and I’ve yet to see anything to connect Robert Blackburn to any earlier generations.