Category Archives: Virginia Pryors

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.

https://2015/12/roads-lead-roane-meet-virginia-people-roane-county-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.

Samuel Pryor of Charles City

I have to refer back to Croxton Pryor who in 1776 had 4 pairs of Callimanco Shoes listed in his estate. I think I’ve found another Pryor who can top that.

https://2012/08/croxton-pryor-of-williamsburg-and-his-fascinating-shoes/

Samuel Pryor of Charles City died around 1801. In his estate are a veritable treasure trove of early-American dry goods, which included 30 pairs of Callimanco Shoes.

21 3/4 yds Gingham
11 1/4 yds Tambord? Muslin
10 1/2 yds Tambord? Muslin
29 yds Dark Callico
28 yds of Purple Muslin
5 1/2 yds cotton cambrie
23 yds cark callico
10 yds gimp trimming
16 yds India cotton
25 yds red & black callico, 22 yds green ditto
40 yds checks
(see estate on Ancestry.com)

This is just a sample of what was listed. I wonder if he was a tailor or ran a store. It seems like a of fabric for personal use, at least until you account for all the slaves named in the will.

Armistead, Henry, Arney, Babary, George, Nancy, Lucy, Nancy, Moses, James, Billy, Oliver, Cate, Mourning, Ned, Will, Priscilla, Julius, Biley, Fanney, Betty Norfolk, Booker, Goliah,

I have in my notes that the Samuel who was on the 1790 Tax List for Charles City was the father of Brazure Williams Pryor, but that may not be so. There’s an account in the Charles City records that names Samuel as Brazure’s guardian. Would his father be called a “guardian”? Accounts were made in 1794 through 1799.

1792 Will: John Pryor of Norfolk

In the name of God, Amen. I John Pryor of the County and borough of Norfolk being sick and weak, but Perfect mind and understanding do make and ordain this writing to be my last will and testament in manner and form following.

Imprimis, I give and bequeath to my brother Christopher Pryor, fifty pounds current money to him the said Christopher Pryor and his heirs forever.

Item, I give and bequeath to my sister Elizabeth Pass? fifty pounds current money to her the said Elizabeth Pass and her heirs forever.

Item, I give and bequeath to the orphans of my Brother William Pryor decased twenty five pounds each current money to be paid them by my executor hereinafter mentioned when they arrive to the age of twenty one years, or married.

Item, I give and bequeath to my niece Kitty Vaughan Twenty five pounds current money to be paid her by my executor here in after mentioned, when she arrives to the age of twenty one years or married.

Item, I give to Walter Price all my wearing apparel.

Item, I give and bequeath to my brother Samuel Pryor my house and lot whereon I now live, also all my negroes and their future increase and all my personal estate to him the said Samuel Pryor and his heirs for ever he paying all my just debts and the above mentioned legacies.

And lastly I nominate and appoint my brother Samuel Pryor executor to this my last will and testament in (illegible) whereof. I have hereunto set my hand and subscribed my name this eighteenth day of January, one thousand seven hundred and ninety two.
Signed, sealed, published and declared in presence of Manor Dison and Richard Lewelling
Signed John Pryor.

Norfolk Burough
At a Hustings court continued and held the 24th day of April 1792 the last will and testament of John Pryor deceased was proved by the oath of Manor Dison and Richard Lewelling witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded–and on the motion of Samuel Pryor, executor therein named who made oath thereto and together with Frederick Williams and Idm Smallwood his sear– entered into and acknowledged this bond on the penalty of two thousand pounds as the law directs. Certificate is granted them for obtaining a probate in due form.

(see the will on Ancestry.com)

Nat Pryor b. 1826, An African American from VA

The following information about Nat Pryor was previously published as a web page.

African American Pryor Line from Virginia living in Bastrop, Lee, and Fayette Co., TX. The patriarch of this Pryor line was Nat Pryor born about 1826 in Virginia. He and his family are on the 1870 Census in Fayette Co., TX. Nat, his wife, and 7 of his 8 children (two of his daughters were married and living nearby in 1870) were born in Virginia. His eighth child, Susan Pryor, was born in Texas in 1861. Texas was a slave state, so there’s the possibility that this family came to Texas in 1861 with a slave owner. In 1880 there is an African American man named Wyatt Rucker born in VA. He was living with Nat’s son, Thomas Pryor. Could Wyatt Rucker be a clue to the Virginia origins of this Pryor line? There’s a younger Wyatt Rucker in Campbell Co., VA. He was also an African American. There were connections between the white Pryor and Rucker families of Amherst Co., VA: Daughters of Peter Rucker (Mary and Edith) married sons of Col. John Pryor, a son of Nicholas Pryor.

For more information on slavery in Texas, visit the Online Handbook of Texas
tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/SS/yps1.html

1880 Census, Lee Co., TX
Ch. C. B. Moor? white male 29 farmer VA VA VA
Clara A. white female 24 wife AL AL AL
Whyat (Wyatt?) Rucker black male 79 laborer on farm VA VA VA
Tom Prior black male 26 farmer VA VA VA
Seely Ann black female 24 wife TX VA unk.
Josephus black male 4 son TX VA TX
Bedford black male 2 son TX VA TX.

This family was counted twice
Tom Prior 25 black male farmer VA
Celian black female 22 wife keeping house TX
Ceephus black male 3 son TX
Bates black male 2 son TX

1870 Census Fayette Co., TX
West of Caldwell Road, page 503b.
Nat Prior 44 male black field hand VA
Phebe 48 female black house hand VA
Doctor 19 male black field hand VA
Thomas 14 male black at home VA
Shepherd 12 male black field hand VA
Armstead 13 male black field hand VA
Sandy 11 male black field hand VA
Susan 9 female black at school TX

1880 Census Fayette Co., TX
Phibbie Pryor 59 keeping house VA (widow of Nat Pryor)
Shep black male 23 son works on farm VA
Susan black female 18 daughter works on farm TX
Nellie Clark black female 15 gr-dau works on farm TX ?? VA
Lee Clar black male 9 gr-son works on farm TX ?? VA

A marriage for Sallie Pryor to Green Dedrick on 8 Feb 1870 in Fayette Co., TX. Sallie may be a sister to Thomas because Dedrick Green and family were living near the Pryors in 1870 and in 1880 on the census records.

1870 Census Fayette Co., TX
West of Caldwell Road, page 503b.
Green Dedrick 25 male black field hand TN
Sallie (Prior) 21 female black VA
Henry 15 male black TN
Dink 12 female black TN
John 4 male black TX
Lou 1/12 female black TX (born in July)

Another possible relative is Charlotte Prior born 1847 in VA. I found that she married Jim Hudson in Fayette Co., TX in 1870.

1870 Census, Bastrop Co., TX – page 543a
Jim Hodgson (sic) 24 male black farm hand TN
Charlotte 23 female black keeping house GA.

1880 Census, Bastrop Co., TX – page 186b
D. Oliver Hill white male 36 famer TX GA GA
Nannie Hill white female 32 wife TN KY TN
Sue B. white female 12 daughter TX TX TN
Walton Hill white male 10 son TX TX TN
T. Oliver Hill white male 5 son TX TX TN
Charlotte Hudson mulatto female 35 servant VA VA VA
Martha Prior black female 2 daughter TX Unk VA
Nat Prior black mu male 10/12 (born Sept.) TX unk VA
William Seay? white male 28 laborer SC VA GA

In 1910 she was 62 divorced and born in VA, as were her parents.

1920 Bastrop Co., TX
ED14, page 15b
Sealie? Williams head female black 30 single TX TX TX
Ernest Williams brother male black 29 TX TX TX
Chester? Williams nephew male black 9 single TX TX TX
Charlotte Pryor mother female black 73 widow TX TX TX