Goochland County Pryors in Botetourt County

Back to The Pryor Family published in The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol.7 (1900). I have a persistent distrust of this century-old publication.  However, this article may be the best source for determining there really was a Samuel Pryor and wife Prudence Thornton in Goochland County, VA and of course, the names of their children.

The author purports to have obtained information from a Judge James T. Mitchell in PA. The judge had the Mitchell family Bible with notes written in it by his great-grandfather, another James Mitchell (1785-1869). The old  notes were created by relying on “recollection and conversations, correpsondence, &c., with older members of the family.”

“Grandmother’s father, Colonel Samuel Pryor’s parents were from England, and had settled in Caroline county, Va. He married a Miss Thornton, whose parents were also from England, and settled in Caroline, Hanover and Spotsylvania counties. They had ten children, eight sons, and two daughters: William, Samuel, John Thornton, Robert, Luke, Frank and Joseph: the youngest of the brother and least of them weighed 220 pounds. Nancy Pryor married Colonel Samuel Wells, judge of the County Court of Amelia.  Molly Pryor was born 15th November 1730, and married Major William Berry, of Gloucester, Va., who died, leaving two daughters, Nancy and Prudence.” (read more on Google Books)

I decided to test the information in the article — the author lays out his Mitchell line starting with Molly Pryor’s marriage to William Berry and then her second marriage to James Mitchell. Using and Googleing– I found some interesting stuff.

The Mitchell Line

The bold fonts in the information below are from
the The Virginia Magazine article –I’ve added my notes below.

1. Samuel Pryor and Prudence Thornton
2. Molly Pryor and William Berry, then to James Mitchell
3. Edward Mitchell b. 1760- d.1837, married “Haley”

  • Walton Mitchell’s (see below) applied in 1899 for Sons of the American Revolution — it states Edward Mitchell married Nancy Haley.
  • A marriage record: Edward Mitchell and Ann Haley md. 26 Aug 1784 in Cecil Co., MD.
  • 1830 Census in St. Clair Co., IL
  • Gravemarker on Find A Grave. Buried in St Clair Co., IL D. 1837. Says “Rev”
  • Applied for Rev War Pension: born in Hanover co., VA. His father moved to Botetourt in 1778 and Edward Mitchell served under Col. George Skillern in the attack on Fort Donnally in Greenbrier. (read Edward’s Pension Application)
  • Wikipedia state that the Central portion of St. Clair County sits upon the Mississippi River. This may relate to his grandson who was a MS River boat captain.

3. James  b. 1762, died 1781
3. Samuel b. 1764, died 1855

  • 1850 Census in Grant Co., Wisconsin
  • Occupation in 1850 “clergyman”
  • Find A Grave with marker dated 1855. Buried in WI. Rev on his gravemarker.
  • Applied for Rev War pension from St. Clair, IL. Says in 1778 his father moved to Botetourt Co., VA. (Samuel was age 91 living in Saline Co., MO. His son James T. was in Urbana OH.)

4. James Mitchell b. 1785, died 1869 md. Ann George Walton
(James prepared the account of Samuel Pryor in the family Bible recounted in 1899 VA Magazine article)

5. Edward Phillips Mitchell b. 1812, md. Ann Tyndall

  • Philadelphia death record: died 27 feb 1880
  • Find A Grave has obit from Philadelphia Enquirer. Mentions son judge James T. Mitchell. Also says Edward was a Mississippi steamboat captain. See St. Clair, IL connection above.
  • 1850 Census Philadelphia: Edward P Mitchell 37 VA, son James age 14 PA

6. James T Mitchell b. 1834, PA Supreme Court Judge (contributed the family Bible account to the VA Magazine article in 1899)

I was fairly surprised that the names and dates in the The Pryor Family article actually match up to the records. It gives me a bit more confidence that there was a family Bible and that it had an inscription of the line back to Samuel and Prudence.

The Mitchells’ Revolutionary War Applications really piqued my interest when I saw that they went to Botetourt County. I did some Googling to see if there were any records from Botetourt County that would reveal which Pryors were associating with the Mitchells.

1780 – Jury was formed that consisted of Edmund Sturns, Hugh Muldrough, Jonathan Newman, Joseph Carroll, William Miller, Henry White, James Elliott, James Gufford, Joseph Damrel, James Mitchell, Samuel Pryor, and Uriah Humphries.

1786 – James Robinson and Samuel Mitchell took oaths of a Justice of the Peace.

1786 – Ordered that a road be established agreeable to report of Samuel Mitchell, Wm. Bilbro, and Michael Ocheltree round the field of John Kennedy.

1786 – Henry Pryor in Capt. May’s Co.; Samuel Mitchell in Capt. Cartmill’s Co.; Geo. Skillern in Capt. Pryor’s Company.

1787 – John Kenny (Kennedy?) placed under bond for his good behavior, Joseph Pryor and Samuel Mitchell securities

Oh yes, one more thing. So Molly Pryor Mitchell’s son Edward Mitchell was at Fort Donnally? Remember… William Pryor from Albemarle and Amherst Counties was also there under Col. Skillern (read William’s Revolutionary War Pension application). I don’t know if that proves a relationship between the Pryors or just shows that a large number of young men from the area were mustered up to defend the forts.