Identity of John Pryor – Revolutionary War Bounty Land in Kentucky


Long ago I stumbled upon the data from Elizabeth Pryor Harper’s book Twenty-One Southern Families: Notes and Genealogies. It references a  4000 acre millitary land warrant to John Pryor in Kentucky.  In addition she states the same John Pryor was “Supposed to have been killed by Indians before 1825.” [view online]  It’s time to reveal which John Pryor got the military land and prove Ms. Harper wrong– this is not the John Pryor who was killed by Indians. And this may not be the John Pryor you expect!

It’s Major John Pryor of Richmond, VA.  The aging Revolutionary War vet who was deserted by his first wife, Anne Beverly Whiting. Don’t know who he is? Read more…

The Major’s second wife, Elizabeth Quarles Graves, filed for a widow’s pension for his Revolutionary War Service. There’s a easy-to-read transciption of the pension application online at It’s important to read the application, especially the last paragraph on page 2. This paragraph states that John Pryor held the ranks of Lieutenant and Captain-Lieutenant. I don’t think he ever held the rank of Major– it was probably a respectful title like “Colonel” in the South.

The land warrants and the pension application match up. On both records John Pryor is a Captain Lieutenant. The Warrant number matches up to John Pryor’s land grant: The grant number was  0126.0 while the pension states it was 1760 (I think the “2” was misread as a “7”) on the transcription of his pension (above).The actual land warrants can also be viewed online through the state of Kentucky website.

There were 4 grants given to John Pryor under this warrant number.

1.  Location: Kentucky – on the Cumberland River, near upper corner of C. Carrington’s survey.
Assignee: John Tayloe Griffin
Grant date 9/17/1785.
Received 1000 acres

2. Location: Kentucky – on the Muddy River
Assignee: John Tayloe Griffin
Grate date (surveyed) 7/15/1786
Received 1000 acres

3. Location: On the east side of the Little Miami, later pencil note on document states “land is in Ohio”
Assignee:  John Tayloe Griffin, assigned to Robert Morris
Grant date: (surveyed) 4/17/1788
Received 1000 acres

4. Location: Cypress Creek
Assignee: John Tayloe Griffin, Robert Morris assignee
Grant Date: (surveyed) 12/28/1786
Received 1000 acres


There’s no indication that Major John Pryor resided anywhere but Richmond, VA and probably never saw his bounty land in Kentucky.  He assigned or sold the land to John Tayloe Griffin who was also from Richmond.  I wonder what Griffin’s connections were to the Tayloe family: Major Pryor bought a race horse named Federalist from the estate of John Tayloe per an 1829 racing journal.

With the mention of “Captain” Pryor and a Tayloe connection, it may be time to read another post again and decipher the mystery of Grandma’s Clock [read the post]. And who is the C. Carrington on the first warrant. Could this be Codrington Carrington, son of George Carrington of Cumberland  Co., VA [see deeds] and Fayette Co., KY?

And it’s time to dig out the July 1825 edition of the Louisville Morning Post to find out which John Pryor that Elizabeth Pryor Harper found had been killed by Indians.