John Pryor Ford of Nashville and Cumberland County, VA

John Pryor Ford of Nashville

I’ve located a biography of a Nashville physician that mentions Dr. John Pryor Ford who migrated to Nashville from Cumberland County, VA (same place as Miss Jane H. Thomas of Nashville (see post). The portrait of Dr. Ford (above) is from the Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA).

Jefferson Family Connection

I think he looks a bit like a Jefferson.  It’s funny that it’s his wife who was a Jefferson…

Dr. Callender married at Nashville, Tennessee, February 24, 1858, Miss Della Jefferson Ford, daughter of Dr. John Pryor Ford, of that city. Dr. Ford was born in Cumberland county, Virginia, in 1810 and removed to Nashville from Huntsville, Alabama, in 1842, and was a leading practioner and teacher of medicine until his death in 1865—being professor of obstetrics and diseases of women and children from 1858 to 1862. His wife, Ann Smith Jefferson, was born also in Cumberland county, Virginia and was collaterally related to Thomas Jefferson of Monticello. Mrs. Callender is a great grand niece of President Jefferson and a niece of Gen. John R. Jefferson of Seguin, Texas. Her religious connection is Protestant Episcopal.
Sketches of Prominent Tennesseeans, compiled by Hon. William S. Speer, pub. 1888, Albert B. Tavel (Sketches of Prominent TennesseeansNashville). https://archive.org/stream/sketchesofpromin01spee#page/60/mode/2up

I did some homework to see if I could identify Dr. Ford in the census records and work my way back to Virginia. I found he married in Davidson Co., TN in 1832. He was recorded as “J. P. Ford” on the 1840 Census in Clarke County, MS. Dr. Ford was counted in Nashville in 1850. By 1860 he was recorded as a wealthy household in Nashville. His property holdings were $44,000 and his personal property was $9500. The artist Thomas Waterman Wood (see Wikipedia) was counted in his household. I don’t see any connection between Wood and Ford, so I believe Wood was in the Ford household either as a guest, a tenant or to create a portrait for the family (the Wikipedia article states he was in Nashville to paint portraits).

1810 Census in Cumberland County, VA

If Ford was born 1810 as stated on the census records, then it’s likely that one of the Ford men who were heads of households in Cumberland County may be his father. I made note of these Ford families:

Screen 3, Ancestry.com: Kesiah Ford, Ts. Charmer Woodson,

Screen 4, Ancestry.com: William Randolph, Martha Randolph, Landis P. Stovall, John Ford Jr., Newton Ford, Pascal Ford, William Ford, William Taylor, Patrick Shinott

Screen 6, Ancestry.com: John Dowdy, Betty Liggon, Frances Dowdy, John Ford Sr.

Screen 7, Ancestry.com: Henry Martin, William Burton, John Ford Sr., Francis Clark, Henry Woodson.

While I can’t ID Dr. Ford’s father, some of these names are exciting. I really like Landis P. Stovall. There’s Landis Patterson who witnessed documents with Harris Pryor. I also like the Randolph’s because they were connected to the Jeffersons.  Woodson is also connected to Harris Pryor and they were Jefferson cousins, so it may also be a lead.

James Pryor and Mary Cox

Another possibility is John Ford Jr. who married Frankey PRYOR on 25 June 1773 in Cumberland County, VA. Francis Pryor was possibly the daughter of James Pryor and Mary Cox. I think these are the same people mentioned in the will of William Cox filed in 1754 in Essex Co., VA

I Lend unto my Daughter Pryor and my son In law James PRYOR one Negro Girl Named Murear & her Increase during their Natural Lives and after their decease the said Negro Girl Murear and her Increase to be Equally Devided between the four Children of the said James Pryor and Mary his wife Vizt. Mildred Caty Croxton & Frankey To them and their heirs Lawfully Begotten of their bodys.

I wonder if James Pryor and his wife Mary Cox had any male children after 1754. There’s almost 20 years between the time of the will and Frankey’s marriage in Cumberland County. There may be a son or more. And could Dr. John Pryor Ford born in 1810 be the son of John Ford and Frankey Pryor? Is John Ford Jr. on the 1810 Census?

Dr. Ford is going on the back burner for now. We may have to bring him to the foreground again to ID some of the Virginia Pryors.