John Pryor in Campbell, Bedford, Appomattox, and Albemarle

ross-pryor-mapI have been revisiting my own Pryor line (John Pryor of Sumner Co., TN and William Pryor of Overton Co., TN). I can speculate on relationships all I want, but I’m still looking for the meat and potatoes, the paper proof of who is related whom.

DNA NOTE: We have one Y DNA test on this line– working on interpreting the results. If you’re a Pryor male from either of these lines. I’m interested in working with you on Y-DNA testing. Identities are kept confidential.

I found a nifty source called cLocations.com. You can look up waterways and it will pinpoint them on a map. That’s awesome! Because they didn’t have piped in city water in the 1700’s so waterways were important for people and their livestock AND without GPS, waterways were markers on deeds as to where property was located.

We have a deed for John Pryor (likely the father of John and William and the grandfather of Allen L. Pryor of Sumner County, TN, b. 1816):

On 25 November 1788, John Pryer of Campbell County purchases “from John Kitchen of Henry County . . . for 75 [pounds], one certain tract of land of 135 acres in C[ampbell] on the west branches of Stonewall Cr, 7 bounded by Stoval, Kitchen’s corner on Cattail Branch, McBride. Signed – John Kitchen. Wit – Thomas Dunn, William Page, William Bernett (B (Burnett), Henry Truman, William Chenalt (Chenault), Charles Rork. Recorded Apr 2, 1789.” (Campbell County Virginia Deeds, 1784 – 1790 published by T.L.C. Genealogy (Miami), p. 55, referencing deed book page 360)

The pink star on the above map shows where Stonewall Creek is located in what is today’s Appomattox County. While the original deed was in Campbell County, it’s consistent with the history of the Taylors (John’s sons both married Taylor women) that they lived in the part of Campbell County that was sacrificed for the formation of Appomattox County.

I know Tennessee researchers bemoan all the county divisions– Virginia is just as frustrating.  I found a sensible explanation of the county divisions in Campbell Chronicles by Ruth Hairston Early (pub. 1927).

“In 1754 the part of Albemarle lying upon the south side of the river, from the mouth of Stonewall Creek to the head of Falling river, was added to Bedford: then Albemarle was divided in 1761 to form Amherst; the portion north of the James was marked by a line up the Rockfish River to the mouth of Green creek, thence to the Blue Mountains; east of this line remained Albemarle…”,

Ms. Early also added that the James River was also known as the Fluvanna, derived from fluvius (water) and Queen Anne of England. So the Pryors in Appomattox can be in Campbell County records (we already knew that), and also in Bedford and Almemarle records.  Whew!

We’ve probably got John Pryor in a Bedford record

John Pryer with Gideon Martin, Jane Preston, Thomas Stovall witnessed the will of Jacob Rector in Bedford County VA on 26 Oct. 1779. John Pryer along with Gideon Martin proved the will by oaths on 22 Nov. 1779. John Pryer along with David Martin and Thomas Stovall inventoried the estate of Jacob Rector on 3 Dec. 1779, returned 22 January 1781. “Prier” also used at one place in the record. (Abstracts of Bedford County Virginia Wills, Inventories and Accounts by Joida Whitten, Taylor Publishing Company (Dallas), pp. 101 and 113, referencing will book pp. 359-60 and 387.)

I suspect that the Pryor on Stonewall Creek and the Pryor who witnessed Jacob Rector’s will and inventoried the estate is the same John Pryor who was in Campbell County (late area in Appomattox County). Pryor’s 1788 deed states his land was near Stovall’s and 1779 a Thomas Stovall witnessed the will with Pryor.  There’s a remnant of the Pryors in Appomattox County on the 1850 census– Pryor Wright and Pryor D. Martin. I suspect Pryor D. Martin is related to the David Martin who inventoried Rector’s estate with John Pryor.

Now, there’s another line of Pryors we have to consider connecting with the John Pryor in Albemarle. Yes, it’s likely he’s the brother of David Pryor in Buckingham County since there was a David and John mentioned in the Henrico County courts and Cumberland County deeds as heirs of a deceased David Pryor. I suspect they are also kin to Harris Pryor of Bedford County. When Harris’ family left VA for TN they lived near Rectors in Anderson County and Roane County.

So, we have John Pryor pinned down from 1779 when he witnessed a will to 1788 when he bought property in Campbell County (now Appomattox). County divisions tell us to look for earlier records of John Pryor in Bedford and Albemarle Counties. Yes, there is a John Pryor who in 1759 was on the south side of the Fluvanna (remember that’s the James River!) in Albemarle County near Abraham Childers/Childress. John Pryor’s property in 1788 is also on the south side of the river.

That leaves us with a pretty big gap in the time on the paper records for John Pryor — 1759-1788. Where was he and what was he doing?

Is there a David Ross connection? I was thinking of the old John Pryor b. 1757 who was in Sullivan Co., TN next to the entrepreneur David Ross (read part 4 of Ross Posts). I know that my John Pryor was probably deceased by 1812 and the one in Sullivan County lived past the 1850 Census, so they are not the same man. However there’s an interesting little fact to share: Oxford Iron Works, the foundry Ross ran during the Revolutionary War; it was located on Beaver Creek in Campbell County, VA. The red “pin” on the above map shows that it was just 12 miles from where John Pryor lived on Stonewall Creek.