John Pryors in Georgia: Sifting Through The Men Who were in GA Before 1800

While going through Revolutionary War Pryor men I dug into looking at the John Pryors in Georgia. How many were there? Were any of them the same man? What I ended up with were 4 John Pryor (or John Priors) who were in Georgia before 1800. I’ve created timelines for each man and some long-winded answers to how we know it’s the same man. I’m using their death dates to ID each Pryor. Let’s go…

1. John Prior, d. 1790

  • 1781 Slave Sale – Isaac Wells purchased slave from John Prior. This event places John Prior in Savannah during the Revolutionary War.
  • 1782 marriage between John Pryor and Delphia Dillard in Middlesex county, VA. The transcript of the marriage states they were from King and Queen county, VA.
  • 9 May 1790 Delphia “Pryor” appointed as the administrator of John “Prior” estate in Chatham county, GA.
  • 1793 “Mrs. Pryor” recorded on Chatham county tax list.
  • 1798 Mrs. Delphia Wilson appointed administrator of David Wilson estate in Chatham County, GA. The estate identifies her as “Mrs.”
  • 1803 Delphia Wilson, John Prior, and William McNatt were sued in Chatham county for money owed to Bud Davis.
  • 1806 Judgement against Delphia Wilson for $52 and John Pryor for $47 by A. S. (or A.L.) Richards. A Mrs. Delphia Wilson married Thomas Parting on 13 February 1806 in Chatham county. Both of the Partings were named on 1806 lawsuits in Chatham county. Thomas Parting had land that went into foreclosure in Baldwin County and a letter for Delphia Parting was held at the post office in Milledgeville (Baldwin County) in 1818.
  • John Pryor is possibly the same man who married Delphia Dillard in Middlesex county, VA in 1782. If it is, then he was traveling between Virginia and Georgia (the slave sale in GA in 1781, his marriage in VA in 1782, and estate in GA in 1790).
  • Both the 1803 and 1806 lawsuits named defendant John Pryor, however they do not refer to him as “deceased” or the “estate of John Pryor,” so there is a high probability that John Pryor is different than the man who was deceased in 1790— perhaps a son?– and another John Pryor to add to this list!
Delphia Pryor signature
Delphia Wilson signature
The Georgia Gazette, February 09, 1798

Delphia may be easier to track than her husband John Pryor. I located a notice of a sale conducted by Marlow Pryor — he was the jailor and justice of the peace for Baldwin county and his name appears in numerous newspaper notices, however here he’s acting on behalf of Richard Wilson, curiously the surname of one of Delphia’s husbands. It names a deceased Mrs. Partin. And the notice is filed in Milledgeville in Baldwin county where we know Delphia and Thomas Parting were located. So yet another question… was John Pryor related to Marlow Pryor?

The Georgia Journal. December 22 1818.

2. John Pryor, died in 1823

  • See post on this John Pryor
  • 1775-1781 he served in the 8th and 12th Virginia Regiments during the Revolutionary War. He is counted as Jacob Pryor on regimental rolls. Wikipedia refers to the 8th regiment as the “German Regiment” formed in the northwestern counties: Berkeley, Culpeper, Dunmore, Fincastle, Frederick, and Hampshire Counties, plus the District of West Augusta.
  • 1795 he arrived he in Georgia. Pension application states he lived in Charleston, SC before arriving in GA. He had lived in GA 25 years.
  • 1820 applied for Revolutionary War pension. At the time he was a resident of Burke county, GA.
  • 1823 his death recorded in pension file.
  • Additional documentation in pension file stated part of his application was filed in Savannah.
  • Is he the second John Pryor who was named in a 1803 lawsuit with Delphia Pryor Wilson in Chatham County, GA?

3. John Pryor, died in 1848

This John Pryor’s estate helps to identify him so that’s where I’m starting.

  • He signed his will in 1842. His estate was recorded in probate in 1848 in Pike county, GA. It names his children. It alludes to his wife being alive at the time the will was signed but does not name her. Seven children can be derived from his will: Wilson Coats married to daughter Susan Pryor who had taken care of John and his wife, heirs of daughter Elizabeth Miles (first wife of Joshua Miles), daughter Nancy Weldon, sons William Pryor and John Pryor, son in law Matthew Coggin (who was married to Martha Pryor), and son in law John Coats (who was married to Lydia Pryor).
War of 1812 Pension Application for Joshua Miles (first wife Elizabeth Pryor)
  • It’s possible that John Pryor was born in Georgia. John Pryor’s daughter Susan Pryor Coats lived to 1894. Her parents’ places of birth were recorded as Georgia on the 1880 Census. There seems to be an awareness of the census taker–at least he wasn’t putting dittos down the page because her husband’s father was recorded as born in Virginia rather than Georgia.
  • The John Pryor who was recorded on the 1830 Census in Pike County, GA was born in 1761-1770, making him 72 to 81 years old when he signed his will in 1842.
  • I think he’s on page 126 of the 1840 Census in Pike County (Ancestry has him indexed as John Gior).Both he and the woman in the household were 60 to 69 years old. UGH! Why can’t ages stay the same from on census to the next. The 1840 census would have him born 1771-1780.
  • Online family trees record Lydia Dossey as his wife. If she is his wife, then they are named in a 1800 Chancery suit in Halifax County, VA that names her Dossey relatives, several of whom are found in Georgia records. See post on Dorsey/Dossey surname. I think because of the presence of the Dossey family and the use of the name Lydia in subsequent generations I agree with the theory that John was married to Lydia Dossey.
  • John’s children married in Jasper County, GA: Nancy Pryor married Isaac Weldon in 1815 and Wilson Coats married Susan Pryor in 1830. These marriages place John Pryor (or his family) in Jasper county during these years.
  • In 1827, while a resident of Jasper County, GA, John Pryor entered a land lottery for Revolutionary War vets. See Authentic List of All Land Lottery Grants Made to Veterans of the Revolutionary War by the State of Georgia. Atlanta, GA: p. 27, pub. 1955 — available on The list does NOT note in which state or regiment he served.
  • A possible record for the service of this John Pryor is a regimental roll (see He served from April 1 – November 1, 1779 in 1st GA Battalion of the Continental Line, serving under Col. Robert Rae. If he is indeed this John Pryor, then based on the 1830 Census, he was 9 to 18 years old at the time of his service in 1779. If his age is correct on the 1840 census he is unlikely to have served in the Revolution.
  • If John Pryor was in Georgia in 1779 and his children started marrying in about 1815, are there records of his existence in Georgia between 1779 and 1815?
  • 1843 land grant – 1827 lottery gave John Pryor land in Carroll county.
  • Initial results of a male YDNA test done by a descendant from this line indicates they are related to Pryor lines from Virginia (NOT the line that has been traditionally attributed to Samuel Pryor and Prudence Thornton). Keep in mind that these results don’t necessarily mean that this line was in Virginia before arriving in Georgia, although it’s a nice hint for research.
John Pryor and Liddy his wife
1800 Halifax County Chancery case

There are two more John Pryors who were early arrivals in Georgia. They could be two different men or any of the 3 men previously mentioned.

4. John Pryor **Wild Card**

Edward Pryor in Wilkes county and Oglethorpe county, GA may hold a clue to one of the three John Pryors. Edward made an indenture 1796, stating he was “of an infirm age.” That sounds like he was an old man. Was he old by today’s standards– 40 (born about 1756)? Or was he an elderly 70 (born about 1726)? He divided up his real estate among his sons Allen, Obediah, and John. Edward lived on at least until 1798 when he and his sons were on the tax list in Oglethorpe county.

Was his son John one of the 3 John Pryors? It’s certain he wasn’t the John Pryor who died in 1790 as he was recorded in Wilkes county after that time. However that doesn’t rule out the other 2 John Pryors. There’s also the possibility that this John Pryor could also be a 4th man of the same name. Woot-woot, isn’t it fun tracking down John Pryors?!

John “Pryer” – 1793 petition to Gov. Edward Telfair
  • 1785 Edward Pryor witnessed deed of Willis Whatley to Peter Tatum. Samuel Thornton was also a witness.
  • 1785 Edward Pryor was on the Wilkes County tax list with 300 acres.
  • 1788 Edward Prier 1788 survey of land warrant No. 679 in Wilkes county (300 acres). Land borderd by Jeremiah Degan and Tatum
  • 1789 John Pryor deeded land to Edward Pryor in Wilkes county.
  • On February 4, 1793 John Pryor signed a petition to Governor Telfair with other men from Wilkes county, GA: Among those men were Thomas Dossey, Caleb Dossey, John Coats Sr., Howell Tatum, Caleb Whatley, J Shropshire. The Dossey men are named in the 1800 Chancery case involving John Pryor and Lydia Dossey noted above. Signing a petition hints that John Pryor was 21 years old or older. The signers of the petition described themselves as “A number of us (emigrants from other states)…”
  • 1801 Howell Tatum paid Jarrett Dossey on Peter Tatum‘s estate. Jarred Dossey was also named in the 1800 lawsuit filed in Halifax County, VA.

5. John Pryor **Wild Card**

In 1784 John Pryor from Virginia petitioned a court in Augusta (Richmond County). This was for a head right grant not a Revolutionary War land warrant. He was given land in Franklin County. I have not found any record of a John Pryor in either county, so it’s unknown if he settled in Georgia, however there’s the possibility that he was one of the 3 John Pryors mentioned above.

1784 Land Grant to John Pryor “of Virginia”
State of Georgia
To the Honourable the President and members of Council now sitting in Augusta for the purpose of granting Lands in the two new Counties of Franklin and Washington. The Petition of John Pryor from Virginia shewed. That your Petitioner is entitled to two hundred acres of Land on the head right of your petitioner as appears by affidavit annexed for which he has never had any Lands granted him this state. May it therefore please your honourable board to grant your petitioner two hundred acres of land in the county of Franklin on the right aforesaid and on his complying with the terms mentioned in the late land act and your petitioner will pray.
signed “P” John Pryor
Georgia }
This Day came John Prior before us and made Oath that he never has taken up any Land as his head Right, and that he desires two hundred acres of Land in Franklin County. Sworn to April 13th 1784 P John Pryor
Before Us
Jas. McFarland
Igns. Few (note: Ignatius Few)
Jas Mc Neal
(, Headright and Bounty Documents 1783-1909 )