Knox County TN Pryors: William Pryor from Botetourt Co., VA?

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Who knows, I may look at the projected line of Harris Pryor, thinking they connect to John Pryor and Mary New only to find they connect to another line all together. I’ve had to tweak the Botetourt County Pryor Chart by “annexing” some of the Knox County Pryors.

I also looked up William Anderson (the guy on the Harris Pryor bastardy case) in the the Virginia Chancery Cases. I found a man by that name had been sued by Archibald Franklin (who appears to be the relative of Harris Pryor (Sr) as he had a son in law named Edmund Franklin).

There’s another Chancery case in Bedford County, VA filed in 1805:  Thornton Pryor vs Archibald Franklin, et al. Joined as plaintiffs Thornton Pryor, Peter Nance, and John A. Anthony against Thomas Creasy.

Lets go  back to Knox County. I was able to get my hands on a 1836 case from the Knox County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions: State vs. William Pryor and Pryor Nance. This is one of those twists in the road where the Pryors give me a true headache — are we looking at one Pryor line or two Pryor lines in Knox County?

The headache stems from Botetourt County, VA where descendants of Samuel and Prudence Pryor married into the Nance family. Then by 1805 there’s the lawsuit mentioned above in Bedford County that appears to involve the Botetourt line. In the same year John Pryor (son of Joseph Pryor from Botetourt County?) married Sally Nance in Bedford County (Peter Nance surety). It doesn’t make it true, but numerous researchers have posted online that Pryor Nance in Knox County is the son of Peter Nance and Mary “Polly” Pryor. Pryor Nance married in Knox County in 1833; I haven’t seen any earlier records of the Nance family in Knox County.

The 1836 court record is very short, all that was located is a sheet tallying the costs, it includes the following names:
Justin Lindsey
C—? L Cox, warrants
Sheriff (William) Dunlap
James Badgett witness
Allen Perry witness
J. P. Kennedy witness
Susan Badgett witness

Allen Perry and James Badgett are on the same page of the 1830 Census in Knox County.

I’m glad I write a blog and it’s always in flux. I have thought that the Pryors in Knox County who match the names of sons of Harris Pryor in Bedford County, VA were all his sons, however we need to leave the decision open pending more documentation– William Pryor and some of the other Pryors in Knox County appear to be from the line that settled Botetourt County, VA.

This discovery also changes my own list of 5 lines to test for my own Pryor family DNA. I need a DNA tester from the family of Harris Pryor (his children and their descendants or from his brother’s descendants). If Harris is from the line of Boutetourt County Pryors, I won’t need a DNA tester at all– because we aren’t related.

Using the Knox County records, I tried to separate out Harris and William Pryor:

1799 – William Pryor signed petition for tax relief
1805 – Harris fathered child with Keziah Maxey
1806 – Harris Pryor on the tax list
1807 – Harris Pryor married Keziah Maxey
(1819 Harris Pryor in Louisville)
1830 – Harris Pryor (born 1761-1770 with 3 males in his household ages somewhere between 15 to 30 which may include the child born in 1805 to Keziah Maxey)


1830 – William Pryor on the census (born 1791-1800, likely not the William Pryor who signed petition in 1799 – ages don’t match up)
1831 – Deed William and Nancy Pryor & Burwell F. Badgett to Jabez Thurman, witnessed by Reuben Tipton, Nancy Badgett, and John Gordon
1835 – James Pryor married Lucy Cruse, bondsman Jacob Kennedy and William Pryor
1839 – Samuel Pryor married Merrian Crews

I can’t completely tease out the Pryors or merge them together as one family, however it should be noted that by 1820 Peter Nance was in Breckinridge County, KY as was Juggy Pryor (Harris’ sister) and her husband Richard Mays.

HINT: If you want to see the chart larger… just click on it .