Looking for a Pryor Signature on David Crawford’s Louisville Will

Posted on by

ad fingerI’m having one of those mini-meltdowns that genealogy researchers may have. This one was spurred by David Crawford‘s Louisville will– the one I’ve referenced because it was witnessed by John Pryor and William Pryor, and because Crawford had ties to Amherst County, VA and perhaps to the Pryors there.

I try not to moan too much about the quality of documents especially when they’re 210 years old. However, I was surprised to see that the copy looks like someone in the past had enhanced the fading writing by writing over the original. Ugh.

The purpose of ordering the will was to gain a handwriting sample of John and William Pryor. No such luck. First, it’s a copy of the will written within the court transcript of 1805 . Even if it was an original, John Pryor signed his name with a “X”. William signed his name Wm Pryor, or at least it was transcribed as such.

One interesting piece, though, is that the will and the codicil was proved in Amherst County:

At a court held for Amherst County the 20th day of Sept. 1802 this will with the codicil was proven by the oaths of Wm. Pryor and John Pryor two subscribing witnesses there to & ordered to be recorded & certified for obtaining __________ in due form is granted to John Crawford, Wm Crawford, Nelson Crawford, & Charles Crawford the executors in said will named, they having made oath & given bond with Charles Taliaferro, Danl. Wanwich, Nelson Anderson, & Wm Pryor the security in the penalty of forty thousand Dollars amount money conditioned as the law directs. — Testr. L. Garland D. C.

The will was later recorded in Jefferson Co., KY:

At a County court held for Jefferson County on Monday 4th March 1805.
The transcript of David Crawford will on the motion of Nathan was produced in open court & ordered to be recorded. — Warden Pope

This seems to indicate that John and William Pryor were in Amherst County in 1802, not Jefferson County. There’s another perk of getting the original and not relying on truncated versions from books; the will opens with the statement “I David Crawford of Amherst County and State of Virginia being of sound mind…” which seems to indicate that Crawford was residing there when the will was executed. It’s then more likely that John Pryor and William Pryor were witnesses in Amherst County rather than Jefferson County, KY.