We’ve Got a Mystery: Who’s In Jamyes Grave?

When Luke Pryor of Williamson County, TN made his will in 1844 he carefully described the property lines of the real estate he was leaving to his wife Nelly. One landmark is described as “a line beginning near old Jamyes grave coming down the to the Creek.” Who is old Jamyes? A neighbor, a relative, a slave, a horse?

Luke Pryor married Nelly Rogers in Orange County, NC in 1799. They are named in an 1819 notice of an estate as some of the heirs of James Rogers (see post). That raises a question: Did they bring her father to Tennessee. There is a James Rogers who died in 1815 in Williamson County, TN. He died intestate, the estate administrator was Robert Rogers and there are no Pryor names in the estate file. Could this be the same man who is in the 1819 NC estate notice?

Does anyone know where Luke Pryor’s property was located and if there is a cemetery on the property? And who was in old Jaymes grave?

Marlow Pryor of Baldwin County

While digging about in Georgia records I became interested in Marlow Pryor who was in Baldwin County. What piqued my interest was the War of 1812 record that popped up on Ancestry; it stated that James Brooks had served as a substitute for Marlow Pryor. James Brooks applied for a pension in 1851 (see below) and the application (found on Fold3) is the source for the information on Ancestry.

There were two Marlow Pryors in Baldwin county on the 1820 census: one age 26 to 45 years old (born between 1775-1794), and another over 45 years old (born 1775 or earlier). The older Marlow is recorded as Marlow L. Pryor. The younger Marlow had no slaves in his household. Marlow L had 18 slaves.

A notice published in 1828 refers to Marlow L. Pryor dec’d and the sale of slaves. The initial and the possession of slaves points in the direction of the older Marlow.

Under an order of the Inferior court of Baldwin county, when sitting for ordinary purposes, will be sold at the court house in the town of Milledgeville, on the first Tuesday in January next, one house and lot in said town, situated West of the Government lot, being the same where on the late Marlow L. Pryor resided; also a few young negroes; all sold for the benefit of the creditors of Marlow L. Pryor, dec’d. Terms on the day.
The Executors.

The Georgia Journal. December 01, 1828

Records for Marlow L. Pryor’s estate can be found on familysearch.com in the Baldwin county probate returns for 1813-1831. The newspaper notice and the estate returns refer to a executor, however his will is not among the those on Ancestry.com. There are several enslaved people named in the estate: Tilman, Marcus, Douglas, Cicero, Jim & family, Harriet, Malinda, Rosettta & her children, Jerry, Arthur, Davey, Jack, John, and Minty.

The estate returns give more insights into Marlow’s family. An entry dated December 31, 1826 states $1782.82 was spent on the plantation and family supplies for part of 1825 and the whole of 1826. In 1827 the estate owed Mrs, Kurkley (?) for tuition and there’s another entry for money due to the Baldwin Academy. These entries hint that Marlow had a family and that his death probably occurred sometime during 1825.

A final account for the estate from January 1829 contains entries for Mrs. Pryor which would indicate he had a wife that outlived him.

I think Marlow’s wife is the Ann C Pryor who was in Muscogee county. Mrs Ann C Pryor of Baldwin county entered the 1827 land lottery for land in Muscogee county. Ann and her possible children are on the 1850 and 1860 census in Muscogee county. The census records give her year of birth as about 1790. Upon Ann’s death, her son Alexander P Pryor applied for letters of administration in 1867. Alexander lived to 1880 and stated on the census that his mother was born in NC and his father was born in England.

There’s a family tree on Ancestry that connects Ann C and Marlow (probably because they have a son named Marlow) but it’s unsourced and no comments on how this relationship was determined. So we have pieces of the puzzle that connects them.

  • Marlow L. Pryor was deceased in about 1825.
  • Ann C. Pryor was a widow by 1827.
  • The adult children counted in Ann’s household were born between 1810 and 1826 (Was Ann pregnant with Sarah b. 1826 when Marlow died?)
  • Marlow L. Pryor’s estate settlement made provisions for a wife and family.
  • Marlow L. Pryor is counted on the 1820 census with a woman aged 26-45 (his wife?) and several younger household members (his children?).

There are several letters beginning in 1776 from William Ancrum to Marlow Pryor, his overseer at Redbank Plantation in Kershaw Co., SC. Was this overseer over 21, if so he would have been born in the 1750’s–making him almost twenty years older than the Marlow L. Pryor in Baldwin County.

Can we connect the Marlow L Pryor in Baldwin County to the Marlow Pryor who was on the 1790 census (the first census) in Orangeburg, SC. Argh! There was a male over age 16, 3 males under 16, and a woman over 16. He had 12 slaves. The woman is probably not Mrs. Ann C Pryor who was born in about 1790. The oldest male in the 1790 household who born in 1774 or earlier. It’s a tight squeeze to fit Marlow Pryor in 1790 fit with the Marlow L. Pryor on the 1820 census if he was born between 1775-1794, however it could be that Marlow was born around 1774 – 1775.

An interesting tid-bit on the 1790 census is there’s a John Brooks recorded a few lines before Marlow Pryor. I wonder if this Brooks is related to the man who was the War of 1812 substitute.

The SC census records offer another argument for the 1790 Marlow being an even older Pryor and not either of the ones in Baldwin county. There was a Marlow Pryor as head of household and then an Elizabeth Pryor as head of household in 1800. The household consisted of 2 young males and a woman over 45 years old. There are several Friday households on the same page of the 1800 census. A Google book family tree states that Elizabeth Friday (Fridig) first married William Arthur then Marlow Pryor and was the mother of Jesse, Ruben, and Friday Pryor. The house recorded above Elizabeth in 1800 was Jesse Arthur. Elizabeth was born in 1731 so she was either older than Marlow or her husband much older than the men in GA.

I’m not going to solve the mystery of Marlow Pryor in one post. Just poking around in the Georgia Pryors makes me wonder if there aren’t more questions that point in the direction of Marlow

  • Who was the Marlow Pryor who married Mary Amour in Greene County, GA in 1816? The Marlow counted with Ann C Pryor’s family was a mere child and too young to marry in 1816. Is he the younger Marlow Pryor who is on the 1820 census in Baldwin county?
  • If there’s a Marlow Pryor born between 1775-1794 on the 1820 census in Baldwin County and the man identified at Lane M Pryor (researchers state his name as Marlow Lane Pryor) counted near Ann C wasn’t born until 1815, what is the kinship?
  • Are any of the other Pryors who moved between SC and GA related? Are any of the

The older Marlow in SC shows up with another Pryor on records. Marlow Pryor and Seth Pryor were the appraisers of the estate of Daniel Blake deceased, February 1781. They were counting slaves at Brewton’s Plantation. Prince Williams Parish, Greenville county and also at other plantations in SC: Board House Plantation, Waltnut Hill, and Crooked Hill, Mount Pleasant at Greenville.

Genealogists: Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Future. Have a Plan for Bequeathing Your Research.

COVID-19 has opened up a lot of time to do research but it also creates time to wonder about my research and what would happen to it I I wasn’t here.

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Category: Tennessee Pryors

John Pryor Signature in GA and SC Too?

Remember laying out the cards and paying Concentration? Can you match two aces? How about laying out the Pryors and matching signatures? I think we should consider that a John Pryor is the one man and not two different men.

In 1784 John Pryor “from Virginia” became a headright of 200 acres in Franklin County, GA (see post)

JOhn Pryor Franklin County GA

If the “P” used on the headright document is John Pryor’s mark, then we may have another John Pryor using the same mark. John Pryor from Cornwall who made his will in Edgefield county in 1797 used a “P” mark.

I think the John Pryor in Edgefield has a complicated story and there’s more to investigate.

First, he immigrated from Britain to the American colonies. We don’t know where he landed. Most of what is known of him is through his will in Edgefield county. He died a millwright (lots of lumber left in his estate) with slaves and children through a common law wife. Cornish records state he went to American in about 1779. What and where was John during his time in America?

We also know that this John Pryor wasn’t trapped by colonial borders. After his death it came out in the press (see post) that John also had property in Augusta (Richmond county), GA.

This is the only John Pryor in GA who seems to be a possible match to the man in Edgefield — all the others either died before him or after his known death.

The Franklin county headright document opens up another possibility: John Pryor was in Virginia or had an interest in Virginia before or during his time in South Carolina.

A South Carolina John Pryor (deceased by 1799) Shows Up in GA Documents

Just when you think you’ve looked at all the Pryors in GA— POP! another springs up. I found a newspaper notice that mentions TWO John Pryors— one deceased and the other a junior.

Mr. Smith,
In perusing your paper of the 29th June last, I observed a notification signed John Pryor, jun. executor and heir at law of John Pryor, dec. in these words “Having understood that Doctor James Otis Prentiss is about to sell a certain lot of land situate in Broad Street, lately occupied and owned by Benjamin Sims, in the city of Augusta, at present occupied by William Longstreet Esq. I find it a duty which I owe to the community at large, and particularly to those who may be disposed to purchase that Doctor Prentiss has previously entered into such engagements with John Pryor, dec. for the conveyance of said property in fee simple to said Pryor or his heirs, as will compel a specific performance of his contract.” Now sir, permit me through the medium of your paper to assure the public that the above is not founded in fact; it is not true. My obligation to John Pryor, dec. was conditional, and had it been otherwise it would have been void; for John Pryor, decd cruelly and shamefully deceived me, by a long contemplated and artfully digested plan, designedly conceived for the purpose of fraud.

I have already paid John Pryor, dec. quite as much as was his just due, and I trust the laws of my country will verify this fact. Mr. Pryor the younger, says he is the legal heir and representative of the deceased John Pryor. This may be true. But a person who calls himself Dr. Hitchens, who says he is the agent of the said deceased’s widow, this very man told me that he had bought the principal part of the estate of this illiterate young man, and also that of his mother the widow, and to use his own words, “for a mere trifle,” and that he had bound the young man to do as executor whatever he thought proper to dictate to him in regard to the estate. I should not have been so minute in reciting the particulars of what the Doctor said, but the public will please to take notice that Doctor Hitchens (whom I suspect as the parent of that notification, and who as he saith, has the whole direction of Pryor’s estate) came out to my house where he remained for several days, for the purpose as he said and I thought, of compromising the matter now in dispute between myself and that estate. But I have since discovered his object was, if possible to get hold of something that would operate to assist him in the recovery of this bond obtained in fraud. The generous offers I have made to the executor thro this man, to induce an amicable settlement, will come out on trial with other fact that will portray in lively colours the leading features of the case.
James Otis Prentiss
He does not know a letter of the alphabet

The Augusta Chronicle and Gazette of the State – July 06, 1799

The clues to the identity of these John Pryors are in the original notice published on June 29th.

The 1797 will for John Pryor in Edgefield county, SC names a son John and property on Beech Island. I think the deceased John Pryor was the John Pryor from Cornwall, England who left a will in Edgefield County, SC. The name James Otis Prentiss appears in both notices in the GA press. And there are records of John Pryor’s estate back in his native Corwall stating his son left for America with postmaster Nicholas Hichens (the man referred to as Dr. Hitchens?) (see post).

An ad also placed in an Augusta newspaper also includes a name found in John Pryor’s will (his son Tobias Pryor) and the Beach Island location.

LOST, On the 24th inst. between Augusta and the Sand Bar, a Red Morocco Pocket Book, containing about One Hundred and Fifty Dollars in Bank Bills, principally on the Augusta Bank. There is Fifty Dollar Bill, the rest are from Twenty down to One.– No papers recollected being in the Pocket Book, except an account and receipt from Mr. Barrie. A reward of Ten Dollars will be given to the finder on his leaving it with Mr. Barrie, in Augusta
TOBIAS PRYOR,
Beach Island, S.C.
May 25th

Augusta Chronicle, June 25, 1813

Google maps is helpful in understanding the proximity of these two locations: Beech Island and Augusta are only 13 miles apart and about a four hour walk that includes a crossing of the Savannah River.

Augusta Chronicle, and Georgia Gazette, December 13, 1817

A provision of John Pryor’s will was that his son John Pryor should be the executor if he came to America from Cornwall. So did the younger John Pryor come to Amercia to resolve the estate? Who was the widow referred to in this notice— Eve Grubbs the common law wife or the Mrs. Pryor left in England?

Dr Hitchins/Nicholas Hitchens died in 1801. John Prior became the administrator of his estate in Edgefield County.

LETTERS
South Carolina
Edgefield District
By John Zimkins esquire ordinary. To John Prier. Whereas Nicholas Hitchens late of the district aforesaid deceased lately died intestate having whilst he lived and at the time of his death diverse goods, rights, and credits within the District aforesaid by means whereof the full disposition and power of granting the administration of all the singular and good rights and credits of the said deceased and also auditing the accounts calculations and reckonings of the said administration and in final dissmission of the same to me is manifestly known to belong I deserving that the goods, rights and credits of the said deceased may be well and truly administered converted and disposed of do hereby grant unto the said John Prier in whose fidelity in this behalf I very much confide full power of the tenor (?) of these presents to administer the goods rights and credits of the said deceased which to him in his lifetime and at the time of his death did belong and to ask levy recover and receive the same and to pay the debts in which the deceased ??? obliged so far forth as his goods rights and credits will extend according to their rate and order of law being first sworn on the Holy Evangelist of Almighty God to make a true and perfect inventory thereof and to exhibit the same into the Ordinary Office in Edgefield in order to be recorded on or before the Seventeenth day of April now next en—- and to render a just and true account calculation and reckoning of the said administration when I hereunto required and I do ordain depart and constitute you the said John PRIER administrator of all and singular the goods rights and credits of the said deceased. In testimony thereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the sixteenth day of January Anno Domini one thousand eight hundred and one and in the twenty fifth year of American Independence.
Recorded June 29th, 1801
Jn. Zimkins PCD

John Prior Jr. signature on Nicholas Hitchins estate inventory

The tally of credit and debits to Hitchens estate is FASCINATING. I don’t often say that… F-A-S-C-I-N-A-T-I-N-G!! Why the excitement? It literally documents young John Pryor’s travel from Cornwall to South Carolina. Who else has the expense list and travel plans for their ancestor’s travel to the New World? They went from Falmouth (Cornwall) to Bristol then booked passage to Boston NE (New England), then took the brig Jane to Charleston. They stayed about a month in Boston and then arrived in

Inventory taken on March 9th 1801, filed on June 29th. 5 head of cattle, 1 gilt watch, parcel of medicine, 2 doz knives and forks, wearing apparel, 1 bridle and whip. Witnessed by John Starr, Walter Taylor, Casper Nail (Casper Nail, Walter Taylor were also appraisers on John Pryor Sr.’s estate)

I have made an adjustment to the Edgefield county page on the website. I had quoted a book by Carol Wells that states John Pryor Sr. died in Savannah. I can’t find any evidence that the John Pryor from Edgefield county was in Savannah. There was a John Pryor in Savannah and Delphia Pryor was appointed his administrator in 1790 before John Pryor in Edgefield county made his will in 1797. Nope, not the same men.