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.

1819: Captain Prior Quarantined

Schooner

Well, while we are all social distancing and spending more time at home, seems fitting to find a Prior who had to endure quarantine in the early 1800’s.

BOSTON, March 27.–Came from quarantine, sch’r Elizabeth & Mary Prior, 182 from Rotterdam, viz Martinique, 33 days where she put in a distress Capt. Prior having had the small pox on the passage, has been landed on the island–he is fast recovering.
The Charleston Daily Courier, 9 April 1819

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Major Pryor born about 1789: VA, SC and Savannah, Georgia

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

Georgia

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…

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