Richard and Mourning Pryor: Christian County, KY Tie-In

Richard Pryor and Other Pryors Genealogy Chart

I’d like to thank Beverly Watson from the My Jackson Purchase Families website for starting a new conversation on Richard and Mourning Pryor (his wife). She found in the Christian County records on FamilySearch.org an estate inventory and sale for a John Prior Sr. who died in about 1806/1807.

The Christian County estate sale occurred 25 July 1807 and the list of people who purchased from the estate are as follows (the list was written phonetically and I’ve tried to sub-in some common spellings of names):

Robert Sharrard, Elizabeth PRIOR, John PRYOR, Elizabeth Henkman (or Kirkman), James PRYER, John Burdine, Obadiah Dewhit (DeWhitt), John Bayley (Bailey), Vinson Layston, Jacob Dalmaldson (possibly Donaldson?), Hoxa Boren, James Nunn, Able Crawford, Matthias House, William Dunlop, Peter Simon, John Burdine.

There was a John Pryor on the 1794 Tax list in Logan County. In 1796 John Pryor Sr. and John Pryor Jr. were chain carriers when Richard Pryor‘s land was surveyed in the same county. It’s likely that John Sr. is the John Pryor counted on the 1800 Tax list in Logan County with a James Pryor. And that John Sr. and John Jr were the men (or some of the men) who married in Logan County:

Rebecca Baily married John PRIOR on 11 Jan 1800
Polly Heathman married John PRIOR on 22 May 1800
Elizabeth Crawford married John PRIOR on 12 Mar 1803
Yes, there is a Crawford and a Bailey listed on the estate sale which may support that these families married into the Pryors.

It’s  not that Christian County and Logan County are near each other on a map, as I read through documents I began to see names from Logan County on Christian County documents. For instance, Finis Ewing (founder of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church) is in Wikipedia as a resident of Logan County (no mention of Christian County), yet I found in Christian County (see the estate of James and Ethelred Scoggins, 1809). And if you remember an older post, an Elijah Ewing was often found on records near Richard Pryor and people suspected to be from his line of Pryors (see post).

Beverly also found that a Mrs. Elizabeth Pryor married Absolom Bert (or Best) on 6 August 1808 in Logan County. Perhaps Elizabeth is the widow of John Pryor Sr.– an Elizabeth Pryor purchased his watch from the estate sale and the 1808 marriage is near the time of John Sr.’s death.

The recent DNA testing has only pointed out again just how many John and William Pryors were running around TN and elsewhere. It’s frustrating, however by following the paper trail I think we’re getting a better idea of who is who.

The Pryor Chart

So, lets look at the chart. I think there’s certainly some fodder here, some food for thought, some fuel for more record searching.

  1. John Pryor Sr. John was referred to as Sr. on both the Logan Co. survey of Richard Pryor’s land and in his 1807 Estate in Christian Co. There’s a possibility that these Johns were one person.
  2. John Pryor. There’s a John Pryor, not differentiated with Jr. nor Sr., who was “bonded” in Sumner Co., in 1791 in a court case with Howell Tatum. Has anyone ever looked at this document? Howell Tatum. An 1802 indenture, a land record in Smith County [Deed Book B, Pages 94-95], names Mourning White, formerly Mourning Prior, and land described as formerly belonging to Howell Tatum. There’s so many John Pryors, this John and John Sr. may be one man or two, however they both may have had ties to Richard Pryor.
  3. James Pryor. Again we may have one man or two. James B. Pryor b. 1788 in VA and counted in 1850 in Pike Co., IL was the widow of Rebecca Pryor whose obit stated they had lived in Christian County, KY AND Stewart County, TN. Then isn’t it interesting that a James Pryor purchased items from the estate of John Sr. in 1807 also in Christian County? And there’s a James Pryor named on Stewart County documents with the William “of Botetourt County”.
  4. William Pryor and Richard Pryor – As discussed under John and James, William appears to be connected to both of these Pryor names. The survey of Richard’s land in Logan County was witnesses by John Sr and John Jr. William and Richard are associated with the Ewings: Elijah, Robert, James.

christian_co_pryor