Richard Pryor and Virginia Boyd Pryor – Relationship to Dallas Pryors

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This the time of year when I usually take a break from the Pryors. This year I’ve had several projects that took me in another direction, so summer is here and I’m getting back to the Pryors.

Last year I wrote about Richard Pryor and his wife Virginia Boyd Pryor of Hempstead County, AR. I was pondering the relationship of Charles R. Pryor of Dallas, the executor of Virginia’s estate in 1865. So I went back to confirm what is known of Richard Pryor. His grave marker in Hempstead County is extremely helpful.

Richard Pryor
Was born in Annsville, VA (that’s in Dinwiddie County)
on April 18, 1798
Died at Gilmer, TX (that’s in Upshur County)
Oct. 19 , 1864

Virginia’s will made provisions that the remains of her husband and daughter be brought to the family burial plot after her death. The photo of Richard’s grave on shows he is buried with Virginia and daughter Elizabeth Anne Pryor Blankhead Lytle Stockdale.

Richard is the same Richard Pryor who was one of the executors of Texan revolutionary Benjamin R Milam’s estate. Milam’s will turned up on Antiques Roadshow in 2014! (see: Durrell Boyd witnessed the Milam will—online trees show him as the brother of Virginia Boyd Pryor. Milam’s mother was a Boyd. Richard likely owned land in Texas as Virginia’s will referred to land in Jackson Co., TX and Richard was the executor of his son-in-law James T. Lytle’s estate per the will signed in Calhoun, TX in 1854. Richard’s grave marker states he died in TX.

Richard Pryor is the same man who was the executor of James Durrell’s estate (see—Durrell was the grandfather of Virginia Boyd Pryor. I also found Richard Pryor in an 1836 VA Chancery Court Case – Richard Pryor and Virginia His Wife, Durrell Boyd, Conrad S Boyd Wm H. Boyd, and Henry C Boyd vs. Patrick H Foster and Others. The case states Richard PRYOR was again noted as the executor of the estate of James Durrell. “That Virginia the wife of the said Richard Pryor, C. S. Boyd, , Wm H. Boyd, and Nancy C. Boyd, are the only remaining heirs and devises of James Durrell.”

Does this bring us closer to knowing Richard’s relationship to Charles R. Pryor?

Well, we know from the grave markers that Elizabeth Ann was Richard and Virginia’s FIRST child born in October 1822. It’s interesting that James Durrell wrote his will in the same month and year. Charles R. Pryor was born ten years later than Elizabeth, so it’s possible that he was a sibling.

However, I found perhaps an account of Charles R Pryor that is 30 year past being contemporary (Charles was active in Dallas in 1860-1865). The book titled Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, Texas: Containing a History of this Important Section of the Great State of Texas, from the Earliest Period of Its Occupancy to the Present Time … and Biographical Mention of Many of Its Pioneers, and Also of Prominent Citizens of To-day was published in 1892 and on Google Books. It’s the only source I can find that states a relationship between Charles R Pryor and Samuel B Pryor, the first mayor of Dallas. It states that Samuel arrived in Dallas around 1846 and his brother, Charles, joined him there 4 years later. It confirms that Samuel died there (he’s buried in the Pioneer Cemetery) but offers no further information about Charles. The book also states they were both doctors and “scions of an old Virginia family.”

samuel b pryor doctor ad
Dallas Herald, 9 February 1856

Samuel B Pryor and Charles R. Pryor advertised their medical practice in the Dallas Herald (see above image), which helps to confirm that they had a relationship that went beyond being two Pryor men found in the same town on a census record.

If we believe the Hempstead County grave markers that Elizabeth Ann was born “First” in 1822 and we also believe that Samuel and Charles were brothers, then Samuel’s year of birth makes him too old to be a son of Richard and Virginia Pryor. On the 1850 and 1860 Census Samuel Pryor’s age was recorded as 30 and 40 which places his year of birth as 1820. This conflicts with the grave marker that states Elizabeth Ann was the first born in 1822. Elizabeth was counted as Elizabeth Blankhead on the 1850 census, age 27. She was living with her parents in 1860, age 36.

The Hempstead County grave markers also throw shade on another piece of Pryor history. Richard Pryor is mentioned in the extracts from The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography in 1899 (see Google Books). The book says Richard “moved to Arkansas, where he died.” The markers say he died in Texas rather than Arkansas.

Samuel B. Pryor’s obit was published in the Dallas Herald on October 20, 1866. It reported he was born in Lawrenceville, Brunswick County, VA on August 19, 1820. That certainly coincides with his ages on the TX census. Since Charles worked for the Dallas Herald — did he provide details or write the actual obituary? I’ve suspected that Samuel and Charles were sons of Philip Pryor in Brunswick County. Could be. If Samuel and Charles were Philip’s sons they would be Richard’s second cousins.