Signature of John Pryor on The Petition of the Inhabitants of the Western County

5982837164_aa57b8bd61_bI’m holding another example of why researchers need to get their hands on original documents or good photocopies of them. It’s the Petition of the Inhabitants of the Western Country, a petition filed by men living on the NC frontier (later Tennessee) to the General Assembly of North Carolina.

There’s a good transcription available online (see Google book), “The State Records of North Carolina, Volume 22” (pub. 1907), however the original is so much better. The reason it’s better is that it shows the signatures. We can get a sense of who signed it with whom because the pen (or was it a quill?) changes with groups of signatures.

The other fascinating thing is that the signatures are in a different order than how they are displayed on the online transcription.  For instance, Moses Looney appears in the left column online and John Pryor is right (there’s a middle column in-between). On the original, Looney’s signature is directly under John Pryor’s.  Gilbert Christian signed above John Pryor.

There’s yet another point that stands out. John Pryor didn’t sign his name using a “y”. It’s signed John PRIOR! Am I being too pedantic? Probably not.

John Pryor signature Sullivan County, TN


Discover Kingsport (an online history outline of Kingsport, Sullivan Co., TN), states mentions Gilbert Christian several times as well as John Pryor. Christian was from Virginia and first explored the area in 1769.  Moses Looney was there by 1774 and John Pryor was living in the area by December 1787 (date the petition was submitted to the NC State Senate.

I think this is the John Pryor who stated his place of birth as England and year of birth as 1757 on the 1850 Census in Sullivan County.