Tabitha is Telitha C. Pryor of Wilson Co., TN and Franklin Co., IL

wilson county

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This is a find that may be of interest to the Jackson County and Williamson County, Tennessee Pryors, as well as anyone looking at Pryor in Wilson Co., TN. I found the will of Telitha C. Pryor of Franklin Co., IL. I think she’s the woman who was counted with Thomas Pryor on the 1850 and 1860 census in Wilson Co., TN. I know this line is a bit tricky with twists and turns, so I thought I’d take another look.

On the 1850 Census she was recorded as Tabitha and in 1860 as Thabitha. How the heck did she get to be Telitha in Illinois records? Darned if I know! I just wanted to know if I was on the right track… is this indeed a recording error… so I started a chart just to see how the information lines up. Yes, it quickly turns to spaghetti! Not only does her name change between records, but her age jumps from census to census from 22 to 32 to 40 to 52 in 1880 to 72 in 1900. Her age seems fairly consistent except for the 1870 census when she was recorded as 40.

Thank goodness, her children has some pretty odd names which helps to match them up across records.  Her daughter born about 1850 was recorded throughout the years as Sursilda, Sarilda and Serilda. Another daughter Roxanna born 1856 shows up as Roxanna on the 1860 census, the same spelling in 1870, and as Roxanna married to Alfred Groves in 1900 — I’m certain it’s the same Roxanna because Telitha C. Pryor’s will appointed her grandson Henry Groves as her executor.

Alas, the spaghetti… those wild lines and arrows running over my chart. Alfred Prior who was living with Josephine Pryor Purcell in 1920 is recorded as her “uncle”. I think this is the Alfred Pryor who was the son of Cinderella (and Allen Pryor) of Jackson Co., TN who was on the 1870 Census in Franklin Co., IL with his mother.  When Alfred died in 1921 in Perry Co., IL the death record states his father was Allen Pryor.

click on image to enlarge

click on image to enlarge

I continue to suspect Josephine to be the daughter of Thomas and Telitha C. Pryor.  Josephine born 1861 is on the 1880 Census with Telitha and recorded as her “daughter”. I don’t find any children of Allen and Cinderella with a daughter named Josie or Josephine. While it looks like like Alfred and Josephine connect the lines of Thomas and Allen Pryor together it bugs me that Alfred was recorded as an uncle. Is that because he looked too old to be a cousin? Or their relationship was too distant to describe with just one word?

Or do these relationships eat at me because Lulu Merkel b. 1891 was living with Josie Purcell in 1910 and recorded as her “niece”? Lulu was the daughter of James Merkel and Ruthy Pryor, a daughter of Young Pryor and Betty Corneyhon. Young was counted near Cinderella Pryor in 1870— he’s believed to be another son. If Josephine were Young’s daughter then the relationships described on the census would be correct: Alfred would be her uncle and Lulu her niece.

OK, so was there ever a Josephine born 1861/1862 counted in Young’s household?  In 1870 there was a Susan born about 1858/1859 and a Melvina born about 1862 — both born in IL. The only child near that age in Young’s household in 1880 was Sindarilla born 1866 who is the same age as the child named Eliza who was on the 1870 Census.

The last wild arrow on my chart is the proximity of Alfred P Swallows and James Merkel on the 1880 Census in Perry Co., IL. James Merkel was married to Ruthy Pryor, daughter of Young Pryor (grand-daughter of Allen and Cinderella Pryor).  Alfred P Swallows was a cousin of the Ellen Swallows who was living with Logan Pryor on the 1870 Census in Perry Co., IL.  (Logan was the son of James and Nancy Pryor of Overton Co., TN). [I wrote about the Pryors and Swallows last year]

I look at this stuff over and over again each time a new piece of documentation is revealed. You’d link something would lift the fog.

Last Will and Testament of Telitha C. Pryor, deceased

Know all By These Presents: That I Telitha C. Pryor, of the City of Benton in the County of Franklin, and State of Illinois, do make, publish and declare this my Last Will And Testament:

First: It is my will that my general expenses and all of my just debts be fully paid.

Second: I direct that my Executor, hereinafter named, erect to me a monument of the cost of seventy-five dollars, said monument to be paid for our of the proceeds of the sale of my property herein after described, before any distribution of said proceeds is made among my heirs.

Third: I direct that as soon as convenient and practiable after my death, my Executor, hereinafter named, dispose of all my property of which I many die seized, that he is empowered to sell at private sale all my personal property, and that he sell to the highest bidder at public sale, my homestead described as follows: Lot No Forty-six (46) in the south west Quarter of Section No. Eighteen (18) in Township No. Six (6), South Range Three (3), East of the Third P. M. in Franklin County, Illinois, after giving notice for three successive weeks of said sale of said homestead. Said notice to be published in some weekly newspaper published at Benton, Illinois. My said Executor is empowered to execute deed to highest bidder, said permises to be sold on such terms as Executor may think best.

Fourth: I direct that out of the proceeds of the sale of my said property all my debts, expenses of administration and cost of monument be first paid, and that the residue thereof then he distributed among my legal heirs according to the Statues of Descent of the State of Illinois.

Lastly: I hereby appoint my grandson, Henry Groves, to be the Executor of this my last will and Testament hereby revoking all former wills by me made, and I direct that my said Executor be appointed without bond. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal, the Twenty third day of April in the year of our Lord One Thoursand Nine Hundred and Eight.

Telitha C. Pryor (her mark X) [seal]

The above instrument sonsisting of one sheet, was now here subscribed by Telitha Pryor, the Testator, in the presence of each of us, and was at the same time declared by her to be her last Will and Testament and we at her request sign our name hereto in her presence as attesting witnesses.
Thomas J. Layman of Benton, ILL
Lulu Layman of Benton, ILLProof of will filed 28 Dec 1908

Source: Illinois Probate Records, 1819-1970; pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-15881-13510-17

*** See edits in subsequent post Updates and Corrections on the Tree of Thomas Pryor and Telitha C.