Tag Archives: African-American

Free African American Pryors in King George County, VA

The following information on the free African American Pryors in King George County, VA was previously published as a web page.

100 years before the end of the Civil War and the end of slavery, there was a free black community in King George County, Virginia.

The earliest known free African American of the Pryor name was Alice. She was born about 1750 or earlier and was the mother of Leviny Prior whose birth was recorded in 1764. Leviny was the mother of Milly Prior born in about 1783 and whose birth was registered in King George County in September 1820. Andrew Pryor is described a s a black man of about twenty two years old and the son of a free black woman. His birth was recorded in January 1775. Winny Pryor was free born in about 1792 to Syllah Pryor, a “bright mulatto woman.” Her birth was also recorded in King George County in August 1820.

Several of the names recorded as free blacks in the birth records also appear as heads of household at the time of the 1820 Census.

1810 Census – All Free African Americans in King George County
(Head of Household Only)

Henry Bransican
William Bernard
Richard Brunbury
Daniel Wilson
John Taylor
Lucetta Smith
William Prestrage
Helen? Prestrage
Sarah Prestrage
James Punch
James Moore
Marry matthews
Tazey Kendall
Philip Lucas
David Lucas
George Ware
William Jett
William Ford
Caty Frazier
Clay Ford
August Dunlop
Lidia Dunlop
Townsend Dade
Thornton Dean
James Cunningham
Peggy Carroll
Philip Cunningham
Benjamin Cunningham
Mary McGee
Jenny Pryor
Lawrence Paney
Sally Ware
1820 Census – All Free African Americans in St. Paul’s Parish

Richard Bunbury
Lucinda Bunbury
John Evans
Lawrence Gordon
(born 1787, Gordon was living in Washington, DC in 1850)
Milly Grayson
Frances Hoose
David Lucas
George Lucas
Thomas Lucas
Anna Lucas
Jenny Lucas
Simon Mountjoy
Bernard Moore
William Payne
Fanny Phillips
Verlinda Pryor
(no males – 1001)
Winny Pryor
(1000 – 3010)
Milly Pryor
(2000 – 2300)
Nelly Pryor
(2000 – 0100)
George Rothrock
Robert Tibbo
Mingo Walker

1820 Census – All Free African Americans in Hanover Parish

Mingo Walker
Polly Astin
Grace Branham
Daniel Carmichael
James Cunningham
Benjamin Cunningham
Lucy Cunningham
John Dean
John Dunlop
Jenny Pryor
(01000 – 10000)
Dicy Dunlap
(born 1757, Dunlap was recorded as a midwife on the 1850 and 1860 Census in King George Co.)
Charity Evans
William Greenlaw
Spence Johnson
Ellzay Kendall
William Lawrence
Mancy Lawrence

1840 Census – African American Pryor Families in King George County
Nelly Prior (120000 – 1100)
James Prior (100100 – 201)
Milly Prior (no males – 00001)
Jane Prior (010000 – 02011)
Charles Prior (101000 – 11100)
Winny Prior (300100 – 1111)

1850 Census – African American Pryor Families in King George County
Page 227a, #336 Nelly PRIOR 48 black, VA, Catharine 18 black VA, William 27 black VA.
Page 227a, #367 James PRIOR 19 black, VA, Frances 25 black Washington
Page 201a, 856 Walker Hawes 43… living in household Elizabeth A. PRYOR 58 white VA.
Page 229a, #405 Caroline PRYOR 30 mu VA, John 8 mu VA
Page 222b, #297 James PRIOR 50 black, Peggy 24 black, Mary Frasier 4 black.
Page 223a, #302 Elizabeth PRIOR 22 black, Mildred 4 black, Thomas 1 black (Mildred and Thomas were living with Charles Prior in 1860).
Page 223a, #304 Mary PRIOR 29 mu “spinster”, Louisa 17 mu, Mary 12 mu, Nancy 10 mu, Sarah 8 mu, Mary 7 mu, Clay 5 mu, George 3 mu, Jane 14 black.
Page 210b, #84 Benjamin Redman 30 white merchant… living in household William PRIOR 36 black.
Page 235a, #514 Charles Evans 60 black, Susan 45 black, Ann 13 black, Charles 7 black, Peggy 5 black, Betsy PRIOR 21 black, Willie Ann 3 black, William 1 black.

1860 Census – African American Pryor Families in King George County
Page 371 Nelly PRIOR 51 mu, Catharine 32 mu, William Dunlop 32 mu
Page 371 Louisa Bunbery white… living in household Clay PRIOR 16 mu.
Page 421, #571 Sally PRIOR 45 mu, Robert 22 mu
Page 383, # 243 William Worrell… living in household William PRIOR 43 mu
Page 404, #427 James PRIOR 74 mu, Peggy 40 mu, Matthew Hamilton 25
Page ? Charles PRIOR 40 mu, Angeline 40 mu, Sarah 9 (married Madison Brooks), Martha 4, Caroline 3/12, Thomas 10, Mildred 13 (Thomas and Mildred are children of Elizabeth Prior – see 1850 Census), John 14

King George County Pryors on later Census Records

The only one of these Prior families I’ve been able to locate on later census records is Charles Prior and wife Angeline.

1870 Census 6th Ward Washington, DC

Page 256a, #1671 Chas. PRYOR 45 mu carpenter VA, Angeline 46 mu, Martha 14 mu, Caroline 10 mu, Eliz. 8 mu, Madison Brooks 27 mu coachman VA, Sarah 20 mu VA, ? PRYOR 28 male mu laborer.

1880 Census 7th St., Washington, DC

#27 Madison Brooks 36 mu coachman VA VA VA, Sarah A. (PRIOR) 29 dressmaker VA VA VA, Stevie 7 son DC VA VA, Mary J. 5 dau DC VA VA.

1880 Census East Capitol St., Washington DC
Charles R. PRIOR 55 mu, Labor Bureau employee VA VA VA
Angelina 54 wife mu VA VA VA
Martha E 23 dau mu teacher in public school VA VA VA
Carrie E. 20 dau mu teacher in public shcool VA VA VA
Ellsworth W. 18 son mu VA

1900 Census East Capitol St., Washington DC

Page 17a, #704 Charles R. PRYOR black Sept 1824 75 VA VA VA carpenter
Angeline M. wife, black Dec 1824 75 VA VA VA
Mary Brooks boarder Jun 1875 24 DC VA VA dressmaker
Charles M. boarder Jul 1892 19 DC VA VA at school
Lucy Lewis boarder Nov 1888 11 DC VA VA at school
(Mary Brooks was a grand-daughter of Charles and Angeline, daughter of Madison Brooks and Sarah Pryor).

1910 Census East Capitol St., Washington DC
#704 Charles R. PRYOR black Sept 1824 86 VA VA VA
Angeline M. wife 86 VA VA VA
Mary J. Tignor gr-dau 34 divorced DC VA VA
Madison Tignor gr-gr-son 8 DC DC DC
Lucy Lewis lodger 24 DC

1920 Census Washington DC – ED#235
Sheet 14b, #704 Angeline PRYOR 100 widow VA VA VA
Mary J. Tignor gr-dau 42 widow DC VA VA
Lucy Lewis roomer 32 DC VA VA teacher
Madison W. Tignor gr-son 18 DC VA VA

Charlotte Pryor Born 1816 in Mississippi

The following information on Charlotte Pryor, an African American woman born in Mississippi before the Civil War was previously published online.

Charlotte Pryor b. 1816 in Mississippi. I stumbled upon an interesting Pryor connection while looking at Pryors families in New Jersey census records.

In 1880 John Benjamin Pryor, formerly of Adams Co., MS was living in NJ. Several of his children were living in his household but an older daughter, Frances, is unaccounted for. I found the household of Thomas D. Day and wife Fanny living in Bayonne, NJ. Also in the house hold was a African-American nurse, Charlotte Pryor.

Mrs. Fanny Day was born in 1845 in MS and had parents who were born in VA and MS, wile Frances daughter of John Benjamin Pryor and his African American wife Frances Bingaman, was born in 1850 in MS with parents respectively from VA and MS.

I located Thomas Day and his wife Fanny on the 1870 Census living in Brooklyn, NY. Using the 1870 and 1880 Census their children have been identified as Mary Helen, Newton H., Thomas D. Jr., James Ingersoll, Francis “Frank”, William D., and Sarah. Charlotte Pryor was born SC aged 50 was also living with the family in 1870, as was Catherine Overton from MD (black), and Jane Lane 24 from VA (black) and an additional white family member named Emma Helm 24 from MS.

The only members of the Day family I can find in 1900 and afterwards are Newton H. Day and his brother Frank H. Day. On the 1920 and 1930 Census Newton H. Day was living in Hempstead, Nassau County, NY. Included in the household was his aunt Elizabeth Gill born about 1858 in the UK and according to the census she immigrated to the US in 1883.

Looking backward in the census records I found a curious connection between the Days and the Pryors. In 1861 John Benjamin Pryor’s daughters Frances and Henrietta were recorded on the UK Census in a boarding school with a British student named Rebecca Day. I also found Emma Helm on the 1850 and 1860 Census in Adams Co., MS. Emma was the daughter of John N. Helm and the sister of Fannie Helm who married Thomas Day on December 13th, 1859 in Adams Co. On the 1860 Census John N. Helm was recorded on page 137 and the household of John Benjamin Pryor was recorded on page 138.

A search of the 1850 and 1860 census did not uncover Charolotte Pryor, so it is assumed that she was not free until after the Civil War. While researching Charlotte Pryor didn’t lead to finding Frances, daughter of John Benjamin Pryor, it has revealed another story. It’s uncertain what relationship Charlotte had to the Pryor family in Adams Co. On the 1850 and 1860 census “J.B.” Pryor didn’t own any slaves that were her age, while his neighbor John N. Helm owned several. It’s possible that Charlotte had once been owned by the Pryors before being sold to the Helms. It’s also possible that she was Frances Helm’s nurse as well as raising her children.

The connection between these families is also questioned by Jane Lane, John Benjamin Pryor’s mother was Ann Batte Lane.

The history of these families connection in Southern slavery and there migration out of the South to the North during and after the Civil War sheds light on the complicated relationships forged out of this period of American History.

RECORDS:

1850 Census Adams Co., MS
Page 44b, House 141
Jno. N. Helm, 52 Planter, VA
Helen M., 46 MS (Helen Marie Timberlake)
Laura Helen Pattison, 21 MS
J. Newton Helm, 18 MS
Helen M. Helm, 16
Frances Helm 15 (Fanny Helm married Thomas Day 13 Dec. 1859)
Alice Helm 11
Emma Helm 11
Josephine Helm 8
Ada Postlthwaite 19
Mary H. Penfield, 22, governess, NY

Page 49a
Benj. PRYOR 39 VA
John Alison 18 AL

1860 Census Adams Co., MS
Page 137 (Natchez Twp.), house 991
John N. Helm 62 VA
J. Newton 28 MS
Emma 20 MS
Mary B. 18 MS
Laura Pattison 31 MS
William 9 LA
Margaret 8 LA
Alexander 7 LA
Newton 3 LA

1870 Census Kings Co., NY
Brooklyn, Ward 6
Thomas D. Day 49 OH
Helen 35 MS
Mary H. 9 MO
Newton 8 MS
Thomas B. 6 LA
James I. 4 MO
Francis 1 NJ
William D. 5/12 NJ
Charlotte Pryor 50 mulatto SC
Catharine Overton 22 black MD
Jane Lane 24 black VA

1880 Census Hudson Co., NJ
Bayonne City, 1st ward, page 13B
Thomas D. Day, fire insurance broker, 60 OH MA CT
Fanny 35, wife, MS VA MS
Marie 19 dau, MO OH MS
Newton 18, son MS OH MS
Thomas D. Jr. 16, son, LA
Ingersoll 15, son, MO
Frank 11, son, NJ
William 10, son, NJ
Sarah, 9 dau, NY
Charlotte 64, black, SC SC SC, nurse
McDonald ____? white 40 servant Scotland, Scotland, Scotland

George L Pryor, black attorney and politician

george-pryor-black-lawyer

George L Pryor is on the 1900 Census in Norfolk. He was recorded as born May 1857 and “black” which means he was an African American born before the end of slavery. He and both of his parents were born in Virginia and his profession is recorded as “lawyer”.

He married Mary Sewell in Norfolk in 1888. His parents were recorded as P Pryor and L. A. Pryor.

George L is on the 1880 census in Elizabeth City, VA in the household of Peter Pryor and Lucy A. Pryor. George’s occupation at that time was “school teacher.” Both Peter and Lucy were recorded as “black” and Peter’s profession was recorded as carpenter and Lucy was a seamstress.

The 1870 Census was the first census after the end of slavery. Peter Pryor and his family, including George, were recorded in Elizabeth City. Peter was a carpenter and owned a house worth $1200 and had a personal estate valued at $200. Peter was recorded as a mulatto at this time, indicating he was part white.

George L Pryor appears to have been a prominent African-American engaged in politics.

  • 1880 speaker at Republican gathering in Hampton, VA (Richmond Dispatch, 28 August 1880)
  • 1881 appointed clerk in the pension office (Baltimore Sun, 9 April 1881)
  • 1884 represented Norfolk, VA at the Republican National Convention.
  • 1888 represented Norfolk, VA at the Republican National Convention.
  • 1896 second vice president of Republicans in Norfolk, 4th Ward.
  • 1897 secretary for the development of the first colored beach resort
  • 1898 recognized by the Federal government as an agent to prosecute cases before the Department of Interior. He was disbarred from this practice in 1898 without explanation. (National Archives)
  • 1900 he was the president of the Central Republican League. (Virginian-Pilot, March, 15, 1900)

1901 appears to have been a rough year for George L Pryor. The Times in Richmond reported that he was also a clerk at the Navy Yard and was fined for charging illegal fees in a pension case as a government employee.

My curiosity is piqued on how out of slavery George L Pryor became a lawyer. How did he get from point A to point C?

Kansas Runaway Slaves — Dick Pryor Remained

pryor slaveH H Hart was 66 years old when The Wichita Daily Eagle published an article titled “Saw Slaves At Work in This State” 6 April 1913. The article included an account of his encounters with a slave named Dick Pryor.

Mr. Hart came to Kansas with his father, Thomas Hart, and wife. They settled in Linn county, near the present town of Paris. Close by was a large farm owned by a man named Pryor. This Pryor’s slaves ran away until only one remained, Dick Pryor. In April 1858, this slave escaped with the aid of several anti-slave men. In 1859, Thomas Hart died after casting his vote at the Lecompton election against slavery.

Hart and the former slave met up again during the Civil War.

In 1863, when H. H. Hart was 16 years old, he enlisted in Company 1 of the Sixth Kansas Cavalry. He served with this company until the war was over. During the war he again met Dick Pryor, the slave who escaped in 1858. He had enlisted in the First Kansas colored infantry, and was fighting for the Union.

I took a quick look through the census records to see if I could find these people. I think I can trace H H Hart to Linn County, KS

1925 – Harvey H Hart died and is buried in Sedgwick County, KS.
1920 – Harvey H Hart born 1847 in IA is on the census in Baca Co. with wife Elizabeth and children Ivan and Cecil.
1910 – Harvey H Hart with wife Elizabeth and children was working in a soldiers hospital in Wyoming. John W. Hart who appears to be a brother of Harvey’s was also counted on the census – Harvey and John had parents born in the same states (OH and TN).
1900 – H H Hart with wife Elizabeth and son Ivan were counted in Chautauqua County, KS. Again his parents were born in OH and TN.
1880 – H H Hart was in Greenwood Co., KY with wife Mattie, who appears to be a first wife. Again his parents were born in OH and TN.
1870 – Harvey Hart born 1847 in IA, counted on the census in Labette Co., KS
1860 – This is when the info takes a curve… I can find an Absalom Hart born about 1848 in IA living with a woman who is possibly is mother E Hart born in MO. The family was living in Linn County, KS. There’s a John Hart in the household that matches up with the John who was counted with Harvey in 1910.
1850 – The census in Keokuk County seems to straighten out the kinks in the 1860 census: Thomas Heart (sic) b. 1823 OH, Elizabeth E Hart b. 1827 TN, John W. Hart b. 1844 in MO, and Absalom H Hart b. 1847 in IA. So it looks like Harvey, for part of his life went by the name Absalom.

I haven’t found Dick Pryor in any records.

Nashville Pryor Names in A 1836 Chancery Sale in Williamson County, TN

This Chancery Sale notice was published in The Tennessean on December 13, 1836. It refers to Pryors in Franklin, TN. Williamson County was formed from Davidson County, so it doesn’t surprise me that the names in the notice were commonly associated with the Nashville Pryors.  The sale involved the sale of 3 slaves: Nancy and her children Reuben and Henderson.

bannister-pryor-nashville-tn

Banister L. Pryor (was the “L” sometimes transcribed as a “S” or vice versa?) was the postmaster in Prince Edward County, VA in 1831 and was recorded again as postmaster in Charlotte County, VA in 1840 and also on the 1840 Census in the same county. Were there two Banisters who separated themselves by using middle initials? Was there one Banister Pryor who was in VA and a defendant in a suit in TN?

I’ve seen Lancaster S. Pryor noted in online family trees as Banister’s brother, yet I’ve never seen his name mentioned in print before. I’ve tried to tackle the siblings in this family before (see post)

The sale wasn’t probably for Bannister’s brother Zachariah B Pryor because his will was signed on 19th September 1837, after this estate sale.