Tag Archives: Armstrong

John Pryor and Robert Armstrong in Delaware


New info on a John Pryor. Remember “Old” Joseph Pryor from White County, TN? The guy who was associated with Robert Armstrong? (see post on Robert Armstrong in IL and see post on Joseph Pryor in Delaware). Well, I stumbled upon an interesting coincidence or perhaps a piece of information that will help White County researchers with their line– it’s a Pryor and a Robert Armstrong. This is a record from the Revolutionary War:

Return of Capt. (Isaac) Alexander, A List of Men Belonging to My Company That Neglected Attending On The Three Muster Days That Commenced The First of November 1778: List includes John Pryor, Robert Armstrong (from Delaware Archives, Volume 2 By Delaware. Public Archives Commission, page 782 — go to Google Books)

Learning the Story of Old Joseph Pryor in White County, TN (With a Little Help from Abraham Lincoln)

abraham-lincolnFor years I’ve pondered over an 1813 entry in the court minutes of White County, TN. Joseph Pryor, described as “aged and infirm”, was in the care of Robert Armstrong. Who was Robert Armstrong? A relative? The owner of the Poor House? Well, I now know more about Robert Armstrong and his connection to Old Joseph.

On a spring day in May 1846 Nancy Armstrong, the widow of Robert Armstrong, made her application for a widow’s pension for her husband’s Revolutionary War service.  She returned for a hearing before a Judge on December 4th. Afterwards, something transpired (maybe she was told to get a character witness?) that caused Mrs. Armstrong on the following day, December 5th –a Saturday, to give an additional statement. She sat down with Congressman-elect Abraham Lincoln who duly took her statement and attested to it.

I’ll get to the points about Robert Armstrong in a bit, however this moment with Abraham Lincoln is to be savored. Imagine Mr. Lincoln who was 37 years old, his second son was a baby, and at the time Lincoln had not yet grown his famous beard. I can see the lanky, younger Lincoln sitting with Mrs. Armstrong who was in her 80’s, a contrast in age and appearance. He wrote in his own handwriting the story Mrs. Armstrong told of her husband in his youth serving in the Revolution in the stead of his father– losing his  horse and coat in battle. The story of a soldier who fought to form the United States and and then there’s the future story of the Civil War that we all know would unfold for Mr. Lincoln in the next decades.  http://revwarapps.org/r259.pdf

There’s an interesting article about Nancy Green Armstrong (Robert’s widow) on Find A Grave. It states her first child was Bowling Green and that he was a Lincoln’s friend and consoled Lincoln after the death of Anne Rutledge in 1835. The pension application states: “Mr. Lincoln knew her and her husband Robert — that they lived together as man & wife in Menard County” (formerly Sangamon County). It sounds like they knew each other.

Ahhhh…. I love it when history collides with genealogy.

In November 1786 Robert Armstrong received a North Carolina land grant in Greene County, TN.  Joseph Pryor also received a NC land grant in Greene County in 1791. Joseph’s  land bordered Aquilla Sherrill.

Through the work of Katherine Russell and others who are from the line of John Pryor, we know that he was married to Ruth, the daughter of Aquilla Sherrill (she was “Ruth Pryer” in Aquilla’s will). John Pryor is on the 1830 Census in Sangamon County, IL and on the same page is Royal Armstrong (the widow’s application confirms Royal is Robert Armstrong’s son). There is even an older male and an older female in Royal’s household who are likely Robert and Nancy.

Both John Pryor and the Armstrongs have a history in White County, TN. John is on the 1816 Tax List and the 1820 Census. John Pryor was on the 1812 Tax List in a district which included Jesse Armstrong (another son of Robert Armstrong).

I also suspect that the William Pryor in White County is also connected to John Pryor and Robert Armstrong.  Robert Armstrong and William Pryor were joint defendants of a suit filed in White County in 1812.

There is still no explanation as to why Joseph Pryor was in the care of Armstrong and not a relative. Widow Armstrong stated that “he (Robert Armstrong) was one of the County Court in Tennessee State and was a Magistrate in this County” which indicates he was a person of high regard in both White County and Sangamon County.

This kind of new information drives me crazy. I had pretty much resolved to go with the flow– the tide of Richard and Mourning Pryor researchers who feel that William of White County was the “heir” named William in the 1811 settlement of Richard’s estate in Logan County, KY. Old Joseph was in White County, William of White County named his first son Joseph– what’s the relationship? The Armstrongs took care of Old Joseph and went to Illinois with John Pryor’s family– I’ve got to wonder if there was kinship between the Pryors and Armstrongs.

We are hot on the trail of Old Joseph Pryor. More in my next post.

William Pryor of VA, TN, AL, and Texas – Kin to Richard Pryor


So many common names. Have you had your share of William, John, James, and Joseph Pryors? I know I have! I think we can now tease out enough information to ID a William Pryor and I’m now ready to believe he is related in some manner to Richard Pryor who was married to Mourning Thompson. I’ve listed what we know of his life and I hope it helps others sift through all the data. Maybe we can even figure out HOW everyone is related.

  • William Pryor stated in his will that he was from Botetourt County, VA although in the 30 years preceding his death he had lived in TN and AL (MS Territory).  Did it hold some clout to be from Botetourt County? The earliest known record of William Pryor was 1789, making his year of birth about 1769 or earlier (presuming he was age 21 or older in 1789)/
  • 1789 Greene Co., TN William Pryor and Joseph Pryor signed the Petition of Sundry Inhabitants South of French Broad.
  • 1791 Sumner Co., TN – William Pryor was surety for marriage of Mary Pryor to John Hannah. The Hannah’s were also from Botetourt County and were early settlers along the Nolachucky River in Greene County, TN. In 1790 John Hannah had sold a slave in Sumner County to Isaac Bledsoe and it was witnessed by Peter Looney who was also from Botetourt County.
  • William Pryor obtained land in Sumner County, TN.  This transaction has been fleshed out by researcher Bill Lindsey– On 4 Oct 1791 William Pryor of Greene County, TN received 640 acres in Sumner County, TN from Martha Fletcher the mother of Jesse Goldsmith a Revolutionary War soldier. On 6 Feb 1792 Robert Ewing filed the survey. Mark Armstrong was surveyor, with John Young and Benjamin Smith as chain carriers. The plat states that the land came to Jesse Goldsmith by virtue of military warrant #3724, and states that the land was on middle fork of Drake’s Creek.
  • 1793 Tax List in Sumner Co., TN – William Pryor with Philip Trammel, Elijah Ewing and John Pryor.
  • Philip Trammel connection: William Pryor was married to Betsy Trammel. I found Philip Trammel who was in Logan Co. at the time of Richard and Mourning Pryor and Elijah Ewing.

Philip Trammell was a resident of Logan Co, Ky, 17 Jan 1797 when his deposition was to be taken to prove an agreement between Wm Stair & Jethro Sumner. (Robertson Co, Tn, Co. court min. 18 Jan 1797). Said Trammel being blind, his handwriting was proved.

  • Elijah Ewing connection: Elijah married Elizabeth Trammel, a daughter of Philip Trammel. Elijah got a land grant in Logan County in 23 Sept 1796. In 1801 he signed a petition against using Smith County land to make Wilson County with signers:  John Pryor, William Pryor, Elijah Ewing, Caleb Job, Joseph Pryor. In 1802 he was on a Jackson Co. Tax List in Capt. Fitzgerald’s Company with Daniel Job, William Pryor, Ezekial Rhea, Elijah Ewing, James Taylor. In 1808 he was granted land on Roaring River in Jackson County, TN. He was on the 1812 Tax List Jackson County, TN.
  • 1794 Tax List in Sumner Co., TN – William Pryor on the list with Elijah Ewing and Benjamin Downs who is also on records with William Pryor in Stewart Co., TN. 1805 Benjamin Downs witnessed deed to William Pryor in Stewart Co., 1805 William Pryor deeded land to John Churchill witnessed by Benjamin Downs.
  • 1794 Land Grant in Sumner Co. – William Pryor bought land from Howell Tatum land borders John Pryor and Philip Trammel. I suspect this is the John Pryor who in Jan. 1791 was bonded in a Sumner Co. court case involving John Cotton and Howell Tatum.
  • 1795 Tax List in Sumner Co., TN. William Pryor is listed near John Hannah.
  • 1796 in Sumner Co., TN William Pryor signed bond to Richard Pryor for land on Caney Fork out of tract purchased from Howell Tatum.
  • 1798 William’s daughter Stacey was born in SC per the 1850 Census. I think that perhaps the year and/or place are incorrect as her name seems to have taken on many variations. In his will she is named as Stacey. Perhaps she was born slightly earlier in TN when it was still NC. On the 1850 Census she is Susan. In 1830’s court documents she is Fannie. Richard Pryor’s heir Jonathan Pryor of Graves Co. named his first daughter Eustacia “Stacy”, so perhaps that’s a family name.
  • 1802 List Tax List Jackson Co., TN. William Pryor recorded in Capt Fitzgerald’s Co. with Daniel Job, Ezekial Rhea, Elijah Ewing— Job and Rhea were heirs of Richard Pryor. Jackson County was formed out of land that was part of Sumner County.
  • 1802 Smith County William Pryor and James Pryor were ordered to lay a road from Lancaster’s Ferry on the Caney Fork River to Walton’s Road. William Pryor left Jackson Co. in about 1804 for Stewart County (that is when he starts appearing on Stewart County records). Both William Pryor and James Pryor were in Stewart County Records. James may be the James B. Pryor b. 1778 in VA later shows up in Pike Co., IL and obit for his wife Rebecca stated they had lived in Stewart Co. and Christian Co., KY before moving to Pike Co.
  • 1802 Smith County deed for the land on Caney Fork that William bonded to Richard. 400 acres to Wm and 400 to James. I suspect these are William and James who went to Stewart Co.
  • 1803 Jackson Co.Deed to William McNabb… 100 acres… West fork of Russell’s Mill Creek on which fork William PRYOR lives.
  • 1804 William Pryor deeded land in Christian Co., KY (this is important because James Pryor was also in Christian Co.)
  • 1805 Deed in Stewart Co., TN – William deeded land to William Haynes. Benjamin Downs witnessed. (see #5 above, Benjamin Downs was in Sumner Co. with William Pryor)
  • 1805 in Stewart Co. ordered to build a road with Robert Lancaster. Is this one of the Lancasters who was in Smith Co., TN with the Pryors?
  • 1811 Settlement of Richard Pryor’s estate filed in Logan County, KY
  • Both William and James Pryor named on 1812 Guardian Bond in Stewart Co. for orphans of Samson Trammell (son of Philip Trammel?)
  • 1816 William Pryor was in Clarke Co., MS Territory (no Alabama)
  • 1824 William Pryor was in Waller Co., TX with Austin 300. A Spanish deed dated 9 May 1828 (see his signature above) confirms he was from the United States and a resident of Stephen Austin’s Colony.
  • 1825 his daughter Harriet Pryor married Noel Roberts in Austin, TX.
  • William died 9 Sept 1833 in San Felipe, TX. it was recorded in Gov. Travis’ diary.