Tag Archives: Beverly Pryor

Positive ID on Richard Pryor and Son Beverly Pryor

I found a newspaper article that will help to turn up the ID to “positive” for Richard Pryor and son Beverly Pryor in this recent post.

Richard Pryor of Richmond and Madison Co, AL

When the tale of their Virginia adventure made it’s way into an Alabama newspaper, the editor chose to ID the Pryor men.

From The Selma Daily Reporter, September 19, 1835

I can’t let go of Richard Pryor of Madison County without some more pondering of his possible connections.

Richard was born in 1798, but I’ve seen the surnames involved in the Richmond “ruckus” that took place in the 1830’s connected to a Pryor line. In 1774 a notice was published in Rind’s Virginia Gazette; it mentioned business conducted by Matthew Anderson of King and Queen County and Christopher Pryor of Gloucester Courthouse. There’s the Anderson surname again.

Hmmm… Christopher Pryor? His Son married Betty Armistead Tyler and his daughter was named Elizabeth Whiting Pryor. Both Armistead and Whiting are names that come up with Richard Pryor of Madison County.

I’m putting Richard and his line again on the the back burner, but considering he may be connected to the Pryors in Gloucester County.

Richard Pryor of Richmond and Madison Co, AL

Back in 2014 I posted about Pryor men from Alabama who returned to their home state of Virginia and were accused of causing a ruckus in their relatives’ household. The complaint was lodged by Brown and it sounds like sexual advances were made against the elder Pryor’s wife’s female Anderson kin.

Two Gamblin’ Alabama Pryors in Trouble in the Old Virginia (1835)

Then in 2016 I wrote about Richard Pryor of Madison County and wife Dolly who were named in a notice regarding a Richmond, VA suit. Named in the same notice were John Brown, —-Anderson and Octavia his wife. The notice was regarding a Chancery Court case the estate of John D Brown. Perhaps that was the case of John Brown, etc vs. Nancy Brown, widow filed in the Richmond Chancery Court in 1849 (see LVA index).

Richard Pryor In Richmond, VA and In Madison County, AL

After doing some searches I found that there’s a William Armistead Anderson who married a Catherine Octavia Ruela Brown. The 1850 notice was addressed to Richard Pryor and his wife and also Mr. Anderson and his wife, stating that they were not residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

So if the Anderson and Brown relations are the same families named in both sources, then the father and son team who were accused of causing havoc in Richmond are probably Richard Pryor and his son Beverly Pryor.

When I was searching out the names in the 1850 notice I found an Ursula Ragland age 82 who was born in VA– she was counted in the household of Samuel Ragland age 44 in Franklin County, AL. Researchers have her as the mother of the Ragland males in the household: Samuel 44 (head of household), John 57, William A 52 and Nathaniel 47. I have to include a TN connection– Ursula D Ragland was on the 1820 Census in Smith County, TN. What really piqued my interest was that Samuel had a son living in the household named Beverly Ragland– a nice tie-in perhaps to Richard and Dolly Pryor’s son named Beverly.Ra

In December of 1850 Dolly Pryor died at the home of S J (Samuel) Ragland. Was Dolly a Ragland?

Mrs. Dolly Pryor of Huntsville on the 15, age 62 years. She died at the residence of S J Ragland. (Tuskegee Republican 5 Dec 1850)

More on Dolly Pryor, daughter of Beverly Pryor of AL

Back in July I wrote about Dolly Pryor, the illegitimate daughter of Beverly Pryor in Madison County, AL (read more). I think I’ve found her marriage.

Her marriage was announced in Tuskegee Republican, 17 June 1852: Hilliard C Harmon married Dolly Pryor on 23 May 1852 in Lawrenceburg, TN. The paper reported that they were both from Florence, Lauderdale County, AL.

There’s a marriage record in Lawrence County, TN that identifies the bride as D B B Pryor which corresponds with her name change in 1836. The AL state legislature changed her name from Dolly Beverly B Harrell to Dolly Beverly B Pryor.

Dolly was living with her mother in 1850, but seems to have disappeared by the 1860 Census. Hilliard C Harmon was recorded in his parents’ household in Lauderdale county — no Dolly.

Richard Pryor In Richmond, VA and In Madison County, AL

va-pryors

Why on earth are there so many men named Richard Pryor in the 1820-1830’s? While looking at Richard Pryor of Hempstead County, AR I also noted a Richard H. Pryor in Samuel Pryor’s estate in Hardeman County, TN, then there was Richard Pryor the gamble and hothead in Catahoula Parish, LA. So why not look at one more!

Then there was Richard Pryor who was in Madison County AL. Richard was in this county as early as 1822 when he first started appearing as a named party on lawsuits. The first US census of the county wasn’t taken until 1830– his age was recorded between 30-39 years old. His presumed wife, Dolly, was 52 in 1850 so Richard may have been born close to 1798. Richard wasn’t on the 1809 Census of Madison County, so, he must have arrived in the county sometime between 1809 and 1822.

I’ve written a few times about the death of Beverly Pryor (see posts). He was killed on a Mississippi racetrack in 1836 and his father traveled from Alabama to collect his body. In 1837 Richard Pryor (about age 36-45) was appointed the administrator of Beverly’s estate (Madison Co., AL). Was Beverly 21 or older when he was killed in MS? — that would make Richard about 17-27-ish at the time of Beverly’s birth. They could be father and son.

I can’t mention Beverly without mentioning the demise of the man who killed him — he was later beheaded and it was assumed he was killed by one of the Pryors. Involved in horseracing — a revenge killing —  that would possibly describe this Richard Pryor as a “blackleg” or in our contemporary terms, a “bad ass.” I wonder if he was the Richard Pryor who was in Catahoula Parish, LA (see post).

In 1836 an Alabama Legislative act changed the name of Dolly Beverly B Harrel to Dolly Beverly B Pryor and recognized her as the legitimate child of Beverly Pryor. And she was recognized as the rightful heir of Richard Pryor. Dolly B (born 1835) was living in the older Dolly Pryor’s household in 1850. I’ve long suspected that Richard and the older Dolly were kin. An old newspaper clipping helps to ID as husband and wife.

TO RICHARD PRYOR AND DOLLY HIS wife, George W. Turner and Catharine G. his wife, Ursula D. Ragland, John Brown, —-Anderson and Octavia his wife, and A. Cook and Judith his wife.
As you are not residents of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and have no agent therein known to us, you will hereby take notice that we shall proceed on Thursday, the 28th of February, 1850, and between the hours of 9 o’clock, AM and sunset of that day, at the office of Messrs. Meredith and Young. Attorneys at Law in the City of Richmond, to take the depositions of John Sheppard, Wellington Godin* and others, to be read as evidence on behalf of the defendants in a certain suit now pending in the Superior Court of Chancery for the Richmond Circuit, in which you and others are plaintiffs, and ourselves and William Davis, Hardin Davis, Spotswood G. Waldrop, Alfred Winston, John Clash, and others, are defendants, and which suit is now on the rules docket of said court; and if from any cause the said depositions be not commenced, or being commenced shall not be completed on that day, the taking thereof will be continued from day-to-day at the same place, and between the same hours, until the taking thereof shall be completed.
JAMES S RYALL
SAMUEL DAVIS
Executors of John D Brown, deceased.
(Richmond Enquirer, February 08, 1850)

* Wellington Godin was recorded in Richmond in 1850, occupation constable.

 

In older posts I mused over the first name Beverly as a possibly Beverly surname connection to Major John Pryor of Richmond. Isn’t it interesting that we now know this Richard Pryor had some kind of tie to Richmond?

I’m thinking through all the possibilities. What if Richard was still alive in 1850 and still alive in 1852 to be involved in the feud in Catahoula Parish? Could the Richard in Catahoula Parish and in Madison County, AL be the same Dick Pryor who was racing horses up in Nashville? I don’t think so and will explain in my next post.

 

 

 

The Beheadding of Eli Abbott – An Aweful Pryor Revenge?

Pryor feud

“An Aweful Revenge–Mr. Eli Abbot, formerly Mayor of Columbus, Miss. Was recently found in his bed, with his head cut off. It is stated that, about four years ago, he killed a young man, named Pryor, and that he has ever since lived in the constant fear of his relatives, some of whome, it is supposed, have at length taken this terrible method of revenge.”
New-York Tibune, New York City, 21 April 1841

The Death of Beverly Pryor

Geesh! Which Pryor did Abbott cross? I took a look at Abbot to see if I could figure out where he was and when he was there and which Pryor he may have killed. Well, I didn’t have to look far. Last year I wrote Murder on the Racetrack about the killing of Beverly Pryor by Eli Abbott. If it was a Pryor who later killed Mr. Abbott,  then they were patient to wait years. What is it that they say?… Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Looking at Eli Abbot

Abbot appears to have taken seriously whatever threat was made against him. The Mecklenburg Jeffersonian, a North Carolina newspaper published 27 April 1841 reported that Abbot resorted to “having his house barricaded, and never going out after dark.” I tried to find more about Eli Abbot but can only find his household on the 1840 Census in Lowndes County, MS. If Eli was the oldest male in his household he was 40 to 49 years old. There weren’t any Pryors on that census…but hey, they had horses so I guess they could travel.