Tag Archives: Botetourt County

Lawsuit Noticing Depositions Names Roane County Pryors and More


Somewhere in the middle of this newspaper notice you may imagine a loud thud– that would be me falling down a rabbit hole. Sometimes genealogy can be one rabbit hole after another, but it’s usually fruitful in one way or another to ID all the parties named in a document. Fruitful can mean it’s helpful just to have ID’s on hand for future reference or it helps someone else. So here goes..

JOHN W. WILSON, Executor of Robert Ferguson, deceased, Robert Blackbourn and Lucy Blackbourn his wife, William P Hickerson, John Hickerson, Thomas Powers, and Hugh Raine:

Take notice, that I shall proceed on Monday, the 19th day of October, 1846, between the hours of 6 o’clock in the morning and 6 o’clock in the evening, at the house of Edward Berry, in Jackson County, and State of Alabama, to take the depositions of John Berry, Anna Berry, Mary Berry, Edward Berry, and others, to be read as evidence in Chancery, depending in the Circuit Superior Court of Law and Chancery for Cumberland county, and State of Virginia, in which suit John R Wilson, administrator of Elizabeth Stone, deceased, is Plaintiff, and you are defendants.

And I shall also proceed on Monday the 2nd day of November 1846 between the hours of 6 o’clock in the morning and 6 o’clock in the evening, at the house of Harris Pryor in Roane County and State of Tennessee to take the deposition of Harris Pryor, Alvey Lockett, Robert Williams, and others, to be read as evidence in the above named suit.

And I shall also proceed, on Wednesday the 16th day of December 1846 at the Court house of Carroll county, in the State of Arkansas, between the hours of 6 o’clock in the morning and 6 o’clock in the evening, to take the depositions of William Goforth, Hulda Goforth, and others, to be read as evidence in the above named suit.

And I shall proceed , on Friday the 1st day of January 1847 at the Court house of Barry county, in the State of Missouri, between the hours of 6 o’clock in the morning and 6 o’clock in the evening to take the depositions of Price McMurtry, Barbara McMurtry, and others, to be read as evidence in the above named suit.

If from any cause, the taking of the depositions at the respective times and places above specified should not be completed, they will be continued from day to day— not exceeding three days at each place– until finished; at which times and places you can attend if you think proper.

John R. Wilson
Administrator of Elizabeth Stone, deceased
22 Sept. 1848
Richmond Enquirer (Richmond, VA)

Robert Ferguson died about 1839 in Cumberland County, VA. His sister, per Chancery Court documents, was Frances “Fanny” Ferguson mother of Harris Pryor and Alvey Pryor Lockett in Roane County, TN.  Fanny had another daughter named Mary Pryor who married Berry Hudson. Mary was named in the original Chancery filing, however she was deceased. Perhaps her husband’s first name reflects a connection to the “Berry” surnames mentioned in this notice.

Elizabeth Stone (deceased) was the daughter of John Ferguson and a granddaughter of Robert Ferguson (also deceased). Elizabeth married William Stone and had one known son Bailey Raines Stone b. 1822 in TN– He was in Carroll County, AR in 1850. William “Gofourth” and wife “Huldah” were recorded on the 1850 Census in Carroll County, AR. William was 34 born in MO and Huldah was 25 born in AR. How did these two get involved in this suit? Were they involved as witnesses for Bailey Stone?There’s a Robert Williams born about 1786 in VA who is on the 1850 Census in Roane County, TN. His Find A Grave memorial identifies him as “Rev” Robert Williams born in Cumberland County, VA. Ancestry Family Trees connect him as the father of Rueben Williams, also in Roane County Records and also connect to this branch of the Pryors.

All Roads Lead to Roane: Meet The Virginia People in Roane County and Anderson County, TN

Robert Blackburn and his wife Lucy Ferguson were counted in Coffee County, TN on the 1850 census.  Robert was 54 born in TN and Lucy was 51 born in VA. They are on page 45b. On page 46a is Thomas Powers age 50 born in NC. Lucy was the daughter of John Ferguson, son of the deceased Robert Ferguson.

I pulled out an old chart of the Pryors who passed through Botetourt County, VA for comparison. Some of the names rang a bell: Berry and Blackburn. Molly Pryor, possible sister of Joseph Pryor and Luke Pryor, married William Berry. Their daughter Prudence Berry married George Blackburn. Hmm, seems like a dead-end connection when Molly Pryor and William Berry had no male children and I’ve yet to see anything to connect Robert Blackburn to any earlier generations.

1788: Pryor Signatures from Botetourt County, VA

I’m sharing 3 samples of Pryors from Botetourt County, VA: Joseph Pryor, Thornton Pryor, and John Pryor.

The signature above for Joseph Pryor is from a petition of “sundry inhabitants” of the county of Botetourt… requesting obstructions to navigation of James River at the Blue Ridge to be removed (dated about 1788). I think this is the signature of Joseph Pryor Sr as it doesn’t look like the samples we  have of Joseph Jr.(see post).

And another signature of Joseph Pryor Sr. from a 1790 petition.

And another signature a bit later… Joseph Pryor on a 1806 petition in Botetourt County. It’s wild how one person’s signature can vary (Perhaps it style depended upon the type of quill pen and the texture of the paper). His “p” and “h” looks about the same, but the “s” had a different flourish in 1806.

Joseph Pryor, 1806 Petition from Botetourt County


Thornton Pryor: A petition signature from 1801. Compare his signature with the 1829 sample from a previous post… it looks a bit different but I think the curly-cue on the “T” shows up in the “P” in the later signature. The “h” has a similar tilt and shape. The final “r” in Pryor looks more like an “n” in both signatures.

1801: Botetourt County Petition

1829: Thornton Pryor Signature on KY Marriage Bond

There was also a John Pryor signature on an 1802 Petition in Botetourt County. I think this is the signature of John, son of Joseph Pryor as it’s very similar to the writing of John Pryor who signed the 1829 KY marriage bond with Thornton Pryor. The way the “o” joins the “h” and the top of the “h” isn’t a loop but a “up and down” slash — the same on both samples.

1802: John Pryor on Botetourt County Petition

1829: John Pryor on KY Marriage Bond

Joseph Pryor and John Pryor Signatures in Bourbon and Owen Counties KY

I heard from another researcher in answer to the last post. Thank you to Beverly Watson from the My Jackson Purchase Families website. She has an 1815 Bond from Bourbon County, KY signed by Joseph Pryor and John Pryor. These men were seeking a bond to open a tavern. It looks like their signatures are a very good match to the signatures on the 1829 marriage bond for Juliet Pryor in Owen County, KY.

I think the strongest part of the match are the “P” in both Pryor signatures. It’s also a good match on the tilt of the “h” in Joseph and the loop shape and direction in the “y” in John Pryor.

Since Joseph Pryor Sr. was deceased by about 1813, the signature is most likely Joseph Pryor Jr. on both documents.

Another observation is the time span between documents… 14 years. John Pryor’s projected year of birth from most researchers is about 1773. He was 77 at the time of the 1850 Census. It’s interesting that his signature was consistent.




Joseph Pryor, John Pryor and Thornton Pryor Signatures

There are 3 Pryor signatures on a bond signed in Owen County, KY.  Signatures on the marriage bond of Juliet Prior (sic) are dated 30 March 1829. It’s possible that the Joseph, John and Thornton who signed the bond were brothers, sons of Joseph Pryor Sr. Joseph Pryor Sr. died in about 1813 (his will was probated in February 1813) — making it unlikely that he was the Joseph who signed the bond.


Is this the same Joseph Pryor who signed as a witness on the estate of Thomas Lang in 1804 in Botetourt County? I created a graphic to do a side by side comparison. The signature on the left is from 1829 and the one on the right is from 1804.

Even if we aren’t handwriting experts we can look at these signatures and make some comparisons.

  • The “J” on the left has a bottom loop that tilts upward and more left. Its tail intersects with itself. The “J” in left sample ends with a tail that flows to the right, connecting with the “o”.
  • The “o” in Joseph differs between signatures. On the left, it’s open at the top and connects with the next letter. The right “o” is made from the tail of the “J” and doesn’t connect.
  • The left “s” is in cursive. The right “s” is in printed font.
  • The “p” in Joseph is also different in both scripts. On the left it has a tail with a loop at the bottom and on the right there is no loop.
  • On the left the “h” connects to the “p” and on the right the “h” stands alone.
  • Both “r”s in Pryor are made the same on the left as well as on the right, however they differ in structure in both signatures.
  • The capital “P” in each signature differ wildly as does the “y”

joseph pryor botetourt

My rudimentary conclusion is that the signatures were not made by the same person. Perhaps they were written by Joseph Sr. and Joseph Jr. of even someone else.

Pryor Lea and the Pryor Name in Knox Co., TN


I spotted politician Pryor Lea from Knox County in a document with his name spelled “Lee”. Just passing along that his name can be spelled different ways. I usually hear from researchers who ask if politician Pryor Lea was a Pryor or wasn’t he a Pryor?  I think I’ve spotted a Pryor family who share names with his family.

Pryor Lea born 1794 in TN
Parents possibly Major Lea and Lavinia Jarnigan
m1 Maria Kennedy on October 6, 1818.

Children, Abraham, Julia, Centhia, and James Kennedy m2 Minerva Heard m3 Mary Perkins.
William Pryor born c. 1800
m Lavinia Kennedy born c. 1805 in PA
Children:  James, Isaac, William M, Samuel L, Catherine Elizabeth. Son James named son Abraham Pryor

A year ago I wrote about the Botetourt, VA Pryor names who showed up in Knox County (see post).  Keeping this research note on the back burner for later.