Tag Archives: christopher pryor

Christopher Pryor of Gloucester County: 1787 Signature

We now have a signature of Christopher Pryor of Gloucester County, VA. He signed a 1787 legislative petition concerning the taxation of slaves.

And an earlier signature from 1786. I noticed that he signed near John Whiting on both petitions. (see post that explores Whiting connection)

And yet another signature from 1785 and again near John Whiting. Under Whiting is James Baytop– Col Thomas Baytop was master of Botetourt Masonic Lodge and the executor of Christopher Pryor’s estate.

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

Lucky DiceA report of sex, guns, knives, vandalism… and the Pryors. It comes from the Richmond Whig re-published on 11 Sept 1835 in the The People’s Press and Wilmington Advertiser (NC).  This story was also published in the Maryland Gazette and the North Carolina Star. I guess a salacious story made it’s way through all the media outlets even in the 1830’s!

“Superior Court of Law for Henrico County was applied to for a bench warrant for the arrest of two men of the name of Pryor, father and son from Alabama, alleged to be gamblers by profession, (of great wealth) who on a visit to relations in Henrico county had been guilty, as alleged of an enormous offence.”

OK, they’ve got my attention. This is like a little mystery of who is who, so I’ve interjected my thoughts in brackets.

The complaint was brought by a man named Brown who said the older of the Pryor men had married his aunt (Was his aunt a Brown?). This older Pryor had made “overtures” (sexual advances?) toward a Mrs. Anderson, a niece of Pryor’s wife (So, Mrs. Anderson could be the complainant Brown’s sister or his cousin). The woman delayed the advances and when Pryor returned her husband was waiting with a gun. The husband fired, “lodging may shot in his arm.” Sounds like Mr. Pryor got an arm full of buck shot! They complained that both of the Pryors then rushed into the house and stabbed one of their Brown cousins, causing damage to the house by “spitting the furniture from cellar to garret.”

It doesn’t say how much time it took, but there was a warrant issued and a posse sent out to grab the Pryors. They were stopped on their way to “the city” (Richmond?) and they were “in a carriage and four, with a a traveling carriage and a tender.”  I wish I knew what that was… it sounds like they had a carriage pulled by 4 horses and an entourage. It goes on to say that the judge set bail at $5000 and would even consider $10,000 because these guys weren’t going to escape the law because they had a lot of money.

When they were questioned they were represented by attorneys Conway Robinson and Shirley Carter. Now this is really starting to sound like Law and Order!

I’m not sure why the names of the victims and the defendants weren’t published. Maybe because no one was convicted yet. Was it the practice of the time? I consulted the 1830 Census and found in Henrico County there was a William A. Anderson counted on the line above a John D. Browne. On another page there’s a William Browne recorded on the line above Rachel Anderson.

Luke Pryor of Limestone County, AL was the father of John B Pryor, a racehorse trainer. Lots of gambling around the ponies?  Samuel B Pryor, the first mayor of Dallas, plead guilty to gaming in TX, but that was in 1851 and he would have been 15 years old in 1835 and there’s no information to tie his family to AL. I thought of Joseph Pryor in Tuscaloosa, but he was about 68 years old in 1835.

I think we have an Alabama Pryor that we didn’t know connected to these families! I’d like to present an argument that whoever this Pryor is — he’s probably connect to Christopher Pryor of Gloucester.

1. I believe Christopher Pryor was wealthy and probably came from a well-heeled family. It’s recorded that he supplied the Continental Army with 800lbs of beef during the Revolutionary War– that implies that he  had means beyond a subsistence farmer. He had married well into the Clayton family and a daughter named after the Whiting family may indicate ties to that prominent family. His son John C. Pryor was the administrator of the estate of Henry Whiting, the brother of Ann Whiting who married Major John Pryor.

2. I found another document that mentions all 3 names: Pryor, Brown and Anderson. It’s much earlier than the incident but may point to family connections. A notice published in Rind’s Virginia Gazette on 4 November 1774,

The death of Mr. Hugh McMekin, late of Norfolk, renders it absolutely necessary that the bushels carried on by him there, by Mr. Matthew Anderson in King and Queen, end by Mr. Christopher Pryor at Gloucester Courthouse, be discontinued…
(posted by) BENNETT BROWNE, attorney in fact for Mr. John McDowell and Company.

3. Christopher’s grandson: Christopher J D Pryor is a possible candidate. This younger Christopher was born in 1800 so he would have been 35 in 1835. I can’t place a son with him to fit this story in 1835. However, Christopher was a teacher at Hampton Academy in 1833 (read my post on this Pryor), however he assaulted a Dr. Richard Banks. I haven’t found this Pryor on the 1840 Census and by 1850 he’s was on the census in ALABAMA.

Can anyone figure out the relationships? Who are these Pryors? Open to suggestions!

It’s A New Pryor to Add to The List– Arthur Pryor (d. abt. 1752)

lunenburg1It has driven me absolutely NUTS. Catherine Pryor who married Henry Lansford and they are connected to Pittsylvania County, VA and Williamson County, TN– who were her parents? Several researchers have posted online that she was from Lunenburg County, VA. But, there aren’t any Pryors in Lunenburg! At last I think I have a clue.

There’s an ad placed in The Virginia Gazette of Williamsburg, VA on 10 April 1752.

King and Queen, March 20, 1752
To Be Sold
One thousand and Eighty Acres of good Land, lying in the County of Lunenburg, on Toxekiah Creek, joining Lines of Baker, and Stunks, purchased of Mr. Charles Stunks, purchased of Mr. Charles Irby, by Arthur Pryor, deceas’d, the Pattent to be taken out in the Purchaser’s Name, or good lawful Deeds to be made by the said Irby, before the 10th day of June next, or after, when required, one Half the Money to be paid down, the other Half twelve Months after. Any Gentleman inclinable to purchase may know the Price, and by Direction may be met with at any convenient Place, to be treated with at any Time by
John Waller
Christopher Pryor,

ARTHUR PRYOR. Who the heck is Arthur Pryor?????

I suspect the Christopher Pryor is NOT the Christopher born about 1745 who was married to Catharine Clayton and living in Gloucester County. This is an older Christopher Pryor. I don’t completely trust Gatewood Pryor’s book, but here’s an interesting post that ID’s a Christopher Pryor in 1704 (see post). If this older Christopher and the Arthur in Lunenburg are connected then it suggests a kinship between that line and the Pryors who migrated through Pittsylvania County and Williamson County.

I can find only one other reference to Pryors in Lunenburg County: Thomas Dozer (or Dozier) married Caty Pryor on 17 June 1775. John Barry (or Berry?) was surety. This is about 30 years after Catharine and Henry Lansford married, and about 3 years before his death, so for now I have to believe this is a different Catherine or Caty Pryor.

Off to explore!

Another Virginia Pryor Tree Comes Together

Thank you, Roger! We now know how Brazure W. Pryor and Christopher J D Pryor  together were related.

Generation 1
Chistopher Pryor b. 1745, married to Catherine Clayton. He died 1803 in Gloucester Co.
John Clayton Pryor b. 1779
Julianna Pryor b. 1772, married William Robbins
Samuel Pryor b. 1767-1772
Elizabeth Whiting Pryor

Generation 2
— John Clayton Pryor b. 1779
married 1: Betsy Armistead Tyler (sister of President John Tyler)
children :
John A Pryor b. and d. 1800
Mary Ann Catharine Pryor b. and d. 1802
Ann Contesse Pryor b. 1803
Elizabeth Armistead Pryor b. 1808, married John Tyler Semple
Martha Christiana Pryor b. 1817, married George W Semple
William Clayton Pryor b. 1820, d. 1833
John C Pryor b. 1823, d. 1824
married 2: Maria Smith Crawford in 1827
children: Skaife Whiting Pryor b. 1830

–Samuel Pryor b. 1767-1772
married 1:  Miss Williams, daughter of Brazure Williams and Frances Hopkins
Brazure Williams Pryor b. 1778-1794, d. 1827
married 2: Mary Finch
Christopher J D Pryor b. 1800
Samuel Wyatt Pryor b.  1795

Generation 3
— Brazure W Pryor b . 1778
married: Elizabeth Antoinette DeNeuville in Williamsburg, 1807
Mary A. Pryor b. 1811, married 1 Robert Bird Boyd, 2 Walker Hawes

— Christopher J D Pryor b. 1800
married 1: Maria Armistead
Children: Harriet Ann Pryor b. 1830
married 2: America B Wilkerson in York Co., VA, 1845
Christopher J D Pryor b. 1850
Mary E. Pryor b. 1853
Sarah P Pryor b. 1855
William A Pryor b. 1857
George Pryor b. 1859
E S Pryor b. 1862

— Samuel Wyatt Pryor b.  1795
married: Sarah Dudley Graves in Charles County, VA in 1824
Samuel W. Pryor b. 1830, died early in Civil War 1861
Mary E Pryor b. 1828, living with Graves relatives in 1850 & 1860.

President John Tyler and the Tidewater Pryors

Happy President’s Day! I posted a link on the Pryor Surname Facebook page this morning. It’s a link to a CBS Sunday Morning segment that aired yesterday. It’s a small story about President John Tyler.

What I loved about this story was the interview with President Tyler’s grandson. Yes, President Tyler who was born in 1790 has a grandson living today. That remarkable feat is chalked up to the President and his son fathering children long after most people qualify for Medicare. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have that short of leap in our family trees? My ancestors born about 1790 are great-great-great grandparents.

I also thought back on the link President John Tyler has to the Pryors in early America. Mo Rocca points out in his interview that the Tylers had connections with everyone who was anybody in the Tidewater area of Virginia—Pocahantas, Jamestown residents, Thomas Jefferson. Last year I failed to mention the connection of Tyler to the Pryors in Affluent Pryor Families in Virginia. Tyler’s sister Betty Armistead Tyler married John Clayton Pryor (b. 1771-1780) sometime before 1820.

John Clayton Pryor was a prominent citizen in Virginia as shown through his involvement in both the political and intellectual life of the area. He represented Williamsburg in the Virginia House of Delegates and served on the Board of Visitors for William and Mary College. I haven’t gotten access to the document in the archives, but I found he wrote a letter to President Thomas Jefferson in 1813 (after he was out of office).

John Clayton Pryor is likely the son of Christopher Pryor and Catherine Clayton. The family home was the “Ware-House in Gloucester County, VA. His father was also a prominent citizen as a trustee of Ware Parish Church. He must have been a gentleman farmer in that he supplied 800 pounds of beef to the troops during the American Revolution and I found that his son, John, was a subscriber to the Farmers’ Register. Both John and his father lived to see America thrive as an independent county, living to see Washington, Adams, and Jefferson serve as Presidents.

I haven’t been able to reliably go back any further that Christopher Pryor, however the children of John Clayton are known: Christiana, Maria Emily, Skaife Whiting, Anne Contesse, and Elizabeth Armistead. I know the Whitings were also a prominent Virginia family. I’ve wondered if John’s father, Christopher Pryor, was perhaps a brother of Maj. John Pryor who married Anne Beverly Whiting (later the mother of explorer and politician John C. Fremont— see Major John Pryor of Richmond, VA & John C Fremont Connection). Christopher and Major Pryor would have been of the same generation, perhaps 5 year apart in age. John Clayton Pryor and Major Pryor held similar political and education positions.

Enjoy the holiday and your search for Pryors.