Tag Archives: Craven County

Pryor Allied Lines in Craven County, NC: Loftin, Bryan

I’ve spotted some Pryor names in Craven County, NC who connect to each other and other families.

David Pryor married Sarah Loftin on 23 Jan 1788 in Craven County, NC with bondsman Samuel Pryor and witness William Bryan.

Below is an excerpt of Thomas Loftin‘s will (1794) that names his children: John, Longfield, Joseph, Elizabeth Lambert, Sarah Pryor, Mary West, and Frances. So, we can confirm Sarah’s father.


William Bryan is a name that appears frequently with the Craven County Pryor families. He witnessed David Pryor‘s marriage to Sarah Loftin. In 1774 he purchased items from the estate of Ephraim Lane with Thomas and Samuel Pryor. He witnessed Ephraim Pryor‘s marriage to Celia Pearson. In 1789 a deed to Samuel Pryor notes the land was located on William Bryan’s line.

Ephraim Lane was mentioned above. He died in 1774 and his wife Sarah Lane died in 1777. Samuel Pryor made purchases from both estates. Was Ephraim Pryor named for him?

Thomas Pryor of Craven County, NC

While digging around in NC records I found several Craven County records that mention a Thomas Pryor. So I thought I’d work through them to see if I could develop more about this Thomas.

Craven County was settled as early as 1705 and was formed as a county in 1739, about 35 years before the American Revolution. Wikipedia notes that the county seat, New Bern, was founded in 1710 by Swiss and Palantine immigrants. The county sits on the Neuse River which flows into the Atlantic. It’s also bordered by the Trent River. With all that water we should keep in mind that there was fishing and shipping. New Bern was the capital of the colony of NC and later it was the state capital.

The first reference to a Pryor found in Craven County records is John Pryor. The 1757 record references a council held at New Bern regarding land patents– a government record. I suspect this is the John Pryor from Orange County who served in the NC Assembly (which would have been meeting at New Bern). I’m thinking that John was just visiting Craven County and may not have been related to any of the Pryors who lived there.

Thomas Pryor and a Samuel Pryor show up in Craven County

1783 Marriage – Thomas Pryor married Cinea Chance on 15 Feb 1783, bondsman Joseph Green, witness Christian Neale.  Was Cinea the widow of John Chance? Thomas Pryor was a witness to John Chance’s will in 1782. I’ve seen online that there’s family trees who include a John Chance who married a Sinai in 1747.  I’ve wondered if perhaps the Cinea/Sinia/Sinai in the 1782 will was a younger woman, perhaps of an age that would remarry, because John left her everything and there’s no mention of any children.


State of North Carolina
and County of Craven
In the Name of God Amen. The Twentyeth Day of January in the year of our Lord God one thousand seven Hundred Eighty and Two. I John Chance of the County aforesaid Planter being sick and weak of body but of perfect mind and memory thanks be given unto God. Therefore calling to mind the mortality of my body and knowing that it is appointed for all men once to dye (sic). I do make and ordain this my last will and testament that is to say principally and first of all I give and recommend my soul into the hands of God that gave it and for my body I recommend to the earth to be buried in a Christian like and decent manner at the direction of my Executrix nothing doubting but a the general resurrection I shall receive the same again by the Might powers of God and as touching such worldly Estate. Wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me within this life. I give and dispose of the same in the manner and form.

Imp…? It is my will and I do order that in the first place all my just debts and funeral charges be paid and satisfied.

Item. I give and bequeat to my Beloved Wife Sinia Chance whom I constitute, make, ordain and appoint my sole executrix of this my last will and testament, all my lands having and and plantation, all my cattle, and all my hogs, one mare and colt, and one young horse, two beds and furniture together with all my household, goods and chattle any wise belonging to me I give and pepose of them all unto my beloved wife Sinia Chance and to be at her desposal and under her command forever or her —–? In Witness whereof I have herunto set my hand and seal the day and year above written. Signed sealed published and pronounced and Declared by the said John Chance to be his last will and Testament in Presents of us
John Chance {his mark}
Elizabeth Sevenson {her mark}
Rebecca Chance {her mark}
Thos. Pryor

Thomas Pryor was the only witness who attested to the will in court. The widow is identified when the will was filed as Sinai Chance, widow and executrix.

1795 Thomas Pryor witnessed the will of Peter Gilstrap (below). The signatures between the Chance and Gilstrap wills are a nice match. Thomas was likely a neighbor of the Gilstraps; in 1792 he registered land that bordered Richard Gilstrap.

Thomas Pryor signed Peter Gilstraps will