Tag Archives: crime

1891 News of Pryors in Graves County, KY

John Pryor, his brother George, the Collins brothers, Ed. and George, are under arrest for whipping Charles Gray near Farmington, Ky. The prisoners are white caps.
The Miami Republican, Paola, KS. December 11, 1891

I was curious as to the ID of these Pryor brothers and Charles Gray. Farmington is in Graves County, KY. John and George Pryor are on the 1860 Census in the household of Richard Pryor (son of the James Pryor b. 1786 whose death record stated he was a son of Richard and probably Mourning Pryor). John about 1850 was born in and George in 1852 so they would have been in their late 30’s or early 40’s.

I wondered what a “white cap” was so I found a definition on Wikipedia: “Whitecapping is the crime of threatening a person with violence. Ordinarily, members of the minority groups are the victims of whitecapping.” It was a precursor to the KKK and describes a range of vigilante activities.

So it made sense that when I found Charles Gray on the census he was an African American man. Gray was a recorded as a black farmer born about 1830 on the 1850 Census and he was still in Graves County on the 1900 Census; nine years after the reported attack. In 1900 he was recorded as “Charley” GRAY and he was counted just lines from a man named John Pryor who was also black.

Did Charles Gray and John Pryor have a connection with the white Pryors in Graves county? In 1870 on the first census after the slaver was abolished, John Pryor and another child named Walton Pryor were living in the household of Simpson Pryor (b. 1824). Simpson and his wife were recorded as mulattos. There was probably a connection between Charles Gray and this black John Pryor because one of John’s children (John Jr.) was killed in 1927 and his death record names his parents as John Pryor and Lizzie Gray.

What’s kind of interesting is that there was a Simpson Pryor counted in Graves County in 1860 (before the Civil War) in the household of Nancy Pryor (the widow of James Pryor b. 1786, probable son of Richard and Mourning Pryor – The same James who was the probable grandfather of the George and John in the article). His race was recorded as dittos indicating he was white however he was born in 1827 near to the year of birth of the other Simpson Pryor.

Category: Kentucky Pryors | Tags: ,

Mrs Elizabeth Pryor Lewis – Can we match her to a family?

A few years ago I wrote about an Elizabeth Prior who became a victim of a bigamist and serial killer.


I recently came across a photo of her in a New York newspaper. The account in the the Daily News on April 30, 1919 is that Huirt was the accused killer; he had married 7 women in 10 months and 5 of them were missing. Is this the same case?– the man in San Quentin was named Watson or Lewis or something else! The account in the Daily News reported he married women also under the names of Harvey and Hilton. Perhaps his prison record sheet was too small to add all of his alias.

The story gets even wilder in other newspapers. The Akron Evening Times had more room to print the story (slow news day?), reporting Huirt married 25 women and also used the surname Gordon.

I haven’t matched Miss Pryor to her family.

1893 Pryor Death in Memphis, TN

In 1893, before death certificates in Tennessee, the suicide or murder of a “Pryor” about age 35 was recorded in the Shelby County death register. Date of death was March 23, 1893. No first name was recorded.  No place of birth. Cause of death was “Throat Cut”. He was buried in Potter’s Field. His last known residence was “Foot of South Br (Bridge).”

I found that the death of Mr. Pryor made it into The Tennesseean on March 25, 1893


I did a search for Anderson Pryor on Ancestry.com and found that he may be the man listed in a Memphis city directory in 1893: Pryor Anderson c, driver, res rear 10 Exchange.” I think the small italic “c” denotes racially he was identified as “colored.”

I’m not coming up with a likely identification for this person. Perhaps it will help someone complete a blank in their family tree.

Category: About TN Lines | Tags: ,

Nashville Pryor Murdered

A man named Hill was arrested and sent to jail lately, in Columbia, Tenn., for stealing mules in Davidson county, where he was tried for murdering a man named Pryor some years ago. A few days after he went to jail he was found dead, suspended by the neck in his cell, thus ending a life of vice and crime.
Poughkeepsie Journal, NY 6 July 1844.


This earlier post on the Pryor murder mentioned that the suspect was Thomas Hill. So as late at 1844 Hill was still alive and involved in crimes in TN. Hmmm, I wonder how much time (if any) he did for the murder of William Pryor.

Category: Tennessee Pryors | Tags: ,

Who was Richard Pryor in Catahoula Parish Feud?

Nothing about the Liddell-Jones feud ended well (see post). After Charles Jones killed St. John R Liddell on the river boat Welcome, mob justice was unleashed on Jones– the mob killed Charles Jones, his son William Jones, and possibly his son Cuthbert Jones. The Ouachita Telegraph describes this a “tragedy”, however I suspect in our time we’d call this a lynching. (see article)

Who was the Richard Pryor involved in the feud? What was his fate? I think the Richard who became involved in the Catahoula Parish feud was the son of William Bland Pryor (born 1793 in VA). This is the Richard Pryor who brashly demanded the head of Abraham Lincoln at the start of the Civil War (see post). The feud was fought near Trinity, LA (#1 on the map below). In 1850 Richard was living with his parents in Madison Parish, LA (#2) and was counted in 1860 in nearby Vicksburg, MS (#3).

catahoula louisiana richard pryor

google maps