Tag Archives: Cumberland County

From Talley to Taliaferro to Tolliver

talley1The Talleys are a strong family connection to the Pryors in Sumner Co., TN. Allen L. Pryor married Elizabeth Talley, daughter of William Talley and Polly Dowdy of Cumberland County, VA. Elizabeth’s sister married Thomas Jefferson Pryor, a son of the mysterious William Pryor of Sumner County. Another sister, Lucy, studied at a girls’ school in Nashville and married Robert Anderson Wright in Sumner County in 1868.

The Talley name is found in VA records where it melds from Talley, to Tally, and other variations, like Taliaferro and Tolliver.

A good example of the Taliaferro name being used as Tolliver is Baldwin Taliaferro. He’s on the 1850 Census in Pike Co., MO as Tolliver and in 1860 as Taliaferro. I think he’s related to the KY Pryors.  In 1850 he was living with the Spottswood and Hall families and in 1870 with John P (Pryor?) Lain. Baldwin was married to a Spottswood because he’s also in the Williamson Co., TN records.

I’ve picked out some of the more interesting Talley’s from the records:

1784 Census Amherst Co., VA. Page 85: Nicholas PRYOR 10 whites, no non-whites (Note: On same page with Nicholas: Charles Ellis, Roderick McCullough, David Crawford, Philip Thurmond, Charles Taliafero)

1801 – Jefferson Co., KY Will, David Crawford. Bondsman: Charles Taliaferro, Nathaniel Warwick. Witnesses: William Pryor, John Pryor, Stella Sullivan. Willed land to his sons: land in Amherst County, adjoining Buffalo Ridge.

1810 Census Cumberland Co., VA – William Talley Sr
1810 Census Amherst Co., VA – Benjamin Taliaferro, Charles Taliaferro
1810 Census Albemarle County, VA – Francis Taleafero
1810 Census Campbell Co.  – Roderick Taliafero – near Mourning Christian

1820 Census Cumberland Co., VA (alpha order census) – Daniel Taliaferro with John Sandridge, Jackey Talley, Phineas Thomas, William Talley
1820 Census Goochland Co., VA – Elkanah Talley

1834 Land Deed Overton Co., TN – Elizabeth Taylor, of Sumner Co.., of Tenn…for $200.00 sells and convey to Elijah Garrett the undivided interest of a tract of land >in Overton Co.,on Obed’s R. where William PRYOR now lives and formerly owned by the heirs of Edmond Taylor & now owned by the , said Elizabeth (Taylor) and Spicy Taylor, wife of William Pryor, as trust in common. The tract was 150 acres. Witness: Pleasant Taylor and Willy Dickerson. Reg. Aug. 8, 1834  (Note: William Dickerson married Maggie Belle Talley in Overton County, TN. He may be the same Wiley Dickerson who was in Sumner Co., TN in 1850 (age 65, born in VA)

I’ll be watching out for more Talley connections to the Pryros.

First-hand Account of Pryor Line (and Ballew and Childress) in Nashville


Miss Jane H. Thomas is my favorite lady of the week! Her memoir published in 1897 is titled Old Days in Nashville, TN Reminiscences. And of course, there’s some gold nuggets of Pryor information!

I have a method of examining personal histories. I want to know when the person lived, if they had a relationship to the people they wrote about. I also like to know how old they were when they were recounting the information (Did they have a clear recollection?) and also the age they were when the reported events occurred (Is it reasonable to expect they would have a memory of something that happened when they were two years old? Or were they told the story so it’s second-hand information? ). The person who wrote the book’s introduction states that Miss Jane was in possession of all her mental faculties. That’s a good start!

The introduction states that Miss Jane H Thomas was born in 1800 in Cumberland County, VA. That makes me interested in her since my own suspected Pryor line (and the Talley family of Gallatin they married into) has connections to Cumberland County! It states “her great-great grandfather on her mother’s side of the family, William Ballew, a Huguenot refugee, came to Virginia to live, and there he married Dorothy Parker.” Remember David Pryor and his wife Susannah Ballow (Balieu/Ballew) of Buckingham County, VA who moved to Nashville? Also of note, David owned land in Cumberland County.

It also states that Thomas Ballew married Jane Thomas who came to the Colonies from England in a ship with Isham Randolph. AND Miss Jane’s father was Jesse Thomas who married Micah Ballew.  There’s almost too much juicy information in her family line! David and Susannah’s daughter, Mitchie Pryor, married into the Jefferson family who were connected to the Randolphs. David and Susannah’s son, Nicholas Ballow Pryor, married Sally Thomas. More to research: Was Sally Thomas related to Miss Jane H. Thomas?

Now, it also sounds like her Thomas family didn’t step off the boat in Virginia: “Job Thomas the great-grandfather of Jane H. Thomas on her father’s side of the family, came from Pennsylvania to Virginia.”

Miss Jane came to Nashville in 1804 when she was a four year old. Some of her reminiscences state events at that time. While I’m doubtful she is drawing from her own personal memory of that time, she is still discussing people and events that occurred in Nashville and may have been from stories passed around her family and community. The tough part of Miss Jane’s book is that it doesn’t put into a clear context the timeframe of her memories.

So, here are the excerpts of the Pryors.

About the corner of Spruce and Cedar Streets a man by the name of Pryor, a carpenter, had a frame house.

She mentions some of his neighbors: Thomas Kirkman, James Irvin, John Beard. I wonder if this has a connection to a McCullough family who were living in Nashville at the time of the 1850 Census with an Elizabeth Pryor in their household.

Where the Normal College grounds now are Pryor, Anderson, & Rutherford had a race-track. Old Mr. Rains had a farm just beyond this. He used to come to town, and sometimes stay very late at night. When he went home he had to pass the race-track, and he always said he saw Dick Pryor, Patton Anderson, and the devil killing race-horses.

Isn’t this fun? Are you asking the same questions as me? Who was Dick Pryor or Richard Pryor? Where was the Normal College in the 1890’s? Who was Patton Anderson? When Miss Jane says he stayed late at night, does that imply some drinking was involved?

I found that Patton Anderson was shot dead at the Bedford County Courthouse in 1811 (see news article (Wayback Machine Link)). The shooters were let off the hook and it’s noted in the James K Polk, A Political Biography (Yes, the Polk who was President) that Anderson was a personal friend of Andrew Jackson (also a President) and when the suspects were let free Jackson pointed at a juror and said, “I’ll mark you young man!”**

There an interesting story about The Belmont Domestic Academy, a school that opened in 1815, started by French immigrant Mr. Ambercrombie and his wife. It was a girls’ school where they learned French, music, dancing and literature. This sounds very high-brow, not a place that was teaching frontier girls homemaking skills like soap making and canning. She seems to have a great memory because she came up with the names of numerous classmates, like Harriet Overton who was General Overton’s daughter. The names that piqued my interest were the numerous Childress girls:

Maria Childress, and also Elizabeth Childress, Sarah and Susan Childress, of Murfeesboro… Lucy Tally from Gallatin*… They married as follows: Jane Childress and Sam Marshall; Matilda Childress and Judge Catron; Minerva Childress and Ben Litton, a brother of Mrs. Jesse Thomas; Maria Childress and Judge Brown; Elizabeth Childress and V. K. Stevenson; Sarah Childress and Dr. Rucker; Susan Childress and James K. Polk, President of the United States.

Why are the Childress girls so important? David Pryor (husband of Susannah Ballow)– his mother was a Miss Childress, daughter of Abraham Childress. Were these his cousins?

I think we got some good family researching fodder from this book!

* NOTE: I included Lucy Tally because my ancestor Allen L. Pryor of Gallatin married Elizabeth Talley also of Gallatin. Sumner County Pryors may wish to figure out Lucy’s relationship to the Elizabeth as her Talley family was from Cumberland Co., VA — same  place as Jane H. Thomas.

** NOTE:  If you want to read more about President Jackson and Patton Anderson, I found an article published in Sports Illustrated on 16 Jul 1956 (see article) that discusses their involvement in horse racing.

Connecting Major John Pryor of Richmond to More Pryors!

I’m not sure what to call this chart… David Pryor? Major John Pryor of Richmond? Christopher Pryor? Not sure because it has all of these men in it. I’ve found that keeping this chart has been quite helpful because sometimes keeping track of everyone feels like a dancing in a bowl of Pryor spaghetti– a tangled, mushy mess!

chart - david pryor

I don’t yet know the father the David and I don’t yet know his brother. I suspect Nicholas Pryor of Henrico County is David’s father. David died 1747 in Henrico County and Nicholas died in 1746. I have a suspicion but not enough proof to speculate that Edward Pryor may be David’s missing brother. Edward was in Henrico County on land described at a similar location as land owned by Nicholas and Edward was in Pittsylvania County.

To tame the “spaghetti”– I’ve drawn in arrows and bubbles where people seem to intersect.

  • Major John Pryor married Ann Beverly Whiting. When Anne’s brother Henry Whiting died his estate was handled by John C. Pryor, who I believe to be the Major’s nephew. We know for sure that the “paperwork” says John C. Pryor was Christopher Pryor‘s son.
  • While Major Pryor lived in Richmond, many of his heirs and their aligned families lived in James City, Gloucester, Elizabeth City, and in Williamsburg. These locations are also true for Christopher Pryor and his descendants.
  • Major Pryor died childless but among  his heirs were Archer Hankins and Thomas Pryor. I believe he is the Thomas Pryor counted next to Elizabeth Pryor Archer on  the Rockingham Co., NC census. Elizabeth’s son, Creed Taylor Archer, state she was a daughter of David Pryor and Mary Cunningham of Buckingham County, VA (the David Pryor marriage to Miss Cunningham is new to me and will be explored in another post).
  • Thomas in Rockingham County named his son John Randolph Pryor— was he named for the President’s brother John Randolph Jefferson who married Mitchie Pryor?

I’m working on another chart of all the Pryors that lived in or passed through Pittsylvania County. Looks like that may answer some of our questions!

Who was James Pryor in Cumberland County, VA Circa 1802?

james-pryor-cumberland-1It’s kind of fun with a “new” Pryor surfaces, but it also drives me absolutely C-R-A-Z-Y!

There’s a Virginia Chancery Court case “William Gay vs executors of Richard Eggleston deceased” — there actual pleadings are missing, so I can’t tell exactly what date it was filed.  I gleaned the gist of the case from two depositions which were noticed:

1st Deposition: James Pryor taken 22 Sept 1802 at the home of William Pryor in Cumberland County. He states that the case surrounds the trade of tabacco, iron, etc. for a Peacock Gelding (a horse) in 1782 or 1792. Names included are Richard Eggleston, John Eggleston, and Clough Eggleston.

2nd Deposition: In November 1804: Clough Eggleston in Amelia County, Clough was an overseer from 1780 to 1781, signed Thomas Randolph JP, James P Coke JP – noticed on 15 Oct 1804 by William Meriwether and Joseph Eggleston.


Banister L. Pryor married Rebecca Eggleston in Cumberland County in 1808 (6 years after James Pryor’s deposition in Cumberland County).  Banister was a son of David Pryor and Susannah Ballow of Buckingham Co., VA and later Nashville, TN.  Even with this information that connects the Pryors and the Egglestons I have no idea which James Pryor this may be!

I guess if James testified in a deposition in 1802 that he was 21 years old or older. So, he was born about 1781 or earlier. I have a pretty short list of possibilities…

James Pryor, brother of Nathaniel Pryor (the Lewis and Clark guy). James may have been an adult when his father died in about 1791 in KY. James ran a dry goods store with his brother in law, John B. Gilly and was likely in KY with the rest of his family in 1802.

James Paxton Pryor born around 1785 in Kanawha County was the son of Nicholas and Sally Paxton. He was named in a 1806 Chancery Court suit in Augusta County, VA, so he could have been in the area in 1802, but he would have been a young child when he witnessed the horse transaction which was the subject of the suit.

James Pryor b. 1776 – 1794  who was in Stewart County, TN with William Pryor married to Betsy Trammell. William was born in Botetourt County, VA and is first recorded in Stewart County in 1804. Cold this be the William and James in Cumberland County?

Well, I also suspect that the James in Stewart County was also the one who was in Pike County, IL: https://tennesseepryors.com/pryor-website/state-records/illinois-counties-m-s/#Pike  This James Pryor obtained land grants in Pike Co. in 1840. The oldest male in household for the 1840 Census was 50 to 59 years. A death notice from THE NASHVILLE CHRISTIAN ADVOCATE for REBECCA PRYOR wife of James Pryor, died Pike Co., Ill., Jan. 7, 1849; states they moved from Christian Co., Ky. to Stewart Co., Tenn., to Pike Co., Illinois.

This made me laugh. The James in Pike County was counted on the 1850 Census and his occupation was recorded as POSTMASTER. Good grief, could he be related to Banister Pryor and his kin who were postmasters and other public servants? (See John C. Pryor’s Letter to President Thomas Jefferson)


Harris Pryor of Roane County Revisited

Log Cabin

I apologise if I’m not always speedy in answering my Pryor emails and comments on the website. I received a comment that relates to the post Harris Pryor and Roane County, TN Pryors (January 11, 2011).  It’s time to take another look at the Pryors in Roane and Anderson Counties and to assess their relationships.

The writer is looking for the mother of Pleasant Miller Freels. Turns out that Pleasant is the grandson of Samuel Pryor whose estate was administered in 1815 in Anderson County, TN.  At the time of the estate Frances Pryor posted bond and Edward Freels was security.  The researcher provided reference to an 1846 Roane County court case that involved Pleasant M. Freels and Harris Pryor, referring to Pleasant as Samuel Pryor’s grandson.

I’ve added census extractions that include Pleasant Miller Freels to the TN Pryor website (Anderson County and Roane County).

The same writer also referred to a 1927 article about Harris Pryor (read more in “A Fishing Trip”). It discusses four children that the single Harris Pryor cared for: Jane (Lockett), Fanny (Hudson), Bill Lockett, and Pleasant Freels.  Harris Pryor’s 1847 will states that Jane Pryor Lockett and Frances “Fanny” Pryor Hudson were Harris’ nieces.  Harris’ mother Frances Pryor pre-deceased him.  In her 1846 will she refers to her son Harris Pryor, so it’s likely that she is the grandmother of Jane and Fanny.

When Samuel Pryor died in 1815, Fanny Pryor was the estate administrator and then in 1827 Fanny, William Pryor along with Harris Pryor posted additional bond.  It’s possible that this is the same William Pryor who was named on several land deeds in Roane County. William’s first deed was in 1808 on Poplar Creek. He was named in deeds as late as 1817 mentioning land on Poplar Creek.  When Fanny died in 1846, her will states her land was on Poplar Creek.  It’s likely that Harris Pryor was living on his mother’s land when he was counted on the 1830 census– there’s an older female in his household who is probably Fanny and he was counted near John Rector and Rector is named with William Pryor in a 1811 Roane County deed.

The real “AH HA!” moment was in the Chancery Court Records

1839 Chancery Court Case
Filed about 1839 in Cumberland County, VA
Executor of Robert M Bondurant v
Executor of Robert Ferguson, et al
Page 61 – Robert Ferguson has also departed this life having first duly published his last will and testament of which Jno W. Wilson of the County of Cumberland is executor – that by the said will Nancy Ferguson of said County the widow of said. Robert and Boler Blackburn and Lucy his wife, formerly Lucy Ferguson —– Stone and Elizabeth his wife formerly Ferguson (and which said Lucy and Elizabeth are the only children and heirs of John Ferguson deceased), Frances Pryor, Alcey Lockett, Berry Hudson and Polly his wife, Harris Pryor and William Pryor which said Alcey, Polly, Harris and William are children of the said Frances Pryor), Lucy Reynolds, Robert Reynolds, Thomas Reynolds, William Roberts and Mary his wife, formerly Mary Reynolds, harry Ames and Ellizabeth his wife, Samuel Hughes and Fanny his wife and Seymore Reynolds (the said Robert, Thomas, Mary, Elizabeth, Fanny and Seymour, are children of the said Lucy Reynolds) are entitled to that portion of the said 192 acres of land which the said testator Robert Ferguson bought as aforesaid of the said Thomas B. Randolph.

I now suspect Samuel and Fanny’s family to look something like this

Fanny (Ferguson?) Pryor born 1771-1780, married to Samuel Pryor
Pryor born 1801-1810, d. 1846 (Fanny’s will state’s he was her son), he never married.
William Pryor born 1801-1810 He’s on the 1830 Census in Anderson Co., TN.
Ailsey (Alice?) Pryor Lockett b. 1800, mother of Jane Lockett, possibly also the mother of Bill Lockett. Married to Benjamin Lockett.
Mary “Polly” Pryor Hudson born 1801-1810, d. about 1837, mother of Fanny Hudson, married to Berry Hudson.
Mr Pryor married to Rebecca born 1801-1810,  Rebecca is on the 1830 & 1840 Census in Anderson Co., TN.
Miss Pryor married to Edward Freels, mother of Pleasant Miller Freels