Tag Archives: Ellis

William Harding – Key Man Among the Virginia Pryors

William Harding connected to Nicholas PryorEee gads, I know I created this chart, but really, every time I look at it I think it looks fractured and glued haphazzardly back together again. There are connections EVERYWHERE. There are lines of Pryors I don’t know if they really belong together, but they all seem to merge through William Harding.

Hello, William Harding!

I know it was a “small world” back in Colonial Virginia, but I think the number of connections between William Harding and the Pryors is astounding.

1. William Harding posted surety for the estate of Nicholas Pryor in 1746 (Goochland County, VA)

2. In 1751 William Pryor sold Albemarle County land to William Harding. This is the William Pryor who was engaged in a Henrico County suit with Grace Lafoon (Lafon). I suspect William was a son of Nicholas Pryor. He was also the father of Capt. William Pryor of Amherst Co., Nicholas, John of Fort Donnally, and Susannah.

3. When William Harding‘s daughter Sally married Thomas Pollard at St. James Northam in Goochland County, William Meriwether was surety. William Meriwether was also surety in 1760 for the marriage of Samuel Pryor (son of Samuel and Prudence) when he married Frances Morton Meriwether.

4. William Harding‘s sister Bethenia married Nicholas Perkins. Bethenia’s children married Pryors: Susannah Perkins married Green Pryor and Nicholas Perkins married Leah Pryor. Green and Leah were children of John Henry Pryor who died 1771 in Orange County, NC.

5. William Harding‘s sister Susannah married Capt. Charles Ellis. Their grand-daughter, Elizabeth Wright,  married Capt. William Pryor of Amherst County, VA.

I’ve written about Capt. Ellis in the past [see The Last of the Virginia Chancery Court Records] and his association with Peter Jefferson (father of President Thomas Jefferson) and military service in the 1750’s with a Richard, Nicholas, and William Pryor.

Is Nicholas Pryor who died in 1746 the man some researchers ID as F. Nicholas Pryor? I’ve thought he was Nicholas the headright who arrived in Henrico County in 1688.

Is the F for Frank or Francis Pryor? Could he be Francis Pryor the son of Samuel and Prudence Thornton?

I feel like I’m getting to know everyone in town.

The Last of the Virginia Chancery Court Records


I’ve enjoyed reading through the Virginia Chancery Court records. Unfortunately there are 5 cases that involve Pryors that are in the index but aren’t online. I decided to Google the names to see if I could tell which Pryors were involved in the cases.

1. Thomas Booth vs. John Pryor, filed 1793 in Henrico County. I believe this is Major John Pryor of Richmond who died without issue. In 1837 Elizabeth Dandridge the widow of John Dandridge swore out an application for his Revolutionary War pension. She was the daughter of Thomas Booth. They married in 1782 and in attendance were the groomsmen Chief Justice John Marshall** and Major John Pryor (he was about 32 years old in 1782). She also states Colonel Edward Carrington and Mrs. Elizabeth Carrington of Richmond were also in attendance.
** John Marshall was the first Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court.

2. John Pryor vs. John Beckley, filed 1792 in Henrico County. John Beckley was connected to the Pryors in Albemarle County and Amherst County, VA. Susannah Harding born around 1720 married first Charles Ellis who died around 1760 in Albemarle County. Her second husband was John Beckley. Capt. Charles Ellis was associated with the Pryors: (1) 1756 Military Orders – Peter Jefferson, county lieutenant of Albemarle militia, Albemarle county, June 6, 1756, order to Captains Charles Ellis, Nicholas Pryor, James Sanders, James Budar, Joshua Fowler, and Richard Trout. D. S. E, 51, (2) 1758 Militia – Albemarle County, Sept. 1758, Richard Prior, Nicholas Pryor and William Pryor. Other names: Capt. Charles Ellis (see 1756 Military Orders above), (Virginia Colonial Militia, page 66.) Of note, Charles Ellis was the father of Susannah Ellis who married Isaac Wright, Ellis’ grand-daughter Elizabeth Wright married Capt. William Pryor whose account of military service was recorded in 1832, (3) And possibly connected to will of John Clayton (copy made by Christopher Pryor), 1774, of John Clayton (1694-1773) probated in Gloucester County, Virginia and witnessed by John James Beckley. Who is this John Pryor? Without reading the case it’s hard to tell, but I suspect he’s related to headright Nicholas Pryor who’s descendants settled in Albemarle and Amherst Counties.

3. Major Pryor vs. Joseph Watkins, filed 1764 in Chesterfield County. I suspect this is not Major John Pryor of Richmond as he was born in 1750, so he was likely too young to have filed a suit in 1764.

The last two… sorry I haven’t figured out who they are.

4. John Pryor vs. Henry Lee, filed 1799 in Henrico County

5. James Bennett vs. Samuel Pryor, filed 1785 in Henrico County. Additional surnames in the record are Duke and Holland.

DNA and Marriage Connections

MarriageIt’s amazing how identifying the Pryors gets easier when the connections become clearer. In my last post (William Pryor of Amherst County – Do We Have A Name For His Mother?) I discussed uncovering a possible link between the Pryor and Laffoon families of Goochland County. So many wonderful connections have popped up in my research over the weekend– I hope that sharing will spur your own research.

An interesting connection came out my family member’s DNA results. We’re distant cousins (1st cousin 6x removed) of  Ann Pryor, daughter of John Pryor and Mary New. I theorized in a past post (The Patriarch: Tracing Nicholas Pryor) that John was the son of my ancestor Nicholas Pryor. John the older brother of David and William Pryor was born in about 1689, not too long after Nicholas was recorded as a Headright in Goochland County.

There have been NO DNA matches between the “other” Pryors in Goochland County… that’s the line of Col. Samuel Pryor and Prudence Thornton who go back to Robert Pryor and Virginia Betty Green.  That means that the Pryors in Amherst, Albemarle, Cumberland Counties in VA are probably not related to this other line. It also means that the Pryors in Nashville, Sumner County, and Overton County in TN are not related to the Pryos in Marion Co., TN.

Two Wrights… This weekend I looked at William Pryor of Amherst Co. He gave a statement about his service in the Revolutionary War with his brothers John and Nicholas (I know many people get tired of me mentioning this but it’s a good way to ID which William I’m talking about). William married Elizabeth Wright. Ann Pryor (daughter of John Pryor and Mary New) married John Wright. William and Ann Pryor were first cousins. I wonder if the Wrights were kin to one another?

Captain Ellis and the Pryors… In looking at Wrights I found that William’s wife Elizabeth Wright was the daughter of Isaac Wright and Susannah Ellis. I haven’t placed Isaac yet (really I haven’t worked on it), however I found that Susannah was the daughter of Capt. Charles Ellis and Susannah Harding. If you go back to my last post you’ll see that William’s father (William who was married to Margaret) sold land to a William Harding in 1751. And Captain Ellis is tied to the Pryors through their military service: William, Nicholas and a Richard Pryor all served under Ellis.