Tag Archives: Family Group

Harris Pryor of Knox Co., TN and Bedford Co., VA

While digging into more Virginia records I stumbled upon an old record that’s a big hint to ID some of the Tennessee Pryors. If you’ve got Pryors in early Knox County… this will help.

First stop… Bedford County, VA. A 1819 Chancery Court Case names many of the Pryors in Bedford County.

William Dickinson vs. HARRIS PRYOR. A 1819 summons issued to Edmund Franklin and wife Betsy, William Holliday and late wife Polly, Polly Pryor, Nancy Pryor, Harris Pryor, Richard Mays and Juggy his late wife, heirs of Harris Pryor deceased. Document in filed dated 14 Dec 1820, signed by Harris Pryor in Louisville, KY. States he was formerally of Bedford County, but was then a resident of Louisville.

I think the elder Harris Pryor was the same Harris Pryor who was counted in Prince Edward County in 1784 and again in 1790. On both census there were 10 whites in his household.  I also think I can ID now these 10 people. This is when genealogy gets fun!

1. Harris Pryor Sr. born? (head) – died about 1804 (there’s a Bedford County will)
2. Mary “Polly” Kinnerson** (wife) – Polly is identified as the mother of Juggy Pryor on her marriage record. I believe she remarried to William Holiday in 1812 after the death of Harris Sr.
3 Betsy Pryor (daughter) who married Edmund Franklin in 1794, the record states she was the daughter of Harris Pryor.
4. Juggy Pryor (daughter) who married Richard Mays in 1806.
5. Nancy Pryor (daughter) married Rawley (or Raleigh) Rather in 1819 after the suit was filed.
6. Harris Pryor (son) Living in Louisville in 1820 per the suit. Possibly the same Harris who was on the 1830 and 1840 Census in Knox Co., TN.
7. William Pryor (son), counted on the 1800 Census in Bedford County, surety for marriage of Juggy Pryor in 1806. William is identified as the eldest son of Harris and Mary Pryor in a 1783 suit.**
8. Polly (or Mary)  Pryor (daughter) named on the suit, but no other information is known.
9. Patsy (or Martha) Pryor (daughter) who married Elijah Mays in 1801, the record states she is the daughter of Harris Pryor.
10. Jesse Pryor (son) who married Judith Harris in 1796 in Prince Edward County, and possibly the same Jesse Pryor in early Knox County records with a William and Harris Pryor. I’ve wondered if this is the Jesse Pryor who was in Overton Co. by 1830.

** Chancery Court Case in Prince Edward County (1783) George David vs. heirs of Norton Kennerson, Mary Pryor, married to Harris Pryor and their eldest son named William Pryor, also Agnes Kennerson who married John Alsop. Mary and Agnes were identified as sisters of Norton Kennerson.  The case concerns a land transaction made by Norton in 1773.

Denard Pryor: Guilford Co., NC and Clay Co., MO


I found some great stuff in the Fold3 Military Records.  It has been extremely useful for one Pryor line that seemingly evaporated from census records in 1850 and 1860. Last year I wrote about the family of trombonist Arthur Pryor of St. Joseph, MO (see June 9, 2011 post). This year I’ve filled in some of family connections with the help of Fold3 and other researchers.

Arthur’s grandfather , the patriarch of this Pryor line, was Denard Pryor born about 1805. One researcher posted online that they found Denard in “Guilford Co. North Carolina Apprentice Bonds & Papers 1817 – 1870.” On 20 November 1820 Denard was an orphan and was apprenticed to Andrew Waggaman. It doesn’t say if he was apprenticed to learn a trade, however Alson Pryor (possibly a brother) at age 13 was also an orphan and apprenticed to John Waggoner on 5 April 1820. Alson may have been apprenticed as a tailor as that was his stated profession on the 1850 through the 1880 Census.

Denard Pryor is on the 1840 Census in Clay County, Mo. He was probably married (there’s a woman in the household who was about the same age as Denard) and there were 8 children in the household. Denard was the father of bandleader Samuel D. Pryor of St. Joseph, MO (father of trombonist Arthur Pryor). There are accounts of Samuel living in Nebraska and earlier in Texas, however I haven’t found Denard on any other census. If you find him let me know!

There was also a Thomas Pryor on the same page of the 1840 Census of Clay Co., MO. An Ancestry family tree shows Thomas born also in Guilford County, NC, so perhaps there is a relationship between Denard and Thomas. Thomas was deceased by 1850; his widow and children are on the 1850 Census in Lawrence Co., MO.

Death Notices in St. Joseph newspapers also helped to determine which Pryors were children of Denard—they were often clear that the descendent was related to musician Arthur Pryor. Military records were also helpful in determining who were Denard’s children.

1. James T. Pryor b. 1830 in NC, married Julia Ann Lewis and settled in St. Joseph, MO, working as a well digger.
2. Emsley R. Pryor b. 1831 in NC, married Caroline Self and settled in St. Joseph, MO, working as as a well digger. 1890 Census states he served as a bugler during the Civil War.
3. Alfred “Burton” Pryor b. 1835 in MO, married Mary “Polly” Portman and died in Denton Co., TX. His son Frank Hickman Pryor worked as a piano tuner in Denton Co., TX.
4. Robert Pryor b. 1841 in MO, married Mary — ?, living in St. Joseph, MO in 1860 and 1870.
5. Samuel D. Pryor b. 1844 in Clay Co., MO, married Mary Coker, settled in St. Joseph, MO. Musican and father of Arthur Pryor.
6. Alice Pryor b. 1846 in TX, married John J. Hughes, settled in St. Joseph, MO.

Again, there were 8 children in the household in 1840, so there are still a few missing from my list.

Burton Pryor born 1835 is definitely a son and possibly Alson Pryor who registered for the draft in St. Joseph.  I like Alson as a possible son, perhaps named for the brother who was apprenticed with Denard in NC.

Denard’s and his sons’ military service was interesting. In February 1862 Robert, Emsley, and James Pryor enlisted in the Union Army in St. Joseph. A month later their father, Denard, enlisted. Denard fudged his age, stating he was 45, although he was closer to 55 years old. By April 1862, Robert and James had deserted and weren’t arrested until 1864—They were turned in by an informant, arrested in New Jersey and transported to Leavenworth, KS (yes, the federal prison!). Denard was in the army little over a year—in May 1863 he was discharged due to “age and drunkenness.” Burton Pryor registered for the draft in St. Joseph in early 1863, however in May he had been arrested for “disloyalty” and posted $1000 bond and signed an oath of allegiance to resolve his problems. I’m guessing that ID’ing soldiers wasn’t an easy task in the pre-computer age—Burton enlisted in a Colorado company using his own name in December 1863.

Documentation for John Hughes Pryor’s Family Tree

The case filed in the Goochland County Chancery Court after the death of William Pryor, brother of John Hughes Pryor, may help researchers confirm parts of their family tree.

Samuel T Pryor  vs.
Administrator of William Pryor, etc.
Filed in Goochland County, VA

This listing of siblings is gleaned from the case:

1. Samuel T. Pryor, the plaintiff in this case.
2. William Pryor, deceased and died intestate in the summer of 1856.
3. Martha A. Meriwether
4. Judith N. Duke
5. Mary W. Turner
5. John H. Pryor  “who died many years ago in the state of _____ leaving eight children whose names are unknown to your orator that some  of the said eight children died some years since leaving two children as your orator has been informed whose names he does not know, that the said descendants of the said Jno. Pryor dec’d are now scattered in Western and South Western states of the Union.”
7. Nancy Woodson dec’d, mother of Eliza Woodson – now Eliza Haden
8. Sally Payne dec’d, mother of George A Payne

I wrote about John Hughes Pryor and his daughters a couple years ago (read post). It’s nice to have some documentation to help confirm relationships– An 1857 receipt included with the case papers indicates that by that time the heirs of John H. Pryor had been found:John Hughes Pryor - his children

Listed above are:
1. Judith N Duke (sister of John Hughes Pryor, living in McNairy County, TN in 1850 and 1860)
2. A. C. Sublett and wife (John Hughes Pryor’s daughter Louisa Ann married A C Sublett, living 1850 – 1880 in Rutherford County, TN)
3. Isaac H Rainey and wife (John Hughes Pryor’s daughter Elizabeth married Isaac Rainey, living in Henry County, TN)
4. A W Batt (John Hughes Pryor’s daughter Amanda, married William P. Batte, living 1850 – 1870 in Sumner County, TN)
5. E A Sangredge
6. William Hargove (John Hughes Pryor’s daughter Mary Janett, married William Hargrove, living in McNairy County, TN in 1850)

I don’t recognize #5. Do you?

Nicholas Pryor (1688) Family Tree

Sometimes working on my own Pryor line it helps to have a visual. I’m sharing with you my family tree. On the bottom right of the tree is William Pryor, brother of Nicholas John, and Susannah. He’s the William born 1752 in Albemarle County, settled in Amherst County, VA, and made a Revolutionary War pension application in 1832. His statement on his application is a good point of reference in orienting this family tree.

Heir-Raising: The Kin of Another Thornton Pryor

There are some mighty interesting cases available on the Library of Virginia website. I found a 1834 case titled Richard Clarke v. Samuel Pryor. The case was filed against Samuel Pryor, deceased who has been married to Martha. It names the following heirs.

1) Peggy Pryor, wife of Richard Clark (or Clarke). Another case states that Peggy died and left two “infant” children: Sally and Eliza Clark.
2) Fanny Pryor
3) Rebecca Pryor, wife of William A Underwood.
4) Martha W Pryor, wife of John M Drumwright (or Drumright)
5) Nancy Pryor, wife of Digrasse Drumright
6) William P Pryor
7) Samuel Thornton Pryor, deceased.

I had to take a look at the 1850 Census for Goochland County and was surprised to find two of the individuals still alive. Both Digrasse Drumright and John M Drumwright were still living in 1850. Martha W. Pryor Drumright (b. 1812) is the only one of these Pryor I found.

Read the case: