Tag Archives: Graves

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: ,

Burials in Pryor Cemetery, Sumner County TN

I recently looked at the Pryor Cemetery on FindAGrave.com. There are 14 burials or Pryors and Gregorys recorded. They appear to be correctly noted and not phantom graves (people who have no recorded burial but end up in plot on Find A Grave).

My notes from the Sumner County Cemetery Book, state the cemetery is located 2 & 7/10 miles N of Hwy 31E on Rock Bridge Road; then 6/10 mile NW on Pryor Branch Road. Cemetery is on N side of road. Only 6 burials were recorded, perhaps because markers were obscured or no longer existed.

PRYOR, Elizabeth – 19 Dec 1825 – 22 Feb 1865 – Aged 39 yrs 2 mos 6 days
PRYOR, Infant son of A. & E. Pryor – 16 Sep 1857 – 21 Jun 1858
PRYOR, Infant son of A. Pryor – Died 15 Feb 1865
PRYOR, Henry D. – ____ Oct 1858
PRYOR, Eugenia – Age 73 yrs
PRYOR, Edward – Died 19 Jan 1945 – Aged 93 yrs 1 mo 16 days ***

Additional Burials per Other Sources

PRYOR, Thomas Jefferson b. 1845, died May 22, 1912. Son of William Pryor and Margaret Curry. Thomas was the father of Willie Pryor who married Thomas Gregory. Gregory’s first wife was Betty Pryor, a daughter of Allen L. Pryor. It is speculated that William Pryor was Allen’s brother. Obituary of Thomas Pryor states he was buried in the Allen Pryor Cemetery.

GREGORY, Thomas Washington b. 25 Aug 1864 – 25 Sep 1931, son in law of Allen L. Pryor. Johnny Adcock 5 Jan 1895 reported in a first hand account that he helped with the burial of Thomas Gregory in the Pryor cemetery off of Rockbridge Rd.

GREGORY, Vernon Head
b. 16 Dec 1890 – 11 Jun 1909. Son of Thomas Washington Gregory and Betty Pryor. His burial in the family cemetery was reported by his brother Thomas M. Gregory.

PRYOR-GREGORY, Betty b. Jul 1861 – 15 Jan 1909, daughter of Allen L. Pryor. Obituary states she was buried in the family burial plot on the same farm on which she was raised.

*** Death record confirms this was John Edward Pryor, son of Allen L Pryor.

Allen L Pryor Cemetery in Sumner County, TN

During the summer of 2016 a Pryor researcher sent me photos of the grave markers in the Pryor Cemetery near Sumner County, TN (near Gallatin). My apologies for being slower than maple syrup in January in getting these posted! I’ve got some photos I took in the 1980’s – I’ll have to see if I can find them. It’s interesting to compare what is known of a cemetery at different times. For instance, there are only 6 burials noted on a Rootsweb page. It’s possible that those were the only markers visible when the survey of the cemetery was done for the book Sumner County, Tennessee Cemetery Records.


“Infant son of A Pryor died Feb, 15, 1865.”


Allen L Pryor infant son grave marker

Infant son of A Pryor died Feb, 15, 1865


Small part of a grave marker

Small part of a grave marker


Henry Pryor

“Henry Pryor … was born”



Henry Pryor, close up


broken marker

Infant son Pryor

(In)fant son of A. and E. PRYOR born Sept.

Another view of Infant son Pryor marker

Another view of Infant son Pryor marker


Pryor grave maker

Broken grave marker


Elizabeth Pryor grave marker

Memory of ELIZABETH PRYOR was born Dec 19, 1825. Died Feb. 22, 1865. Aged 39 years. (Elizabeth Talley wife of Allen L Pryor)


Monument put up many years after Allen L Pryor’s death in early 1900’s.


Beatrice and Willie Ann Lee, grand-daughters of Willie Pryor Gregory.

Beatrice and Willie Ann Lee, grand-daughters of Willie Pryor Gregory.



The Kin of Major John Pryor of Richmond, VA


I keep trying to piece together the family of Major John Pryor of Richmond. If you’ve heard any loud frustrated sighs, that’s probably me. The Major had no children so what I’m curious about is who were his siblings and who was his father. This week I’m taking another look at his family tree with some of the new information I’ve found.

First Wife: John Pryor married Anne Beverly Whiting, the daughter of Thomas Whiting and Ann Sewall. Anne was a socialite with dwindling fortunes. They married in 1796 when the Major was in his late forties, over-weight and in poor health and Anne was in her teens.  The marriage dissolved when Anne ran off with her French tutor, Mr. Fremon. In 1811 Major Pryor asked the Virginia Legislature for a divorce, however there is no evidence that they ever granted a divorce, in fact there is strong paper evidence they said “no.”

Second Wife: The Major was a creature of  habit– he married twice and each time married considerably younger women. In 1815 at the age of 65 Major Pryor married Elizabeth Quarles Graves, who was about 15 years old. They remained married until his death in 1823. There is a fat file of depositions which were collected in the 1850’s when Elizabeth applied for a Widow’s Revolutionary War Pension. A deposition from Sarah Hatcher of Richmond states she was the daughter of Methodist minister Edmund Lacy who married John Pryor and Elizabeth Graves. She said she remembered the ceremony because of the “disparity” of their ages. Sarah also remembered that John was related in some manner to Elizabeth. A letter in the file written and signed by Elizabeth herself states she was the grand-daughter of the “reputed” Major James Quarles. A while ago I figured out that Major James Quarles was married first to Major John Pryor’s sister, Mary Pryor, and Elizabeth was a daughter born to Major Quarles and his second wife Dorothy Waller. Therefore, Major Pryor and his wife were related, but not by blood.

There is some other connection between the Virginia Pryor families and the Wallers. I’m not exactly sure how it came about. Here are some more posts where the name Waller was discussed. So this is another connection that remains on the back-burner for now.


Sister, Mary Pryor Quarles: The Major’s marriage to his brother-in-law’s daughter (It starts to sound like a soap opera!) is supported by the Revolutionary War Pension application made by Patsy Minor Quarles the wife of Robert Quarles and also the mother of Pryor Quarles. Patsy states that Robert’s mother was Mary. http://revwarapps.org/w9868.pdf. There is  still a question whether Mary was a sister or an aunt– Major Pryor named his nieces and nephews in  his will, however Robert Quarles was still alive at the time was not named in the will.

Sister, Elizabeth Pryor Hankins, born about 1755. Elizabeth probably pre-deceased the Major as she was not named in his will although her children were named:

  • Archer Hankins b. 1771 – 1780. He was the presiding justice in James City. He’s on the 1830 Census in James City.
  • Pryor Hankins b. 1782. In 1810 Pryor was counted in York County and in 1830 and 1850 he was counted in James City, VA.
  • Dorcas Hankins b. 1785-1790. Dorcas married John Bryan and is named as Dorcas Bryan in Major Pryor’s will. Researchers state her husband died in 1806 which I believe pushes her year of birth back to around 1785 – 1790. Dorcas is a head of household on the 1810 and 1820 Census in York Co., VA (probably Williamsburg area). There are several Hankins households near Dorcas on census records and Pryor Hankins administered the estate of her step-son Frederick Bryan.

A Hankins Mystery:

There are Hankins families on the 1850 Census in Knox County, TN. Eli Hankins was married to Nancy Graves and had a son they named Pryor Hankins. I suspect there is a connection to the Hankins, Graves, and Pryor families from Richmond, VA. Are other Pryors in Knox County related to the Richmond Pryors? Well, I may have the answer to this in my next post!

Nieces, Elizabeth Taylor and Rebecca Taylor – These nieces were probably daughters of the Major’s sister, Sally Pryor Taylor, who was deceased by 1800 per the Major’s will. I do not not know which Taylor married Sally Pryor.

Niece, Mrs. Charlotte Morrison (of Williamsburg, VA) was counted on the 1850 Census in York County. Charlotte was the widow of George F. Morrison.

Nephew, Thomas Pryor. I believe he is the Thomas Pryor on the 1820 Census in Rockingham County, NC. He was counted one line above Elizabeth Pryor Archer. They both have connections to Pryors in Pittsylvania County, VA. There’s a whole lot more on Thomas in one of my next posts!




Major John Pryor of Richmond, b. 1750

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Musket Smoke

I’ve pulled together everything I can find on the life of Major John Pryor. You’ll see below it’s suggested that he’s connected to the line of Gen. Roger A Pryor and Col. William Pryor and perhaps also John Pryor and Mary New of Goochland County, VA. Any ideas?

1777 – Captain-Lieutenant 1st Continental Artillery, 13th February, 1777 [Richmond During the War of 1812 ,  The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 7, No. 4 (Apr., 1900), pp. 406-418] Note: the 1777 date matches the 1807 sworn statement for Pryor’s Revolutionary War land bounty warrant.

1779-1783 – Major Aid-de-Camp to General Alexander, 9th June, 1779, to 14th January, 1783

1782 – Major Pryor’s mother was still living in 1782? Capt. Pryor’s letter to Col. Davies asking leave to visit his mother “in great distress with the probability of losing her husband, who is my Father in Law (his step father?) by sickness, and wishes much to see me.”  On Oct  10 1782 from Richmond.  [Calendar of Virginia State papers and other manuscripts …, Volume 3  By Virginia, Henry W. Flournoy]

1796 – John Pryor married Anne Beverly Whiting in Richmond.

After Revolution –  Secretary of the Jockey Club. Owned Haymarket, a pleasure park in Richmond, VA

1800 – A Comprehensive Catalogue of the Correspondence and Papers of James Monroe, Volume 1,  By Daniel Preston. John Pryor was the subject of allegations of misconduct during the Revolution: alleged he did not examine arms thoroughly. Pryor sent a letter on 5 Feb 1800 from Haymarket stating he would refute the charges.  William Preston mentioned in 28 Jan 1800 correspondence. (Is this the William Preston who lead Preston’s Rangers? — See Botetourt County records)

1802 – Samuel Coleman (society’s treasurer) and John Pryor were recorded at a meeting of the Society of Cincinnati in Richmond, VA on 13 Dec 1802 [The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Volume 1,  By Philip Alexander Bruce, Virginia Historical Society, William Glover Stanard] – Note: Samuel Coleman provided a sworn statement in 1807 for John Pryor’s Bounty Warrant. An online family tree shows that Samuel Coleman was married to Nancy Ann Wright a daughter of John Wright and Ann Pryor of Goochland Co., VA– Ann Pryor was the daughter of John Pryor born abt 1689 and Mary New of Goochland Co.

1804 – Board of Hampden Sydney College

1807 – I do certify that John PRYOR was c—  (commissioned?) in a Captain Lieutenant in the first Regiment of Artillery on Continental  the 13th of January 1777 – in the service until the end of the war. Given under my hand this 29th day of June 1807. Samuel Coleman. [from Revolution Bounty Warrants, Library of Virginia  online Catalog.  The back side of this document states that Captain Pryor was given 4000 acres. ]

1812 – “I see Major Pryor* frequently; he is now very fat, and still active as military agent.
(Footnote on the same page) John Pryor, Captain-Lieutenant 1st Continental Artillery, 13th February, 1777; Major Aid-de-Camp to General Alexander, 9th June, 1779, to 14th January, 1783; retired on last-named date. After the war Major Pryor resided in Richmond, and was for a time military agent of the State. Like many retired officeers, he was in reduced circumstances, and for a time kept apleasure resort called Pryor’s Garden, situated on the river side near the present Byrd street station. While residing here his wife separated from him, and soon after became the wife of Mons. Fremont, dancing master, and the mother of John C. Fremont. Author John Bigelow, in a campaign life of Fremont, published in 1856, makes a very pretty story of youth and beauty chained in unbearable union to age and decripitude, of separation by mutual consent and a happy second marriage; but the real story, as told by documentary evidence, is of a very different sort.” Richmond During the War of 1812 ,  The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 7, No. 4 (Apr., 1900), pp. 406-418

1815 – John Pryor married  a second time to Elizabeth Quarles Graves (per her statement in Revolutionary War pension application).

1823 – Death notice was in the Richmond Enquirer on 23 Mar 1823.

1823 – John Pryor’s heirs are first listed in an 1800 will that was drawn up while he was still married to Anne Beverly Whiting.  [The Great Catastrophe of My Life: Divorce in the Old Dominion, by Thomas E. Buckley]

“…bequests to two living sisters, Elizabeth Hankins and Mary Quarles, and to the children of his deceased sister, Sally Taylor” (Note: this same book states Robert Quarles of Richmond, VA was married to John Pryor’s sister.  I found a publication Boulder Genealogical Society, Virginia Genealogical Society, published 1977 states that Robert Quarles widow completed a Revolutionary War Pension Application stating that Robert was the son of James Quarles and Mary Pryor. I have reviewed the Pension Application #W9868 and note his mother only recorded as Mary, however their James and Mary’s first born was named Pryor Quarles.  The Pension Application contains information from the Quarles family Bible, stating Mary died 1 December 1816 in her 73rd year – born 1743. Mary would be a contemporary of Maj John Pryor and that agrees with her being the named sister in the will. In Sketches of Prominent Tennesseans by William S. Speer, published 1888— page 163, “…James Quarles, was the great-grandfather of the subject of this sketch. He married a Miss Pryor, of the Pryor family of Virginia, from whom Gen. Roger A Pryor, the brilliant criminal lawyer, now of New York, is descended.” Family trees on Ancestry.com place Mary Pryor Quarles as a daughter of Col. William Pryor and Sarah Wood—They are probably not aware that she is the sister of Maj Pryor and other known siblings Elizabeth and Sally/Susan )

After his death in 1823, his final will was filed in Pulaski Co., KY – is that because he owned property there?

“PRYOR, John (of the City of Richmond). Will proved there March 1823. Names wife, Elizabeth Graves; nieces, Dorcas Bryan, Elizabeth Taylor, Rebecca Taylor, Charlotte Morrison (of Williamsburg, Va.), Elizabeth Hazelwood; nephews, Thomas Pryor and Archer, William, Romert, John, and Pryor Hankins. Friend, Lewis Burwell. First wife was named Ann. “ [http://www.newrivernotes.com/va/pulwb.htm]
(Note: I found Pryor and Archer Hankins on the 1800 Tax list of James City, VA and  census records in the same county).

1856 – His widow, Elizabeth Quarles Graves files for a pension from his service during the Revolution.  Pryors ex-sister in law (Susan Lowery, sister of Anne Beverly Whiting) filed an affidavit stating:

  • He was an aid to General Lord Sterling (Note: Stirling was stationed in NJ and NY during the war and was in charge of Washington’s Army in the North and died in Albany in 1783.)
  • He received a “considerable” land bounty for his war service.
  • He had no children – only nieces and nephews in Charles City and James City by the name of Hawkins or Hankins. [see Rev. War application of Edmund Beadles http://revwarapps.org/s17842.pdf.