Tag Archives: Harris

Lawsuit Noticing Depositions Names Roane County Pryors and More


Somewhere in the middle of this newspaper notice you may imagine a loud thud– that would be me falling down a rabbit hole. Sometimes genealogy can be one rabbit hole after another, but it’s usually fruitful in one way or another to ID all the parties named in a document. Fruitful can mean it’s helpful just to have ID’s on hand for future reference or it helps someone else. So here goes..

JOHN W. WILSON, Executor of Robert Ferguson, deceased, Robert Blackbourn and Lucy Blackbourn his wife, William P Hickerson, John Hickerson, Thomas Powers, and Hugh Raine:

Take notice, that I shall proceed on Monday, the 19th day of October, 1846, between the hours of 6 o’clock in the morning and 6 o’clock in the evening, at the house of Edward Berry, in Jackson County, and State of Alabama, to take the depositions of John Berry, Anna Berry, Mary Berry, Edward Berry, and others, to be read as evidence in Chancery, depending in the Circuit Superior Court of Law and Chancery for Cumberland county, and State of Virginia, in which suit John R Wilson, administrator of Elizabeth Stone, deceased, is Plaintiff, and you are defendants.

And I shall also proceed on Monday the 2nd day of November 1846 between the hours of 6 o’clock in the morning and 6 o’clock in the evening, at the house of Harris Pryor in Roane County and State of Tennessee to take the deposition of Harris Pryor, Alvey Lockett, Robert Williams, and others, to be read as evidence in the above named suit.

And I shall also proceed, on Wednesday the 16th day of December 1846 at the Court house of Carroll county, in the State of Arkansas, between the hours of 6 o’clock in the morning and 6 o’clock in the evening, to take the depositions of William Goforth, Hulda Goforth, and others, to be read as evidence in the above named suit.

And I shall proceed , on Friday the 1st day of January 1847 at the Court house of Barry county, in the State of Missouri, between the hours of 6 o’clock in the morning and 6 o’clock in the evening to take the depositions of Price McMurtry, Barbara McMurtry, and others, to be read as evidence in the above named suit.

If from any cause, the taking of the depositions at the respective times and places above specified should not be completed, they will be continued from day to day— not exceeding three days at each place– until finished; at which times and places you can attend if you think proper.

John R. Wilson
Administrator of Elizabeth Stone, deceased
22 Sept. 1848
Richmond Enquirer (Richmond, VA)

Robert Ferguson died about 1839 in Cumberland County, VA. His sister, per Chancery Court documents, was Frances “Fanny” Ferguson mother of Harris Pryor and Alvey Pryor Lockett in Roane County, TN.  Fanny had another daughter named Mary Pryor who married Berry Hudson. Mary was named in the original Chancery filing, however she was deceased. Perhaps her husband’s first name reflects a connection to the “Berry” surnames mentioned in this notice.

Elizabeth Stone (deceased) was the daughter of John Ferguson and a granddaughter of Robert Ferguson (also deceased). Elizabeth married William Stone and had one known son Bailey Raines Stone b. 1822 in TN– He was in Carroll County, AR in 1850. William “Gofourth” and wife “Huldah” were recorded on the 1850 Census in Carroll County, AR. William was 34 born in MO and Huldah was 25 born in AR. How did these two get involved in this suit? Were they involved as witnesses for Bailey Stone?There’s a Robert Williams born about 1786 in VA who is on the 1850 Census in Roane County, TN. His Find A Grave memorial identifies him as “Rev” Robert Williams born in Cumberland County, VA. Ancestry Family Trees connect him as the father of Rueben Williams, also in Roane County Records and also connect to this branch of the Pryors.


Robert Blackburn and his wife Lucy Ferguson were counted in Coffee County, TN on the 1850 census.  Robert was 54 born in TN and Lucy was 51 born in VA. They are on page 45b. On page 46a is Thomas Powers age 50 born in NC. Lucy was the daughter of John Ferguson, son of the deceased Robert Ferguson.

I pulled out an old chart of the Pryors who passed through Botetourt County, VA for comparison. Some of the names rang a bell: Berry and Blackburn. Molly Pryor, possible sister of Joseph Pryor and Luke Pryor, married William Berry. Their daughter Prudence Berry married George Blackburn. Hmm, seems like a dead-end connection when Molly Pryor and William Berry had no male children and I’ve yet to see anything to connect Robert Blackburn to any earlier generations.

A Pryor Slave Story in Roane County and Anderson County TN

slave-houseSy Prior was a free African American living in Anderson County, TN. It’s an interesting slave story because he died 5 years before the end of slavery and he left a will. The will is like Hansel and Gretel dropping a cookie trail in the forest — he not only names his 4 children, but also who held his children in slavery.

Last Will and Testatment of Sy Prior. In the name of God Amen. Owing to the uncertainty of Life and the certainty of death and being —- to dispose of such worldly goods as it has pleased God to help me with and being of sound mind and disposing memory do make and publish this my last will and testament. 1st I give and bequeath to my daughter PELESA ANN the servant of RHODA WILSON out of my estate one hundered and forty dollars and her child PATSY SHIRLEY the sum of ten dollars. I give and bequeath to my son CHARLES the servant of RICHARD OLIVER one hundred and forty dollars. I give and bequeath to BETTY also a servant of RHODA WILSON the sum of five dollars for her attention to me in my sickness. I give and bequeat to REV JAMES BLAIR the sum of five dollars to preach my funeral sermon. I give and bequeath to my daughter MARGARET servant girl of RICHARD OLIVER my feather bed and furniture. She paying to her sister PELESA ANN six dollars I wish and desire that my watch and saddle be sold and equally divided amongst my four children Pelesa Ann, Isaac, Margaret and Charles. I wish and direct that all my just debts be paid as soon after my death as possible as well as my funeral expenses. I wish and request that my remains be directly buried. All the balance of my estate of what kind — I give and bequeath to my son ISAAC dn my daughter MARGARET servants of RICHARD OLIVER to be equally divided between them. I hereby appoint my friend SAMUEL TUNNELL executor of this my last will and testament hereby revoking all former will by me made this 25th day of January 1860.
Sy PRIOR (his Mark) (or Sig)
Signed in presence of

Sy Prior was on the 1850 Census:

1850 Census Anderson Co., TN. Subdivision 16, page 19b, house 274
Drury L. Bradley 39 farmer VA, Nancy 39 TN, William 16 TN, John T. 13 TN, Margaret E. 9 TN, Samuel 7 TN, Andrew 6 TN, Drury 3 TN, Timothy R. 4/12 TN, Martha Thompson 74 VA, Sir PRIOR 42 mu farmer male TN. (Sir is probably Sy Prior. House 273 is Samuel Tunnell who witnessed Sy’s will. House 269 is Kesiah Oglesby Butler b. 1780 from Campbell Co., VA. House 275 is Caleb Butler.)

Not only is an African-American will recorded before the Civil War remarkable, but there’s also a will that explains how Sy became a free man. Harris Pryor of Roane County died in 1846. Harris’ will states:

Item 2nd. It is my will that my negro man Sy shall be emancipated and set at liberty as a free man at my death and I also direct that my executor shall give him to with Sye of my property one horse worth forty dollars and one plough (sic) and gear.

Sy was born about 1808 and was a contemporary of Harris Pryor who was born 1801-1810. It may not sound like much, but Sy took a 40 horse and turned it into an estate of $300 cash and property that consisted of a watch, horse, saddle and furniture. I think that’s pretty amazing.

I also took a look at Richard Oliver on the 1850 Census in Anderson County (#3 on the image below). Not only does Sy Prior connect him with Harris Pryor, Richard Oliver was living near Rector households (1 & 2 below) and a Butler family (4).


All Roads Lead to Roane: Meet The Virginia People in Roane County and Anderson County, TN

pryor-east-tennesseeIn the very early 1800’s Virginia Pryor families and their neighbors headed to an area between Roane County and Anderson County, TN.  A Google book titled “The Land and Laws of Tennessee: Being A Compilation of The Various Statutes of… (It’s a very long title, but you can view the book online) discusses the division of Anderson and Roane counties near the farms of D. L. Bradley, John R. Galbreath, Samuel Tunnell, William Rite, W. C. Griffith, and J. C. Roberts.

These names may ring a bell from my last posts. The slave Sy Prior was living with Drury L. Bradley in 1850 and Samuel Tunnel was a witness to his 1860 will.  William C. Griffith witnessed Frances Prior‘s will (Harris’ mother) and he witnessed the will of Benjamin Lockett (Frances Prior’s son in law) with William Right/Rite.

I have several connected people who traveled from the Bedford County, VA area that became Campbell County to this area where some records are in Roane County while others are in Anderson County.

Jesse Pryor

Jesse Pryor is on the 1805 Tax list in Anderson Co., TN. He’s named on a 1811 deed with Reuben Williams and John Rector. My theory is that this is the Jesse Pryor born to Harris Pryor and Mary Kinnerson who was in Knox County and then later showed up on Census records in Overton County, TN. Harris, was on Bedford County, VA records.

William Pryor

My working theory is that William Pryor is another child of Harris and Mary. He may have been going back and forth between TN and VA — I may have to write a post about the clues that these Pryors were going back and forth. Like Jesse he was in Bedford County, Knox County, and Roane County. He is on an 1811 deed with Reuben Williams and John Rector that points to him being in the same part of the county at the same time as Jesse Pryor.

Samuel Pryor

Married to Frances Ferguson, Samuel died around 1815. Record of his estate was filed in Anderson County. Frances’ ID was in a VA Chancery Court case for her brother Robert Ferguson filed in Cumberland County, VA, naming Frances and her children. Frances and her son Harris lived in Roane County. John Rector was counted on census records living near Frances and Harris.

Benjamin Lockett

Married to Ailsy Pryor, daughter of Samuel and Frances. His will was filed in Anderson County in 1834, included a note from Richard Oliver and witnessed by Reuben Williams (see Jesse and William above) and William C. Griffith.

Joseph Grammer

Joseph Grammer was a French national who fought in the American Revolution. In 1787 he was brought up on charges of living with a woman without marriage in Charlotte County. Her name? Elizabeth Pryor or Mary Pryor or Mary Elizabeth Pryor. His Revolutionary War pension application states they were in Bedford County, VA by 1799. They were in Roane County by 1830. Joseph was about 100 years old when counted on the 1850 Census, still living with his wife. Could this Elizabeth Pryor be the grand-daughter of William Boteler/Butler? (see post) Nope. Her age would make her of about the same generation as Butler.

William Boteler Jr. & Sr.

The younger William Boteler married Sarah Cunningham in Campbell Co., VA, possibly a daughter of Murell Cunningham. Murrell Cunningham was surety for the marriage. John Pryor, Charles Rork, Martin Rector on March 15, 1790 Bill of Sale for Murrell Cunningham of Campbell County. Murrell Cunningham also went to TN– he was in Sumner Co., TN from 1800 to at least 1820. William Boteler Sr. mentioned grand-daughter Elizabeth Pryor in his will.

John Kitchen

John Kitchen sold land in Campbell Co., VA to John Pryor in 1788.  He was on the 1830 Census in Anderson County. He applied for a Revolutionary War Pension. The application states he was born in Bedford County, VA and his wife was Mary Whitten.

One last Pryor to mention because he was in Roane, but doesn’t seem to fit with the others.

Matthew Pryor Sr.

Matthew Pryor filed for a Revolutionary War Pension which documents where he was at the time of the war and thereafter: Born in Granville County, NC in 1759 > Caswell County, NC >Richmond County, GA > back to Granville County, NC > Washington County, VA > Roane County, TN > Marion County, TN. He was in Roane County in about 1808 when his son Matthew Pryor Jr. married Henrietta Williams. There’s no indication that he was in Campbell or Bedford Counties not have I found anything to show these other folks were in North Carolina.

Campbell County, VA Pryors: John Kitchen Found in TN

My last post was the 1788 deed between John Kitchen and John Pryor in Campbell County, VA.  I took a look for John Kitchen to see if there were any clues that throw a light on John Pryor. I found that John Kitchen was a Revolutionary War vet and lived long enough to file for a pension. Gotta love those pension applications!

Not only do I love pension applications, but I love how specific John Kitchen was in the facts of his application. He was born April 25, 1757 in Bedford County. This is interesting because in 1788 he sold John Pryor his land in Campbell County (formed from Bedford County) and he was himself in Henry County. The application says Kitchen lived in Bedford County until the Revolution and then moved to Henry County where he was drafted in 1781. His story is like so many of the stories out of this region of VA– he marched to Guilford Courthouse in NC and to the Troublesome Iron Works. Kitchen moved to Anderson County, TN and after he died in 1845 his wife Mary, submitted a document stating her maiden name was Mary Whitten. (see the pension application)

I was rather curious about John Kitchen in Tennessee. Where did he live? Who was he living with? I found him on the 1805 Tax List in Anderson County. There were Pryors too in Anderson County: Samuel Pryor and wife Fanny Ferguson.  These are the Pryors who I suspect are related to Harris Pryor of  Bedford County, VA (they named a son Harris Pryor), and they lived near a Rector family (John Pryor witnessed will of Jacob Rector in Bedford County, VA). Samuel Pryor died in Anderson County around 1815 (year his wife was appointed adminstratrix of the estate).

Here are some of the families of interest on the Anderson County census records.

1830 Census, Anderson Co., TN

page 190 John Kitchen 1000000001 – 001011001 (Oldest male 70 to 80 years – John Kitchen sold land to John Pryor in Campbell Co., VA in 1788)
page 346 William PRYER 20001-20001 (Oldest male 20-29 y.o. born 1801-1810. William is probably the son of Frances Ferguson Pryor.)
page 346 Rebecca PRYOR 11-01101 (oldest female 20-29 y.o., born 1801-1810)
page 346 Benjamin Lockett 1010001 – 112102 (oldest male 40-49 y.o., botn 1781-1791. Benjamin was married to Acy/Alsey PRYOR, daughter of Samuel Pryor and Frances Fanny Ferguson. Alsey is on the 1840-1860 Census in Roane Co., TN)

1850 Census Anderson Co., TN

Subdivision 16, page 19b, house 274 Drury L. Bradley 39 farmer VA, Nancy 39 TN, William 16 TN, John T. 13 TN, Margaret E. 9 TN, Samuel 7 TN, Andrew 6 TN, Drury 3 TN, Timothy R. 4/12 TN, Martha Thompson 74 VA, Sir PRIOR 42 mu farmer male TN. (This family counted near many of the families who were near Rebecca PRIOR on the 1840 Census in Anderson Co.)
Subdivision 16, page 60, house Christopher Hitch 37 merchant KY, Katharine 35 TN, William 15 tN, Harriet 14 TN, Caroline 11 TN, John 10 TN, Sarah 8 TN, Lloyd 5 TN, Phellaney Whitten 21 TN, Barton Mynatt 25 doctor TN, PRIOR BOWLES 24 farmer TN (Possilby related to Pryor Mynatt in Grainger and Knox Co., TN. Prior Bowles was the son of Martin Bowles, he married in 1854 in Lee Co., VA. John Kitchen of Campbell/Bedford County, VA married Mary Whitten.)
Page 60a, house 833 William Howet 48 none (occupation) VA, Sarah Howit 35 TN, Nancy 29, Pryor L 21 TN, James M 18 TN, Emmaline J 16 TN
Page 60b, house 834 Susan Stuksberry 45 TN, John 28 TN, Nancy 20 TN, Elizabeth 18 TN, Aletha 16 TN, Polly Kitchens 90 NC deaf. ( Polly Kitchen was the widow of John Kitchen of Henry Co., VA. John Kitchen sold John Pryor land in Campbell Co., VA in 1788.)

Campbell County, VA Deed to John Pryor from John Kitchen

Campbell County IndentureI ordered a copy of the entire deed from Campbell County, VA for John Pryor’s land purchase in 1788.  I received an INDENTURE, a legal court recording of the transaction (there’s a good description of indentures on Wikipedia.org).

It states that John Pryor was “of Campbell County” which seems to say that he was already a resident of Campbell County at the time of this transaction. John Kitchen, the man who sold him the land was from Henry County, VA. I went to the good old Virginia county formation maps on Rootsweb and clicked around until I found that Campbell was from from Bedford County in 1781 (yes, there was a John Pryer in Bedford County who witnessed a will in 1779–that’s the county with records of Harris Pryor).

The transcription is as follows… Don’t worry that this is all there is… more tomorrow.

to deed
__ __ __
THIS INDENTURE made this 25th day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty eight. Between John Kitchen of Henery (sic) County of the one part and John Pryer of Campbell County of the other part witnesseth that he the said Kitchen for and in consideration of the sum of seventy five pounds current money of Virginia to him in hand paid the rect of which I do hereby acknowledge hath given granted, bargained and sold and by these presents doth give, grant, bargain, sell, al—n?, release, demise, convey, and confirm unto the said John Pryer his heirs and successors forever one certain parcel of Land containing one hundred and thirty five acres lying in the County of Campbell on the West Branches of Stonewall Creek and bounded as followeth to witt beginning at Stoval’s corner pine south twelve degrees west seventy six poles to a double pine south twenty four degrees west sixty eight  poles to Kitchen’s corner poplar on Catteal* Branch thence along his line north sixty degrees west one hundred and twelve poles to his corner pointers thence off north forty degrees west twenty seven poles to pointers on Wm Brides line thence along h is line North thirty degrees east fifty one pols to his corner pine thence off north forty degrees east eighty poles to his corner pine thence off north forty degrees east eighty poles to S(several?) white oak north seventy one degrees east one hundred and four poles to pointers on Stoval’s line thence along this line south eighteen degrees west seventy six poles to the first station to have and to hold the said land and premises with the appertainances appertaining thereunto clear of all encumbering to him the said John Pryer his Heirs and successors for ever and he the said John Kitchen for his part his Heirs executors, Administrators, and Assigns shall and will forever warrant and defend the aforesaid Bargained and sold land and premises with it appertanences to the said John Pryer his Heirs and successors in witness where of the said Kitchen hath hereunto set his hand and seal the day and date above written. John Kitchen (seal)Signed sealed and delivered in presence of us — Thomas Dunn, William Page, William Bernett, Henry Truman, William Chenalt, Charles Rork. Memorandum. On the 25th day of November one thousand seven hundred and eighty eight possession of the within land and premises was given to John Pryer by John Kitchen according to law.John Kitchen In the presence of Thomas Dunn, William Page, Charles Rork, William Burnett, Henry Truman, William Chenalt. Received of John Pryer the within mentioned consideration money rece’d per me this 25th Nov. 1788.
John Kitchen
Tes. Thomas Dunn, William Page, William Burnett, Henry Truman, William Chenalt, Charles Rork.At a Court held for Campbell County, April 2d 1789– This indenture together with the memorandum of livery of succession and recipt thereon were proved by the oaths of Thomas Dunn, William Page, and William Chenalt witnesses thereto subscribed and ordered to be recorded.Test. R. Alexander, CCC*Cat Tail Branch of Stonewall Creek