Tag Archives: Jackson County

Pryor and Work Surname

Sometimes I find names or places that spark my attention, however I have no idea what they mean… yet.

Jackson County, TN Deed — 5 August 1802 – Jacob Work … 250 acres. Roaring River, south side of a path that leads from William PRYOR to John PRYOR

Roane County, TN Marriage – John H. Taylor married Louisa Work in 1849. On the 1850 Census in Roane Co. there were 3 children living in the household with the surname Work, including a 5 year old Jacob A Work. Jacob died in 1868 and is buried with John H Taylor and Louisa in Parker Co., TX. John H. Taylor was a related through marriage to Hezekiah Taylor, brother in law of William Pryor of Overton County, TN.

The Work surname surfaces among the Sumner County Pryors:

James W. McCullough b. 1826 of Davidson County had an Elizabeth Pryor b. 1837 living in his household in 1850. I don’t think James was Elizabeth’s father— he was just too young. However, I suspect that James was the brother of David McCullough born about 1826 who married Louisa Pryor in 1850 in Sumner County, TN. Louisa is the sister of Allen L. Pryor; they were both children of John and Massie Taylor Pryor. David named one of his sons James W.

Where’s the Work connection? James W. McCullough married 3 times. His third wife (according to children’s death records) was Elizabeth Work.

William Pryor of VA, TN, AL, and Texas – Kin to Richard Pryor


So many common names. Have you had your share of William, John, James, and Joseph Pryors? I know I have! I think we can now tease out enough information to ID a William Pryor and I’m now ready to believe he is related in some manner to Richard Pryor who was married to Mourning Thompson. I’ve listed what we know of his life and I hope it helps others sift through all the data. Maybe we can even figure out HOW everyone is related.

  • William Pryor stated in his will that he was from Botetourt County, VA although in the 30 years preceding his death he had lived in TN and AL (MS Territory).  Did it hold some clout to be from Botetourt County? The earliest known record of William Pryor was 1789, making his year of birth about 1769 or earlier (presuming he was age 21 or older in 1789)/
  • 1789 Greene Co., TN William Pryor and Joseph Pryor signed the Petition of Sundry Inhabitants South of French Broad.
  • 1791 Sumner Co., TN – William Pryor was surety for marriage of Mary Pryor to John Hannah. The Hannah’s were also from Botetourt County and were early settlers along the Nolachucky River in Greene County, TN. In 1790 John Hannah had sold a slave in Sumner County to Isaac Bledsoe and it was witnessed by Peter Looney who was also from Botetourt County.
  • William Pryor obtained land in Sumner County, TN.  This transaction has been fleshed out by researcher Bill Lindsey– On 4 Oct 1791 William Pryor of Greene County, TN received 640 acres in Sumner County, TN from Martha Fletcher the mother of Jesse Goldsmith a Revolutionary War soldier. On 6 Feb 1792 Robert Ewing filed the survey. Mark Armstrong was surveyor, with John Young and Benjamin Smith as chain carriers. The plat states that the land came to Jesse Goldsmith by virtue of military warrant #3724, and states that the land was on middle fork of Drake’s Creek.
  • 1793 Tax List in Sumner Co., TN – William Pryor with Philip Trammel, Elijah Ewing and John Pryor.
  • Philip Trammel connection: William Pryor was married to Betsy Trammel. I found Philip Trammel who was in Logan Co. at the time of Richard and Mourning Pryor and Elijah Ewing.

Philip Trammell was a resident of Logan Co, Ky, 17 Jan 1797 when his deposition was to be taken to prove an agreement between Wm Stair & Jethro Sumner. (Robertson Co, Tn, Co. court min. 18 Jan 1797). Said Trammel being blind, his handwriting was proved.

  • Elijah Ewing connection: Elijah married Elizabeth Trammel, a daughter of Philip Trammel. Elijah got a land grant in Logan County in 23 Sept 1796. In 1801 he signed a petition against using Smith County land to make Wilson County with signers:  John Pryor, William Pryor, Elijah Ewing, Caleb Job, Joseph Pryor. In 1802 he was on a Jackson Co. Tax List in Capt. Fitzgerald’s Company with Daniel Job, William Pryor, Ezekial Rhea, Elijah Ewing, James Taylor. In 1808 he was granted land on Roaring River in Jackson County, TN. He was on the 1812 Tax List Jackson County, TN.
  • 1794 Tax List in Sumner Co., TN – William Pryor on the list with Elijah Ewing and Benjamin Downs who is also on records with William Pryor in Stewart Co., TN. 1805 Benjamin Downs witnessed deed to William Pryor in Stewart Co., 1805 William Pryor deeded land to John Churchill witnessed by Benjamin Downs.
  • 1794 Land Grant in Sumner Co. – William Pryor bought land from Howell Tatum land borders John Pryor and Philip Trammel. I suspect this is the John Pryor who in Jan. 1791 was bonded in a Sumner Co. court case involving John Cotton and Howell Tatum.
  • 1795 Tax List in Sumner Co., TN. William Pryor is listed near John Hannah.
  • 1796 in Sumner Co., TN William Pryor signed bond to Richard Pryor for land on Caney Fork out of tract purchased from Howell Tatum.
  • 1798 William’s daughter Stacey was born in SC per the 1850 Census. I think that perhaps the year and/or place are incorrect as her name seems to have taken on many variations. In his will she is named as Stacey. Perhaps she was born slightly earlier in TN when it was still NC. On the 1850 Census she is Susan. In 1830’s court documents she is Fannie. Richard Pryor’s heir Jonathan Pryor of Graves Co. named his first daughter Eustacia “Stacy”, so perhaps that’s a family name.
  • 1802 List Tax List Jackson Co., TN. William Pryor recorded in Capt Fitzgerald’s Co. with Daniel Job, Ezekial Rhea, Elijah Ewing— Job and Rhea were heirs of Richard Pryor. Jackson County was formed out of land that was part of Sumner County.
  • 1802 Smith County William Pryor and James Pryor were ordered to lay a road from Lancaster’s Ferry on the Caney Fork River to Walton’s Road. William Pryor left Jackson Co. in about 1804 for Stewart County (that is when he starts appearing on Stewart County records). Both William Pryor and James Pryor were in Stewart County Records. James may be the James B. Pryor b. 1778 in VA later shows up in Pike Co., IL and obit for his wife Rebecca stated they had lived in Stewart Co. and Christian Co., KY before moving to Pike Co.
  • 1802 Smith County deed for the land on Caney Fork that William bonded to Richard. 400 acres to Wm and 400 to James. I suspect these are William and James who went to Stewart Co.
  • 1803 Jackson Co.Deed to William McNabb… 100 acres… West fork of Russell’s Mill Creek on which fork William PRYOR lives.
  • 1804 William Pryor deeded land in Christian Co., KY (this is important because James Pryor was also in Christian Co.)
  • 1805 Deed in Stewart Co., TN – William deeded land to William Haynes. Benjamin Downs witnessed. (see #5 above, Benjamin Downs was in Sumner Co. with William Pryor)
  • 1805 in Stewart Co. ordered to build a road with Robert Lancaster. Is this one of the Lancasters who was in Smith Co., TN with the Pryors?
  • 1811 Settlement of Richard Pryor’s estate filed in Logan County, KY
  • Both William and James Pryor named on 1812 Guardian Bond in Stewart Co. for orphans of Samson Trammell (son of Philip Trammel?)
  • 1816 William Pryor was in Clarke Co., MS Territory (no Alabama)
  • 1824 William Pryor was in Waller Co., TX with Austin 300. A Spanish deed dated 9 May 1828 (see his signature above) confirms he was from the United States and a resident of Stephen Austin’s Colony.
  • 1825 his daughter Harriet Pryor married Noel Roberts in Austin, TX.
  • William died 9 Sept 1833 in San Felipe, TX. it was recorded in Gov. Travis’ diary.

Map of Pryor Land Grants


I had to get out the map again. I can understand that Sumner County was one of the first counties in TN and that it was divided to make other counties and then those counties were divided into other counties. What I wasn’t understanding was where the Pryors were in relationship to each other.

Thank goodness many of the old deeds have a water source noted. I would never have found locations by the old white oak or a hickory tree noted on many deeds (Google Maps for some reason doesn’t pick up trees as land marks LOL!).

So, the map above shows a yellow border that represents “roughly” the original boundary of Sumner County.  I’ve marked in purple the water sources mentioned in Pryor deeds. The Pryors are grouped below.

Drake’s Creek

In 1793 William Pryor was assigned land from Jesse Goldsmith. He received 640 acres on Drake’s creek. It’s believed he is the same William Pryor who appeared on 1794 Tax list “on Drake’s  Creek.  He was counted with William Bird and Benjamin Downs who were closely associated with William Pryor who was in Stewart County, TN by 1804. If this is the William Pryor who went to Stewart County, then he may be the William on the 1793 Tax list near Philip Trammel — William of Stewart County married Betsy Trammel. More on this William in my next post.

Blackburn Fork, Roaring River

In 1802 Jacob Ward (or Work?) was granted land in Jackson County on the Roaring River near a path that led between William Pryor and John Pryor, so it’s believed William and John were there before 1802.  The 1803 Tax List of Jackson County states  Joseph Pryor and John Pryor were in the county and Joseph was living among men who were deeded land on the Roaring River.  In 1850 there were still Pryors on Blackburn Fork: Nancy Pryor, William and Alsey (more on Blackburn’s Fork…)

Caney Creek

An 1802 indenture indicates the men connected to this property and also a connection to Richard and Mourning Pryor.

1802 Smith County, TN Court Order – Tuesday, March 18, 1802 – Smith Co., TN. Ordered that Richard Lancaster, Tom Lancaster, William Pryor, James Pryor, Will Walker, John Goad and David Morrison view, mark and lay off a road from Lancaster’s Ferry on the Caney Fork River to intersect Walton’s Road at the most convenient (place) going toward Knoxville.

1802 Smith County, TN Land Record. Deed Book B, Pages 94-95. Indenture made 10 May 1802. Names Thomas White & Mourning White (formerly Mourning Prior[sic]) Administrator & Administratrix of Richard Pryor decd. of Logan County & State of Kentucky of the one part and James Ewing of Smith County & State of Tennessee of the other part. Describes property part of Tract of three thousand acres lying on the Caney fork of Cumberland River, formerly the property of Howel Tatum (this may be the land purchased from Tatum in Sumner County).

Mansker Creek

The Pryor’s on Mansker Creek were late-comer’s to Sumner County. The 1827 TN Land Grant to Emily Prior and Preston Kennedy states they were granted 225 acres on the “head” of Mansker Creek. I did my best to find Mansker Creek in current-day Sumner County, but could only find it on a map slightly out of the county line.

South Tunnel

I marked South Tunnel on the map because my ancestor Allen L. Pryor reported in the Goodspeed History of Sumner County that his father moved to Sumner County in 1828 or so and purchased a farm near South Tunnel.

Can We Clean Up the Mess In the Jackson Co., TN Records?

First I found Joseph Pryor on the 1803 Jackson Co., TN Tax List, THEN I found him on the 1805 Tax list in Blount County, TN.  However, when I looked at the 1805 document it’s clear that it’s the 1803 list. Who knows when this happened— the pages could have been photographed twice when the National Archives photographed the records for microfilm.

There IS a John and a Joseph Pryor on the 1803 Jackson Co., TN Tax List.

John Pryor is in Captain Smith Hutcherson’s Dist, recorded near Elijah Ewing, Caleb Job, Daniel Job, Elijah Ray.

My Notes: Elijah Ewing shadows the “heirs” Richard Pryor (husband of Mourning) through the records and helps to point at other Pryors who are related to Richard’s line– more on Elijah Ewing in my next post! Caleb Job, Daniel Job, and Elijah Job were all recorded as Richard’s “heirs” on a 1811 document in Logan Co., TN.  I don’t think this John Pryor is the Jonathan Pryor born 1788 in Logan County, he was 15 in 1803 and this John is likely to be older if he is the same man who was on the 1793 list (born 1772 or earlier). A possible fit is John Pryor who married Ruth Sherrill in Greene Co., TN and lived in White Co., TN. I kind of like this John Pryor for this John because we know that he was in Greene County and likely followed the other Pryors to Sumner, Jackson and later White Co., TN.

Still on the 1803 Tax List, Joseph Pryor is in Captain Russell’s Dist, recorded with William Russell, James Taylor, William Walden

My Notes: Based on deeds in Jackson Co. these men lived on Roaring River. Joseph Pryor was surety for James Taylor’s marriage in Greene Co., TN. Joseph Pryor, William Russell, and William Walden all signed a petition in 1789 in Greene Co. There are no age indicators on the tax list, however he could be the Joseph Pryor on the 1820 Census in Jackson County as residents on the Roaring River, even after earlier county divisions, remained in later Jackson County records.

Another question came up regarding 1803 Tax List —

I found an old edition of Ansearchin’ News online with the transcribed 1803 list.
The entire tax list was transcribed, so I was able to compare the old list to the Ancestry film. That’s when I found another there’s another Joseph Pryor on the Ancestry film of the list, but he’s not on the Ansearchin’ transcipt… and there is a Thomas Pryor. [See record ].

I suspect the transcript in the Ansearchin’ News is correct and that the pages in the Ancestry film are mixed up. Are these earlier or later records? Were they from Jackson County or another county? Anyone got an idea when these following record were from?

On the mixed-in page the district is not shown at the top. Thomas Pryor recorded with Elijah Ewing, Luke Mayfield, Stephen Dill, Arter Dill, David Dill, Seth Mayberry, William Crocker, John and William Dill.

My Notes: Based on deeds in Jackson Co., these are the Pryors on Roaring River in Jackson Co., TN. Elijah “Ewine” on the 1801 petition not to join Smith Co with Wilson Co. Elijah Ewing was on early tax lists in 1790’s in Sumner County, TN and with the “heirs” of Richard Pryor on the 1803 Tax List. The Dills and the Crockers married in to the Pryors of Jackson County– Serena Dill married Alfred Pryor b. 1808, Sary Pryor b. 1764 was living with John Y Crocker in 1850, Mary Ann and Rhoda Pryor who were living with William Pryor in 1850 married Crocker brothers. 

Also on the Ancestry list… Joseph Pryor recorded with James Whitson, John Hunter, Joseph Copeland, James Bartlett, William Haws, William Whitaker

My Notes: Based on deeds in White Co. these are the Pryors on Caney Creek in Dry Valley, White Co. Joseph Pryor b. 1792 married Mary Bartlett and in 1828 was deeded property that bordered by the Hunters in White County. Seth Maberry and Joseph Pryor are on the 1820 Census in Jackson Co., TN. 

William and Nancy Pryor in Jackson County, TN

Blackburn Fork Creek, Jackson Co, TN

I’ve made an major update to the TNPryors website… mostly to the extracted Pryor records in TN and VA. Take a look you might find an interesting connection to solve one of our many Pryor puzzles.

There’s a small update in the Jackson County, TN records: an 1826 land grant to William Pryor on Blackburn’s Fork. Small but significant. I wrote earlier this year about the Pryors on Blackburn’s Fork: http://tennessee-pryors/pryors-on-blackburns-fork-of-roaring-river-in-jackson-county-tn/

The grant included “improvements” made by William Pryor — likely fences, fields, houses, and outbuildings. That means that Pryor had been on the land for some time before 1826. I was pondering WHICH William Pryor this might be. There was William and Alsey Pryor on the 1850 Census, but I don’t think he was that William because the William married to Alsey would have been about 12 years old in 1826. There was no William Pryor on the 1820 Census in Jackson County–Was William a son of one of the 3 Pryors (Joseph, Jane, Jeremiah) on that census?

The 1826 deed to William Pryor was for 50 acres. In 1847 Nancy Pryor sold 50 acres on Blackburn’s Fork to Isaac Haney. Was this the same 50 acres? Was Nancy the widow of William Pryor? Was she the Nancy Pryor who was living with Love McGhee and family in 1850? This is Nancy is the one I’ve referred to as “Nancy the Weaver” because she was… well, a weaver. The 1914 death record for Nancy’s son, Amos Pryor, identified his father as Caleb Pryor, not William.

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