Tag Archives: John Benjamin Pryor

John Benjamin Pryor – American Horse Trained and British Ex-Pat

Recently I found an American Pryor on the 1871 Census in Cambridgeshire, England.  John Benjamin Pryor born in about 1810 in Virginia.  He was living with his wife Frances and six children born in Mississippi, the youngest child born in England.  Also living with the family was Cordelia Bingmom, Frances’ sister.  Mr. Pryor listed his occupation as horse trainer.  My curiosity was peaked and I started searching the US Census records to see if this Pryor could be placed with his American ancestry.  

The oldest of the Pryor children was William who was 22 in 1871.  I searched the 1850 Census records hoping to find a John Pryor, wife Frances and a young son named William.  I found none.  I tried searching for initials and misspellings, abbreviations, and all variations of the Pryor surname.  I finally had a turn of luck when I found a Benjamin Pryor aged 39, born in VA and living in Adams County, MS.  I was surprised to find Benjamin counted alone; no wife or child.  Without a wife and child I wasn’t sure that this was the even the correct John Benjamin Pryor. 

A J. B. Prior was recorded on the 1860 Census living near Natchez in Adams Co., MS.  His age was 48 and his place of birth was recorded as Tennessee.  Again he was counted as a single man.   I searched the Ancestry.com Family trees and found that there was a John Benjamin Pryor born after 1808 listed as a son of Luke Pryor and Ann Batte. I wondered if this was the same person and was optimistic since the youngest son on the 1871 UK Census was named Luke.  Where was John’s wife and children in 1850 and in 1860?   

Believing that the family was probably in England in 1870 I wasn’t surprised to find the family missing from the US census of that year.  I proceeded to search the 1880 US Census and found John B. Pryor, occupation horse trainer, born in VA.  He and his children who were counted on the earlier UK Census were living in Monmouth County, NJ.  The US Census yielded a clue that was absent from the 1850 and the 1871 records. In 1880 John Benjamin Pryor was recorded as “white” and his children were “mulatto.” 

I searched the 1900 US census to find the birth month and year or Luke Pryor, hoping to get a better idea of how long the Pryor family was in England.  In 1900 Luke was still living in Monmouth County and stated his birth as November 1861, shortly after the US Civil War began  

From these records it’s reasonable to surmise that John Benjamin Pryor was a white man and that his wife Frances was an African American.  The 1860 Slave Schedules revealed that J. B. Prior in Adams Co., MS had 27 individuals counted as slaves.  Four of the children were recorded as Mulatto, however their ages do not correctly correspond with the ages of Pryor’s known children, nor do the records correspond with the ages of Frances Pryor or her sister Cordelia Bingmom [sic].  It can not be determined if Pryor’s wife, sister in law and children were counted as slaves in his household in 1860, although it is the most likely explanation for their absence from the census schedule. 

Addendum: John Benjamin Pryor returned to the US in 1872. Pryor, He settled in New Jersey where his sons followed him into the world of horse training. He and his children are recorded on the 1880 U.S. census in Monmouth County, N.J. His wife and sister-in-law were possibly daughters of the Adam Louis Bingaman and an enslaved woman. [See 1869, Casanave vs. Bingaman in Louisana that involved two children named James Adam and Elenora Bingaman father with a woman of color. They were making a claim against Bingaman’s estate.]

Tennessee Pryor Newsletter 4

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American Pryors in England: Hannah W. Prior

Ancestry.com has added the 1861 UK Census and the census records are being added in groups of counties to 1837Online.com. Three Pryors born in the U. S. were found on the 1861 Census. First a Pryor by marriage, HANNAH W. PRIOR aged 65, born in Philadelphia, living in Islington, Middlesex (a London suburb) with her son Henry aged 41, born Strand, Middlesex.

American Pryor Children in England

Two Pryor sisters were found in boarding school in Berkshire: 79  Northbrook St., Newbury, Berkshire, Jane Burrough, head mistress and three governesses… FRANCES ANN PRYOR, 10, scholar, born in United States and HENRIETTA PRYOR, 6, scholar, born in United States. More research needs to be done, however I suspect that the Pryor girls are daughters of John Benjamin Pryor and his wife Frances Pryor. John Benjamin Pryor of Adams Co., MS and his family were living in Cambridgeshire, England on the 1871 Census. In 1871 his daughter Henrietta aged 15 was counted in the household and a son named Luke born in about 1861 in Berkshire, England.

Elijah Pryor of Vernon County, MO

Follow up to Elijah W. Pryor information in TN Pryor Newsletter 3: Elijah (called Lige) came with a Tennessee Pryor family from White Co., TN and resided in Bates Co.(which later became Vernon Co, Mo.) He went to California, my family tells me that he found gold, and brought it back in an old hankie (which my great-aunt still has). He got sick and nearly died while returning to Missouri, but finally made it home. In 1871, at age 48 he married in Vernon Co. to Elizabeth Adeline Morgan who married previously to another Pryor from White Co. — William Pryor who was probably Elijah’s uncle, and then to Edward Morgan. My grandfather always said that Lige was the illegitimate son of Nancy Pryor, William’s sister, who eventually married Thomas Welch (also of Bates County.) We’ve never been able to prove that though. When William Pryor died, he left a will naming his children and Lige wasn’t listed. Lige and Elizabeth’s union was a “contract marriage” according to my family. Elizabeth had a large number of children from her previous 2 marriages, and needed to be cared for. Lige supposedly married her telling her  that when he died she could have his farm. No one knows for sure when he died but Elizabeth (Jent-Pryor-Morgan) Pryor died April 27, 1901 in Vernon County, she was buried at the Rhea Family Cemetery but also has a marker at the Pryor Creek Cemetery. — told by Stephanie (Pryor) Spruill

Murder of a Tennessee Pryor Jackson County

MURDER IN JACKSON CO., TN? Nelson Womack submitted the transcript of Chancery Court papers dated 1869 in which John Pryor was accused of the murder of William Nelson (brother of Robert Nelson who was married to Nancy Jane Pryor). Who is this felonious John Pryor? Is he the John Pryor from Jackson Co. who was in the Nashville State Penitentiary for murder at the time of the 1850 Census? Is he the John Pryor who was the father of Clarenda Bell Pryor born in 1857? To read the transcript and review the Penitentiary records go to MORE RECORDS! and click on CRIMINAL CASES.

Pryor and Brewington Children

SOLVED AT LAST… The parents of WILLIAM COM PRYOR and JOHN ANDERSON PRYOR of Overton Co., TN have been identified from their Social Security Applications. Both men stated their mother was Nancy Jane Pryor and they were both born in Oakley, TN. William states his father was Buck Brewington and John’s application states his father was Buchanan Pryor. Buck and Buchanan appear to be the same person; J.B. Brewington who married Nancy Jane Pryor the daughter of Williaim H. Pryor and Rutha Dial of Overton and Clay Counties. Nancy Pryor Brewington was living in the household of William H. Pryor on the 1880 Census. Her two children, Lurana and John A. Brewington, were also in the household. In 1900 Nancy was counted as Nancy J. Pryor in Clay Co., a widow with sons named William and Gilbert. In 1910 Nancy was living with her son Gilbert and was recorded as divorced. It’s know that Nancy J. Pryor and J.B. Brewington wed on 6/10/1876 and a likely scenario is that Nancy J. Pryor and J.B. Brewington divorced, causing her and the children to use her Pryor maiden name.