Tag Archives: john pryor

A South Carolina John Pryor (deceased by 1799) Shows Up in GA Documents

Just when you think you’ve looked at all the Pryors in GA— POP! another springs up. I found a newspaper notice that mentions TWO John Pryors— one deceased and the other a junior.

Mr. Smith,
In perusing your paper of the 29th June last, I observed a notification signed John Pryor, jun. executor and heir at law of John Pryor, dec. in these words “Having understood that Doctor James Otis Prentiss is about to sell a certain lot of land situate in Broad Street, lately occupied and owned by Benjamin Sims, in the city of Augusta, at present occupied by William Longstreet Esq. I find it a duty which I owe to the community at large, and particularly to those who may be disposed to purchase that Doctor Prentiss has previously entered into such engagements with John Pryor, dec. for the conveyance of said property in fee simple to said Pryor or his heirs, as will compel a specific performance of his contract.” Now sir, permit me through the medium of your paper to assure the public that the above is not founded in fact; it is not true. My obligation to John Pryor, dec. was conditional, and had it been otherwise it would have been void; for John Pryor, decd cruelly and shamefully deceived me, by a long contemplated and artfully digested plan, designedly conceived for the purpose of fraud.

I have already paid John Pryor, dec. quite as much as was his just due, and I trust the laws of my country will verify this fact. Mr. Pryor the younger, says he is the legal heir and representative of the deceased John Pryor. This may be true. But a person who calls himself Dr. Hitchens, who says he is the agent of the said deceased’s widow, this very man told me that he had bought the principal part of the estate of this illiterate young man, and also that of his mother the widow, and to use his own words, “for a mere trifle,” and that he had bound the young man to do as executor whatever he thought proper to dictate to him in regard to the estate. I should not have been so minute in reciting the particulars of what the Doctor said, but the public will please to take notice that Doctor Hitchens (whom I suspect as the parent of that notification, and who as he saith, has the whole direction of Pryor’s estate) came out to my house where he remained for several days, for the purpose as he said and I thought, of compromising the matter now in dispute between myself and that estate. But I have since discovered his object was, if possible to get hold of something that would operate to assist him in the recovery of this bond obtained in fraud. The generous offers I have made to the executor thro this man, to induce an amicable settlement, will come out on trial with other fact that will portray in lively colours the leading features of the case.
James Otis Prentiss
He does not know a letter of the alphabet

The Augusta Chronicle and Gazette of the State – July 06, 1799

The clues to the identity of these John Pryors are in the original notice published on June 29th.

The 1797 will for John Pryor in Edgefield county, SC names a son John and property on Beech Island. I think the deceased John Pryor was the John Pryor from Cornwall, England who left a will in Edgefield County, SC. The name James Otis Prentiss appears in both notices in the GA press. And there are records of John Pryor’s estate back in his native Corwall stating his son left for America with postmaster Nicholas Hichens (the man referred to as Dr. Hitchens?) (see post).

An ad also placed in an Augusta newspaper also includes a name found in John Pryor’s will (his son Tobias Pryor) and the Beach Island location.

LOST, On the 24th inst. between Augusta and the Sand Bar, a Red Morocco Pocket Book, containing about One Hundred and Fifty Dollars in Bank Bills, principally on the Augusta Bank. There is Fifty Dollar Bill, the rest are from Twenty down to One.– No papers recollected being in the Pocket Book, except an account and receipt from Mr. Barrie. A reward of Ten Dollars will be given to the finder on his leaving it with Mr. Barrie, in Augusta
TOBIAS PRYOR,
Beach Island, S.C.
May 25th

Augusta Chronicle, June 25, 1813

Google maps is helpful in understanding the proximity of these two locations: Beech Island and Augusta are only 13 miles apart and about a four hour walk that includes a crossing of the Savannah River.

Augusta Chronicle, and Georgia Gazette, December 13, 1817

A provision of John Pryor’s will was that his son John Pryor should be the executor if he came to America from Cornwall. So did the younger John Pryor come to Amercia to resolve the estate? Who was the widow referred to in this notice— Eve Grubbs the common law wife or the Mrs. Pryor left in England?

Dr Hitchins/Nicholas Hitchens died in 1801. John Prior became the administrator of his estate in Edgefield County.

LETTERS
South Carolina
Edgefield District
By John Zimkins esquire ordinary. To John Prier. Whereas Nicholas Hitchens late of the district aforesaid deceased lately died intestate having whilst he lived and at the time of his death diverse goods, rights, and credits within the District aforesaid by means whereof the full disposition and power of granting the administration of all the singular and good rights and credits of the said deceased and also auditing the accounts calculations and reckonings of the said administration and in final dissmission of the same to me is manifestly known to belong I deserving that the goods, rights and credits of the said deceased may be well and truly administered converted and disposed of do hereby grant unto the said John Prier in whose fidelity in this behalf I very much confide full power of the tenor (?) of these presents to administer the goods rights and credits of the said deceased which to him in his lifetime and at the time of his death did belong and to ask levy recover and receive the same and to pay the debts in which the deceased ??? obliged so far forth as his goods rights and credits will extend according to their rate and order of law being first sworn on the Holy Evangelist of Almighty God to make a true and perfect inventory thereof and to exhibit the same into the Ordinary Office in Edgefield in order to be recorded on or before the Seventeenth day of April now next en—- and to render a just and true account calculation and reckoning of the said administration when I hereunto required and I do ordain depart and constitute you the said John PRIER administrator of all and singular the goods rights and credits of the said deceased. In testimony thereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the sixteenth day of January Anno Domini one thousand eight hundred and one and in the twenty fifth year of American Independence.
Recorded June 29th, 1801
Jn. Zimkins PCD

John Prior Jr. signature on Nicholas Hitchins estate inventory

The tally of credit and debits to Hitchens estate is FASCINATING. I don’t often say that… F-A-S-C-I-N-A-T-I-N-G!! Why the excitement? It literally documents young John Pryor’s travel from Cornwall to South Carolina. Who else has the expense list and travel plans for their ancestor’s travel to the New World? They went from Falmouth (Cornwall) to Bristol then booked passage to Boston NE (New England), then took the brig Jane to Charleston. They stayed about a month in Boston and then arrived in

Inventory taken on March 9th 1801, filed on June 29th. 5 head of cattle, 1 gilt watch, parcel of medicine, 2 doz knives and forks, wearing apparel, 1 bridle and whip. Witnessed by John Starr, Walter Taylor, Casper Nail (Casper Nail, Walter Taylor were also appraisers on John Pryor Sr.’s estate)

I have made an adjustment to the Edgefield county page on the website. I had quoted a book by Carol Wells that states John Pryor Sr. died in Savannah. I can’t find any evidence that the John Pryor from Edgefield county was in Savannah. There was a John Pryor in Savannah and Delphia Pryor was appointed his administrator in 1790 before John Pryor in Edgefield county made his will in 1797. Nope, not the same men.

Col. John Pryor of VA: An Engineer?

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I was reading an old article about canal work on the James River. It mentioned a Pryor so I became interested in the Maiden’s Adventure Dam.  There’s an old book I found on Google Books– 3rd Annual Report of President to the Stockholders of the James River in Kanawha Company, Together With the Proceedings of the Stockholders at Their Third Annual Meeting in December 1837 (see book). I know, catchy title! It mentions the Maiden’s Adventure Dam several times as a project attached to their company.

I did some digging to see where this place is located…

Continue reading

Signature of John Pryor on The Petition of the Inhabitants of the Western County

5982837164_aa57b8bd61_bI’m holding another example of why researchers need to get their hands on original documents or good photocopies of them. It’s the Petition of the Inhabitants of the Western Country, a petition filed by men living on the NC frontier (later Tennessee) to the General Assembly of North Carolina.

There’s a good transcription available online (see Google book), “The State Records of North Carolina, Volume 22” (pub. 1907), however the original is so much better. The reason it’s better is that it shows the signatures. We can get a sense of who signed it with whom because the pen (or was it a quill?) changes with groups of signatures.

The other fascinating thing is that the signatures are in a different order than how they are displayed on the online transcription.  For instance, Moses Looney appears in the left column online and John Pryor is right (there’s a middle column in-between). On the original, Looney’s signature is directly under John Pryor’s.  Gilbert Christian signed above John Pryor.

There’s yet another point that stands out. John Pryor didn’t sign his name using a “y”. It’s signed John PRIOR! Am I being too pedantic? Probably not.

John Pryor signature Sullivan County, TN

 

Discover Kingsport (an online history outline of Kingsport, Sullivan Co., TN), states mentions Gilbert Christian several times as well as John Pryor. Christian was from Virginia and first explored the area in 1769.  Moses Looney was there by 1774 and John Pryor was living in the area by December 1787 (date the petition was submitted to the NC State Senate.

I think this is the John Pryor who stated his place of birth as England and year of birth as 1757 on the 1850 Census in Sullivan County.

John Pryor Rutherford County TN to KY Fact or Fiction?

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Since I just finished looking at the Pryor family and their neighbors who were in early Logan and Christian County, KY, I thought it would be a good idea to look at later Pryors.

Years ago I exchanged emails with a Pryor researcher who was interested in the line of John Pryor who married Rebecca Cook in 1823 in Rutherford County, TN. It was their theory that John and Rebecca were then counted on the 1830 and 1840 Census in Wilson County, TN and that John Pryor had died, Rebecca remarried and was later found in Christian County, KY.

The information on this couple is sketchy beyond their marriage date in 1823. If John on the 1830 census is the man who married in 1823, then what were the ages of the children on the census– do they match the marriage year? It’s hard to tell. There were 2 males ages 5 through 9 which fits with the marriage date. There was also a male 10 through 14. The oldest male (John?) was 20 through 29, a bit too young to be the father of a 14 year old. There were 2 adult women in the household so perhaps one was the mother of sister of this young male.

Researchers seem to be on the right track identifying a Rebecca Pryor in Christian County. She is on the 1860 Census as Rebecca Pryer age 51 in the home of Sarah Pryor Wilson. Sarah died at age 90, unfortunately her death record didn’t name her parents. It just says “D.K.”– don’t know? Sarah was recorded as Sarah Ann C. Pryor when she married, so we know she was a Pryor and Rebecca lived with her, so it’s possible they were mother and daughter.

Also in the Wilson household in 1860 was Zack A. Pryor age 13. Zack is an interesting clue because he leads back to the 1850 Census when a Rebecca age 40 and a Zack age 4 were living in the household of Ab Nixon. I haven’t found a marriage for Ab Nixon–perhaps this was another arrangement. Not only was Rebecca identified as a Pryor on the 1860 census, but also the 1870 Mortality Schedule. Zack may be the Zachariah Pryor buried in Chattanooga, killed during the Civil War.

And I now have the full name of Ab Nixon for folks interested in this line: Absolom Nixon. There’s an estate sale filed in Christian County (Book N, page 692, sale page 693).

Major John Pryor’s Handwriting

maj-john-pryor-5Major John Pryor of Richmond was a Revolutionary War soldier and signed several documents to attest to other soldiers service in the War (see http://revwarapps.org/). Here’s some samples which may come in handy if you’re trying to figure out if which John Pryor signed a document.

Pension Application for William Gentry:

maj-john-pryor-4

Pension Application for John Fenn:

maj-john-pryor-3

Pension Application for Thomas Ward and Isaac Kimmy (Kinney?):maj-john-pryor-2

Pension Application for Benjamin Lawson:

maj-john-pryor