Tag Archives: Kansas

Following the Family Line of Britt Pryor from Nebraska

I was looking for something else when I found an obit for Britt Pryor in the June 4, 1958 Lincoln Star (Nebraska). I don’t know if you ever go “down a rabbit hole” with your research — I sure get sucked down there from time to time!  These are the times that what I find may be productive for others, but doesn’t help the information I’m attempting to tease apart.

Britt Pryor got my attention because I couldn’t immediately figure out who his parents were. His Find-A-Grave memorial isn’t connected to a parent or siblings. Telling what I’ve learned in the order I’ve learned it is far from a linear tale.

1880 Census – William Pryor (born in Illinois) and wife Mary E were counted in Furnas County. They were young and didn’t have children in their household.

1881 – William and Mary E Pryor had a son named James Oscar Pryor. A death notice published in 1917 states James was born in Furnas Co. NE and “Oscar” was living with his father in 1900.

1883 – William and Mary E Pryor had a son named Jesse Warren Pryor. Jesse was living with his father in 1900.

1884 – William L Pryor of Furnas County filed the final proof of homestead on his land. This helps to support that the family was still in Furnas County.

1885 – William and Mary E Pryor had a son named Fred H Pryor. Fred was living with his father in 1900.

1888 – Draft registrations and grave marker for Britt Pryor state he was born in 1888. His obit as well as draft registrations state he was born in Arapahoe (Furnas County).

1891 – In July 1891 I think Mary E gave birth to a son named Lewis Pryor. She died roughly 3 months later was buried in Edgar Cemetery in Clay Co., NE. Her grave marker states she was the daughter of J and S Carson. Joseph and Susan Carson are on the 1880 Census in Clay County. Their places of birth correspond with those stated as parents’ birthplace on Mary E. Pryor’s census record. Joseph Carson died in 1899 per his gravemarker in the same cemetery as Mary E.

1900 – William Pryor and sons (James) Oscar, Jessie, and Fred were counted in Franklin County, NE. William and Oscar were both working as Plaster Masons. Britt Pryor was not in the household. In another county, the widow Susan Carson was counted with Lewis Pryor age 9 “nephew.” Was this her grandson or did the census taker speak with her son Robert Carson who was living in the household who referred to the boy as his nephew? — wait… this all gets cleared up in 1910!

1910 – Jess Pryor born 1883 in NE and a Brittania Pryor born 1889 in KS were both counted in Denver, CO and working as plasterers. While Jess appears to be clearly the son of William and Mary E. the waters are a bit murky when it comes to Brittania. It’s the close to Britt (Britt was recorded as Britton on the 1920 Census) and both are working as what appears to be a family profession: plastering. In 1910 Lewis was still living in Nuckolls County with Susan Carson and at that time he was recorded as her grandson. Lewis was working as a Paper Hanger which ties in nicely with his siblings working in plastering.

1917 – James Oscar Pryor died and is buried in the same cemetery as his mother, Mary E. (see Find A Grave)

1920 – The 1920 census may be the best evidence that Jess and Britt were related because both men who had been in Colorado were counted in Lancaster County, NE.

It was actually Lewis Pryor’s obituary from October 9, 1954 in The Lincoln Star that helped to tie up all the suspected family relationships. It states that Lewis Pryor, Britt Pryor and Jesse W. Pryor were brothers.  Bam!

Because the Carsons took in young Lewis Pryor after his mother’s death I started looking at them further hoping to find Britt living with a Carson relative in 1900. I found Joseph and Susan Carson living in Guthrie Co., Iowa in 1870. Their daughter Mary E was 9 and counted in their household. In 1870 they had a 16 year old male named Joseph Carson in the household. In 1900 there’s a 46 year old J W Carson in Guthrie County with a Thomas Prior age 76 in his household — recorded as his father-in-law.

It looks like this Thomas Prior is a good candidate to be the father of William Pryor who married Mary E. Carson because Thomas and his family were also in Guthrie Co., IA in 1870. Counted in his household was a son Willie age 11 who was recorded as William Pryor in Furnas County, NE in 1880. Thomas’ daughter Ellen is the right age to be J W Carson’s wife in 1900.

Alas, I climbed out of the rabbit hole (or down from the family tree?) without finding Britt Pryor in 1900.

Kansas Runaway Slaves — Dick Pryor Remained

pryor slaveH H Hart was 66 years old when The Wichita Daily Eagle published an article titled “Saw Slaves At Work in This State” 6 April 1913. The article included an account of his encounters with a slave named Dick Pryor.

Mr. Hart came to Kansas with his father, Thomas Hart, and wife. They settled in Linn county, near the present town of Paris. Close by was a large farm owned by a man named Pryor. This Pryor’s slaves ran away until only one remained, Dick Pryor. In April 1858, this slave escaped with the aid of several anti-slave men. In 1859, Thomas Hart died after casting his vote at the Lecompton election against slavery.

Hart and the former slave met up again during the Civil War.

In 1863, when H. H. Hart was 16 years old, he enlisted in Company 1 of the Sixth Kansas Cavalry. He served with this company until the war was over. During the war he again met Dick Pryor, the slave who escaped in 1858. He had enlisted in the First Kansas colored infantry, and was fighting for the Union.

I took a quick look through the census records to see if I could find these people. I think I can trace H H Hart to Linn County, KS

1925 – Harvey H Hart died and is buried in Sedgwick County, KS.
1920 – Harvey H Hart born 1847 in IA is on the census in Baca Co. with wife Elizabeth and children Ivan and Cecil.
1910 – Harvey H Hart with wife Elizabeth and children was working in a soldiers hospital in Wyoming. John W. Hart who appears to be a brother of Harvey’s was also counted on the census – Harvey and John had parents born in the same states (OH and TN).
1900 – H H Hart with wife Elizabeth and son Ivan were counted in Chautauqua County, KS. Again his parents were born in OH and TN.
1880 – H H Hart was in Greenwood Co., KY with wife Mattie, who appears to be a first wife. Again his parents were born in OH and TN.
1870 – Harvey Hart born 1847 in IA, counted on the census in Labette Co., KS
1860 – This is when the info takes a curve… I can find an Absalom Hart born about 1848 in IA living with a woman who is possibly is mother E Hart born in MO. The family was living in Linn County, KS. There’s a John Hart in the household that matches up with the John who was counted with Harvey in 1910.
1850 – The census in Keokuk County seems to straighten out the kinks in the 1860 census: Thomas Heart (sic) b. 1823 OH, Elizabeth E Hart b. 1827 TN, John W. Hart b. 1844 in MO, and Absalom H Hart b. 1847 in IA. So it looks like Harvey, for part of his life went by the name Absalom.

I haven’t found Dick Pryor in any records.

Floyd Jackson Pryor to Nathaniel West Pryor and Backward

diggingforrootsI was recently contacted by a Pryor who wanted to know more about their family tree. They found the Find A Grave memorial for Floyd Jackson Pryor b. 1938 Sumner Co., KS, d. 2011 Wichita, Sedgwick  Co., KS (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=75755548).  I took a stab at trying to see how far I could go back with her family tree with just the Internet sources available.

The first clue came out of the Find A Grave memorial; it mentions that Floyd had a brother named Melvin and one named Lloyd and that their father was Nathaniel Pryor. There’s a family with 3 sons by that name on the 1940 Census in Sumner Co., KS.  The father was Nathaniel J Pryor born about 1902.   I didn’t have to go too far online because I found that Nathaniel Pryor also has a memorial on Find A Grave (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=58331038). Now if this is your line, make note that there’s a Masonic symbol on Nathaniel’s grave maker– you may find newspaper clippings of Mason events that he participated in. The marker also gives his name as “Nathaniel J. Jack Pryor.”

Both the 1940 and 1930 Census state that Nathaniel J. Pryor was born in AR, but I didn’t have any luck finding him by that name on earlier census records. I went back to his memorial on Find A Grave and clicked on the left link to “Find all Pryors in Caldwell City Cemetery.” There’s a few but I thought Winifred Leighton Pryor was of interest because he was close to Nathaniel’s age. I found Winifred on the 1940 census. He was in the military and stated he was living in Perry Co., AR in 1935. Winifred led me to look in Perry County.

1940 Census
Caldwell, Sumner Co., KS
Nathaniel J Pryor 37 AR, Mabel E 30, Charles 11, Dorothy 10, Lloyd D 8, Helen L 7, Rosetta A 5, Katharine M 3, Floyd J 1, Melvin 9/12

1930 Census
Bluff, Sumner Co., KS
Benjamin Builta 45 KS, Rosa E 45, Roy A 22, Mabel Pryor 20, Nathaniel J. 27 AR, Charles L 1, Dorothy 0

When I found the 1910 Census for Perry Co., AR I found a “Jack” Pryor who is the right age to be Nathaniel J, or as his grave marker says, “Jack.” The head of household was John H. Pryor born 1873 in AR. There’s a 1897 marriage for John H. Pryor to Alice Ramey in Conway Co., AR.

1910 Census
Casa, Perry Co., AR
John H Pryor 37 AR, Alice 34, Bertha 10, Jack 7, Mary 4, Theodore 1

1910 Census
Higgins, Conway Co., AR
Marley L Gibson 40, Sallie 35, James B 15, Mantie L 13, Lela11, Lanick  7, Okla A 3, John H Pryor 78 AL father-in-law

In 1910 a daughter Bertha was living in the household of John H. Pryor. She was also in his household of “J. H. Pryor Jr.” on the 1900 Census in Conway County, AR.  John H.’s birth date was recorded as September 1875 rather than 1873 in 1900. Also in the same county was J. H. Pryor born 1837 in AL, living with his daughter Narcissa 26.

John H. Jr. was in household of “J. H. Prior” on the 1880 Census in Conway Co., AR. Another child in the household was Nathen Prior (sic), perhaps the namesake of John H. Pryor’s son Nathaniel Jack.

1880 Census
Conway Co., AR
J H Pryor 46 AL GA AL, N Jane 38 GA SC SC, W Ann 11, M S 10, John H 7, Sallie 6, Nathen 2, Lee Collins Pryor 4mos., Mary Jennings 16 step-daughter

In 1870 John Pryor Sr. and his family can be found in Perry Co., AR.

It was a pretty easy jump to find John H. Pryor as a 14 year old on the 1850 Census. He was living in his father’s household in Lafayette Co., MS. His father was John Pryor b. 1804 in NC (the “C” is exaggerated and looks like a “J” however it matches the “C” in SC on the same page). Also in the same household is a Nathaniel W Pryor b. 1832– this is Nathaniel West Pryor who settled in Iron Co., UT.

I found in my notes, a brother of Nathaniel West Pryor was William Montifort Pryor. The name Montifort may be a family name to be explored: see my post that includes Montiforts (March 2014 post).

Other researchers have uncovered that John Pryor b. 1804 was married to Malinda Gurles and they had lived in Jefferson Co., AL before migrating to Mississippi. I’ve seen that researchers also state John was a son of John Henry Pryor and Elizabeth Stokes of Casewell County, NC. The relationships get a little cloudy that far back, however the common thought is that this John Henry Pryor is son of John Henry Pryor who named him in his 1772 will filed in Orange Co., NC.

The online  resources are great to give you a course to research, but just because someone is found in a county with another Pryor on a census record, you can’t rely that they’re related. Nothing beats good old fashioned paper research: order death records, get copies of marriage records, glean information from military pension files, get your hands on the old deeds, and court cases.

And most import… please share with us what you find!!! There are other researchers from this line who are interested in their Pryor ancestry.

California Gold Rush May Hold Clues to ID this W Pryor

Chagres Port Anytime I find a record of someone traveling around 1848 through early 1850’s I think of the California Gold Rush. I found a W. Pryor age 39 who arrived in New Orleans on 1 November 1850 from the port of Chagres (Panama). I was wondering which Pryor this was and if his travel was some how connected to the California Gold Rush. It turns out that I was pretty close to the truth! A nautical history on the website of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (Wayback Machine link) states Chagres was “the port that gold-seekers bound to California would arrive at after 1848.” Chagres and American Chagres were part of the pre-canal-zone route that incorporated land travel as part of the route to the Pacific and where people returning East could catch a ship to New York and, although the website doesn’t mention it, probably New Orleans too. I know that William Pryor, son of Massa Taylor and John Pryor traveled west to California, however he was born about 10 years later than this W. Pryor. I suspect W. could be Walton M. Pryor of Linn Co., KS, Wesley Pryor of Trigg Co., KY, or William A. Pryor of Campbell Co., KY, William “Buck” Pryor who lived later in Oklahoma Territory.