Tag Archives: Major Pryor

John and David Pryor, Orphans of David Pryor – Another Look

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I’ve been going back and forth discussing Christopher, John and David Pryor with a couple of other Pryors. The chart in an older post (Connecting Major John Pryor of Richmond to More Pryors!) was gnawing at us. We decided to play with the the relationships to see if there is a way to make better sense out of these Pryors. Maybe it will feel less like a bowl of spaghetti?

We decided to move John Pryor of Richmond right up next to David Pryor of Buckingham County and Christopher Pryor of Gloucester — all brothers.

  • “Major” John married Anne Beverly Whiting. Christopher Pryor’s son was the administrator of Thomas Whiting’s estate, Anne’s father.
  • “Major” John housed the cousin of President Jefferson during a scandal. David’s daughter married Jefferson’s brother.

Now, you know what that would mean? John and David are the orphan sons of David Pryor who died in 1747 in Goochland County. Hmmm. That would certainly steer some Pryor research in another direction.

One of the naggy questions we mulled over was why in the senior David’s estate different guardians were bestowed on John and David: Samuel Taylor was John’s guardian and Abraham Childress was David’s grandfather and guardian. One of my Pryor cousins thinks it was to divide duties. I think it was because John and David had different mothers. David’s mother was obviously a Childress, but if we look at this John as his brother, then he may have dropped a clue while serving in the Revolutionary War — he wrote a letter indicating his mother was still alive:

October 10th, 1782, Richmond.
Capt. John Pryor to Col. Davies
Asking leave to visit his mother “in great distress with a probability of losing her husband, who is my Father in Law, by sickness, and wishes much to see me.
— Calendar of Virginia State Papers and Other Manuscripts, pub. 1883

There is also a Carrington connection that wends its way through these Pryors:

  • In May 1778 David Pryor was serving with Lt. Mayo Carrington (Mayo, son of George Carrington). see post
  • “Major” John Pryor of Richmond attended the marriage of Capt. Dandridge in 1782 with Col. Edward Carrington (Edward, son of George Carrington, brother of Mayo Carrington, and the foreman of the Aaron Burr jury). see post
  • “Major” John Pryor received land grant in 1785 in KY, near C. Carrington (Codrington, son of George Carrington) see post
  • 1747 George Carrington deeded land to John and David, their father had already paid him for the land. see post

You know I’ve got my pencil out and I’m working around the Pryor chart testing out new relationships. Autosomal testing, as annoyingly hard to decipher as it can be, showed a connection between testers in my line to the Childress family (see post).  As I said… Hmmm.

Pryors Who Were Revolutionary War Soldiers of Virginia

Last week while looking at David Pryor and the Amherst Pryors it got me wondering about trying to figure out if we can come up with a list of the VA Pryors who served in the Revolutionary War. The most concise source is a 1912 book I found in Google Books.

Continue reading

Identifying the NINE John Pryors Who Were Alive in 1780

I recently had to work though some questions to ID a record and determine which John Pryor it matched to. I realized there were quite a few John Pryors with possible Virginia roots who were all adults in 1780. NINE of them. So during the snowy days this winter I dug in and questioned relationships and questioned where they were and when they died. I’m now ready to share the list.

If you don’t see your John Pryor on the list — test your information to be sure he was an adult and alive in 1780. If he should be on the list let me know!

1. John Pryor of Greene And White Co., TN

Born 1771 – 1775, per 1830 Census
Married Ruth Sherrill, she’s Ruth Prior in her father’s Greene Co., TN will D 1832, estate settlement in Sangamon Co., IL
Parents unknown
Children Rachel, Ellinder, Mary, Sherrill, Sarah, William, Margaret/Peggy, Elizabeth, Jonathan
Resided: 1804/1805 in Greene Co., TN (father in law’s estate)
Resided: 1811-1812 Tax List in White Co., TN
Resided: 1830 Census Sangamon Co., IL
Connection: Linked to “Old” Joseph Pryor of Greene and White Co. through Robert Armstrong.

2. John Pryor of Sullivan Co., TN

Born 1757 in England, per 1850 Census and a son on the 1880 Census
Parents unknown
Married Mary?
Children: James, Nancy, John, Henry, Isaac, Sarah, Mary, Page, Thomas David, Andrew John
Died abt. 1851 in Sullivan Co., TN
Resided: 1787 signed petition in Sullivan Co. when TN was still NC
Connection: Owned land in Sullivan Co. next to David Ross. There’s a John Pryor on a deed with David Ross in Fluvanna Co., VA in 1813. A copy of the deed was made by John Timberlake. Is this the same John Timberlake who married Elizabeth Pryor, daughter of John Pryor and Mary Dennis of Amelia Co., VA.?

3. John Pryor, Son of David Pryor and Miss Childress / Maj John Pryor of Richmond

Born bef. 1738 in VA
Parents David Pryor d. 1747 in Goochland Co and Miss Childress
Married Anne Beverly Whiting, second wife was
Children All reports are that he left no children.
Died abt 1812. Sons John and William settled property in Campbell Co., VA
Resided: 1759 deed in Albemarle Co., VA, and bordered grandfather Abraham Childress
Connection: Inherited land from his father in Cumberland Co., VA with his brother David Pryor, later of Buckingham Co., VA. His niece, Mitchie Pryor, married Thos. Jefferson’s brother.
Heirs: Nieces Dorcas Bryan, Elizabeth Taylor, Rebecca Taylor, Charlotte Morrison, Elizabeth Hazelwood, and nephews Thomas Pryor, Archer Hankins, William Hankins, Romert Hankins, John Hankins, and Pryor Hankins.
Died 1823, Richmond Enquirer obit
Military: Revolutionary War Soldier.

4. John Pryor Possibly Son of Samuel And Prudence

Born abt 1730 in VA
Parents Samuel Pryor and Prudence Thornton
Married 1754 to Mary Dennis in Amelia Co., VA
Children: Richard, Luke, Elizabeth, Mary, Philip, Ann, Samuel
Died 1785, date of will in Amelia Co., VA
Resided: on Leath’s Creek in Amelia County.
Connection: John was in Botetourt Co., VA at the same time as other children and grandchildren of Samuel Pryor and Prudence Thornton.

5. John A. Pryor

Born abt 1750
Parents were probably Samuel and an unknown first wife.  Samuel’s second wife was Frances Morton Meriwether.
Married Martha Vaughn
Children: Samuel W, Sarah, John Alexander, Joseph Everett, Mary, Nicholas M (possibly named for his half brother Nicholas Meriwether), Prudence, Daniel Farley (read more about Daniel Farley’s namesake)
Died unknown date. Last child born 1799 in Kentucky.
Resided: 1795 deed in Harrison Co., KY with Nicholas Meriwether, his half brother.

6. John Pryor, Brother of Capt. William Pryor of Amherst Co.

Born  maybe as early as 1745
Parents possibly William Pryor of Albemarle County, formerly of Henrico County.
Married possibly married a Floyd
Children: Nathaniel, Nancy, Samuel, Robert Lewis, James, Jane, Elizabeth W.
Died abt 1780-ish, deceased per court record that states his children (the two youngest?) were orphans.
Resided: Fought at Battle of Point Pleasant in 1774, 1778 served as a volunteer spy to warn Greebrier settlement of impending Indian attack, 1782 Poll in Louisville, and in 1783 signed Low Dutch Petition.
Connection: Served under George Rogers Clark. Served with Simon Kenton, Thomas Posey.

7. John of Logan Co., KY

Born bef 1760
Married bef 1775, wife unknown.
Children: One known child named John Jr. b. bef. 1775
Resided: 1791 Sumner Co., TN tax list. 1794 owned land in Sumner Co. that bordered William Pryor who was from Botetourt Co., VA.
Connection: 1796 witnessed land survey for Richard Pryor in Logan Co., KY. 1794 on the Tax List for Logan Co., KY. Possibly the father of John Jr. who also witnessed same land survey in 1796. Both disappear from Logan Co. records in 1800.

8. John Pryor Jr., Associate of John Sr. in Logan

Born bef 1775
Married there are 3 John Pryor marriages in Logan County: Rebecca Baily,  Polly Heathman, Elizabeth Crawford (between 1800-1803)
Children: None known.
Resided: Logan County, KY.
Connection: 1796 witnessed land survey for Richard Pryor in Logan Co., KY. 1794 on the Tax List for Logan Co., KY. Possibly the father of John Jr. who also witnessed same land survey in 1796. Both disappear from Logan Co. records in 1800.

9. John Pryor of Edgefield, SC

1790 Census, Edgefield, SC

10. John Pryor of Warren Co., NC

1790 Census, Warren Co., NC

11. John Prior of Charleston, SC

1790 Census, Charleston, SC

Possibly related to Catherine Pryor who married Thomas Dozier possibly in Lunenburg Co., VA, parents of Prior Dozier.

… And the Northern John Pryors

1790 Census, John Pryor, Middlesex Co., CT
1790 Census, John Prior, Lincoln Co., ME
1790 Census, John Prior, Hampshire Co., MA
1790 Census, John Prior, Albany Co., NY
1790 Census, John Prior, Richmond Co., NY
1790 Census, John Prior, Washington Co., PA

I’ve racked my brain over these John Pryors. One of my questions I’ve asked…”Are any of these the same man listed twice?”

I considered that perhaps the John at Fort Donnally was the same John Pryor who was in Louisville (Nathaniel Pryor’s father). John was on the tax list in KY in 1789, so I have a hard time reconciling that this is the same person as the John who to have been killed by Indians in 1780. I don’t know. I have problems with this one.

I’ve considered the John Pryor who was in Logan County. Did he go back and forth in the wilderness? Is he a duplicate of another Pryor?

I also wonder… “Where did they go?” Especially the John Pryor who was in Logan Co., KY with Richard and Mourning Pryor. Are these the Pryors from KY who turn up in Gasconade County, MO? I’ve looked at Pleasant Pryor who was also in Gasconade County. He was from Tennessee and has often been associated with the Pryors from White Co., TN. I just can’t put them together, but they look like they are connected — marriages into the Simpson family, moves to Maries Co., MO and appearances on Bates Co., MO census records.

I hope this helps to keep the Johns separate in our research. If you see an error, please let me know.


Murder on the Racetrack – The Death of Beverly Pryor (1836)

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I tell you, I find more deaths of Pryors that take place around gambling and horse racing.  A warm day in the South, the passions of a horse race, probably some  high-stakes gambling, top it off with perhaps a bit of alcohol and what you’ve got is a recipe for disaster. And so goes the story of the death of Beverly Pryor in 1836.

A Mr. Beverly Pryor, a young man from the neighborhood of Huntsville, Alabama, suspecting there had been foul play in the race, attacked and knocked down one of the trainers. Mr. Eli Abbott, of this town, the Proprietor of the Race Course, remonstrated with him on such conduct, and told him that a race-ground was not a proper place for such disturbances. Upon this Pryor drew a pistol, pushed the muzzle into the face of Abbott, so violently as to take off the skin, telling him at the same time to draw and defend himself. Abbott declared that he had no pistol. Just at this time, a man by the name of McRhodes, Pryor’s friend, snapped a pistol at Abott, which momentarily drew off the attention of Pryor. Abbott taking advantage of the occasion, instantly drew a large knife, plunged it into the breast of Pryor, turned and severely wounded McRhodes, who made off, and Abbott followed him. Pryor, though mortally wounded, pursued Abbott some fifteen or twenty paces, snapped his pistol repeatedly at him, then fell and expired without a groan.

We saw young Pryor early in the day, riding about town, in all the flesh and pride of youth, and in a few brief hours, we saw him borue (sic) back a corpse, his father attending him, covered with the blood of his son, which he had got on his clothes in supporting him on the ground in his death struggle! What a spectacle! And what a sudden and awful transit from all the gayety and buoyancy of youth to the cold an unrelenting arms of death! The grieved and disconsolate father has had the corpse carried to Alabama, to be buried at his family residence….
— Miss. Free Press, re-published in the Adams Sentinel, Gettysburg, PA on 13 June 1836

These stories fascinate me. Which Pryor was involved? What was the story of their lives? How were they all involved in horse racing.  Oh, I would certainly like to know who Beverly Pryor was! Remember the Beverly’s were one of the wealthy tidewater families in VA. Major John Pryor (of Richmond) — his first wife was Anne Beverly Whiting. The Major was a horse breeder (ie. the horse Federalist).

When I searched for more information on Eli Abbott I found an article on a Sumner Co., TN site that reports he owned a horse named Zelina in 1833 with J. B. Jones, Johnson & Tayloe and Henry H. Tayloe of Alabama (see article). Isn’t it interesting that Major Pryor also had a horse/Tayloe connection? (read my post Captain Pryor in the Revolutionary War?)

I haven’t seen it yet, but there’s an obituary for Beverly Pryor in the Huntsville, Democrat published on 17 May 1836, which means that perhaps Pryor died a month or so before the article made it into the Gettysburg newspaper.

There’s only one Pryor family in the Huntsville, AL (Madison County) area in 1830. That’s Richard Pryor. If Richard is the  father of Beverly Pryor, Beverly may have been the only son in his household on the census, making the story more poignant.

And if Richard Pryor is related to Beverly Pryor, the is he the Richard Pryor who had a racetrack in  Nashville?

Major John Pryor of Richmond… And Gloucester

OpponentsDirty, dirty, politics. If you think things are bad now, well, they were no better in the distant past. On August 27th, 1856 The Weekly Wisconsin published an article titled “The Slanders on Col. Fremont’s Mother.” Apparently this was published about the time that John C. Fremont was considering a run for the White House. His opponents were making accusations that he had been born out of wedlock.

Remember this article was written about 30 years after the death of Maj. John Pryor of Richmond… we’re now almost 200 years from his death.  Perhaps there is some accuracy in this being closer to the events. It states Fremont’s mother was from Gloucester, and Maj. Pryor, her first husband, was also from Gloucester.

I found that interesting because of the connection I’ve pondered between Major Pryor and Christopher Pryor of Gloucester.  It states that the Major was 62 years old when they married (in 1796), but I think they added about 20 years on to his age, perhaps to make him look bad and to make Fremont’s mother look less culpable for leaving the Major. The article states that a divorce was granted before Major Pryor and his wife remarried, yet there is a document that shows the divorce was rejected and no later order granting the divorce. The writer states Pryor remarried his “housekeeper”, when in fact he married the grand-daughter of a well-respected officer of the Revolutionary War who probably had ties to Pryor’s own family.

I suspect Major Pryor has been maligned in history as a slovenly, elderly husband to the young Anne Whiting (later Fremont).  But I’ll take the Gloucester County connection as an interesting lead!