Tag Archives: Map

1777 Map of Albemarle County, VA with Augusta, Amherst, Orange and Louisa Borders

I love old maps! They are so useful for figuring out old deeds. This is a great old map that was attached to a 1777 Legislative Petition filed by Albemarle County “inhabitants and freeholders” in favor of a division of the county from western-most point on Louisa line to the lower edge of Scott’s Ferry (the markings on the left end of the Fluvanna River). It may be hand-drawn without any new-fangled GPS, however it’s a good resource for boundaries and locations that were landmarks. Noted on the map is the Fluvanna River and it’s proximity to the James River, county lines, St. Anne’s Parish, Fredricksville Parish, and Charlottesville represented by a star just over the South-West Mountains. I can make out some of the smaller creek names: Cunningham, Green, Carry, Rockfish (which was just over the Amherst County boarder).

Finding Dick Pryor’s Nashville Race Track & Tracking Pryors


Part I: Dick Pryor’s Race Track

The Normal College, later known as the Peabody Normal College was located at 614 Broad St., Nashville. In my previous post (see post) Miss Jane H Thomas stated this was where Dick Pryor and Patton Anderson used to run their race track.

We know the track was a VERY long time ago because Patton Anderson was murdered in 1811. How long the racing went on after his death — I don’t know.

I attempted to find the College using Google Maps, however the address doesn’t appear to exist anymore.  I tried street view to see if I could spot this building on the current site the Peabody buildings associated with Vanderbilt University. No Luck.

Any suggestions for an old map that shows the location?

There’s a Richard Pryor in Capt James Bennings Company on the 1811 Tax List for Davidson County. Nicholas B. Pryor was in another Company clearly designated as the town of Nashville, although the Captain’s name is illegible. That’s about the right time-frame for the Dick Pryor we’re looking for.

In Wallace’s Monthly, a horse magazine published in February 1878, there’s a memoir that recounts meeting General Jackson and Patton Anderson in 1805 while Jackson was racing Truxton. You know you’ve been doing too much Pryor research when you remember the names of their horses!– Jackson bought Truxton from Thornton and Samuel Pryor of Bourbon County, KY (read post about Truxton).

If I were a betting woman… my wager would be that Dick is Richard Pryor a relation of the Bourbon County Pryors.

Part II: Tracking Pryors

I got curious about Miss Jane H. Thomas. Where the heck was she living in 1850 — was she living near any of the Pryors or their kin? I about fell off my seat when I found her on the census. Miss Jane was aged 50, born in VA, living in house 669 with the family of John M. Bass. Bass was the “Prest. U. B. Tenn” with an estate valued at $100,000. Next to them was house 668— James W. McCullough age 25, a carpenter, born in TN with an Elizabeth Pryor age 13 in the household!

This may be a stretch, but it may also be a lead. James W. McCullough married Mildred Yandle in 1846. There’s a Miles Yandle family in house 744 in Rusk County, TX in 1850. In house 766 is Solomon Coates and family who were on the same page with John Bernard and wife Laura Pryor in 1840 in Tipton Co., TN. I’ve always suspected that Laura Pryor was connected to Benjamin W. Pryor b. 1788 in VA and on the 1850 Census in Ellis Co., TX.

I wonder if John Bass was living in the spot in 1840? J. M. Bass is on the census in Ward 4 of Nashville, however there isn’t a woman the age of Miss Jane in the household. A few lines down is the Nashville Female Academy with 225 students.  Is this the school that Miss Jane discussed in her memoir?

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.

Regional Differences Flavor the History of US Regions

I don’t want to inflame a political rumble.

I just want to share an interesting perspective from Tufts University’s magazine article about the early settlers and how their religious beliefs, their work ethic, and their general lifestyle became the flavor of the regions they settled and are part of these regions today.  http://www.tufts.edu/alumni/magazine/fall2013/features/up-in-arms.html

Genealogy perspective… when I stated searching for my Pryor family in Tennessee (Greater Appalachia per this theory) I had a hard time reconciling the landed gentry Pryors I was finding in Tidewater area that encompasses most of Virginia. I’ve got a few other genealogy brick walls — need to take another look.

Some may look at the map and wonder how we’ll ever get along. I look at it and see the amazing 200 year experiment in a nation. Vive la diference!

Category: In Context of History | Tags:

Location of Major John Pryor’s Haymarket Gardens in Richmond, VA


I’ve wondered for some time where the Haymarket Gardens amusement park was located in Richmond, VA. This was the house and park owned by Major John Pryor, retired Revolutionary War soldier and ex-husband of Anne Beverly Whiting. I stumbled upon a map of Poe’s Richmond. Yes, that’s the same guy who was the founder of modern mystery fiction, author Edgar Allen Poe. Who knew that Poe would even remotely tie into the Pryors!

Ann Beverly Whiting, the future mother of explorer John C Fremont lived there. President Jefferson’s cousin stayed there and to some accounts was treated more like a servant than a house guest. Major Pryor’s Revolutionary War Widow’s pension file has a sworn statement in it that Rev. Edmund Lacy, a methodist minister, performed Major Pryor’s second marriage to Elizabeth Quarles Graves at Haymarket Gardens.

The map states “1799 site of Pryor’s or Haymarket Gardens, was on Petersburg R. R. Station location, Byrd and 7th Sts.” I’ve added a small red dot to mark the location above. Major Pryor died in 1823, while Poe was living in Richmond. I wonder if the Haymarket was still in operation at that time or if had already closed to make way for the railroad station.

I wonder where Major Pryor was buried. Centenary Methodist is a 200 year old church in the Richmond.