Tag Archives: Montgomery County

Elizabeth Gaines Pryor Obit – 1912

The obituary of Elizabeth Gaines Pryor published in The Tennessean on 28 Jun 1912 provides some great nuggets to piece together this branch of the Pryor family.elizabeth-gaines-pryor-obit1

Elizabeth Gaines Pryor in the census records:

1910 Census Hamilton Co., TN
Chattanooga 1st Ward, ED#45, sheet 1b, house 203/15 William PRYOR 34 KY VA VA, insurance agent. Ruta wife 33 TN TN TN. Elizabeth PRYOR mother 72 widow VA VA VA (See 1912 death)

1900 Census Chattanooga, Hamilton Co., TN
10th Dist., page 91a, house 616 Oak St. Elizabeth H. PRYOR 10/1837 62 widow 10 children/2 living VA VA VA, William H. son 7/1875 24 KY VA VA, Philip J. son 7/1883 19 TN VA VA.

1880 Census Montgomery Co., TN
Samuel E. PRYOR 45 KY KY KY, Eliz F 40 wife KY KY KY, Mary C 14 dau KY, Sam 14 son KY, Martha 12, William 5, Virginia 3.

1870 Census Todd Co., KY
Trenton Twp. Page 461a. Samuel D. PRYOR 35 farmer VA, Elizabeth 32 VA, Richard G. 11 VA, Elizabeth V. 9 VA, Mary C. 6 VA, Samuel 4 VA, Pattie 2 VA, Samuel Gains 28 lawyer VA, Ada S. 22 VA, Frances 1 VA.

1860 Census Charlotte Co., VA
Charlotte Court House, page 247 house 422 Richard J Gaines 60 farmer Charlotte VA, Eliza W. 58 Charlotte VA, Mary C 28 Charlotte VA, Robt. H. 26 Charlotte VA, Robt. C. Bouldin 27 lawyer Charlotte VA, Mary R. 27 Charlotte VA, M. M. Bouldin (f) 8 Prince Edward Co. VA, Eliza L Bouldin 1 Charlotte VA, Sallie H. Morton 12 Charlotte VA, Wm J Roach 20 overseer Charlotte VA
Charlotte Court House, page 247 house 423 Sam E. PRYOR 26 Dinwiddie Co VA, Bettie F. 22 Charlotte Co. VA, R. G. Pryor (m) 2 Charlotte Co. VA

“Blackleg” Richard Pryor and A Killing In Catahoula Parish, LA

duel-1
On 27 July 1852, the Woodville Republican (Woodville is in Wilkinson County, MS) reported on two homicides in Catahoula Parish, LA. These were really nasty killings where a group of men laid wait in the tall grass and behind trees waiting for their intended victims and then when their had them within shooting range, they apparently killed them while they were still seated in the buggy in a one-sided barrage of gun power. Oh yes, there was a Pryor involved!

Reading stories about the murder of these men it brings to mind mountain-men feuds. It started in 1848 between an unidentified woman and Charles Jones who was living on Black River near St. John R. Liddell. The woman shot Jones in the presence of Liddell. Jones went away for 4 years then returned with a man named Richard Pryor. The feud erupted again, leading to the event where Samuel Glenn and Moses Wiggins were waylayed and killed on the road to Trinity– allegedly killed by St. John R. Liddell. It was all a horrible case of mistaken identity because Liddell thought he was killing Charles Jones’ friend Richard Pryor!

Just so you know, these weren’t poor hill folk. Liddell was the owner of a large plantation, he had attended the military academy at West Point, and he was a friend of the future Confederate President, Jefferson Davis (see Wikipedia). Did Liddell’s position reflect later in the damaging testimony about Pryor’s character?

By 1854 the case of the State of Louisiana vs. St. John R. Liddell was in front of a Grand Jury and there’s some interesting testimony about nasty characters, smeared honor, Glen and Wiggins’ buggy was previously owned by Richard Pryor (see report in 14 June 1854 The Independent, Harrisonburg, LA ).

Witness Grant Lincecum stated he “is very well acquainted with the man Dick Pryor; has known him, off and on, for many a year.” Lincecum is on the 1850 Census in Catahoula Parish he was born 1798 in Georgia. His profession was recorded as MD– is that a medical doctor? Wouldn’t be interesting to know how their paths had crossed in the past? Perhaps there would be a clue to the identity to Richard Pryor!  The witness further testified “Pryor was a notoriously bad character–he was a gambler and a horse-racer. Witness believes that he was the worst man that ever went unhung. Witness did not testify before the Grand Jury which found this bill.”

Another witness, Mr. Laningham stated, “Pryor, Sam Smith, Emerson, Glenn and Wiggins were in the habit of coming to Trinity armed, and making threats against Liddell and his friends.”

Why did one newspaper account refer to Pryor as a “blackleg”? Well the testimony of C.C. Waters states “On the same day, Pryor, while standing on the gallery of Mr. Robb’s store, offered to bet one thousand dollars that Maj Liddell would be killed in less than twelve months from that time, and offered to give two hundred dollars to any man that would get him the bet.” He also swore, “Pryor offered to shoot the top off of the head of any of Liddell’s fighting friends who would show themselves.” Then “At one time saw Pryor and Sam Smith get their guns and go up the street towards the Saw-mill , witness believes to hunt Capt. Phillips” (a friend of Liddell’s).

Felix Robb describes Pryor as quite the colorful character: “Pryor had been but a short time in the country**, only a few weeks, and left soon after Glenn and Wiggins were killed. Pryor had no property here: witness understood that Pryor spoke of buying or of having bought some land somewhere in this Parish, but believes it was a a pretense. Pryor was a notoriously bad character, given to gambling, rioting, and fighting.”

I know you may be running login to an online census record to ID Richard Pryor. I’m thinking we can already ID him from other accounts of a hot-headed Dick Pryor.  I really don’t look for all road to lead to Tennessee but I think on this trip we’re going there again! Remember sweet old Miss Jane H. Thomas who had memories of a Dick Pryor who engaged in horse racing in Nashville? (see post). Of course there could be 2 Dick Pryors who were gamblers and horse-racers. What are the odds?

And could he be the same Richard Pryor who was using enslaved boys as jockeys at his racetrack near Nashville and maybe in Montgomery County, TN? (see post). There are just a few Richard Pryors on the 1850 Census who could possibly be the one who showed up in Catahoula Parish.

Now, because it’s always fun to know how things turned out– what ever happened to St. John Liddell? Well the feud between Liddell and Charles Jones reignited in January 1870 over a real estate deal when John Nixon was shot by C W Carmack, a cashier at the Citizens Bank. Carmack had done a slick property sale for Charles Jones without notifying the firm that employed Nixon as an agent. An article published in the Ouachita Telegraph mentions that Nixon had $20,000 in life insurance — that’s quite a chunk of change at that time. It must have been a dangerous area to be doing business.

Liddell was killed a couple weeks later. He had boarded a river boat and had sat down to dinner. Charles Jones boarded the same boat and when he came in Liddell attempted to take a shot at him, but Jones shot first, killing Liddell (read more online). Liddell also had a chunk of life insurance:

NEW ORLEANS, March 22, 1870.
To Gen. Dabnov H. Maury, Agent of Piedmont and
Arlington Life Insurance Company
My Dear Sir:– Accept my thanks for the prompt and agreeable manner in which your company has acknowledged and made payment on the policy taken out by the late Gen. St. John R. Liddell for the benefit of his daughter, Mrs. Louisa Liddell McMillan. Cordially commending your company to the confidence of your people. I remain, very respectfully, yours,
W. P. McMillan, M.D.
The Ouachita Telegraph (Monroe, LA), 30 April 1870

** I read several articles published in Louisiana newspapers which use “country” to denote locale not that some one was from a foreign country.

Edward L Pryor of Hempstead County AR and TN

tn-pryors
All roads lead to Tennessee, right? Looking at the relationship of Charles R Pryor to the Hempstead County Pryors, I ended up looking at Edward L. Pryor again. Why? Because Edward L. Pryor of Hempstead County signed the Executor’s Bond when Charles handled Virginia Pryor‘s estate in 1865. Did he sign as a relative or because he was a neighbor?

Edward L. Pryor b. 1805. Ryburn vs. Pryor filed in Arkansas confirms his father’s was Samuel Pryor of Montgomery Co., TN. Samuel had 2 other known children (see Samuel B Pryor and Bernard H. Pryor of McCracken County, KY). These other children were born in 1825 and 1835, perhaps they were children from a second marriage.

Samuel was born between 1771 and 1780 when counted on the 1830 Census (Montgomery County, TN)– I told you Tennessee would come into play again! That means he was possibly in his 60’s when he died and a guardian bond was filed for the two young Pryors in 1837.

Edward L. Pryor was on the 1836 Tax List in Hardeman Co., TN. In the same year his father, Samuel’s estate was being handled through the Hardeman County Probate court. Samuel must have died without a will because E. L. Pryor (Edward L?) was appointed the administrator.

samuel pryor edward the admin

The probate file also names other Pryors who were heirs: Ann F. Pryor, widow, Richard H. Pryor, Miss Frances A. Pryor, Bernard H Pryor, Miss Attaway E Pryor.

samuel pryor legatees list

If Samuel was on the 1830 Census then surely he was on the 1820 Census. I’m thinking he may be the Samuel Pryor who was in Christian County, KY in 1820. The number of whites and slaves counted were very similar with both entries — 8 whites and 13 slaves in 1820, 11 whites and 12 slaves in 1830. Clarksville in Montgomery County is a bit over 30 miles from Hopkinsville, Christian County.

Bernard H Pryor was in Trigg county and counted on the 1850 Census. Samuel’s 1836 probate probably also explains the Bernard’s relationship to the Frances A Pryor age 23 who was living in his household on the 1850 Census — his sister. I’ve wondered if Ann F. Pryor, Samuel’s widow, is the woman who’s buried in Trigg County, KY under the name Frances Ann Pryor d. 1847 (see FindAGrave.com).

Entomb’d beneath this
sacred urn
She lies whom many
children mourn.
Not for her lone but there’s
she gone
To praise er Saviour
at His throne
Where songs of joy
and peace and love
Ever delight the blest above.
— inscription on Frances Ann Pryor’s grave marker

 

 

Connecting Richard Pryor to Dick Pryor’s Racetrack in Nashville

A runaway slave offers our next clue in the identity of Richard Pryor who had a horse track in Nashville.

In 1832 a $100 reward was offered for the return of a runaway slave, a mulatto young man by the name of Warren, aka John. He was 17 or 18 years old and about 4ft. 6in (dang, that’s small by today’s standards!).  He spoke English, French, and Spanish which makes me wonder if he was from the Caribbean or had traveled. The ad placed for his return stated,  “He was in Clarksville, on Cumberland river, Montgomery county, Tenn., and was when a boy owned by Richard Pryor, who employed him as a race-rider in Lexington, Bowling Green, Nashville and other places. He was afterwards sold to Livingston Lewis Leavell of Trenton Christian Co., KY. who brought him to new Orleans, about 4 years and a half ago.”
http://aquila.usm.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1003&context=drs

Yes there’s a Livingston Levell living in Christian County on the 1830 Census, but more importantly it gives us more insight into Richard “Dick” Pryor and his racing activities. One glaring thing is that he was using child slaves as jockeys. The ad also indicates he was traveling between the Kentucky towns named, Nashville and perhaps also in Clarksville.

There was William Pryor, the young naval mid-shipman from Clarksville, who had been gambling in Nashville when killed (read post). I’ve speculated that he was the son of Samuel counted on the census records in Montgomery Co., TN. I’ve also speculated that Samuel was the brother of Thornton Pryor and one of the Bourbon County, KY Pryors who were horse-trading in Nashville. We also know from the truncated will of Joseph Pryor of Bourbon county that he had sons named Samuel, Thornton, and Richard. This is looking like a solid lead toward identifying Richard Pryor and  his racetrack.

 

More on the Murder of William Pryor (Nashville 1833)

Nashville, TN PryorRemember the account of William Pryor who was murdered in Nashville in 1833? (see post) I can’t resist working on a 180 year old murder mystery. This probably goes beyond a cold case. It’s downright frozen!

I found another report of the murder. There aren’t any more details, but it’s interesting to know where it was reported: The Military and Naval Magazine of the United States, Vol. 1, from March to August 1833. It was reported under Deaths in the General Intelligence section.

At Nashville, Tenn. Mid. WILLIAM PRYOR, murdered.

If William was in the Navy, what was he doing in Nashville? I found in another version of The Military and Naval Magazine of the United States, Volumes 1-2, William Pryor was listed as a midshipman as of 11 Feb 1832 and murdered April 1833. His rank confirms he was in the Navy and the dates firm up that this is the same Pryor I wrote of earlier.

The initial report said he was from Clarksville, TN (Montgomery County). All the twists and turns. It does get to be interesting.