Tag Archives: nathaniel pryor

Is There A Relationship Between the Rogers and Pryor Families?

pryor cards 2Isn’t it like a long-played game of Concentration?– turning over all the clues looking for a Pryor match? When a name continues to pop up in Pryor research it’s probably worth sharing. I have the feeling that John Rogers is about as popular a name as John Pryor.  After seeing John Rogers on so many Pryor documents I began to wonder if there was a connection between the Rogers and the Pryor families.

1740 Indenture Goochland County, NC – On 17 Sep 1740, the purchase of a tract of land by William New from Thomas Thornell. The land was on the North Side of the James River, 150 acres that had belonged to Edmund New, deceased, bordered by Thomas Bailey, Ebenezer Adams, Robert Rogers, David Patterson, Major Lewis. Signed by William and Pricsilla New. Witnessed by James Christian, Robert Christian, and John Prior.


1755 Land Sale, Almance Co., NC – William Cox, planter, bought of William Peggott, saddler, in September, 1755, in consideration of 28 (pounds) Virginia money one hundred acres of land on the south side of Haw river and on Cane creek. This being a tract of land granted to Wm. Peggott by Granville’s agents in February, 1755. In that year John Rogers bought of George Yates, Governor of Virginia, for 15 (pounds) Virginia money, a tract of land lying on the north side of Haw creek in Orange in the presence of John Pryor, trustee, and others.


1770 Land Deed Caswell Co., NC – 4 Dec 1780 – Roger Atkinson of Dinwiddie County VA to Armistead Rogers of Halifax County VA [son of Peter Rogers of Halifax County [VA], deceased] for 500 Pounds, 596 acres on Deep Creek, a tract Atkinson bought of John Pryor. Witnessed by Peter Rogers. Caswell County Deeds 1777-1814. (It’s generally accepted that Roger Atkinson was the grandfather of Roger Atkinson Pryor and that John Pryor may have been the great-grandfather of Roger Atkinson Pryor. Armistead Rogers b. 1750-1760 living in Montgomery Co., TN in 1830)


1785 Land Deed, Halifax Co., NC – 26 Aug 1785 – John Rogers, Sr. of Halifax County VA to Roger Atkinson of Dinwiddie County VA, for 15 Pounds, 100 acres on north side of Hico Creek adjoining John PRYOR, County Line Creek. Halifax County Deed Book E., page 14.



1801 Chancery Court Case Charlotte Co., VA- Samuel Pryor vs. John Harvey, mentions a parcel of land that Pryor purchased in Campbell Co., VA in Aug 1799. Purchased from John Rogers.


1810 Deed Barren Co., KY – Jonathan Davis and wife Margaret to William Shirley. Land on Fallen Timber Creek. Names included Edmund Rogers, John Pryor, Jobe Glover. Wits: Nathaniel Carr, James McLain. Barren Co., KY Deed Book B, p. 339


1811 Tax List for Davidson County, TN – Capt. James Bennings Co. – Richard Pryor (living near him are John Rogers, Burwell Sneed, David Krantz.  (Burwell Sneed is on the 1810 Census in Williamson Co., TN)


1818 Estate Jackson Co., GA – Estate of John Thornton (born about 1775), Penelope Thornton, Prior Thornton, John Rogers, James H. Perdue, George Haney, William Sailors, William Grimes, Sarah Thornton, Polly Thornton, Jackson County Inventories, Appraisals, and Returns 1800-1839.


1819 Estate Settlement, Orange Co., NC – William Rogers, deceased. 31st August 1819, Estate divided among heirs by commissioners in Orange Co., NC. William and John Rogers signed the estate sale as administrators. Other heirs, Luke Pryor, husband of Nelly Rogers (Luke Pryor settled in Williamson Co., TN)


Sept 1831 Notice Crawford Co., AR – Territory of Arkansas, Court Appointed John Rogers the administrator of the estate of Nathaniel Pryor, deceased, Fort Smith, 10th Sept. 1831. The administrator asked all who held debts against Pryor to put in notice for payment from the estate.

William Haynes May Connect Jefferson County KY Pryors in Tennessee and Missouri

handwritingWilliam Haynes is yet another new lead on the Pryors from a name in David Crawford’s 1801 will. Crawford was from Amherst County, VA and filed his will in Jefferson County, KY. The will was witnessed by William Pryor and John Pryor. He mentions land, presumably in KY, that he had purchased from William Haynes.

1801 – Jefferson Co., KY Will
David Crawford, 14 Dec 1801 — 20 Sept 1802; 4 Mar 1805.
To sons David and Reuben, land on Harrods Creek; to Nathan land in Shelby County where he now lives; to daughter Salley Cocke 80 pounds money, money also to daughters Elizabeth Davis and Nancy Jones; to son Charles land bought of Richard Talliaferro adjoining Elias Wells [or Wills]; to sons Nelson and William land in Amherst County, adjoining Buffalo Ridge, granted testator in 1789; to my wife part of land where “I now live,” bought of Robert Johnston and William Haynes; special gift to Nathan “for him not receiving assistance in setting out in life in a remote and distant country”; to son John one half of all lands in Kentucky seruveyed by him.
Exec. Sons John, William S., Nelson and Charles [Crawford]
Bondsman: Charles Taliaferro, Nathaniel Warwick
Witnesses: William Pryor, John Pryor, Stella Sullivan.
Codical dated 14 Mar 1802. Land to son William to be sold and “divided among my legatees”; son John to manage estate. Sons David and Reuben to be “given equally as much as my other children.”
Witnesses: William Pryor and John Pryor, Stella Sullivan.

This may be the same William Haynes and the same William Pryor who appear on a deed in 1805 Stewart County, TN. Just a refresher… That Pryor was likely the William Pryor who was part of Austin’s colony who claimed birth in Botetourt County, VA (see post).

Stewart County, TN. William PRYOR to William HAYNES, 314a; wit: Benjamin DOWNS, W. M. HICKS; 4 Mar 1805

One researcher is looking for a William Haynes who married a Mary Pryor. They point to William and Mary Haynes in MO:

1850 Census Audrain Co., MO
Dist. 4, page 172B, house 245/263 William Haynes 75 farmer VA, Mary 69 VA

1860 Census Sullivan Co., MO
Milan PO, sheet 150, house 1025 Samuel T. Haynes 55 farmer & doctor VA, Nancy 42 KY, Jesse R. 18 MO, Rebecca 12 MO, Malissa C. 10 MO, John W. 7 MO, Hannah 5 MO, Lucinda F. 1 MO, Samuel Parmely 42 KY, William Haynes 86 farmer KY

The William Haynes in MO lived to a ripe ol’ age. He was counted on the 1870 Census at age 96.

I don’t see any independent documentation that states William Haynes married Mary Pryor. I’d be interested in hearing from anyone who has discovered a source for her Pryor surname.

I may have had an “AH-HA” moment. William Haynes is on the 1830 Census in Callaway County, MO.  I  noticed an interesting name on the same page… Robert McClelland. I wonder if this is the same man who was married to Nancy Pryor in 1792 in Jefferson County, KY. McClelland was explorer Nathaniel Pryor’s brother in law– it’s reported that his gravestone was found on William Clark‘s Missouri farm (see article). So, isn’t it interesting that Mr. Haynes from Jefferson County, KY may be counted on the same page with McClelland who was also from Jefferson County and closely associated with the Pryors.

Nathaniel Pryor Reported Dead in 1812

fortA 1919 article on Nathaniel Pryor in published in the The American Historical Review stating that the “myth-making process has already began…[he was] to be transformed into a personality in every way foreign to the man that he was.” I don’t think the myth-making started in 1919. I think it started with their return from the west in 1806. These guys were as famous as astronauts who had gone to the moon!

For example, on 12 February 1812 the Torch Light Advertiser in Hagerstown, MD published a report that a letter dated 5 February sent to a member of Congress. It stated that the Cherokees had run in to Osage territory and killed white traders, including Nathaniel Pryor. Yes, it specifically stated his name and that he had been on the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Another report on 12 March 1812 in the Maryland Gazette (Annapolis) reported that Gen. William Clark had written to his brother in Louisville, KY that there had been an indian raid on the Illinois river and that Nathaniel Pryor had been killed.

This seems to be an erroneous report because Pryor lived into the early 1830’s, however it’s interesting that his connection to the Lewis and Clark expedition was newsworthy even just six years after their return (read about their return in Smithsonian). I think we look at Lewis and Clark as historical figures and not with the same excitement their contemporaries had for their achievement– They had gone head-long into the wilderness, beyond where most of the population dwelled in the original 13 colonies. The members of the Lewis and Clark expedition were the astronauts of their time– maybe akin to Columbus in the eyes of their contemporaries.

How famous were the members of the expedition? Well, Nathaniel Pryor was famous enough to have a “Paul Is dead” story (remember those Beatles rumors?) published about  him. Was he famous enough for a Six Degree of Separation story? Remember that movie where an impostor shows up on a family’s doorstep. In the movie Will Smith’s character claimed to be Sidney Poitier’s son. Every once in a while I consider the Miguel Pryor who showed up in California in the 1820’s and wonder if he was pulling one over on the whole pueblo.

Jacob Pryor / Jacob Reager of Louisville, KY

On 27 February 1883 The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY) published an article titled The Famous Falls. The actual title is a bit more wordy The Famous Falls of the Ohio and Their Pristine Surroundings Eloquently Pictured at the Polytechnic. Yes, quite a mouthful! It is by Col. R. T. Durrett, “Who produces much valuable historical material hitherto hidden.” And he managed to produce a Pryor name I have not seen associated with Louisville!

The topic of Col. Durrett’s speech was on the great floods that the Ohio experienced and how through erosion land was being swept down to the Gulf of Mexico. He mentioned the “great flood” of 1832 and another in 1847 — which swept away landmarks. I suppose this would be important to know for anyone, including genealogists, searching property lines from the old days of Jefferson County.

Durrett mentioned the names of the early explores, but under a separate section he names “Early Settlers.”

Jas. Patton, his wife Mary and three daughters, Martha, Mary, and Peggy. Martha married John Nelson, Mary married John Vaughn, and Peggy married Nathan Pryor.

He mentions also

Jacob Pryor, his wife Elizabeth, his two daughters, Dora and Maria, and his son Henry.

and another family connection

Edward Worthington , his wife Mary, his son Charles and his two sisters, Mary Ann and Elizabeth. Mary Ann married James Graham and Elizabeth (married) Jacob Pryor.

Something must have gotten scrambled. Perhaps it was that darned old handwriting again. Perhaps the “G” looked a bit like a “Y?” I suspect Jacob wasn’t a Pryor. There are several family trees that state his name as Jacob Reager there is indeed a Jacob Reager on the 1789 Jefferson County Tax List. There’s an online family tree that names a Henry Reger — I wonder if this is the Henry, so of Jacob that Durrett was talking about. http://susanleachsnyder.com/Genealogy/Generation7HenryReger.html

Back to chasing down Pryors!

David Ross – Part 5 (Silver, Iron and Smelting)

I can’t let go of David Ross. His connections to the Pryors are fascinating!

David Ross ran the Oxford Iron Works and helped to arm the Virginia militia during the Revolution.  Whether it was by a land grant for his war effort or his own entrepreneurism, by 1790 Ross had land and business interests in Tennessee and had agents running his iron works in Sullivan County (see post).

I think I found the connection to Ross and the John Pryor in Sullivan County. If nothing else, they were business partners.

To COL James King’s Iron Works, where thousands of tons of iron were brought to Boat Yard and shipped to distant ports by flatboat.

Now I get it… Kingsport was a PORT. John Pryor and his sons were building the flatboats that were being used to ship Ross’ iron.

Were there other Pryors involved in processing ore? You betcha! Nathaniel Pryor had a lead-smelting furnace on the Mississippi in about 1810-1812, near Dubuque, IA (see LewisAndClarkinKentucky.org).  Now that I know the connection of the flat boats and the water ways it makes sense that Nathaniel Pryor was operating near the river. Why did explorer Nathaniel Pryor turn into lead-smelter Pryor? Maybe I should ask HOW he became a smelter? Does it take skill to create a smelting operation?  Did Nathaniel apprentice in the metal trades as a youth? I did some Google searches to see if I could find out more about smelting or iron works in early Louisville. I was also interested to see if Obadiah Newman was involved in metal processing (remember Nathaniel and his brother were in his care when they were orphaned). I didn’t find an occupation for Newman.

The possible son of Nathaniel Pryor, Miguel Pryor of California, was a fur trapper and silversmith. I wonder if something got lost in the translation. Did he craft fine silverware or was he involved in mining and smelting the metal?

Then there’s William Harding (I’ll write more about him in a few days–there’s a lot to tell!). He was surety for the estate of Nicholas Pryor when he died in 1746 in Goochland County. Harding’s sister, Bethenia, married Nicholas Perkins–their sons Nicholas Perkins Jr. and his brother Constantine were partners in the iron works on Troublesome Creek in Rockingham County, NC.

Looks like they were more than farmers.