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Charlotte Pryor Born 1816 in Mississippi

The following information on Charlotte Pryor, an African American woman born in Mississippi before the Civil War was previously published online.

Charlotte Pryor b. 1816 in Mississippi. I stumbled upon an interesting Pryor connection while looking at Pryors families in New Jersey census records.

In 1880 John Benjamin Pryor, formerly of Adams Co., MS was living in NJ. Several of his children were living in his household but an older daughter, Frances, is unaccounted for. I found the household of Thomas D. Day and wife Fanny living in Bayonne, NJ. Also in the house hold was a African-American nurse, Charlotte Pryor.

Mrs. Fanny Day was born in 1845 in MS and had parents who were born in VA and MS, wile Frances daughter of John Benjamin Pryor and his African American wife Frances Bingaman, was born in 1850 in MS with parents respectively from VA and MS.

I located Thomas Day and his wife Fanny on the 1870 Census living in Brooklyn, NY. Using the 1870 and 1880 Census their children have been identified as Mary Helen, Newton H., Thomas D. Jr., James Ingersoll, Francis “Frank”, William D., and Sarah. Charlotte Pryor was born SC aged 50 was also living with the family in 1870, as was Catherine Overton from MD (black), and Jane Lane 24 from VA (black) and an additional white family member named Emma Helm 24 from MS.

The only members of the Day family I can find in 1900 and afterwards are Newton H. Day and his brother Frank H. Day. On the 1920 and 1930 Census Newton H. Day was living in Hempstead, Nassau County, NY. Included in the household was his aunt Elizabeth Gill born about 1858 in the UK and according to the census she immigrated to the US in 1883.

Looking backward in the census records I found a curious connection between the Days and the Pryors. In 1861 John Benjamin Pryor’s daughters Frances and Henrietta were recorded on the UK Census in a boarding school with a British student named Rebecca Day. I also found Emma Helm on the 1850 and 1860 Census in Adams Co., MS. Emma was the daughter of John N. Helm and the sister of Fannie Helm who married Thomas Day on December 13th, 1859 in Adams Co. On the 1860 Census John N. Helm was recorded on page 137 and the household of John Benjamin Pryor was recorded on page 138.

A search of the 1850 and 1860 census did not uncover Charolotte Pryor, so it is assumed that she was not free until after the Civil War. While researching Charlotte Pryor didn’t lead to finding Frances, daughter of John Benjamin Pryor, it has revealed another story. It’s uncertain what relationship Charlotte had to the Pryor family in Adams Co. On the 1850 and 1860 census “J.B.” Pryor didn’t own any slaves that were her age, while his neighbor John N. Helm owned several. It’s possible that Charlotte had once been owned by the Pryors before being sold to the Helms. It’s also possible that she was Frances Helm’s nurse as well as raising her children.

The connection between these families is also questioned by Jane Lane, John Benjamin Pryor’s mother was Ann Batte Lane.

The history of these families connection in Southern slavery and there migration out of the South to the North during and after the Civil War sheds light on the complicated relationships forged out of this period of American History.


1850 Census Adams Co., MS
Page 44b, House 141
Jno. N. Helm, 52 Planter, VA
Helen M., 46 MS (Helen Marie Timberlake)
Laura Helen Pattison, 21 MS
J. Newton Helm, 18 MS
Helen M. Helm, 16
Frances Helm 15 (Fanny Helm married Thomas Day 13 Dec. 1859)
Alice Helm 11
Emma Helm 11
Josephine Helm 8
Ada Postlthwaite 19
Mary H. Penfield, 22, governess, NY

Page 49a
Benj. PRYOR 39 VA
John Alison 18 AL

1860 Census Adams Co., MS
Page 137 (Natchez Twp.), house 991
John N. Helm 62 VA
J. Newton 28 MS
Emma 20 MS
Mary B. 18 MS
Laura Pattison 31 MS
William 9 LA
Margaret 8 LA
Alexander 7 LA
Newton 3 LA

1870 Census Kings Co., NY
Brooklyn, Ward 6
Thomas D. Day 49 OH
Helen 35 MS
Mary H. 9 MO
Newton 8 MS
Thomas B. 6 LA
James I. 4 MO
Francis 1 NJ
William D. 5/12 NJ
Charlotte Pryor 50 mulatto SC
Catharine Overton 22 black MD
Jane Lane 24 black VA

1880 Census Hudson Co., NJ
Bayonne City, 1st ward, page 13B
Thomas D. Day, fire insurance broker, 60 OH MA CT
Fanny 35, wife, MS VA MS
Marie 19 dau, MO OH MS
Newton 18, son MS OH MS
Thomas D. Jr. 16, son, LA
Ingersoll 15, son, MO
Frank 11, son, NJ
William 10, son, NJ
Sarah, 9 dau, NY
Charlotte 64, black, SC SC SC, nurse
McDonald ____? white 40 servant Scotland, Scotland, Scotland

Yankee Pryor Men in Mobile, AL – Helps to Figure Out Who is Who in Alabama Records

mobile-cemeteryI was looking for some of the Virginia Pryors from Moblie, AL and stumbled upon the wills of 2 Pryor men who hailed from the North. Both of these men appear to have probably died without male heirs. Mobile must have quite the cosmopolitan port city as I found several wills (not Pryor related) that mentioned connections to other locations, even one that mentioned the deceased’s father in Scotland.

Will of George Pryor of New York City

The People of the state of New York. To all to whom these presents shall come or may concern. Send Greeting: Know ye that we have inspected the records of our Surrogates court in and for the County of New York do find that on the fifteenth day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty tow before James Campbell Esq. Surrogate of said County the last Will and Testament of George Pryor of the City of New York deceased was duly proved, approved and registered and the administration of all and singular the goods, Chattels and credits of said deceased or any way concerning his said Will was subsequently granted unto Grice Pryor the Executor and Brigham Howe one of the Executors in said Will named they being first duly Sworn will and faithfully to administer the same and to make and _____ a true and perfect Inventory of all and singular the said goods, chattels and credits and also to render a just and true account there of when there unto required which said Will is in the words and figures following to wit.

In the (missing word “name”?) of God Amen. I George Pryor of the City and State of New York. Merchant being weak in body but of sound mind memory and understanding blessed be Almighty God for the same do make, publish, and declare this my last will and Testament that is to say First I do hereby order and direct that my debts and funeral expenses shall be paid by my executors hereinafter mentioned as soon as the same can conveniently be done after my decease. Secondly I give, divide, and bequeath unto my beloved wife Grice and to her executors, administrators, and assigns forever all my household furniture of every kind and description, beds, bedding, plates, and silver ware I also give to my said wife Grice my gold watch to held and kept by her until my daughter Catharine Jane shall attain the age of twenty one years at which time it is my will and request that my said wife shall give the said gold watch to my said daughter. Thirdly, I give, devise, and bequeath to my said wife Grice the one mostly or half part of all the net income rent issues and profits of all my real Estate for and during her natural life. Fourthly I do hereby give, divide, and bequeath unto my daughter Catharine Jane and to her heirs and assigns forever subject nevertheless the right to my wife Grice to receive and enjoy the one moiety or half part of the nec income rents issues and profits there of during her natural life. Fifthly I do hereby order and direct that the Mortgage executed by me and my said wife Grice and the bond therein described and all other debts and demands due or to become due from my estate shall be paid out of my personal estate as soon as the same can conveniently be done after my decease. Sixthly I do hereby will order and direct that my Brother Jasper Pryor shall have the use of twelve thousand dollars being part of my personal estate for the term of five years from the time of my decease without security and without interest and that my stock of oils and candles shall be taken by him at the cost price thereof as part of said sum of twelve thousand dollars and that at the expiration of the said term of five years the said Jasper shall pay the said sum of twelve thousand dollars to my Executrix and Executors for the use of my estate and I do hereby authorize and empower my Executrix and Executors the survivors or survivor of them if they shall deem it advisable so to do at the expiration of the said term of five years to loan to my said Brother Jasper the said term of five years to loan to my said Brother Jasper the said sum of twelve thousand dollars or a part thereof for the further term of five years to commence at the expiration of the first term of five years without security and at five percent interest per annum. Seventhly, I do hereby give devise and bequeath to my wife and to her executors, administrators and assigns forever the one moiety or half part of all the rest, residue and remainder to my personal estate. Eighthly, I do hereby give, desire, and bequeath unto my daughter Catharine Jane the remaining moiety or half part of all the rest residue and remainder of my personal estate and I do hereby declare that the desires and bequest by me given by this my last Will and testament to my said wife are so given and devised to her and are intended to be in lieu and in bar of her dower or right of dower and thirds(?) in my real and personal estate and in as much as I have provided my brother Jasper with the means of establishing himself in business I do earnestly recommend to him the care and protection of our dear Mother, Sisters, and brother and lastly I do hereby nominate, constitute and appoint my said wife Grice to be executrix and my said brother Jasper and Brigham Howe to be Executors of this my last will and Testament and also to be the Guardians of the person and estate of my said daughter Catharine Jane and I do hereby revoke all other and former Wills by me made in witness whereof. I have hereunto set my hand and seal this thirteenth day of May in the Year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty two.
George Pryor {seal}
Signed sealed published and declared by the above named George Pryer as and for his last will and Testament in our presence who at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses the words executrix and erased and the word Jane added after the word Catharine on this page before the execution here of Floyd T. Ferris residence No. 555 Pearl Street, City of New York. F. Gross residing 207 Henry Street, City of New York. All of which we have caused by these presents to be exemplified and the seal of office of the Surrogate of the County of the New York to be hereto affixed.
Signed by James Campbell of the Surrogate Court on 17 September 1834.
Alabama Probate Records, 1809-1895, Wills 1813-1857, vol. 1, page 204 [familysearch.org, image 119-120]

NOTE: I found Grice Pryor age 70 and daughter Catharine age 39 on the 1870 Census in New York City living on West 27th St, between 6th and Broadway. They were counted twice. The second entry shows and estate of “$40,000 undivided.” Find A Grave indicates Grice and Catharine are buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn.

Will of Asa Prior (MA) and the Estate of His Wife Sarah H. Cornell/Connell Prior (NJ)

NOTE: More research is needed on Asa Prior. A long time ago I located a death notice for an Asa Pryor in the Huntsville Democrat dated 1832. Since his will was not written until 1835 we may be dealing with 2 Asa Pryors or perhaps the date is incorrect on the death notice.

In the name of God Amen. I Asa Prior of the County of Mobile in the State of Alabama being of sound mind do make this my last will and Testament in manner following to wit. All the personal and real estate I may devised or possessed of I hereby give and bequeath to my beloved wife Sarah H. Prior to have and to hold the same to her the said Sarah H Prior her heirs and assigns forever. Hereby requesting my said wife after my decease so to provide by her will or other wise that any personal or real estate which she may receive under and by virtue of this my last will and testament and which she shall not otherwise have disposed of may be given one thousand dollars to my sister Rhoda Bodfish of West Barnstable, Massachusetts** or to her heirs at law in case my said wife should survive my said sister and the remainder to the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Mobile to be by them invested in the Stock of the Bank of Mobile and dividends of such stock to be by said mayor and aldermen appropriated to make and benefit of the Presbyterian Sunday School in the City of Mobile so long as said school my continue and after its discontinuance to such charitable purposes as they the said Mayor and aldermen may think proper. I hereby nominate and appoint my beloved wife Sarah H Prior and my friend Eward (sic) Dunning to be the Executrix and Executor of this my last will and testament.

In testimony whereof I have here unto set my hand and seal at the county of Mobile this the second day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty five.
Signed sealed declared Asa Prior {seal}
and published by the said testator as his last will and testament on the day and year therein named in our presence and at the request of the said testator we have subscribed our names as witnesses in his presence and in presence of each other also on the day and year therein named.
S. Southworth
L. A. Lewis
H. Lewis
Alabama Probate Records, 1809-1895, Wills 1813-1857, vol. 1, page 239 [familysearch.org, image 136]

**Rhoda Bodfish is on the 1850 Census in Barnstable, MA. Her place of birth is recorded as “Do” among births that are cited as MA. Original hand-written town records for Barnstable state she was the mother of Asa Prior Bodfish born in 1817. Please be aware when looking at the Ancestry records that although she is on the 1850 census there is a link to Find A Grave that states her death was 1847, yet the photo of the marker states 1857 and this year is also stated in the town records.

I also found the Administrator Account for the estate of Sarah H. Prior:

To the Hon. Price Williams Jr., Judge of the Court of Probate for the County of Mobile
The petition of James W. Holmes, Thaddeus Harrison respectfully shows that the late Mrs. Sarah H. Prior who was an inhabitant of this county at the time of her death departed this life on the 5th day of February 1880 in Mobile leaving a last will and testament duly Executed by her and attested by Wm. J. Ledyard, Daniel Wheeler and H. R. Holmes who reside in the County in which petitioners are named as Executors which said will is herewith produced and propounded for probate and record. Petitioners further state that the next of kin of said deceased so far as they have been able to ascertain are the children of Moses Lyon deceased the Brother of Mrs. Sarah H. Prior viz Sarah H. Cornell (or Connell?), Elizabeth W. Kellogg, Mary F. Hoe?, Moses Lyon, Jas. W. Lyon, Martha J. Lyon, Asa P Lyon, Kate L Doggs, and John H. Lyon all of whom reside in the state of New York and in or near the City of New York and the children of Richd. Lyon dec’d the brother of Mrs. Sarah H. Prior who resides in the State of Michigan. But at what point your petitioners have been unable to find___. Petitioners are also informed that descedent had relatives in Elizabeth City New Jersey, But how near, how many, or what are the names or ages of these parties in Michigan and New Jersey Petitioners have not been able to ascertain. Petitioners further state that by the provisions of said will many legacies are created and all of the estate of said deceased is disposed of to parties named in the same. In consideration of which petitioners pray that a day may be set for the hearing of the matter of this petition that subpoenas may issue to the subscribing witnesses that due notice may be given to the next of kin of the deceased that such other proceedings orders and decrees may be made as may be requested proper to effect the due probate record of said will according to law.
Note her estate is recorded and “Receipted for by A or “a” Rog. Pryor att.”
Subscribed and sworn to this 31st day of March 1880. S. Stone Clerk.

J. W. Holmes
T. Harrison

Alabama Probate Records, 1809-1895, Administration Accounts 1872-1880, vol. 62-64, page 270 [familysearch.org, image 279]

NOTE: Sarah Prior age 70 was recorded on the 1870 Census in Mobile County, AL. She is recorded as Sarah Hendrix Prior on a Find A Grave memorial, burial at Church Street Cemetery in Mobile, however the gravemarker has not been photographed.