Tag Archives: Orange County

Pryor Genealogy – Searching John Pryor of Orange County, NC and Daughter Dorothy

Sometimes it’s interesting to continue to dig for Pryor genealogy by following the trail of men with the first name Pryor rather than just chasing the surname. You never know if it will lead to related families of the Pryor surname.

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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).

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.

Orange County NC Record Mentions Luke Pryor of Williamson County TN

Looking at NC Pryors I hope to find answers for us questioning our Tennessee Pryor families. Luke Pryor is one of the folks in Williamson County, TN I looked at through probate records a while ago (see post). His wife was Nelly/Eleanor. I looked recently at the will of William Rogers, her father. It adds another piece of documentation to support she was a Rogers.


31st August 1819, Estate divided among heirs by commissioners in Orange Co., NC. William and John Rogers signed the estate sale as administrators.
Wife, Elinor Rogers
William Rogers
John Rogers
Heirs of James Rogers
John Sharp and Luke Prior
—? Holmes, husband of Janet Rogers
John Sharp, husband of Polly Rogers
Luke Pryor, husband of Nelly Rogers
Robert Hunter, husband of Peggy Rogers

Luke Pryor was named on 1805 and 1810 Tax lists in Williamson County, TN. It looks like he may have been living outside of NC at the time of the settlement of his father-in-law’s estate.

My last post may be of significance for anyone searching this line.  The Pryors in Guilford County, NC were connected to the Waggamon/Waggoner family.  When Luke Pryor married Nelly Rogers in Orange County, Peter Waggoner was bondsman (see post).

How Did Col. Samuel Pryor’s Genealogy Get So Messed Up?

Old Goochland Jail

I’ve seen many family trees that rely on the article titled “The Pryor Family” published more than 100 years ago in The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Volume 7 (1899)[copy available in Google Books]. I’ve relied on it myself. But how accurate could an article be that begins

On account of the destruction of county records, this account of the Pryors must be at present rather a collection of data than a connected and complete account of the family…

What this tells me is that the author had some data but it was beyond him to connect up the Pryor family. This doesn’t sound too reliable to me!  Alas, it sounds also sounds too familiar!

The Virginia Magazine article speaks of early land grants to Robert Pryor on Craney Creek in Gloucester County in the late l680’s and early 1690’s.  The article quotes a Mitchell family Bible that is inscribed with the story from the 1780’s that Samuel Pryor married Prudence Thornton and had 10 children- William, John, Thornton, Robert, Luke, Frank (Francis?), Joseph, Nancy, Molly, and Samuel. Because Molly Pryor was the direct ancestor of the Bible owner her year of birth was recorded as 1730. The writer then deduced from her year of birth that Robert on Craney Creek was old enough to be her grandfather and therefore the patriarch of this Pryor line.

The author corresponded with Judge R. A. Pryor in New York. This judge is Roger Atkinson Pryor, the Confederate General who went to New York City after the Civil War.  Judge Pryor used his father’s notes to fill in the pieces of Samuel and Prudence line carried on by their son John Pryor. The Judge didn’t state who John married but we now know from the Chancery Court Records that his wife was Mary Dennis.

I question this long-relied upon article– it comes apart on page 206

William Pryor, of Goochland, from comparison of all data, must have been the son of Colonel Samuel Pryor, with whom the account of the family given in the last number begins. Samuel Pryor, of Amelia and Goochland, must also have been another son.  Francis Pryor, of Orange, named in the Louisa deed, another son.  John Pryor of King and Queen, named in the Hanover deed, was probably a brother of Colonel Samuel Pryor.

I encourage family researchers to slow down and ask questions. Questions like,  What’s the evidence that Francis Pryor of Orange County who deeded land in Louisa County is related to William and his father Samuel? And, where did the author find documentation of a relationship between John Pryor in King and Queen and Col. Samuel and his son William?

The 1768 deed in Louisa County that names Francis Pryor and his wife Frances doesn’t name any other Pryors, nor did the author provide the names of other parties to the deed. I’ve done some online searches and can’t find the deed quoted in full, nor am I able to find any information on this Francis Pryor. There’s certainly not enough information to conclude he’s related to either Col. Samuel or his son William Pryor.

A John Pryor from King and Queen County may be pure speculation and a very poor conclusion. There’s a record of a “Major” Pryor in King and Queen County dated 1747 that mentions land in Brunswick County. The John Pryor in King and Queen records shows up in 1780 and that is Major John Pryor born 1750. He wasn’t even born in 1747 so he can’t be the Major Pryor who showed up on the 1747 record. I looked in Brunswick County and found the older Major Pryor there– named with his wife “Anne” on an 1749 indenture. It’s not the John Pryor, son of son of Col. Samuel Pryor because that John Pryor was married to Mary Dennis, not an Anne.

There’s a 1742 indenture filed in Amelia County for Philip Pryor and wife Ann of Hanover County, VA. The indenture deeded land to William Berry, possibly the same William Berry who married Molly Pryor (a daughter of Col. Samuel Pryor).  Was Philip Pryor the same man as Major Pryor? I think these were two different people because there’s an indenture for Philip Pryor that was witnessed by Major Pryor.

Possession obtained by William Berry in presence of Major Pryor & Timothy Murrell on Mar. 18, 1742. Deed ackn. By Philip Pryor & ordered rec. at Court held Mar. 18, 1742, after Ann, his wife, relinquished her Right of Dower.

While these old genealogy articles may contain histories and records that are no longer available, they need to be used with a spoonful of skepticism. Ask questions and lets get our hands on the old documents!