Tag Archives: overton county

Criminal Cases: John/Jonathan Pryor of Sumner County

sheriff-badgeMurder Conviction, 1860

In 1860 JOHN PRYOR was counted on the Davidson Co., TN Census. He was 30 year old, born in TN, and in the State Penitentiary in Nashville. The book “Tennessee Convicts: Early Records of the State Penitentiary by Chuck Sherrill states “Jonathan Pryor was received on March 12, 1860. Convicted of “malicious stabbing” in Sumner Co. and sentenced to 3 years. Age 30. Occupation none. Birthplace Tennessee. Discharged January 2, 1863. Released under the Act of 1863.

In prison ledger 86, number 2128. Additional information for prison ledger 87: Born and raised in Overton Co. Father dead. Mother and one sister, wife and three children live in Sumner Co. One sister and three brothers in Overton County.

Additional records obtained on this John Pryor has caused me to look again and the possibilities of who were his kin.

John’s wife and children are the easiest kin to explain. The divorce record for this John Pryor reveals that his wife was Eliza Beasley and that she filed for divorce in 1860 (Sumner County) because he was incarcerated.. Eliza was counted on the 1860 Census in Sumner Co. The divorce record states that Eliza and John only had one child. Two more children appear to be from John’s first marriage to Ellen Lee: William E. Pryor and Mary Pryor. These children were living with the Mays family in 1860.

An additional suit that names this John Pryor confirms he was AKA Jonathan Pryor, confirm the identity of his first wife, and it confirms his children (see post Sumner County: Jonathan Pryor Who Was in Nashville Penitentiary)

A far as other kin, first let me explain who I think aren’t his parents. I don’t think this is John Pryor, son of James and Nancy Pryor of Overton County.  This other John Pryor was the father of Mary Ellen Pryor born September 1862 to Candis Malone–since this was well into John Pryor’s prison term it probably rules him out.  The children of James and Nancy had no known connections to Sumner County, which also helps to rule them out.

Why don’t I think this John Pryor was a son of John and Massey Pryor? A Jonathan Pryor age 25 was living with Massey Pryor on the 1850 Census at the same time that this John/Jonathan was counted as a head of household with wife Ellen Lee. There’s always the possibility that John/Jonathan was counted twice, however I have to think the census is correct unless there is evidence otherwise.

One scenario, and it’s the one I’ve thought to be correct for some time,  John Pryor is a son of Spicy and William Pryor of Overton Co., TN. This kinship can be explained by census records and the relationships stated in the prison record. First if William was his father, he was deceased by 1860 (he was not counted on the 1850 Census). His mother, Spicy, was counted in 1850 in Overton Co. with a Phereba Pryor in the household. Phereba may be the sister referred to in the prison record as she is counted in 1860 living close to Massy Taylor Pryor in Sumner Co. The sister and three brothers living in Overton Co. were probably Mary Pryor, wife of Loderick Garrett; Edward Pryor, Overton Pryor, and Chesley Pryor.

But wait a minute…

I’m keeping an open mind because as we discovered in 2014 (PRYOR DNA RESULTS: Part 2 William Pryor and Spicy Taylor of Overton County, TN), Chesley Pryor is likely not a genetic child of William and Spicy Pryor. Would John have counted him as a brother? I think because Chesley was integrated into the family as a brother, whether he was adopted or the product of an affair, John would have counted him as a brother.

 

Flowers Family with the Pryors and Campbell County Families in Roane County

5982837164_aa57b8bd61_bThis is a short post of the Flowers family connections between the Pryors and associated lines. The names are all woven together in Campbell Co., VA: Butler, Cunningham, Rector, Pryor, Taylor, Oglesby and Rev. William Flowers. If you look at Overton County records there are Flowers marriages into the Pryor line as well as the Taylor and Garrett families.

  • 1790 Murrell Cunningham on Bill of Sale to John Pryor in 1790
  • 1791 Martin Rector and John Pryor signed Petition in Campbell County.
  • 1792 marriage of John Kington/Kingston to Eleanor Caffrey, witnessed by her cousin Sarah Martin Rector, wife of Martin Rector, by Rev Flowers a Baptist Minister. Per Kington’s Revolutionary War pension. Also states Kington was acquainted with Thomas Butler, another pensioner.
  • 1796 marriage of Henry Boteler to Kesiah Oglesby, by William Flowers
  • 1799 marriage of Sarah Cunningham to William Boteler Jr. Surety William Boteler, Murrell Cunningham. By William Flowers
  • 1800 marriage of Elizabeth Pryor to John Harris, by William Flowers
  • 1802 marriage of Samuel Davidson to Frances Oglesby, by William Flowers (Likely Rev. Samuel Davidson who married William Pryor and Spicy Taylor in 1809. Frances Oglesby was Mary Oglesby’s sister).
  • 1807 marriage of Hezekiah Taylor to Mary Oglesby, by William Flowers
  • abt. 1825 Elizabeth Taylor, daughter of Thomas Taylor of Sumner County, TN married James Flowers.
  • abt. 1836 Overton Pryor married Patsy Flowers in Overton County, TN

Samuel Pryor of Perry County, IL (James and Nancy Pryor Line from Overton Co., TN)

Some time ago I was contacted by a researcher who identified the wife of Samuel Pryor who lived in Perry County, IL. Just passing along this research info.

Samuel Pryor b. 1832 in Tennessee is believed to be a son of James and Nancy Pryor from Overton Co., TN. Samuel left Tennessee with his probable brother Jesse some time between April 1849  and September 29, 1850 when he was counted on the Census in Carroll County, AR (Jesse’s son was born in TN about that time).

Samuel’s wife is reported to be Sarah Jane Poston, also from Overton County, TN. She and her family are on the 1850 Census in Overton Co. Samuel and Sarah married about 1856. Their first child was born in 1857 in Illinois. By 1860, Samuel’s brother Henry Logan Pryor had married Sarah Elizabeth Mize. Both of these Pryor men were counted on the 1860 Census in Perry Co., IL.

If you’re a male who carries the Pryor surname from the line of James and Nancy, there are female researchers who’d appreciate your Y-DNA test through the Pryor project.  https://www.familytreedna.com/group-join.aspx?Group=Pryor. The testing is a mouth swab (no blood needed), and we have a great representation of American and UK Pryor families, so odds are good that you’ll find a match to your family line.

 

Another Pryor Y-DNA Match: News for GA, TN, and VA Pryors

Working GA MapSome big news for some of the Pryors — there is a new Y-DNA test result. This is a tester who can trace their lineage to Edward Pryor of Wilkes Co., GA.  I hope that piques your attention because Edward Pryor is quite a nice find. His son, John, is Patriot ancestor used by researchers for admission to the DAR. If John was an adult at the time of the Revolution how far back does Edward go?–Maybe pretty far back because he signed his will in 1796 (see will).

Thank goodness for an Edward Pryor because it’s refreshing not have to search for another John, William or Samuel!  I’m very interested in the Edward Pryor recorded in Henrico County, VA. Could he be the Edward Pryor in GA?

1. A Nicholas Pryor processioned the land of a Abraham Childress in Henrico County per a 1736 vestry entry.

2. In 1746 David Pryor, deceased, was recorded in Goochland County Records as having sons John and David. Abraham Childress was appointed guardian of the young David.

3. An Edward Pryor was named on a 1757 Vestry record with Lemmy Childers (another spelling for Childress), also in Henrico County.

I’m open to the possibility that this Edward Pryor is connected to Nicholas Pryor (a Nicholas Pryor was deceased by 1746 when a Susannah Pryor was appointed administratrix of his estate in Henrico County). In 1741 John Shoemaker’s deed stated his land in Henrico County was adjacent to “Nikolas Pryor” on Deep Run. In 1754 Edward Pryor was recorded on a deed between Richard East and William Buxton, stating Edward’s land was on Deep Run.  And Edward was still there in 1760 when he was recorded as the owner of land adjoining land William Price.

Time to get down to the results of the Y-DNA test.  The tester for Edward Pryor’s line connects with the tester from William Pryor of Campbell County, VA and Overton Co., TN on 12, 25, 37, 67, and 111 markers. They are a 105 out 111 marker match which according to FTDNA’s infomation, they are related within 7 to 12 generations. (see FTDNA chart)

The tester for Edward can trace their family tree 8 generations to Edward. The tester for William can trace their family tree 6 generations to William and with speculation, two more generations to John who may be the orphan of David Pryor who died in about 1746. Please note these are not family trees carved out of solid stone, but are meant to be guidelines for further research.

 

Criminal Cases: John Pryor One Bad Dude, or Two, or Three?

handcuffs

There are several John Pryors named in criminal cases in Middle Tennessee. The John/Jonathan Pryor in Sumner County is fairly well pinned down in records, however I’ve wondered (as well as some other researchers) if these cases involved several men or one John Pryor who was one really tough customer.

The John Pryor “rap sheet” reads like this:

1840 Involved in an assault in  Overton Co., TN
1847  Murder in Jackson Co., TN– locked up in Jan. 1847 and released from prison in 1852
1860 Convicted of malicious stabbing in Sumner Co., TN and released in 1863.
1869 Alleged to be involved in murder of William Nelson in Jackson Co., TN

Since the 1860 incarceration of John/Jonathan Pryor from Sumner County is the best documented I think it’s a good one to measure all other cases by. It’s known that he had 3 children: William E. born May 1848, Mary Ellen born Aug. 1851, and Luke? born 1859. My post Sumner County: Jonathan Pryor Who Was in Nashville Penitentiary discusses the suit that identifies him as the father of William E and Mary Ellen and his divorce identifies him as the father of the son born in 1859.

The John/Jonathan Pryor incarcerated in 1860 was age 30. That would mean he was 20 years old at the time of the 1840 offence– not an unusual age to be involved in an assault. But what was his real age? He was also 30 on the 1850 Census. Those kinds of age differences between census records are such a nightmare! Which record do you trust for the right age– the penitentiary record or a census? Was he born 1820 or 1830? Either way, he could be the John in Overton County.

It seems highly unlikely that John/Jonathan of Sumner County is the same John who was convicted in Jackson County in 1847. The Jackson County Pryor was locked up when John/Jonathan’s first child was conceived.

Was John/Jonathan the man who killed William Nelson? I suspect not. William Nelson b. 1819 is on the 1860 Census in Jackson County. Mayhew/Mayhugh England b. 1845 was living in Nelson’s household. Mayhew was related to Jeremiah England of White Co., Jackson Co., and Overton Co. Mayhew went to Dent Co., MO with Jackson County Pryors: Leroy B. Pryor b. 1827 and known children of Alfred Pryor b. 1808 SC. Perhaps John Pryor was one of this line of Jackson County Pryors.

Excerpts of the records:

Indictment for Assault and Battery, Overton Co. 1840
The State vs. Stephen Mayfield for the assault of JOHN PRIOR October Term of the circuit court 1840. $75 file and costs of the prosecution.
Prosecuted by William Callom, Attorney General.
State of Tennessee,
Overton County,
October Term of the circuit court eighteen hundred and forty.
The grand jurors for the State of Tennessee elected, e.? service and charged to enquire for the body of the county of Overton in the State Aforesaid upon them oath present and Stephen Mayfield yeoman upon the first day of September 1840 with force and .? In the county of Overton in the State of Tennessee in and upon JOHN PRIOR in the peace of God and our said State then and there being an assault did make and —-? The said JOHN PRIOR did then and there beat? Bruise? Wound and ill treat and other wrongs and injuries to the said JOHN PRIOR then and there did to his —? Damage in contempt of the law of the land and against the peace and dignity of the State. William Cullom, Attorney General. JOHN PRIOR, prosecutor, witness sworn in open court and sent before the grand jury to give evidence in behalf of the State aforesaid this bill of indictment. October 28th 1840. James Harrison, foreman of the Grand Jury.

Murder Conviction, Jackson Co., 1847
Notes from the book “Tennessee Convicts: Early Records of the State Penitentiary” by Chuck Sherrill, JOHN PRYOR from Jackson Co., TN, age 25, convicted of murder. Sentenced to 12 years in the penitentiary. Received on Jan. 13, 1847. Discharged Aug. 27, 1852. This John Pryor can be found on the 1850 Census in the State Penitentiary in Nashville, Davidson Co. He is counted in the 2nd Subdivision, page 308. The census record states his age as 28, occupation laborer, born in Tennessee, convicted 1847 of murder.

Murder of William Nelson, 1869
“WILLIAM NELSON died, R. A. Cox appointed administrator. No Inventory was filed before the burning of the court house. R. A. Cox makes oath above is correct. 1 May 1876.”… “Heirs of Nelson employed myself and DeWitt to prosecute JOHN PRYOR, supposed murder of Nelson after his death, and the Same was continued after my appointment, and valuable services… Cox & DeWitt reasonably worth $100. Papers of estate were burned and destroyed. Nelson I think was killed in the early part of [looks like 1869 changed to 1870]. [No date]. s/s R. A. Cox”
Jackson Co., TN Loose District/Chancery Court Papers Reel #62. Cox, N. – Cox, S.
Genealogical Abstracts by Mary Lu Johnson

Murder Conviction, 1860
In 1860 JOHN PRYOR was counted on the Davidson Co., TN Census. He was in the State Penitentiary in Nashville. The book “Tennessee Convicts: Early Records of the State Penitentiary by Chuck Sherrill states “Jonathan Pryor was received on March 12, 1860. Convicted of malicious stabbing in Sumner Co. and sentenced to 3 years. Age 30. Occupation none. Birthplace Tennessee. Discharged January 2, 1863. Released under the Act of 1863. In prison leger 86 as number 2128. Additional information for prison leger 87: Born and raised in Overton Co. Father dead. Mother and one sister, wife and three children live in Sumner Co. One sister and three brothers in Overton Co. I believe this John Pryor to be a son of Spicy and William Pryor of Overton Co., TN. This kinship can be explained by census records and the relationships stated in the prison record. First it can be assumed that his father, William Pryor, was deceased by 1860 in that he was not counted on the 1850 Census. His mother, Spicy, was counted in 1850 in Overton Co. with a Phereba Pryor in the household. Phereba may be the sister referred to in prison record as she is counted in 1860 living close to Massy Taylor Pryor in Sumner Co. The divorce record for this John Pryor reveals that his wife was Eliza Beasley. Eliza was counted on the 1860 Census in Sumner Co. The divorce record states that Eliza and John only had one child. Two more children appear to be from John’s first marriage to Ellen Lee, William E. Pryor and Mary Pryor. These children were living with the Mays family in 1860. The sister and three brothers living in Overton Co. were probably Mary Pryor, wife of Loderick Garrett; Edward Pryor, Overton Pryor, and Chesley Pryor.