Tag Archives: President Jefferson

Spotted A Pryor Near Isham Jefferson in Todd County, KY

Isham Jefferson in Todd County KY

1860 Census, Todd Co., KY
Elkton PO, Page 698, house 185 I. R. Jefferson 69 farmer 20,000 real estate/ 30,000 personal estate VA, S. A. (f) 52 VA, Wm A 24 lawyer KY, W. B. 19 student KY, S. E. (f) 17 KY, Nanie 13 KY, West 8 KY.

I. R. was Isham Randolph Jefferson, son of John Randolph Jefferson (the brother of President Thomas Jefferson). Isham was a son from Randolph’s first marriage, Randolph’s second marriage was to Mitchie Pryor of Buckingham County, VA. Isham Jefferson died in 1862, an obit was published in the Memphis Daily Appeal, 19 Aug 1862:

John Randolph Jefferson (sic), a nephew and adopted son of the immortal Thomas Jefferson, died on the 6th of July last, at his residence in Todd County, Kentucky, in the seventy-first year of his age. The personal resemblance which he bore to the great author of the Declaration of Independence is said to have been astonishingly striking.

So who was the Pryor counted just 4 lines from Isham on the 1860 Census?

Elkton PO., Page 698, house 189 William Pryor 47 TN, Frances 21 KY, M. J. (f) 2 KY, J. L. 1w? (m) KY, J. N. Harris 21 male farmer KY.


William Harding – Key Man Among the Virginia Pryors

William Harding connected to Nicholas PryorEee gads, I know I created this chart, but really, every time I look at it I think it looks fractured and glued haphazzardly back together again. There are connections EVERYWHERE. There are lines of Pryors I don’t know if they really belong together, but they all seem to merge through William Harding.

Hello, William Harding!

I know it was a “small world” back in Colonial Virginia, but I think the number of connections between William Harding and the Pryors is astounding.

1. William Harding posted surety for the estate of Nicholas Pryor in 1746 (Goochland County, VA)

2. In 1751 William Pryor sold Albemarle County land to William Harding. This is the William Pryor who was engaged in a Henrico County suit with Grace Lafoon (Lafon). I suspect William was a son of Nicholas Pryor. He was also the father of Capt. William Pryor of Amherst Co., Nicholas, John of Fort Donnally, and Susannah.

3. When William Harding‘s daughter Sally married Thomas Pollard at St. James Northam in Goochland County, William Meriwether was surety. William Meriwether was also surety in 1760 for the marriage of Samuel Pryor (son of Samuel and Prudence) when he married Frances Morton Meriwether.

4. William Harding‘s sister Bethenia married Nicholas Perkins. Bethenia’s children married Pryors: Susannah Perkins married Green Pryor and Nicholas Perkins married Leah Pryor. Green and Leah were children of John Henry Pryor who died 1771 in Orange County, NC.

5. William Harding‘s sister Susannah married Capt. Charles Ellis. Their grand-daughter, Elizabeth Wright,  married Capt. William Pryor of Amherst County, VA.

I’ve written about Capt. Ellis in the past [see The Last of the Virginia Chancery Court Records] and his association with Peter Jefferson (father of President Thomas Jefferson) and military service in the 1750’s with a Richard, Nicholas, and William Pryor.

Is Nicholas Pryor who died in 1746 the man some researchers ID as F. Nicholas Pryor? I’ve thought he was Nicholas the headright who arrived in Henrico County in 1688.

Is the F for Frank or Francis Pryor? Could he be Francis Pryor the son of Samuel and Prudence Thornton?

I feel like I’m getting to know everyone in town.

John C. Pryor’s Letter to President Thomas Jefferson

Old Clerk’s Office, Prince Edward County

Nicholas B. Pryor wasn’t the only Pryor who wanted help from President Jefferson to get a job. Just a year later Nicholas’ brother John C. Pryor also wrote to Jefferson http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/03-07-02-0018. John wanted to be appointed to position as a tax collector.  The little touch on this letter that really is a boon to the genealogist is that John added his location: “Hermitage, Prince Edward.”

In 1809 John C’s and Nicholas’ brothers Zachariah B. and Banister S. were summoned from Buckingham County (their home county) to testify in a Chancery Court case in Prince Edward County. Banister was recorded as the Post Master in Hermitage, Prince Edward County in 1817.

I love this line of Pryors — they were all so intent upon getting government positions that they left trails all over the place! Banister was not only the Post Master in 1817, but also recorded as the Post Master in Hermitage in 1831 AND in 1840 he was the Post Master in Red House, Charlotte County.  Nicholas B. wanted a military appointment and after moving to Nashville served as a county commissioner.  When Nicholas’ children moved on to Arkansas his son by the same name served as Post Master and as did another son, Cornelius David Pryor.

John C. Pryor didn’t get the job as a tax collector. An article in Virginia Magazine of History and Biography states that John C. Pryor was a judge by the time he settled in Desoto County, MS. Even better evidence is a will I located online which he signed in 1846 as a judge in the probate court. http://msgw.org/desoto/court/campamiel.html. So it appears that eventually he too served in a public position.

Nicholas B. Pryor’s Letter to President Thomas Jefferson


OK, I admit sometimes I drool over Thomas Jefferson like he was a rock star. But isn’t it fun when you can tie family research with one of the Founding Fathers? The National Archives has been putting Founding Fathers documents online. Hazzah! Double Hazzah!… the website is cross referenced so when you find one thing you easily find more. Oh yea, this is a history junkie’s dream!

On August 7, 1812 Nicholas B. Pryor of Nashville (one of our Sumner County and Overton County, TN cousins! He’s my 1st cousin x6) wrote to Jefferson asking for help with a military appointment http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Jefferson/03-05-02-0238. The letter made it’s way from Nashville to Jefferson’s desk at Monticello (he was retired by 1809). Perhaps because Nicholas’ sister Mitchie Pryor was married to Jefferson’s brother, the letter didn’t sit at the bottom of a slush pile– On August 24 Jefferson wrote to William Eustis, the Secretary of War, recommending Pryor and he also responded to Pryor. I wonder if Jefferson used that wild letter copying device they have at Monticello! http://www.monticello.org/site/house-and-gardens/polygraph

Jefferson mentioned in the letter that he knew Pryor from a neighboring county. Hmmm, he failed to mention their relationship by marriage–they were brother-in-laws. Now that’s an interesting little insight into Thomas Jefferson. Guess he had been involved in the political system long enough to  know how to move along a political appointment. https://tennesseepryors.com/virginia-pryors/the-pryors-and-their-jeffersonian-connections/

The Pryors and Their Jeffersonian Connections

You’d think a Jeffersonian connection, especially when it to an American President, a  founding father, would be documented and easy to trace. It’s not so easy when it comes to the Pryors and their connection to Thomas Jefferson.  Jefferson was born in 1743 in Albemarle County. Jefferson is probably a good reflection of how the affluent Pryors lived in colonial and early-American times. He saw himself as a yeoman farmer, an educated gentleman. These are three Pryors who had a connection to our third president.

Mitchie Pryor born about 1759 her Jeffersonian connection was through marriage to  John Randolph Jefferson born 1755. John was the brother of the third US President, Thomas Jefferson.  John and Thomas were sons of Jane Randolph, from a prominent Virginia family.  The Jeffersons owned land in Albemarle County (President Jefferson’s home Monticello is located near Charlottesville in the same county). Mitchie is reportedly a daughter of David Pryor and Susannah Ballow of Buckingham Co., VA.  Upon David Pryor’s death in 1804, Susannah moved to Nashville, TN with her son Nicholas Ballow Pryor, her daughter Mitchie (who remarried to Josiah Johnson in 1819 in Nashville), her son John C. Pryor who settled in Franklin, TN, another son Leonard Pryor who died in Sumner Co. in 1830, and her son Zachariah B. who also settled in Nashville.

Sgt. Nathaniel Pryor is connected to President Jefferson by his participation in the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1803. Pryor was living the pioneer life in “wild west” which was Louisville, KY before he set off on the trek across the continent.  His father John Pryor was on the 1789 tax list for Jefferson County, KY and probably died before 1791 when orphans Nathaniel and Robert Pryor were bound out to Obadiah Newman.  If the boys were minors in 1791, they were likely born in the late 1770’s or early 1780’s. So how was Nathaniel Pryor living in a fairly remote area tapped for the expedition? While I haven’t made a connection, it should be noted that Meriwether Lewis was selected by President Jefferson to lead the expedition.  Prominent Pryors from Virginia were connected to the Meriwethers and Lewis families: for example Martha “Patsy” Pryor daughter of William Pryor and Elizabeth Hughes married Robert Meriwether and were on the 1850 Census in Goochland County; and Frances Morton who married Dr. Samuel Pryor in 1760 in Goochland County, later married Nicholas Meriwether. One has to wonder if Nathaniel Pryor knew Lewis as a kinsman, neighbor, or comrade on the frontier… or as all of these.

Major John Pryor who married Anne Beverly Whiting (see post Major John Pryor of Richmond, VA & John C Fremont Connection) also had a connection to Jefferson.  The book “Scandal at Bizarre: Rumor and Reputation in Jefferson’s American” tells of Nancy Randolph (remember the President’s mother was a Randolph). When Nancy was a teen it was alleged that she became pregnant out of wedlock, gave birth, and her brother in law had assisted in the murder of the baby. Nancy, a tarnished woman, lived off the generosity of relatives. President Jefferson provided her living accommodations at Monticello in 1799 and again in 1804. By 1807 she was living in Richmond with John Pryor and his wife Anne, described as the proprietors of the pleasure park Haymarket Gardens. Apparently this was no Disneyland and was an area known for drinking, gambling and cockfights.  So were the Maj. and Mrs. Pryor kin of Nancy Randolph? Was Major Pryor an uncle to Mitchie Pryor who married into the Jeffersons?