Tag Archives: president john tyler

President John Tyler and the Tidewater Pryors

Happy President’s Day! I posted a link on the Pryor Surname Facebook page this morning. It’s a link to a CBS Sunday Morning segment that aired yesterday. It’s a small story about President John Tyler.

What I loved about this story was the interview with President Tyler’s grandson. Yes, President Tyler who was born in 1790 has a grandson living today. That remarkable feat is chalked up to the President and his son fathering children long after most people qualify for Medicare. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have that short of leap in our family trees? My ancestors born about 1790 are great-great-great grandparents.

I also thought back on the link President John Tyler has to the Pryors in early America. Mo Rocca points out in his interview that the Tylers had connections with everyone who was anybody in the Tidewater area of Virginia—Pocahantas, Jamestown residents, Thomas Jefferson. Last year I failed to mention the connection of Tyler to the Pryors in Affluent Pryor Families in Virginia. Tyler’s sister Betty Armistead Tyler married John Clayton Pryor (b. 1771-1780) sometime before 1820.

John Clayton Pryor was a prominent citizen in Virginia as shown through his involvement in both the political and intellectual life of the area. He represented Williamsburg in the Virginia House of Delegates and served on the Board of Visitors for William and Mary College. I haven’t gotten access to the document in the archives, but I found he wrote a letter to President Thomas Jefferson in 1813 (after he was out of office).

John Clayton Pryor is likely the son of Christopher Pryor and Catherine Clayton. The family home was the “Ware-House in Gloucester County, VA. His father was also a prominent citizen as a trustee of Ware Parish Church. He must have been a gentleman farmer in that he supplied 800 pounds of beef to the troops during the American Revolution and I found that his son, John, was a subscriber to the Farmers’ Register. Both John and his father lived to see America thrive as an independent county, living to see Washington, Adams, and Jefferson serve as Presidents.

I haven’t been able to reliably go back any further that Christopher Pryor, however the children of John Clayton are known: Christiana, Maria Emily, Skaife Whiting, Anne Contesse, and Elizabeth Armistead. I know the Whitings were also a prominent Virginia family. I’ve wondered if John’s father, Christopher Pryor, was perhaps a brother of Maj. John Pryor who married Anne Beverly Whiting (later the mother of explorer and politician John C. Fremont— see Major John Pryor of Richmond, VA & John C Fremont Connection). Christopher and Major Pryor would have been of the same generation, perhaps 5 year apart in age. John Clayton Pryor and Major Pryor held similar political and education positions.

Enjoy the holiday and your search for Pryors.