Tag Archives: Samuel Pryor and Prudence Thornton

John Pryor on Beaver Dam in Goochland – There’s More…

I think I’m developing a crush on the Virginia DOT. I recently found a report they’ve published on old road records. This publication has the best-selller title: Goochland County Road Orders 1728-1744 (I guess it’s a title only a genealogist could love).

Thank you DOT, I now have the earliest records of ANY Pryor in Goochland County. This man appears to be the John Pryor on Beaver Creek (see John Pryor and Mary New – This John Pryor on Beaver Creek Dam).

1729 John PRIOR appointed surveyor of the road from Lower Beaver Dam Bridge to Little Licking Hole Creek. 17 Feb 1729

And there’s more. We now have the names of more of John Pryor’s neighbors and their positions on specific waterways.

1729 Surveyor of the Roads. On the motion of Ebenezer Adams on behalf of himself and others it is ordered that a road be cleared from Bever dam Bridge near John Prior’s to pass by John Wright’s Plantation cross Wild Boar swamp near Elk lick by William Owen’s Plantation cross the North Branch of the Bird to Elk ford on the Bird to end at Martin King’s. John Prior is appointed Surveyor of the said road from Bever dam Bridge to John Rights; John Laine from John Rights to Great Licking hole, Martin Dunken from Great Licking hole to the South branch of the Bird, John Bostick from the South branch of the Bird to Elk ford, Martin King from Elk ford to the River. [17 March 1729, O.S. p. 221]

Does anyone else have records of Pryors in Goochland County in the 1720’s? Was Samuel and Prudence Pryor there in the 1720’s or did their line show up in Goochland County later (a Samuel Pryor is in the vestry records in 1735).

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.

David Ross and the Pryors – Part 1

va-pryorsIt’s like trying to pick up a grain of rice with a pitch fork! Really. Linking together the small pieces of information to create the big picture of how the Pryors were related is a bit unnerving.

I started looking at David Ross because he shows up multiple times in my searches for the Pryors. Ross was a noted figure in VA during the Revolution–he is referred to in several sources as one of the wealthiest men in Virginia in the late 1700’s. During the Revolutionary War he helped to arm the militia and founded iron works. When I saw that David Ross’ papers were held at the Library of Virginia (read more) I anticipated finding more information on him. My enthusiasm was short-lived, though, when I discovered there were only 3 pages.

The earliest reference to David Ross and a Pryor was in Goochland County. David Ross and William Pryor were both land owners on the Three Notched Road and were attempting to sell their property. David listed property for sale on Three Notched Road in 1768 and then listed additional property in January 1769 in the Virginia Gazette. William Pryor listed 700 acres for sale on Licking Hole Creek near the Three Notched Road in August 1773 (see Route of the Three Notch’d Road, published by the Virginia Dept. of Transportation). I’m fairly certain that William Pryor is the son of Samuel Pryor and Prudence. It was his son Samuel Thornton Pryor who witnessed a deed on Licking Hole Creek in 1792.

I wrote earlier of John Pryor on Beaver Dam Creek in Goochland and there are several connections to Licking Hole Creek, all 20 to 40 years before the land sales in the 1770’s. Is there a connection between John Pryor (married to Mary New) and Samuel Pryor father of William Pryor?

Goochland Pryors: The Children of Samuel and Prudence Pryor

After the research that went into my last post I have new confidence in The Pryor Family (pub. 1900). I hate to rely on old books and second-hand information (memories and anecdotes) without any first-hand data (wills, deeds, court records) available. Show me a document that says Thornton Pryor was a son of Samuel Pryor and Prudence Thornton?! Well, that’s just rhetoric because there actually is a document that names Thornton as a son of Prudence and there are wills that help to identify sons of Samuel and Prudence.

1763 Deed Amelia Co., VA – Deed, March 16, 1763, from Thornton PRYOR, of Halifax County, NC to Samuel PRYOR of Goochland County, VA, conveying that portion of the estate of their father, Samuel PRYOR, deceased, which he bequeathed to the said Thornton PRYOR, and which at the time of making the deed, was in possession of their mother, Prudence PRYOR [Vol. 7, No. 1, July 1899, Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, pages 75 through 79]

So we have the Bible record that appears to hold up in my last post AND we have a 1763 deed that mentions Samuel and Prudence. OK, I had my doubts, but they exist.

I went back to the Mitchell Family Bible that names the children of Samuel and Prudence: William, Samuel, John, Thornton, Robert, Luke, Frank and Joseph, Nancy and Molly. I wondered if I could confirm these children with other available records.

So here goes… the children of Samuel and Prudence.

William Pryor

  • Married Sarah, probably Sarah Wood
  • Children: William, Samuel, John, Elizabeth, Sarah/Sally, Martha/Patty, Mary/Molly, Ann, Valentine, and Luke.
  • 1753 he was a Captain in the VA militia.
  • 1753, William and Henry Wood witnessed the marriage of Alexander Trent to Elizabeth Woodson, consent from Charles Bates, Stephen Woodson, deceased. Security: John Woodson.
  • 1768 William was sued by Reuben Meriwether (over the administration of his brother Samuel Pryor’s estate).
  • 1777 – William died around 1777 and his will was filed in Goochland Co. In 1779 the 1768 suit was amended to show William Pryor was deceased. His son Samuel was appointed the executor of his estate.

Samuel Pryor

  • First marriage to unknown. Children: Martha, Prudent (Prudence?), Mary, and Elizabeth (See Robert PRYOR’s will below)
  • Married 1760 at St. James Northam to the widow Frances Morton Meriwether.
  • His son Samuel baptized 1762 at St. James Northam.
  • 1763 Deed Amelia Co., VA – Deed, March 16, 1763, from Thornton PRYOR, of Halifax County, NC to Samuel PRYOR of Goochland County, VA, conveying that portion of the estate of their father, Samuel PRYOR, deceased, which he bequeathed to the said Thornton PRYOR, and which at the time of making the deed, was in possession of their mother, Prudence PRYOR [Vol. 7, No. 1, July 1899, Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, pages 75 through 79]
  • Died between 1763 and 1779.  He’s probably the Samuel Pryor who died intestate in 1766 when a settlement of his estate was filed in Goochland County.
  • 1768 his widow, Frances, sued his brother William in Chancery Court over the handling of the estate. Her suit states Samuel had land in Dinwiddie and Goochland Counties. (see transcript of suit)
  • 1779 – Mentioned as “deceased” in brother Robert Pryor’s will.
  • 1783 – Mentioned as “deceased” in brother Luke Pryor’s will.

John Pryor

  • Mentioned in Halifax Co., NC records. Amelia Co., VA tax list.
  • Married: Mary Dennis (see post on Mary Dennis Pryor)
  • Will filed in Amelia County in 1785.
  • Children named in his will: Richard, Luke, Elizabeth, Mary, Philip, Ann, Samuel
  • 1785 John Pryor mentioned in a Halifax Co., NC (see above deed that mentions his brothers in Halifax Co.) John Rogers, Sr. to Roger Atkinson of Dinwiddie County VA, for 15 Pounds, 100 acres on north side of Hico Creek adjoining John PRYOR, Country Line Creek. Halifax County Deed Book E., page 14. (Note: Roger Atkinson was the father of Lucy who married Theodorick Bland Pryor.)

Thornton Pryor

  • Named in Amelia Co., VA and Halifax Co., NC records
  • 1763 – Mentioned on deed with Samuel Pryor in 1763 (see above)
  • 1772 deed in Amelia Co. – Thornton PRYOR of the province of North Carolina, conveys to John Thweat, of Prince George County.
  • Deceased by 1783. Not mentioned in Luke’s 1783 will (see below)

Robert Pryor

  • Named in Charlotte Co., VA records.
  • Married: Mildred
  • Children: Samuel Pryor
  • Died 1779 Will Charlotte Co., VA – Will of Robert PRYOR written in Dec 1779, proved Apr 1780. Names wife Mildred Pryor, son Samuel PRYOR (a minor), Martha PRYOR, Prudent PRYOR, Mary PRYOR, and Elizabeth PRYOR daughters of Samuel PRYOR, deceased. (These are Robert’s nieces, children of his brother Samuel Pryor’s first marriage (Samuel’s second marriage was to Frances Morton Meriwether).

Luke Pryor

  • Botetourt Co., VA
  • Married: Susannah Poythress (see post that ID’s Susannah Poythress)
  • Children: Possibly at least one child, as his wife was pregnant at the time he wrote his will.
  • 1783 – Will of Luke PRYOR proved Oct 1783 in Botetourt County, VA. Names wife, Susan and an unborn child. Brothers, John, Joseph and Luke and heirs of deceased brother, Samuel.

Joseph Pryor

  • Named in Botetourt Co., VA records and later in Bourbon Co., KY
  • Married Mary Fleming
  • 1774 and afterwards – Resided Botetourt Co.., VA
  • Capt in Rev War out of Botetourt.
  • 1783 – Will of Luke PRYOR proved Oct 1783 in Botetourt County, VA. Names wife, Susan and an unborn child. Brothers, John, Joseph and Luke and heirs of deceased brother, Samuel.
  • 1787 Joseph and his cousin Samuel Mitchell posted security for John Kennedy in Botetourt County. (Samuel was the son of his aunt Molly Pryor Mitchell)
  • Settled in Woodford Co.., KY (1800 Tax List).
  • Named Son Thornton Pryor, Samuel Pryor…. after his parents?
  • Died: 1813 in Bourbon Co., KY (Will)

Molly “Mary” Pryor

  • Married: First, William Berry. Second, James Mitchell.
  • Children: Her daughter Prudence Berry married George Blackburn and settled in Woodford Co.., KY (1800 Tax List) near her uncle Joseph Pryor.
  • Resided Botetourt Co., VA 1783.  Her sons Edward and Samuel Mitchell state in their applications for Revolutionary War pensions that their father moved the family to Botetourt County in the 1780’s.
  • 1787 Joseph Pryor and Samuel Mitchell posted security for John Kennedy in Botetourt County. (Samuel was Molly’s son.)

Who was in the Berry Bible that isn’t on the list?

  1. Francis Pryor
  2. Nancy Pryor – married Samuel Wells?

I wish I had all the answers. Like… Are there ANY records that confirm these 2 were children of Samuel and Prudence? Well, are there? Let us know!

Goochland County Pryors in Botetourt County

Back to The Pryor Family published in The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol.7 (1900). I have a persistent distrust of this century-old publication.  However, this article may be the best source for determining there really was a Samuel Pryor and wife Prudence Thornton in Goochland County, VA and of course, the names of their children.

The author purports to have obtained information from a Judge James T. Mitchell in PA. The judge had the Mitchell family Bible with notes written in it by his great-grandfather, another James Mitchell (1785-1869). The old  notes were created by relying on “recollection and conversations, correpsondence, &c., with older members of the family.”

“Grandmother’s father, Colonel Samuel Pryor’s parents were from England, and had settled in Caroline county, Va. He married a Miss Thornton, whose parents were also from England, and settled in Caroline, Hanover and Spotsylvania counties. They had ten children, eight sons, and two daughters: William, Samuel, John Thornton, Robert, Luke, Frank and Joseph: the youngest of the brother and least of them weighed 220 pounds. Nancy Pryor married Colonel Samuel Wells, judge of the County Court of Amelia.  Molly Pryor was born 15th November 1730, and married Major William Berry, of Gloucester, Va., who died, leaving two daughters, Nancy and Prudence.” (read more on Google Books)

I decided to test the information in the article — the author lays out his Mitchell line starting with Molly Pryor’s marriage to William Berry and then her second marriage to James Mitchell. Using Ancestry.com and Googleing– I found some interesting stuff.

The Mitchell Line

The bold fonts in the information below are from
the The Virginia Magazine article –I’ve added my notes below.

1. Samuel Pryor and Prudence Thornton
2. Molly Pryor and William Berry, then to James Mitchell
3. Edward Mitchell b. 1760- d.1837, married “Haley”

  • Walton Mitchell’s (see below) applied in 1899 for Sons of the American Revolution — it states Edward Mitchell married Nancy Haley.
  • A marriage record: Edward Mitchell and Ann Haley md. 26 Aug 1784 in Cecil Co., MD.
  • 1830 Census in St. Clair Co., IL
  • Gravemarker on Find A Grave. Buried in St Clair Co., IL D. 1837. Says “Rev”
  • Applied for Rev War Pension: born in Hanover co., VA. His father moved to Botetourt in 1778 and Edward Mitchell served under Col. George Skillern in the attack on Fort Donnally in Greenbrier. (read Edward’s Pension Application)
  • Wikipedia state that the Central portion of St. Clair County sits upon the Mississippi River. This may relate to his grandson who was a MS River boat captain.

3. James  b. 1762, died 1781
3. Samuel b. 1764, died 1855

  • 1850 Census in Grant Co., Wisconsin
  • Occupation in 1850 “clergyman”
  • Find A Grave with marker dated 1855. Buried in WI. Rev on his gravemarker.
  • Applied for Rev War pension from St. Clair, IL. Says in 1778 his father moved to Botetourt Co., VA. (Samuel was age 91 living in Saline Co., MO. His son James T. was in Urbana OH.)

4. James Mitchell b. 1785, died 1869 md. Ann George Walton
(James prepared the account of Samuel Pryor in the family Bible recounted in 1899 VA Magazine article)

5. Edward Phillips Mitchell b. 1812, md. Ann Tyndall

  • Philadelphia death record: died 27 feb 1880
  • Find A Grave has obit from Philadelphia Enquirer. Mentions son judge James T. Mitchell. Also says Edward was a Mississippi steamboat captain. See St. Clair, IL connection above.
  • 1850 Census Philadelphia: Edward P Mitchell 37 VA, son James age 14 PA

6. James T Mitchell b. 1834, PA Supreme Court Judge (contributed the family Bible account to the VA Magazine article in 1899)

I was fairly surprised that the names and dates in the The Pryor Family article actually match up to the records. It gives me a bit more confidence that there was a family Bible and that it had an inscription of the line back to Samuel and Prudence.

The Mitchells’ Revolutionary War Applications really piqued my interest when I saw that they went to Botetourt County. I did some Googling to see if there were any records from Botetourt County that would reveal which Pryors were associating with the Mitchells.

1780 – Jury was formed that consisted of Edmund Sturns, Hugh Muldrough, Jonathan Newman, Joseph Carroll, William Miller, Henry White, James Elliott, James Gufford, Joseph Damrel, James Mitchell, Samuel Pryor, and Uriah Humphries.

1786 – James Robinson and Samuel Mitchell took oaths of a Justice of the Peace.

1786 – Ordered that a road be established agreeable to report of Samuel Mitchell, Wm. Bilbro, and Michael Ocheltree round the field of John Kennedy.

1786 – Henry Pryor in Capt. May’s Co.; Samuel Mitchell in Capt. Cartmill’s Co.; Geo. Skillern in Capt. Pryor’s Company.

1787 – John Kenny (Kennedy?) placed under bond for his good behavior, Joseph Pryor and Samuel Mitchell securities

Oh yes, one more thing. So Molly Pryor Mitchell’s son Edward Mitchell was at Fort Donnally? Remember… William Pryor from Albemarle and Amherst Counties was also there under Col. Skillern (read William’s Revolutionary War Pension application). I don’t know if that proves a relationship between the Pryors or just shows that a large number of young men from the area were mustered up to defend the forts.