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.

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?! Continue reading

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.

Goochland Pryors: My Handwriting Questions

I went through my notes on the Goochland County Pryors asking the question: “What is the source for a “Doctor” Samuel Pryor?” Really, what’s the source?

Oh, this was a fun search because I may have found the answer in the Chancery Court Records. I now suspect that there have been some serious misreadings of the old records.

In just one case — Shadrach Vaughan V. Samuel Pryor filed in the Chancery Court in Goochland County 1787 — are some interesting samples. And an aside to fill in the relationship. Shadrach married Mary Meriwether the daughter of Frances Morton and her first husband Nicholas Meriwether. The Samuel Pryor who was the defendant in the suit is the son of William Pryor. Vaughan’s complaint clearly states that Samuel was the executor of his father William’s estate.

First Samuel Pryor is referred to as Capt. Samuel Pryor.


Capt. Samuel, son of William and Sarah

I’ve seen this several times in the Chancery suits… “Samuel Pryor Gent.”, ie. gentleman. I wonder how many times this has been interpreted as general by researchers.


Samuel Pryor Gent.

There’s an accounting in the case file that shows the debts and the credits of Samuel Pryor’s account with the plaintiff. First lets look at the heading of the credits.


“Cr.” shows the credits of William Pryor, married to Sarah Wood

The “Cr” is for credits. I can tell by looking at the numbers and calculations. When you go to the top of the page you’ll see this…


“Dr.” reflects the debts of William Pryor, married to Sarah Wood

I’ve seen where Pryors have been referred to as “Doctor” Pryor. These Pryors were all gentlemen farmers and sometime soldiers. There were doctors in the Pryor line, but I suspect in most cases the “Dr” for debit has been read as doctor.