Tag Archives: sherrill

Sherrill Pryor of White County, TN — His Will Filed in MO

I didn’t think I’d revisit John Pryor and Ruth Sherrill so quickly. I recently posted about their son William (see post).  It looks like we now have information of what happened to their son Sherrill Pryor. His will was found in Polk County, Missouri. It mentions his wife Rebecca* (he married Rebecca* Hitcherouth in Sangamon County, Illinois in 1832 Continue reading

William Pryor Estate in Hancock County, IL

The estate of William Pryor piqued my attention since it’s thought that he was from a Pryor line that was in early Greene County and later White County and migrated into Illinois Continue reading

Old Joseph of White Co., TN – Here’s the Monkey Wrench

I’ve hesitated to put out this new information because it certainly throws a big, fat, antique monkey wrench into the Pryors. But I’m hoping if we put our minds together and perhaps a Pryor or two submits to DNA testing we can figure out this mystery.

First I found a will extract– In 1791 Joseph Pryor, witness to the will of John Shavin on 9 June 1791 in Sumner County, TN.
Source: Fulcher, Richard Carlton. 1770–1790 Census of the Cumberland Settlements. Davidson, Sumner and Tennessee Counties (In What is Now Tennessee). Baltimore, Maryland: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 1987. http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=3006

I did several searches and din’t find a Shavin in Sumner County, however there is a Shaver family. Funny thing I noticed–in the Shaver Bible record on Ancestry John Shaver Jr named a son Joseph P Shaver. Could that P be for Pryor?

Then, I went back in time to the 1789 Petition of Sundry Inhabitants South of French Broad, Greene Co., TN
Some familiar names among the signers are William Pryor, Caleb Odel, Joseph Pryor, Isaac Odle, John Shaver. William may be the William Pryor b. 1760-1771 who was in White Co., TN or William of Botetourt County who was in Sumner Co. and later Austin’s Colony. The Odles were also connected with the Pryors and White Co.– Enoch Odle married Catherine Pryor and Joseph Pryor was surety.

Here comes the monkey wrench…

When I Googled Joseph Pryor and John Shaver. I found two men by these names in Delaware records.


The extracted record in this link is a Revolutionary War document from 1786, so it could be before Joseph Pryor and John Shaver show up in Greene County, TN. The front page of the document cited in this link names a John Dill. The Dills are connected to the Pryors in Jackson Co., TN and I’m finding in family trees that they were from Delaware. The Dills are on the same page with Joseph Pryor on the 1803 Tax List. Surena Dill was married to Alfred Pryor b. 1808 on the 1850 Census in Jackson Co. The Dills were Nancy Pryor’s neighbors on the 1840 Census in Jackson Co.

I looked back further in Delaware records and found the will of Hannah Pryor dated 1740, filed in Kent County. It names her sons John Pryor and Joseph Pryor. If Joseph was born in 1740 or earlier he would have been in his 70’s or 80’s in 1813 and could easily be the OLD Joseph mentioned in White County records.

So many questions…

Was Old Joseph from Delaware?

Is Old Joseph not connected to William, Richard, and the others from Botetourt Co., VA who migrated to Greene County and then to Middle TN. Is that why Robert Armstrong took care of him in his old age? [read more about Robert Armstrong connection]

So, is Old Joseph connected to John Pryor and Ruth Sherrill and Robert Armstrong, but not to William Pryor of White County?

Are there other Pryors in Middle TN who were from DE and not VA? Or did the DE Pryors pass through VA or the Carolinas on their way to Greene County?

Has anyone from the John Pryor and Ruth Sherrill line done a DNA test? Did they match up to Pryors from OH, PA, or DE?

chart - old joseph



Learning the Story of Old Joseph Pryor in White County, TN (With a Little Help from Abraham Lincoln)

abraham-lincolnFor years I’ve pondered over an 1813 entry in the court minutes of White County, TN. Joseph Pryor, described as “aged and infirm”, was in the care of Robert Armstrong. Who was Robert Armstrong? A relative? The owner of the Poor House? Well, I now know more about Robert Armstrong and his connection to Old Joseph.

On a spring day in May 1846 Nancy Armstrong, the widow of Robert Armstrong, made her application for a widow’s pension for her husband’s Revolutionary War service.  She returned for a hearing before a Judge on December 4th. Afterwards, something transpired (maybe she was told to get a character witness?) that caused Mrs. Armstrong on the following day, December 5th –a Saturday, to give an additional statement. She sat down with Congressman-elect Abraham Lincoln who duly took her statement and attested to it.

I’ll get to the points about Robert Armstrong in a bit, however this moment with Abraham Lincoln is to be savored. Imagine Mr. Lincoln who was 37 years old, his second son was a baby, and at the time Lincoln had not yet grown his famous beard. I can see the lanky, younger Lincoln sitting with Mrs. Armstrong who was in her 80’s, a contrast in age and appearance. He wrote in his own handwriting the story Mrs. Armstrong told of her husband in his youth serving in the Revolution in the stead of his father– losing his  horse and coat in battle. The story of a soldier who fought to form the United States and and then there’s the future story of the Civil War that we all know would unfold for Mr. Lincoln in the next decades.  http://revwarapps.org/r259.pdf

There’s an interesting article about Nancy Green Armstrong (Robert’s widow) on Find A Grave. It states her first child was Bowling Green and that he was a Lincoln’s friend and consoled Lincoln after the death of Anne Rutledge in 1835. The pension application states: “Mr. Lincoln knew her and her husband Robert — that they lived together as man & wife in Menard County” (formerly Sangamon County). It sounds like they knew each other.

Ahhhh…. I love it when history collides with genealogy.

In November 1786 Robert Armstrong received a North Carolina land grant in Greene County, TN.  Joseph Pryor also received a NC land grant in Greene County in 1791. Joseph’s  land bordered Aquilla Sherrill.

Through the work of Katherine Russell and others who are from the line of John Pryor, we know that he was married to Ruth, the daughter of Aquilla Sherrill (she was “Ruth Pryer” in Aquilla’s will). John Pryor is on the 1830 Census in Sangamon County, IL and on the same page is Royal Armstrong (the widow’s application confirms Royal is Robert Armstrong’s son). There is even an older male and an older female in Royal’s household who are likely Robert and Nancy.

Both John Pryor and the Armstrongs have a history in White County, TN. John is on the 1816 Tax List and the 1820 Census. John Pryor was on the 1812 Tax List in a district which included Jesse Armstrong (another son of Robert Armstrong).

I also suspect that the William Pryor in White County is also connected to John Pryor and Robert Armstrong.  Robert Armstrong and William Pryor were joint defendants of a suit filed in White County in 1812.

There is still no explanation as to why Joseph Pryor was in the care of Armstrong and not a relative. Widow Armstrong stated that “he (Robert Armstrong) was one of the County Court in Tennessee State and was a Magistrate in this County” which indicates he was a person of high regard in both White County and Sangamon County.

This kind of new information drives me crazy. I had pretty much resolved to go with the flow– the tide of Richard and Mourning Pryor researchers who feel that William of White County was the “heir” named William in the 1811 settlement of Richard’s estate in Logan County, KY. Old Joseph was in White County, William of White County named his first son Joseph– what’s the relationship? The Armstrongs took care of Old Joseph and went to Illinois with John Pryor’s family– I’ve got to wonder if there was kinship between the Pryors and Armstrongs.

We are hot on the trail of Old Joseph Pryor. More in my next post.