Tag Archives: sons of the american revolution

Amherst County VA – Pryor And The Richard Tankersley Connection

Richard Tankersley and David Pryor on Revolutionary War Roster

Back to the David Pryor who appears on Revolutionary War rosters 1778/1779 […read more]. The war ended in 1783 which is the same year David Pryor was recorded on a State Enumeration in Amherst County, VA. I suspect this is the same David Pryor because of a familiar name: Richard Tankersley. Continue reading

David Pryor in the Revolutionary War


The descendants of David Pryor of Buckingham County, VA have claimed him as the father of Mitchie Pryor who married Thomas Jefferson’s brother. I think I’m swayed to that idea… well maybe. His descendants have used him as their “Patriot” ancestor to gain admission to Continue reading

Sarah Pryor of Williamson County, TN – 5 years Later Time for Another Look

sarah-pryor-mcphailI can’t believe it’s been 5 years since I last wrote about Sarah Pryor Squire McCabe Carter McPhail (see last post). Whew! All those surnames! Sarah Pryor has always been the odd one out in my research and now I realize it’s because my research wasn’t near finished. I may not be at the finish line yet, but I have a clearer idea now of where she fits with the Pryors.

Sarah McPhail left a will in Williamson County, TN dated 1 May 1851. She named her heirs Luke L. Smith, Mary Taylor wife of William Taylor, and she owed debts to Samuel Winstead (husband of Susannah Pryor) and William P. Smith. These heirs are almost carbon copies of those named in Luke Pryor’s will and Susannah Pryor Winstead’s will. The will was disputed and heirs, including Henry B. Pryor and his daughters Rhoda A Pryor Crocker, and Mary A Pryor Crocker were noticed for Chancery Court proceedings.

The first known marriage for Sarah Pryor was to David Squire in 1816 in Williamson County. If you believe her age on the 1850 Census, she was about 35 years old when she married Squire which was rather… well, old… by the standards of the time. David Squire died within three years of the marriage. His will was signed in 1818 in Williamson County, naming a married daughter, Elizabeth Lowry— which strongly suggests that David, like Sarah Pryor, was older at the time of their marriage. David died sometime before the inventory of the estate which was made on 11 Jan 1819 and signed by his wife, Sarah, the executrix.

If anyone if interested in doing more research on David Squire, I spotted a couple of records that may help. In 1809 he purchased items from the estate of John Tapley. I highly suspect John is the son of Hosea Tapley and Lucy Pryor, daughter of John Henry Pryor and wife Margaret. The account of Tapley’s estate sale was filed in April 1809 in Williamson County. People who purchased from the estate align with members of John Henry Pryor’s family who were in Williamson Co.– Peter Perkins, Robert McLemore, Nicholas T. Perkins, Thomas Hardin Perkins. David Squire was the administrator of the estate of Gurdon Squire who died around 1814.

Sarah’s second husband was Hugh McCabe. He applied for a Revolutionary War Pension in 1832 from Maury County, TN (see application). His application states he was about 75 years old in 1832 (born about 1757).  He states at the time he entered service he was “a resident of Amherst County, Virginia on Pedlar River.” Now anyone who has looked at the Pryors in Amherst County, knows that they were on the Pedlar River. I’ve speculated for quite some time that the Hugh McCabe in Amherst Co. was the same one in Maury County, but FINALLY the pension application confirms it. Hugh McCabe’s  Property in Amherst County was recorded near Nicholas Pryor (Was this F. Nicholas Pryor?) and he was engaged in a slander suite with William and Mary Pryor.

Documentation of the death of Sarah’s second husband, Hugh McCabe, can be found in SUNDRIES EVENTS, a log written by James J. Selby, who was born in Kent County, England on 7 June 1773 and lived in Maury Co., TN (see article in Ansearchin News, Spring 1984). Selby first logged–

Departed this life Hugh McCabe an Old Resident of Mt. Pleasant about 10 o’Clock at night

and then on Jan 19, 1833 —

Married in this town Majr Carter to the widow McCabe 6 months & 14 days after the death of her last husband Hugh McCabe (now got 3d)

Ouch! Was Selby making a dig when he logged, “now got a 3rd”–did she marry too soon after her husband’s death, or was a third husband improper, or was the third marriage at age 52 an oddity? It reads a bit catty.

On the 1840 Census Daniel Carter, Sarah’s third husband, was counted on the line following Angus McPhail (her fourth husband) in Maury County, TN. Daniel Carter was another veteran of the American Revolutionary War (see his pension application). There’s an application for the Sons of the American Revolution on Ancestry.com that states Daniel’s first wife, Sarah Conyers, died in 1826. Carter’s will was signed 6 January 1841 in Williamson County, TN and mentions sons Benjamin Carter, Milton Carter, Anderson Carter, and daughters Harriet Roland and Eliza Smith, as well as his wife Sarah, who was likely Sarah Pryor since the will was written long after the first wife’s death and almost 10 years after their marriage in 1833.

I found that Robert Davis was a witness on Daniel Carter’s will in 1841 AND on David Squire’s will in 1818. Maybe I’ve seen too much crime TV, but I thought it a bit odd that Robert Davis witnessed two of her husband’s wills. When I Googled him I found he was a clergyman and had witnessed several Revolutionary War pension applications in the 1830’s, so perhaps he was their minister. And really, 4 marriages over the course of almost 40 years isn’t too eyebrow-raising.

At the time of her death Sarah Pryor was known as Sarah McPhail. There’s a marriage in Williamson county dated 28 Oct 1844 for Sarah Carter to Angus McPhail. Sarah McPhail was recorded on the 1850 Census in Williamson County– age 78 born in SC, so she was about 72 when she married last husband. There really aren’t many records available on husband #4 Angus McPhail. He was probably married before Sarah Pryor to another Sarah– there’s a gravemarker for Sarah McPhail (died 1840) “consort” of Angus McPhail in the cemetery in Franklin, TN (see Find A Grave). I’ve thought that Angus possibly out-lived Sarah Pryor because I found an Angus McPhail and his son Daniel on the census in Washington County, TX in 1860 and then Daniel shows up on the census in Williamson County, TN in 1870.

Well, Sarah is definitely one of the more interesting Pryors. Now, I’m wondering if she and all these Williamson County Pryors are somehow more closely connected with the Pryors in Amherst County. More digging ahead.

More information on Alfred Pryor (b. 1835) from Jackson Co., TN

I had a friend many years ago who always described any slow process as “maple syrup running up-hill in January.” Finding Pryors sometimes feels just that slow. I’m happy to say we’ve got clarity on another Pryor for the family tree!

Alfred Pryor (b. 1835) is the son of Alfred Pryor and Serena Dill, counted in his father’s household in District 1 of Jackson Co., TN in 1850. This younger Alfred Pryor was living in District 11 with Matilda who we can only speculate was his wife, since the 1860 census didn’t record relationships. In 1870 neither Alfred nor Matilda were in Jackson County and I haven’t found them elsewhere. (See Jackson County census extractions)

There is a Matilda Pryor on the 1870 Census in Union County, KY. She’s the right age and the only other member of her household was a 5 year old boy named James W. Pryor.

Matilda is identified on a Sons of the American Revolution Membership Application as Matilda Dill Pryor.  Sure enough, there’s a Matilda Dill on the 1850 Census in Jackson Co., TN. I wonder if Matilda’s father, Archibald Dill was a brother of Serena Dill Pryor.

1850 Census Jackson Co., TN
Archibald Dill 50 farmer TN, Rachel 40, Archibald Dill 21, Lewis H. 16, Nancy A. 13, Elizabeth H. 10, Matilda 9, Melvina 7, James K. 5, Henry C. 2, Polly S. 1

The same application states Matilda remarried in 1874. I haven’t been able to find Matilda Dill Pryor nor her second husband Levi Dempsey on the 1880 Census.

So, it looks like Alfred Pryor ( 1835) in TN was on the 1850 and 1860 Census in Jackson County, TN. He married Matilda Dill, who was possibly a cousin, and they were the parents of Serena Pryor (1858) and James W. Pryor (1865). Alfred died sometime before 1870 when Matilda was in Union Co., KY.  Matilda remarried in 1874.

Seth Pryor, Revolutionary War Soldier

I’m working through the Sons of the American Revolution Membership Applications that are now on Ancestry.com. I think Seth Pryor, a Revolutionary War Soldier from South Carolina, needs a closer look.

Claude Henry Babb submitted his application to the SC Chapter in 1925. He claimed to be a descendant of Seth Pryor was born in VA in 1734, migrated to SC, and served as a volunteer in a company commanded by Darius Dalton in 1775. Babb’s research states Seth was deceased by 1811. His son Seth Thornton Pryor born 1782 was born in St. George Parish and died in the same parish in 1850. The younger Seth was the father of Joseph Pryor born 1815 in Laurens County.

I looked at the census extracts on the Tennessee Pryors website and see that there was indeed a Joseph Pryor who was a head of household in Laurens Co., SC in 1840 through 1860 censuses. However Seth T. Pryor does not appear on the census in St. George Parish, but in Colleton County, SC. He was last recorded on the 1820 Census and I found that a death notice published around 1830 in the Charleston Observer stated he had died at age 49. Doing the math, that would make Seth T. Pryor born in about 1781 or 1782 which matches with the data presented by Mr. Babb. However, it appears Seth T. Pryor was deceased about 20 years before the death date of 1850 on Babb’s application.

The names Seth and Joseph seem to have been passed down through generations. I found another Seth Thornton Pryor born 1840 in an Ancestry Family Tree (see Adam’s Family). This Seth was the son of Joseph Pryor born 1818 in SC and they were counted in the same household on the 1850 Census in Laurens County, SC.

Living in a county that differs from the census records… bad death date… I’m wondering how much is fact and how much is fiction on these applications. I know that in 1925 access to the census records was probably limited and the census wasn’t even used as a source for the application. Where did the information come from that Seth Pryor came from Virginia?