Tag Archives: South Carolina

Revolutionary War Patriot “John Prior”… Who Went By Another Name

I go back through and check Pryors in different ways. This week it was looking at some of the Revolutionary War pensioners. The first I’m posting about is John Prior of Burke county, GA.

John Prior applied for a Revolutionary War pension on September 30, 1820. He was a resident of Burke county. Unlike many of the volunteer troops during the war, Prior served A LONG TIME. He stated he volunteered in 1775 in the 12th Virginia (this was a regiment that formed in Williamsburg). And didn’t leave service until after he was captured by the British and then released in 1781. That’s about six years of service.

He stated he served in the 12th Regiment that was later merged into the 8th Regiment from Virginia under Colonel Wood and Captain Swearingen. He stated he was captured by the British and released in Charleston, SC in 1781– Wikipedia article states most of the 8th Regiment was captured in Charleston in April 1780.

The FindAGrave.com memorial for Capt. Joseph Van Swearingen is interesting because it corroborates Prior’s statement. Apparently Swearingen was also captured at Charleston.

On ancestry.com I was able to locate the regimental records for the 8th Virginia under the command of Swearingen. There was only one Prior serving… JACOB Prior, beginning to appear in records in 1775 through 1779. On every single record he was recorded as Jacob, although the spelling of the surname changes from various spellings such as Prier, Prior, and Pryor.

There was a Jacob Prior from Prior Mills, NJ. He died between 1824-1826 in probably NJ. He was described as an “old” resident. His will was made after 1823 when the John Prior died in GA.

The use of two names raises all kinds of questions. Did Jacob use the name John before his service in the Revolution?

His family is also a bit of a riddle. He states he had a family of a boy of about 14 years old and two girls. He doesn’t state if they were his children, grandchildren or some other relationship. There’s no mention of a living wife.

Was he born about 1760 or earlier?

Where was he between 1781 when he was released by the British and his 1820 application? There are so many possibilities of who this John Prior may have been– from Virginia, from another colony, a recent immigrant who wanted anglicized his name Jacob to John.

If John/Jacob Prior was in Burke County up to his death in 1823 then surely he must be on the 1820 Census. I’m not really sure how much of the census is accurately indexed when so much of it is unreadable black blobs (see above example). Go to FamilySearch.og because the census is easier to read. Sorry, no John Prior found.

There’s another document for this John Prior on Fold3.com. It’s in the Georgia Final Payment Vouchers.

State of Georgia, Chatham County
…The said John Prior being by me duly sworn, saith, soldier in the Army of the Revolution in Captain Sweringham’s Company of Infantry of Colonel Wood’s regiment; that he now resides in the County of Burke and has resided there for twentyfive years past; previously to which he resided in Charleston in the sate South Carolina.
John [his mark] Prior

The Fold3 file is also worth a read because it contains a follow up letter dated 12 August 1822 in which Prior asked for a speedy decision. He mentions that his application was mailed with the application of Jesse Farrow. There’s another document dated 25 April 1822 stating John Prior appeared in front of Judge Jno. H. Montgomery to swear to the statements in his application. At the bottom of this document it states that Jesse Farrow swore in open court that he knew John Prior during the war and was at the Battle of Brandywine.

I took the trip down the rabbit hole… when was the Battle of Brandywine? September 11, 1777. So was Farrow in Prior’s regiment during that month? Prior was on the roster for August and September, but no Farrow. Farrow’s application states he served through South Carolina and there’s no mention of the Battle of Brandywine. Was Farrow’s statement just doing a friend a “solid” or did these men actually know each other during the war? Like Prior, Farrow stated he was taken prisoner by the British at the fall of Charleston, so perhaps the men met in captivity.

Wow. He made his application in Burke county, had some kind of tie to Chatham county (or traveled the 100 miles to this other county!) and lived in Charleston, SC perhaps between 1781 and about 1798 when he arrived in Georgia. That means he could be one of the two John Priors in Charleston on the 1790 Census. I haven’t found any other record of this John Prior in Chatham county.

This doesn’t get any easier to figure out. There was a John Pryor who died intestate in Chatham county in 1790 (before this John arrived and before this John died in 1823). So not the same man, but yet another John Pryor.

I’m wondering. I checked the list of patriots on the DAR website and this John Prior is indexed. I’m wondering why he’s listed as John Prior and not Jacob Prior or under both names.

I love this kind of stuff! I hate this kind of stuff! It’s what makes sorting out the John Pryors so darned difficult!

Alice Pryor: Another Pryor in the Edgefield County, SC Family Tree

I think we may be able to reunite another Pryor with the Edgefield County, SC Pryors.

Mrs. Alice Archbell died in Harrison County, TX in 1938. Her death record states she was born Alice Pryor in 1854 in Tallapoosa County, AL to John Pryor (no mother’s name). She was married to William B Archbell and was counted in his household on the 1880 and 1900 Census where it was recorded that both of her parents were from South Carolina.

I suspect she is the Alice Pryor age 5 who was counted in the household of Richard Pryor and Barbara in Edgefield County, SC in 1860.

1860 Census, Edgefield Co., SC
Beach Island PO, page 51, house 758 Richd (Richard) PRYOR 55 mechanic SC, Barbara 47 SC, Richard Jr. 21 SC, Cinchin (Kinchin R. Pryor) male 16 mechanic SC, Archibald 12 SC, Jane 10 SC, James 8 SC, Alice 5 AL.

1870 Census, Edgefied Co., SC
Hammond Twp., page 292b, house 507/522 Richard PRYOR 65 wheelwright SC, Jane S 19 SC, James 18 SC, Alice 15 SC

In 1870 Elizabeth B Prior wife of David Z Clark was counted in the household following Richard’s family. I speculated in a recent post (see post) that Elizabeth B Prior is the same person who was in Tallapoosa County. It certainly seems that Elizabeth and Alice may be related.

Joseph Pryor Born 1805 in SC, Resided in Tallapoosa County AL

We may be able to match Joseph Pryor b. 1805 in SC to his ancestors. He’s on the 1850 Census in Tallapoosa County, AL

1850 Census Tallapoosa Co., AL
Page 125A House 1845 Joseph PRYOR 45 SC, Sarah 30 SC, William 19 SC, Ann 17 GA, Robert 16 GA, Elizabeth 14 GA, Eliza 12 GA, Francis 7, GA, Louisa 6 GA, Jasper 4 AL, Christopher 2 AL.

This record has lingered — no clear record of this family on the 1840 Census or the 1860 Census. An 1857 marriage in Tallapoosa County helped to provide a lead.

David Z Clark married Elizabeth B PRIOR on 30 Dec 1857. This marriage is in the Tallapoosa County records AND filed under another dated (4 Dec 1857) in Edgefield Co., SC.

There was a David Clark living in household of Charlotte PRIOR on 1850 Census in Edgefield county. David was born 1811 and was working as a wheelwright. The household above is Richard PRIOR born 1805 who was also working as a wheelwright. In 1860 and 1870 David Clark (also counted as D. Z. Clark) was still living near Richard Prior and his household included his wife Elizabeth born 1836. Elizabeth’s year of birth is a close match to the Elizabeth Pryor who was in Joseph’s household in Tallapoosa in 1850.0

Pryor: Cornwall UK Connection

Cornwall UKIt happened again. I was talking to a Pryor when they proclaimed their family tree went back to Cornwall, England. I bristle a bit on that news. I know there are a lot of Pryor family trees that claim a Cornwall connection, but are they all right?  Well, maybe not.

A fact from the Pryor Y-DNA project — There are numerous Pryor men from the UK who had tested and none of them match any of the US Pryors who have tested.  Over the past few years I’ve poked around in UK records. In the late 1700’s there were Pryors in London and in multiple UK counties located in the South West, East, South East, West Midlands, and Yorkshire. And of course, there were Pryor families off-shore on the “emerald isle” (Ireland). There’s no telling where these all these Pryors originated from. Yes, there were Pryors in Cornwall, but they were all over the UK by the time of consistent parish registers and even more spread out by the time of the first UK census.

Pryor Cornwall, England

There seems to be just one US Prior/Pryor family that we know for sure can trace their line directly to Cornwall: John Prior who died in Edgefield County, South Carolina around 1797. What’s really cool about John is that his death left a trail in America and in the UK. His wife was still living in the UK, but it appears he had a long term relationship with Eva/Eve Grubbs in America, fathering at least 4 children. On his death he acknowledged the children as his own but they used the Grubbs surname. When know his eldest son from his UK marriage, John, left the UK for America to settle the estate. He may have stayed in the US and was counted on the 1810 Census.

1775 Marriage in Cornwall, England – John Prior and Elizabeth Cheqwidden on 28 December 1775. Witnesses John Cheqwidden and Anthony Prior.

1778 Christening in Cornwall, England – John Prior, son of John Prior and wife Elizabeth. Christenened 12 May 1778.

US Will

1797 Will, Edgefield County, SC – John Prior husband of Elizabeth Chiqwidden

1797 Will, Quoted in a Petition – Edgefield County, SC
John PRIOR executor petitioned the court for permission to sell the estate of John Prior, deceased. “I will, that my beloved son John Pryor (now in England) if he come over to this country be and I do hereby constitute and appoint him Guardian to Susanna P Grubs, Tobias P Grubs, Elizabeth P. Grubs, and William Pryor Grubs until the whole of the estate is divided and the youngest receives his portion. I also constitute, make and ordain John Starr, Captain Jacob Zinn (both of beach Island) and my son John Pryor, if he comes from England, Executors of this my last will and testament.” He also states in the will “I do hereby acknowledge to be my children.” Witnesses William Stewart, Charles Ramsey, Peter Cooper. “I will and Bequeath unto my son John Pryor, aforementioned (in the County of Cornwall, and Parish of Wendron, in England)” The will also states, “I will as my land and Mills on Town Creek are sold, that my executors make titles unto James Otis Prentis according to the articles between the said J. O. Prentis and myself” The will states John Pryor was a Mill Wright. He also willed money to Eve Grubs. The will indicates his son Tobias may have been under 21 years at the time of his death.

UK Probate

1799 Cornwall Chancery Court Case – States John Prior husband of Elizabeth Cheqwidden, daughter of Thomas Cheqwidden– John went to America 18 years earlier and died there in 1797, leaving property. His wife in Cornwall was alive in 1799 as was his son John, daughters Mary. The son John Prior and postmaster Nicholas Hichens left for America to administer the estate.

This case is pretty awesome stuff because it give the approximate year that this John Prior arrived in America… 1779. It seems a bit odd or perhaps worth noting that he arrived in the middle of the Revolutionary War.

Edgefield County Records

The Census records and salve sales shows there was an evolution in the use of the surname Prior. The Prior heirs went from Prior-Grubbs to just Prior.

1810 Census, Edgefield Co., SC
Page 37, Eve PRIOR 01100-110010-1 (oldest male 16-25yrs, oldest female over 45yrs)

1818 Slave Sale in Edgefield Co., SC: On 18 May 1818 John PRIOR made several slaves sales (Ann, Binah, Dick, Ellick, Jack, Lucy, Phillis, Sam, Shade) to John P. Grubbs, William P. Grubbs, and Tobias P. Grubbs.

1843 Sheriff’s Sale – Dawson Atkinson vs. Martha PRIOR, seventy acres of land more or less , adjoining lands of Tobias Pryor, and lands of the estate of John J. Gray, and others. (Edgefield Advertiser, 1 November 1843)

More Possible Descendants of John Prior of Cornwall

1820 Census, Barnwell Co., SC
Page 7, Isham H Clayton (married to Susannah Pryor) 00001-10002 (Isham Henry Clayton and wife Susannah Pryor b. 1800 were in Lowndes Co., GA in 1850 – Susannah Pryor may be the daughter of John Prior of Edgefield County, aka Susanna Pryor Grubbs. 1850 Census puts her birth in 1800 is that an error or is she too young to be John’s daughter?)
Page 41, Tobias PRYOR 30001-001

1850 Census Edgefield Co., SC
Page 425B, House 1899, Richard PRIOR 45 wheelwright SC, Barbara 37 SC, John 18 wheelwright SC, Catharine 16 SC, Elizabeth 14 SC, Richard 12 SC, Mary Ann 10 SC. (Richard & Barbara Pryer are on the 1860 Census in Edgefield Co. Per notice in Charleston Oberserver Feb. 16, 1828, Richard Pryor married Barbara T. Hail at Beach Island.)
House 1900 Charlotte PRIOR 48 SC, David Clark 39 wheelwright SC, Sarah 38 SC, Charlotte 11/12 SC.
Page 127A, House 1923 Tobias PRIOR 60 SC, Mary 55 SC, Richard 36 SC, Mary 14 SC (See Barnwell Co. 1820 Census. Mary Pryor is on the 1860 Census in Edgefield Co.)

1860 Census, Edgefield Co., SC
Beach Island PO, page 51, house 758 Richd (Richard) PRYOR 55 mechanic SC, Barbara 47 SC, Richard Jr. 21 SC, Cinchin (Kinchin R. Pryor) male 16 mechanic SC, Archibald 12 SC, Jane 10 SC, James 8 SC, Alice 5 AL.
Beach Island PO, page 52, house 787 Mrs. Mary PRYOR 56 farmer SC. (widow of Tobias Pryor)

1870 Census, Edgefied Co., SC
Hammond Twp., page 265a, house 51 K R PRYOR 26 farmer SC, Ann Eliza 18 SC, Ida 4/12 SC (born Jan) (Kinchin R. Pryor who was later in Aiken Co., SC. Son of Richard Pryor and wife Barbara.)

1930 Census Aiken Co., SC
Page 19b Robert Pryor 44 SC SC SC, Willie wife 30 SC SC SC, Evelyn dau 6 SC, John W. son 5 SC, Nath Lee dau 1 4/12 SC, Will Miner boarder 43 widow SC SC SC

Another David Pryor – Georgetown, SC

Since I just wrote about one or two or three David Pryors, I thought I should mention one more.  There’s a David Pryor in who appears on the 1790 Census (first US Census) in Georgetown, SC. He’s also on the 1800 and 1810 Census.  I found an obituary for his daughter, Continue reading