Tag Archives: Talley

Ancestry DNA and William Pryor of Sumner County, TN


It’s time to make some comments on DNA testing. While it may not be the end-all for determining relationships; it can help to shine some light on who is related to whom and point to a direction for further research. Finding out that the surname you’ve been searching may be a “detour” may be disappointing however it shouldn’t detract that we are part of a family’s story and shared in the journey of that family. Rather than exclude us it shows more clearly how we became included!

So what’s new with the Pryors? We have perhaps a clearer picture of the family William Pryor of Sumner County, TN who died en route to the California Gold Rush in the 1840’s.

A male Pryor who can prove his line back to William tested several years ago via an Ancestry Y-DNA test. His kit was a VERY distant match to other Pryors from the known line of Allen L Pryor of Sumner County.

This was a bit of a surprised because William’s grand-daughter Willie Pryor was referred to as “cousin Willie” after she married Thomas W. Gregory whose first wife was Allen L. Pryor’s daughter, Bettie.

When I went back to working the chart for my Pryor autosomal DNA results I discovered there’s an Ancestry DNA kit for William’s line. They are a descendant of Thomas W Gregory and his second wife Willie Pryor. They are a very high match to my test and they also match to other known Gregory tests.

So who do they match to with the Pryors, Taylors, and Talleys? That’s where it gets to be interesting. There are 12 tests that are very clearly matches to these lines. Willie’s descendant matches up with only one of the 12 tests (the tester is a ggg-grandson of Allen L Pryor).

From the male Y DNA testing there was a low expectation that a descendant of William Pryor would match to the Pryors and Taylors, so the results are pretty much as expected.

HOWEVER, Willie Pryor’s mother was suppose to be a Talley and a sister of Elizabeth Talley who married Allen L Pryor. I’d expect a match to the kits among the 12 that are descended from Allen L Pryor and wife Elizabeth Talley. There is still only that one lone match.

Where does the break in the DNA lineage occur? Was Willie not a daughter of a Pryor and a Talley? Possibly not. If her mother had an affair then she would still match to some of the Talley kits, so results so far indiate her mother wasn’t a Talley.

Some fodder for research.

From Talley to Taliaferro to Tolliver

talley1The Talleys are a strong family connection to the Pryors in Sumner Co., TN. Allen L. Pryor married Elizabeth Talley, daughter of William Talley and Polly Dowdy of Cumberland County, VA. Elizabeth’s sister married Thomas Jefferson Pryor, a son of the mysterious William Pryor of Sumner County. Another sister, Lucy, studied at a girls’ school in Nashville and married Robert Anderson Wright in Sumner County in 1868.

The Talley name is found in VA records where it melds from Talley, to Tally, and other variations, like Taliaferro and Tolliver.

A good example of the Taliaferro name being used as Tolliver is Baldwin Taliaferro. He’s on the 1850 Census in Pike Co., MO as Tolliver and in 1860 as Taliaferro. I think he’s related to the KY Pryors.  In 1850 he was living with the Spottswood and Hall families and in 1870 with John P (Pryor?) Lain. Baldwin was married to a Spottswood because he’s also in the Williamson Co., TN records.

I’ve picked out some of the more interesting Talley’s from the records:

1784 Census Amherst Co., VA. Page 85: Nicholas PRYOR 10 whites, no non-whites (Note: On same page with Nicholas: Charles Ellis, Roderick McCullough, David Crawford, Philip Thurmond, Charles Taliafero)

1801 – Jefferson Co., KY Will, David Crawford. Bondsman: Charles Taliaferro, Nathaniel Warwick. Witnesses: William Pryor, John Pryor, Stella Sullivan. Willed land to his sons: land in Amherst County, adjoining Buffalo Ridge.

1810 Census Cumberland Co., VA – William Talley Sr
1810 Census Amherst Co., VA – Benjamin Taliaferro, Charles Taliaferro
1810 Census Albemarle County, VA – Francis Taleafero
1810 Census Campbell Co.  – Roderick Taliafero – near Mourning Christian

1820 Census Cumberland Co., VA (alpha order census) – Daniel Taliaferro with John Sandridge, Jackey Talley, Phineas Thomas, William Talley
1820 Census Goochland Co., VA – Elkanah Talley

1834 Land Deed Overton Co., TN – Elizabeth Taylor, of Sumner Co.., of Tenn…for $200.00 sells and convey to Elijah Garrett the undivided interest of a tract of land >in Overton Co.,on Obed’s R. where William PRYOR now lives and formerly owned by the heirs of Edmond Taylor & now owned by the , said Elizabeth (Taylor) and Spicy Taylor, wife of William Pryor, as trust in common. The tract was 150 acres. Witness: Pleasant Taylor and Willy Dickerson. Reg. Aug. 8, 1834  (Note: William Dickerson married Maggie Belle Talley in Overton County, TN. He may be the same Wiley Dickerson who was in Sumner Co., TN in 1850 (age 65, born in VA)

I’ll be watching out for more Talley connections to the Pryros.