Tag Archives: Virginia

Samuel Pryor Associate of President Andrew Jackson?

Who’d want to run for the President of the United States? All the name calling, all the allegations… well what’s true in 2018 was true in 1827! When General Andrew Jackson was starting to position himself to run for office every allegation imaginable (and some of them true) surfaced in the press. A story from a Virginia newspaper was reprinted in Vermont — it names a Sam. Pryor or Samuel Pryor from Virginia who was a gamester and Jackson “crony”.

 

From the Richmond Whig of the 22nd ult.

The affair of Honor, in which the general deliberately shot Charles Dickinson, took place in the summer of 1806. The record of that bloody transaction, has for many years been in possession. We heard it also in 1816, at Plattsburg. When we were in company with Dr. J. Ramsey, of Charleston. From the mouths of an officer of the United States Engineer Corps, then at that station, with all its particulars. He stated, that Charles Dickerson threw away his fire, the General Jackson then advanced, and presented the pistol to the man’s head, and with an oath bid him make concessions or die Dickerson refused, Jackson took down his pistol, picked the flint, and presented it a second time, with similar remarks, and with the like effect, and after repeating this several times, finally shot the man dead on the spot. Several gentleman in the city have heard the same story the last winter, with all the circumstances attending it, from to wealthy, intelligent, and respectable gentleman, natives of New Jersey, who now live in Nashville, and have long lived there.

Appalling  as the statement is, we have circumstance to add to it, which made our informants blood run cold, when we heard it, as well it might. Soon after the duel, Jackson wrote a letter to Sam. Pryor, a noted gamester, and a crony of the general, then residing in this state, giving him an account of it. In the letter  HERO expressed himself to this affect: “I reserved my fire, and when I did shoot him, you may be assured I left the damned rascal weltering in his blood.” It is many years since our informant heard the letter read. But the expressions, he says, and we can believe it, made an impression upon his mind which time cannot obliterate while memory indoors.

National Standard, Middlebury Vermont, July 10th 1827 page 2

Peter Nance and Mary Pryor Query from 1906

It’s interesting to look at the old genealogy columns published in newspapers at the turn of the century. I thought this one was a great example of lots of names but not documentation. It was published on July 15, 1906 in The Times Dispatch, Richmond, VA.

I’m curious. What records were available to researchers 110 years ago? I suspect all research was done in the county record office or a researcher was hired to do it for you. In this newspaper column the reference to Edward and Nicholas Pryor in Henrico county sites the years and not the reference material. From what we know today, it’s likely they were citing the dates of Vestry Records.

And of course Roger A Pryor was still alive in 1906 and his involvement in US and Virginia politics, service as a Confederate General during the Civil War and appointments as a New York Judge were all well known and documented in newspapers.

I think there’s an interesting aspect to the query. In 1906 the writer was aware of who their ancestors were. Peter Nance was recorded with his wife Mary Pryor on the 1850 Census in Knox County. By 1860, when he was 86 years old, Peter Nance was living in Blount County, TN. So somewhere in the 40 or less years since his death, where in VA they originated from and who were their parents has disappeared from the family story.

This news clipping should be a reminder of why research continues and supporting documentation is needed for our findings. The writer never made a connection between the Pryors mentioned– they simply were dishing out names.

1807 William Pryor and William Pryor Jr Signatures

William Pryor and Wm Pryor Jr appear as signers on an 1807 Petition filed in Amherst County. These men may the William Pryor Sr. and William Pryor Jr. who appear on the 1810 Census in this county. The senior Pryor is likely the William Pryor who filed for a Revolutionary War pension in 1832.

1805: Pryor Signatures from Amherst County

More signatures from Amherst County.

Wm Pryor (William Pryor) is below Jeremiah Shoemaker and above Francis Taylor. There’s a Jeremiah Shoemaker on an 1806 petition filed by the citizens of Sullivan County, TN with a John Pryor. That may not be helpful because in 1810 and later census records there was a Jeremiah Shoemaker still counted in Amherst County.

Jesse Pryor.

Edward Taylor, above Peter Rucker whose daughters Edith and Mary both married Pryor men.

1803: Pryor Signature From Amherst County, VA

Yup, I’m still still piecing together Pryor signatures.  These are from a 1803 Amherst County, VA Legislative Petition asking for a flour inspector.

At the top of the left column: Isaac Wright, probably father of Elizabeth Wright who married Revolutionary War pensioner, William Pryor.  Also on the left is Edward Taylor or Edmund Taylor with possible “Jr” designation. It’s not yet confirmed if this was the same Edward/Edmund who was in Campbell County, VA.

Middle Column: I’ve seen this signature transcribed as “John Prior”. I think it reads “Jesse Pryor”— it’s that funny old-fashioned double “s” that looks like a “p”.

Right Column: Moses Taylor who in 1804 married Mary Polly Pryor, possibly a daughter of Nicholas Pryor.