Tag Archives: wills

Richard Pryor Executor of the Estate of James Durell

handwritingI’ve looked at several Virginia Chancery Court cases that mention Richard Pryor and his wife Virginia Boyd. They are quite lengthy and seem to center around his position as the executor of the estate of James Durell. Among all the documents I found the will of James Durell. Richard Pryor is named the executor. It names relationships and even has a codicil that freed a slave. So passing along the transcript for anyone interested in this line…


The last will and testament of James Durell of the Town of Petersburg and State of Virginia: Being confined to a bed of disease and pain and being unable to foresee the issued of such confinement and disease, I have concluded to provide against contingencies and to make the following last will and testament.

1st I direct my Executor hereinafter named to sell my land in the state of Alabama for cash or on such terms as he shall think proper, and to divide the proceeds in equal shares among my daughter and her children now living.

2nd I devise and bequeath the Durell tract of land owned by me in the county of Mecklinburg to be equally divided among my Grand children who own land adjoining the shares of each to be allotted adjoining the land now owed by them respectively.

3rd I devise and bequeath to Geo. Ruffin a lot of land owned by me situated on Plumb Street adjoining the land belonging to the Estate of the late Dr. J S Gilliam, and the land lately bough by Peter Saunders.

4th I bequeath to each of my Grandchildren a share of the stock of the Upper Appomattox Canal Company now owned by me.

5th I direct my executor hereinafter named to keep together and manage as prudently as in his power, the whole of my estate both real and personal not otherwise disposed of in this will, till the death of my daughter E O Boyd and I then devise and bequeath the same to be equally divided among my Grand children to them and their heirs forever. — in case either of my Grand children shall depart this life, previous to the death of my said daughter, then I give and bequeath to the child or children of such decreased Grand child if any the proportion to which and Grand child would be entitled if alive.

6th I give and bequeath to my daughter E O Boyd yearly during her life out of the profits of my estate, not specially devised, the sum of one thousand dollars if the profits shall amount to so much, which sum my executor is directed to pay to her yearly unless there shall be a deficiency of the profits as aforesaid.

7th I direct my Executor to pay to each of my slaves Andrew and Cuffy the sum of thirty dollars to purchase their clothes and —-.

8th I direct my Executor to have removed and decently interred Blandford Church yard the bones of those interred in the grave yard belonging to me in the rear of the land on Market street owned by E. Pescud and Dr. J. B. Scott and after such removal, I authorize and direct him to sell the land enclosed for said yard in fee simple.

9th I hereby authorize my executor not withstanding anything in this will contained as to the final division of my estate at the death of my daughter to let out my part of my real estate on building leases for a term not exceeding ten years.

10th I hereby appoint Richard PRYOR who married my grand daughter Virginia the sole executor of this my last will and testament.

Given under my hand and seal this 16th of October 1822.
Teste: Patrick Durkin (or Dunkin?) and AB Spooner

A codicil to the will of Jas. Durrell notwithstanding anything in my will continued I do hereby emancipate and forever set free my slave Nancy — and I do this in consequence of her acts of extraordinary merit done towards and for me in saving as I believe my life in an attach on me of a most dangerous disease and being fully persuaded and I always have been since that time, that her extraordinary exertions and almost on stand watchfulness on that occasion particularly throughout the most tedious nights was the main cause in saving my live– I emancipate her also in consequences of exertions of the same kind and nature towards and for me in this my present most distressing illness. Believing the acts of extraordinary merit o-the- part of said slave to be strictly within the meaning of the act of assemby to authorize emancipated slaves to remain in this commonweath and I do trust and expect the Hasting Court to permit her to remain in this Commonwealth. If it should so happen that a decree should hereafter be rendered against my estate in consequence of my being one of the securities of Jno. McRae Jr. and Excr. of Jno. McRae Sr. I direct a sufficiency of my land to be sold to pay the amount of my responsibility instead of a sale of my slave Nancy. Given under my hand and seal this 17th day of February 1827
{seal} James Durrell
J. R. Daniel

Further dodicil to the will of Jas. Durrell. Notwithstanding anything contained in my will, I hereby direct my executor to pay as soon as he conveniently can after his qualification in the first place all debts due by me on my own account and not as security out of such part of my estate as he shall think best for all the parties interested. Given under my hand and seal this 20th April 1827.
{seal} James Durell
Acknowledged after hearing the same read to be his hand and seal and act and deed before us
J. Robertson Jr
Joel Hammon
A. B. Spooner

Will of Zach B Pryor of Nashville, TN

zach pryorThank you Ancestry.com for putting up wills in Tennessee! Access these record has given me the opportunity to see if there are some Pryors I’ve missed.  I had found Zach B. Pryor of Nashville, TN on the index long ago, so it’s awesome to see his actual will Continue reading

James C Pryor Estate of Huntsville, AL

I was reading through the 1870 estate record for James C. Pryor from Huntsville, Madison County, AL. The records consist of about 200 pieces of paper that range from guardian receipts, debts, statements. Sometimes it’s fun just to read through everything, especially when it covers a broad range.

1.  Ephemera. It’s a fancy name for pretty papers. The receipt from the Venable’s Hotel (1859) shows an old-timey train and a quaint steamboat that may have been typical of the ones that traveled up and down the Tennessee River near Huntsville.


2.  Documentation of Dates and Occupation. James C. Pryor born about 1805 in England was recorded as a manufacturer of shining machines on the 1850 Census. A receipt for Wm. B. Figures shows he had purchased a lot of tools from Pryors estate in June 1859. Another receipt stated on 29 Apr 1859 a rosewood burial case was purchased, indicating Pryor had died before the tool sale.


3. Newspaper Clippings. I love it when old clippings are included in estate files. These 140 year-old clippings state the estate hearing date on 25 Feb. 1870.james-c-pryor-estate-1

4. Slaves. African American names sometimes get lost in history, or at least buried in old papers.


On or before the twenty fifth day of December next we or either of us promise to pay to A. Eason trustee for Joseph Thomas sixty dollars for hire of negro woman Laura and child. Said negro to be return on the day above written. As witness our (word obscured by tear): January 9, 1860. Martha Pryor, J A Hobbs. Jarvis Johnston.

5. Unmentionables. I can just imagine… Imagine the chagrin of James C. Pryor’s daughter Margaretta F. Pryor, later Kenard, who in 1861 at age 15 purchased a corset. She probably never thought her under garment would be exposed for the world to see on the Internet in 2015.james-c-pryor-estate-41 corset $2.00
Rec’d of James Johnston adminr. of James C. Pryor, dec’d Two dollars in full for above a/c of Margaretta J. Pryor inft. of the said Pryor dec’d. April 18th 1861.
A. Buchman

The estate file includes a statement that James C. Pryor was the husband of Martha, father of Thomas H. Pryor and Margaretta.

Category: Alabama Pryors | Tags: , ,

Looking for a Pryor Signature on David Crawford’s Louisville Will

ad fingerI’m having one of those mini-meltdowns that genealogy researchers may have. This one was spurred by David Crawford‘s Louisville will– the one I’ve referenced because it was witnessed by John Pryor and William Pryor, and because Crawford had ties to Amherst County, VA and perhaps to the Pryors there.

I try not to moan too much about the quality of documents especially when they’re 210 years old. However, I was surprised to see that the copy looks like someone in the past had enhanced the fading writing by writing over the original. Ugh.

The purpose of ordering the will was to gain a handwriting sample of John and William Pryor. No such luck. First, it’s a copy of the will written within the court transcript of 1805 . Even if it was an original, John Pryor signed his name with a “X”. William signed his name Wm Pryor, or at least it was transcribed as such.

One interesting piece, though, is that the will and the codicil was proved in Amherst County:

At a court held for Amherst County the 20th day of Sept. 1802 this will with the codicil was proven by the oaths of Wm. Pryor and John Pryor two subscribing witnesses there to & ordered to be recorded & certified for obtaining __________ in due form is granted to John Crawford, Wm Crawford, Nelson Crawford, & Charles Crawford the executors in said will named, they having made oath & given bond with Charles Taliaferro, Danl. Wanwich, Nelson Anderson, & Wm Pryor the security in the penalty of forty thousand Dollars amount money conditioned as the law directs. — Testr. L. Garland D. C.

The will was later recorded in Jefferson Co., KY:

At a County court held for Jefferson County on Monday 4th March 1805.
The transcript of David Crawford will on the motion of Nathan was produced in open court & ordered to be recorded. — Warden Pope

This seems to indicate that John and William Pryor were in Amherst County in 1802, not Jefferson County. There’s another perk of getting the original and not relying on truncated versions from books; the will opens with the statement “I David Crawford of Amherst County and State of Virginia being of sound mind…” which seems to indicate that Crawford was residing there when the will was executed. It’s then more likely that John Pryor and William Pryor were witnesses in Amherst County rather than Jefferson County, KY.

Will of Nelson Shelton of Lincoln County, NC – names daughter Jincy Pryor

handwritingYes, I’m spending some more time in the NC records trying to pair up Pryors who went to TN. Jincy Shelton Pryor named in the following will appears on the 1850 Census in Fayette County, AL. I think that researchers who’ve posted online are correct: David of Fayette County is related to Thomas Pryor in Pickens County, AL. I think they are the David and Thomas Pryor counted on the same page of the 1840 Census in Lincoln County, NC.  Thomas probably is the father of Emory Pryor living counted in the subsequent household in 1850 — could Emory be named after a brother? Is Emory D. Pryor born 1799 in NC who lived in Henry Co., TN that brother?

Transcription of Nelson Shelton’s Will, 1832 Lincoln Co., NC

In the name of God amen. I Nelson Shelton of the County of Lincoln and State of North Carolina being of sound and perfect mind and memory, blessed be God, do this 5th day of April in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty two make and publish this my last will and testament. 1st I give and bequeath unto my beloved wife Fanny Shelton the plantation that I now live on during her widowhood for the purpose of Raising the young children on or some place where she may think worth? proper for their support. I give and bequeath untio my said wife Fanny Shelton all the stock that is now on having after my debts to the balance of my children. My will is that my executor sell the plantation that I hold in the State of Georgia for the purpose of settling up all my just debts and as much of the rest of my property as will satisfy all these demands if that would not satisfy all demands that is against. I give and bequeath unto Jency Pryor one cow and one bed and furniture and some other little things. I give and bequeath unto my three smallest girls, Avery/Anny, Cynthy, and Lucinda Shelton at the death of their mother and when they marry if it case be made on the place our …..? and bed and furniture and some other things and it is my will that the rest of my small boys Leroy Shelton, Spencer Shelton, and Jeremiah F. Shelton and Westley A. Shelton each have a horse or a colt if it can be on the place my will is that if my wife Fanny Shelton and my executors think it proper to sell my plantation I will live or swap it for another they are at liberty to do so. And after paying all my just debts and making the devise to my …? children that the rest of my property to be sold as my wife decides and devided equally among all my children Polly Dellinger? Young Shelton, Rebecca White, Hugh Shelton, Jinsy Pryor, Leroy Shelton, Spencer Shelton, Jeremiah F. Shelton, Westly A. Shelton, Amy/Avery Shelton, Synthy Shelton, and Lucinda Shelton and I hereby ordain my worthy friend Young Shelton and Henry Shelton executor of this my last will and testament in witness whereof I the said Nelson Shelton have to this my last will and testament set my hand and seal the day and year above written.

Nelson Shelton {seal}
witness J. Soral? Jurat
Young and Henry Shelton, Executors

North Carolina, Probate Records, 1735-1790
Lincoln County, Wills 1824-1838, Vol. 1, page 260
FamilySearch.org – image 387