Tag Archives: wills

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

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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

Pryor Wills – Ezra, Mildred, and William of Halifax County, NC

virginia and north carolina map

Click on map to view larger (Map courtesy Ancestry.com)

Maps really help in figuring out the Pryors.  I like this map of North Carolina because it shows neighboring counties in Virginia and South Carolina. I added my own Photoshop flair to 2 areas of the map that intrigue me when it comes migrations of Pryor families.

The map shows the proximity of Pittsylvania County, VA and Rockingham County, VA. (read more about Rockingham/Pittsylvania Pryor connections). Brunswick County, VA is also in close proximity to Halifax County, NC — the surnames Pryor, Lane, and Mabry can be found in both counties.

Transcription of the Will of Ezra Pryor, 1830 Halifax County, NC

In the name of God Amen. I Ezra Pryor being infirm in body, but possessing sound mind have concluded to make this my last will and testament. I wish my body decently interred at the discretion of my friends, my soul I recommend to God. I will and bequeath unto my beloved wife Mildred Pryor, the following property viz all my Negroes, all my stock of horses, cattle, sheep, and hogs, likewise all my carriages, and all my plantation utensils of every kind. Household and kitchen furniture and one thousand dollars, I also loan to my beloved wife during her natural life or widowhood the following tract of land commencing a the run of Bear Swamp where Harts Meadow Branch empties into said Swamp thence running west until it intersects a small Branch thence up the said Branch until it forks, thence up the left prong of said Branch to the head thence a west course (so as to miss the plantation) until it intersects the main run of Butterwood Creek. Thence down the meanders of said Creek to Bear Swamp thence up Bear Swamp to the Bridge across said Swamp. Thence on East course along William Harvey‘s line to the mouth of the long ditch at the Gate thence up said ditch until it intersects Hart’s Meadow Branch, thence down said Branch to the first station. I loan to my father William Pryor and his wife Nancy Pryor and Mrs. Susan Elmore all the tract of land that I own on Rocky Swamp, during their natural lives. I loan to Negroes George and Grace the tract of Land on which they now live adjoining the Lands of Charles Isles and others during their natural lives then to be equally divided between my three children Martha R. Pryor, Mary G. Pryor, and Eliza A. Pryor but in the event of either of my children’s dying before they arrive to the lawful age or marry it is my will that the two surviving ones inherit the property of the deceased and likewise if a second should died it is my will that the surviving one shall inherit the property. I constitute and appoint my Father William Pryor and my wife Mildred Pryor my Executors and Executrix. September 6th A. D. 1830
W W Thorne
Wm Price
John Knight

Signed Ezra Pryor [seal}
State of North Carolina, Halifax County
Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions 3rd Monday of November 1830
Then this last will and Testament of Ezra Pryor was exhibited in open Court and duly proved by the oaths of Wm Price and William W. Thorne two subscribing witnesses thereto and on motion it was ordered to be recorded. Whereupon, Mildred Pryor, the Executrix therein named came forward to qualified thereto
M. H. Pettaway, Clerk

Halifax County, NC Wills, 1825-1854, Vol. 04 [FamilySearch.org image 81]

Transcription of the Will of Mildred E. Pryor, 1834 Halifax County, NC

In the name of God amen:
I Mildred E. Pryor of the County of Halifax State of No. Carolina being of sound and disposing mind, but feeble in body, make and ordain this as my last will and Testament. Item-1st. I leave all my Household and kitchen furniture to be equally divided between my two daughters Mary R. Powell and Martha R. Brinkley. Item–2nd. I leave all the balance of my Estate consisting principally of money and slaves to John Powell in trust for the benefit of the children of his present wife my daughter Mary G. Powell. Item 3rd. I nominate and appoint John Powell executor to this my Last Will and Testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 13th day of August 1834.
Mildred E. Pryor {seal}
S. Clanton
Kinchin Deckin?
State of North Carolina
Halifax County
Court of pleas and Quarter sessions
November term 1834
Then the foregoing paper —–? was offered for Probate in open court and duly proved by the Oath of Kinchin Decken a subscribing witness thereto and on motion ordered to be recorded whereupon John Powell the Executor therein named came into Court and was duly qualified as such.
Witness M. H. Pettway clk

Halifax County, NC Wills, 1825-1854, Vol. 04 [FamilySearch.org image 127]

Transcription of the Will of William Pryor, 1836 Halifax County, NC

In the name of god Amen, I William Pryor of the county of Halifax and State of North Carolina being weak in body but of sound but of sound (sic) and perfect mind and memory do this the 19th day of August 1833 make and publish this my last will and Testament in manner following that is to say I leave to my wife and ample (?) support as long as she lives, with same Susan to wait on her she may have bee choice who it may be and at her death I wish the whole of my estate of whatsoever it may be to go to John Powell his heirs and assigns forever and I hereby make and ordain John Powell Executor of this my last will and Testament witness whereof I the said William Pryor have to this my last will and Testament set my hand and seal the day and year above written
Bejamin Crawley
H. D. Crawley
William Pryor
State of No Ca
Halifax County
August 6(?) 1836 then the foregoing two wills was exhibited in open court and the will of Harriet D. Eppes proved by F. L. Marshall an subscribing witness thereto and the will of William Pryor proved by the oath of H. D. Crawley and was ordered to be Recorded.
W H Pettway, Clk.

Halifax County, NC Wills, 1825-1854, Vol. 04 [FamilySearch.org image 154]

Transcription of John Pryor Will – Signed Halifax County, NC 1769

quillpen1Sifting through various Pryor lines to determine who is connected to my projected line and who isn’t connected. That’s what took me to Halifax County, North Carolina records.  When I looked at the will of John Pryor — husband of Lucretia, father of Luke, John and Elizabeth— and the will was witnessed by William Pryor.

Will of John Pryor, Signed 1769

In the Name of God Amen. I John Pryor of Halifax County Being in Perfect and sound Health and strength of memory thanks be to almighty God for the same do make and Ordain this my Last will and testament in manner and Form following viz first I recommend my soul to Almighty god that gave it hoping thro’ my ever blessed Redeemer to receive Salvation and my body to be Deciently buried at the Discretion of my Exers. herein after mentioned and as for what worldly goods is hath Pleased Almighty god to besto on me. I give and Bequeath in manner and Form Following first I desire all my just Debts be paid. Item my will and desire is that my Negro Peter be sold with all my year’s crop. Crop of corn —? much as my loving wife Lucresa can spar with what stock and household furniture she shall Direct to pay my just Debts. Item I lend to my Loveing wife all my whole estate be it ow what kind so ever During her Natural Life. She raising what money out of my Estate to school my Two children Jno. and Elizabeth and after her decease to be Equally Divided Between by two Children Jno. and Elizabeth. Item I give to my son Luke Pryor one bed, one Desk, three plates to him and his heirs which he hath Now in his possession. Lastly I constitute and Appoint my loving wife Lucresa whole and sole Excx. of this my last will and Testament Revoke all other former wills by me made. In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this Third day of September 1769.
John Pryor {seal}
William Pryor
Halifax County —-? May court 1770. Then this will was exhibited in open court and Duly proved by the oat of Wm. Pryor a witness thereto who on his oath did say that he —? the Testator Jno. Pryor signed Published and Declared the same to be his Last Will and Testament and that he subscribed his Name as a witness thereto in the presents of the Testator and his request where upon the said will was ordered to be recorded.
Test. Jos. Montfort, CoC