Tag Archives: wills

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

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
Witness
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
Teste
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}
Witness.
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
witness
Bejamin Crawley
H. D. Crawley
signed
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}
Witness
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

Yankee Pryor Men in Mobile, AL – Helps to Figure Out Who is Who in Alabama Records

mobile-cemeteryI was looking for some of the Virginia Pryors from Moblie, AL and stumbled upon the wills of 2 Pryor men who hailed from the North. Both of these men appear to have probably died without male heirs. Mobile must have quite the cosmopolitan port city as I found several wills (not Pryor related) that mentioned connections to other locations, even one that mentioned the deceased’s father in Scotland.

Will of George Pryor of New York City

The People of the state of New York. To all to whom these presents shall come or may concern. Send Greeting: Know ye that we have inspected the records of our Surrogates court in and for the County of New York do find that on the fifteenth day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty tow before James Campbell Esq. Surrogate of said County the last Will and Testament of George Pryor of the City of New York deceased was duly proved, approved and registered and the administration of all and singular the goods, Chattels and credits of said deceased or any way concerning his said Will was subsequently granted unto Grice Pryor the Executor and Brigham Howe one of the Executors in said Will named they being first duly Sworn will and faithfully to administer the same and to make and _____ a true and perfect Inventory of all and singular the said goods, chattels and credits and also to render a just and true account there of when there unto required which said Will is in the words and figures following to wit.

In the (missing word “name”?) of God Amen. I George Pryor of the City and State of New York. Merchant being weak in body but of sound mind memory and understanding blessed be Almighty God for the same do make, publish, and declare this my last will and Testament that is to say First I do hereby order and direct that my debts and funeral expenses shall be paid by my executors hereinafter mentioned as soon as the same can conveniently be done after my decease. Secondly I give, divide, and bequeath unto my beloved wife Grice and to her executors, administrators, and assigns forever all my household furniture of every kind and description, beds, bedding, plates, and silver ware I also give to my said wife Grice my gold watch to held and kept by her until my daughter Catharine Jane shall attain the age of twenty one years at which time it is my will and request that my said wife shall give the said gold watch to my said daughter. Thirdly, I give, devise, and bequeath to my said wife Grice the one mostly or half part of all the net income rent issues and profits of all my real Estate for and during her natural life. Fourthly I do hereby give, divide, and bequeath unto my daughter Catharine Jane and to her heirs and assigns forever subject nevertheless the right to my wife Grice to receive and enjoy the one moiety or half part of the nec income rents issues and profits there of during her natural life. Fifthly I do hereby order and direct that the Mortgage executed by me and my said wife Grice and the bond therein described and all other debts and demands due or to become due from my estate shall be paid out of my personal estate as soon as the same can conveniently be done after my decease. Sixthly I do hereby will order and direct that my Brother Jasper Pryor shall have the use of twelve thousand dollars being part of my personal estate for the term of five years from the time of my decease without security and without interest and that my stock of oils and candles shall be taken by him at the cost price thereof as part of said sum of twelve thousand dollars and that at the expiration of the said term of five years the said Jasper shall pay the said sum of twelve thousand dollars to my Executrix and Executors for the use of my estate and I do hereby authorize and empower my Executrix and Executors the survivors or survivor of them if they shall deem it advisable so to do at the expiration of the said term of five years to loan to my said Brother Jasper the said term of five years to loan to my said Brother Jasper the said sum of twelve thousand dollars or a part thereof for the further term of five years to commence at the expiration of the first term of five years without security and at five percent interest per annum. Seventhly, I do hereby give devise and bequeath to my wife and to her executors, administrators and assigns forever the one moiety or half part of all the rest, residue and remainder to my personal estate. Eighthly, I do hereby give, desire, and bequeath unto my daughter Catharine Jane the remaining moiety or half part of all the rest residue and remainder of my personal estate and I do hereby declare that the desires and bequest by me given by this my last Will and testament to my said wife are so given and devised to her and are intended to be in lieu and in bar of her dower or right of dower and thirds(?) in my real and personal estate and in as much as I have provided my brother Jasper with the means of establishing himself in business I do earnestly recommend to him the care and protection of our dear Mother, Sisters, and brother and lastly I do hereby nominate, constitute and appoint my said wife Grice to be executrix and my said brother Jasper and Brigham Howe to be Executors of this my last will and Testament and also to be the Guardians of the person and estate of my said daughter Catharine Jane and I do hereby revoke all other and former Wills by me made in witness whereof. I have hereunto set my hand and seal this thirteenth day of May in the Year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty two.
George Pryor {seal}
Signed sealed published and declared by the above named George Pryer as and for his last will and Testament in our presence who at his request in his presence and in the presence of each other have hereunto subscribed our names as witnesses the words executrix and erased and the word Jane added after the word Catharine on this page before the execution here of Floyd T. Ferris residence No. 555 Pearl Street, City of New York. F. Gross residing 207 Henry Street, City of New York. All of which we have caused by these presents to be exemplified and the seal of office of the Surrogate of the County of the New York to be hereto affixed.
Signed by James Campbell of the Surrogate Court on 17 September 1834.
Alabama Probate Records, 1809-1895, Wills 1813-1857, vol. 1, page 204 [familysearch.org, image 119-120]

NOTE: I found Grice Pryor age 70 and daughter Catharine age 39 on the 1870 Census in New York City living on West 27th St, between 6th and Broadway. They were counted twice. The second entry shows and estate of “$40,000 undivided.” Find A Grave indicates Grice and Catharine are buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn.

Will of Asa Prior (MA) and the Estate of His Wife Sarah H. Cornell/Connell Prior (NJ)

NOTE: More research is needed on Asa Prior. A long time ago I located a death notice for an Asa Pryor in the Huntsville Democrat dated 1832. Since his will was not written until 1835 we may be dealing with 2 Asa Pryors or perhaps the date is incorrect on the death notice.

In the name of God Amen. I Asa Prior of the County of Mobile in the State of Alabama being of sound mind do make this my last will and Testament in manner following to wit. All the personal and real estate I may devised or possessed of I hereby give and bequeath to my beloved wife Sarah H. Prior to have and to hold the same to her the said Sarah H Prior her heirs and assigns forever. Hereby requesting my said wife after my decease so to provide by her will or other wise that any personal or real estate which she may receive under and by virtue of this my last will and testament and which she shall not otherwise have disposed of may be given one thousand dollars to my sister Rhoda Bodfish of West Barnstable, Massachusetts** or to her heirs at law in case my said wife should survive my said sister and the remainder to the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Mobile to be by them invested in the Stock of the Bank of Mobile and dividends of such stock to be by said mayor and aldermen appropriated to make and benefit of the Presbyterian Sunday School in the City of Mobile so long as said school my continue and after its discontinuance to such charitable purposes as they the said Mayor and aldermen may think proper. I hereby nominate and appoint my beloved wife Sarah H Prior and my friend Eward (sic) Dunning to be the Executrix and Executor of this my last will and testament.

In testimony whereof I have here unto set my hand and seal at the county of Mobile this the second day of December in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty five.
Signed sealed declared Asa Prior {seal}
and published by the said testator as his last will and testament on the day and year therein named in our presence and at the request of the said testator we have subscribed our names as witnesses in his presence and in presence of each other also on the day and year therein named.
S. Southworth
L. A. Lewis
H. Lewis
Alabama Probate Records, 1809-1895, Wills 1813-1857, vol. 1, page 239 [familysearch.org, image 136]

**Rhoda Bodfish is on the 1850 Census in Barnstable, MA. Her place of birth is recorded as “Do” among births that are cited as MA. Original hand-written town records for Barnstable state she was the mother of Asa Prior Bodfish born in 1817. Please be aware when looking at the Ancestry records that although she is on the 1850 census there is a link to Find A Grave that states her death was 1847, yet the photo of the marker states 1857 and this year is also stated in the town records.

I also found the Administrator Account for the estate of Sarah H. Prior:

To the Hon. Price Williams Jr., Judge of the Court of Probate for the County of Mobile
The petition of James W. Holmes, Thaddeus Harrison respectfully shows that the late Mrs. Sarah H. Prior who was an inhabitant of this county at the time of her death departed this life on the 5th day of February 1880 in Mobile leaving a last will and testament duly Executed by her and attested by Wm. J. Ledyard, Daniel Wheeler and H. R. Holmes who reside in the County in which petitioners are named as Executors which said will is herewith produced and propounded for probate and record. Petitioners further state that the next of kin of said deceased so far as they have been able to ascertain are the children of Moses Lyon deceased the Brother of Mrs. Sarah H. Prior viz Sarah H. Cornell (or Connell?), Elizabeth W. Kellogg, Mary F. Hoe?, Moses Lyon, Jas. W. Lyon, Martha J. Lyon, Asa P Lyon, Kate L Doggs, and John H. Lyon all of whom reside in the state of New York and in or near the City of New York and the children of Richd. Lyon dec’d the brother of Mrs. Sarah H. Prior who resides in the State of Michigan. But at what point your petitioners have been unable to find___. Petitioners are also informed that descedent had relatives in Elizabeth City New Jersey, But how near, how many, or what are the names or ages of these parties in Michigan and New Jersey Petitioners have not been able to ascertain. Petitioners further state that by the provisions of said will many legacies are created and all of the estate of said deceased is disposed of to parties named in the same. In consideration of which petitioners pray that a day may be set for the hearing of the matter of this petition that subpoenas may issue to the subscribing witnesses that due notice may be given to the next of kin of the deceased that such other proceedings orders and decrees may be made as may be requested proper to effect the due probate record of said will according to law.
Note her estate is recorded and “Receipted for by A or “a” Rog. Pryor att.”
Subscribed and sworn to this 31st day of March 1880. S. Stone Clerk.

J. W. Holmes
T. Harrison

Alabama Probate Records, 1809-1895, Administration Accounts 1872-1880, vol. 62-64, page 270 [familysearch.org, image 279]

NOTE: Sarah Prior age 70 was recorded on the 1870 Census in Mobile County, AL. She is recorded as Sarah Hendrix Prior on a Find A Grave memorial, burial at Church Street Cemetery in Mobile, however the gravemarker has not been photographed.