Tag Archives: Woodson

Have I Solved My Pryor Genealogy Brick Wall?

Albemarle County Courthouse IMG_2603

I’m pretty excited this morning because through all the Virginia records research I have finally discovered the opening in my Pryor “brick wall.”

A Recap. I’m descended through Allen L. Pryor of Sumner County, TN. Through his Goodspeed biography I know his parents were Massa Taylor and John Pryor. I found their marriage record in Campbell County, VA and have traced them on census records in Sumner County. The Goodspeed biography says that Allen was born in White Co., TN although I’ve never found a record of his family in that county. I know too from an 1830’s lawsuit that mentions both families, that my Pryors are connected to William Pryor of Overton Co., TN who was married to Massa Taylor’s sister, Spicy Taylor.

The Starting Point. The first and most obvious link that ties John Pryor to William Pryor are their wives who were sisters. The couples were both married in Campbell Co, VA: John and Massa in 1812, and William and Spicy in 1809. Both men and their respective wives were mentioned in the 1824 will of Edmund Taylor which was also filed in Campbell County.

Ty, a distant Pryor cousin, long ago found a deed in Campbell County that mentions both John and William Pryor as the sons of a deceased John Pryor. So, as of yesterday I was certain that John and William were brothers and that one of the many John Pryors from Virginia was their father, but which one?

The Missing Link. As I went through the records I’ve added to the TNPRYORS.com website, I saw numerous connections to Abraham Childers/Childres/Childress.

• 1747 – In the inventory of David Pryor filed in Goochland Co. Court, guardianship of his son also a David Pryor, given to Abraham Childres. Samuel Taylor was the security (an April 1759 deed to from Samuel Taylor to Jame Gillam states Samuel was the son of Richard Taylor)
• 1747 – Deed dated 15 Sep 1747, George Carrington deeds for 17.10 to John & David Pryor, sons of David Pryor deceased, 250 acres, land falling in Goochland and Albemarle. bounded by Phineas Glover, Isaac Bates, Abraham Childres & Richard Taylor
• 1759 – A deed in Albemarle County states that land owned by John Cannon was bounded by property owned by Abraham Childers and John Pryor.
• 1759 – Deed dated 22 Jan 1759 From Samuel Taylor of the county of Cumberland to John Meadors of the same county for 50 lbs., about 305 A. on the branches of Mill Branch in the county aforesaid, and part of a tract of land granted to Richard Taylor by patent dated August 20, 1745 containing 1200 A., and the said 305 A. of land is bounded southerly by the said Samuel Taylor, westerly by James GILLIAM, northerly by James Daniel and easterly by land belonging to the estate of James Nevel, deceased, and Philip Mayo.
• 1763/64 – Also in Albemarle County, Abraham Childers named his grandson David Pryor in his will. The will was probated in 1764.
• 1782 Will in Cumberland Co., VA for George Carrington Jr. mentions land he purchased from John Pryor and Samuel Taylor (Samuel was married to Sophia Childers, Abraham’s daughter)

The links from Abraham Childers to John and David Pryor, sons of David Pryor are pretty clear, and even their connection to Samuel Taylor, son of a Richard Taylor but what connects them to the John Pryor and Edmund Taylor who appear later in Campbell County records?

The Bow Who Ties Them All Together. My conclusion is that the John Pryor in Cumberland and Albemarle counties is the same John Pryor who was in Campbell County in the 1780’s. I think Sarah Woodson is the person who ties these families together. Sarah was married to Judge Creed Taylor, a son of Samuel Taylor of Albemarle County. Sarah was the niece of John Woodson and the cousin of Anderson Woodson. Samuel Taylor left a paper trail—Edmund Taylor didn’t leave a lot of records, but my “ah-ha” moment was when I realized that Anderson Woodson Jr. was the executor of Edmund Taylor’s estate in Campbell County.

Estimating Ages and Births. I played the age game from records trying to figure out relationships.

John Pryor and David Pryor. The wills and land records indicate that John and David Pryor were the sons of a David Pryor who married one of Abraham Childres’ daughters (her name is lost to history so far). The younger David Pryor must have still been in his minority in 1747 when Abraham Childers was appointed his guardian, making David born somewhere around 1740, plus or minus a few years. I think it’s safe to assume that John was the oldest of the sons and that he was born around 1725 as he was probably an adult in 1747. That would mean David Pryor Sr. was born about 1700 or at the end of the 1600’s. Wow! I don’t have a David Pryor in my database that originates that far back!

Samuel Taylor and Edmund Taylor. I don’t believe they were brothers. Samuel married Sofia Childers in 1744. If Samuel was 20 when he married he may have been born around 1725. Edmund Taylor was on the 1820 Census in Campbell County. The census reflects that he born before 1775, yet from subsequent census and other records we know his first child, Hezekiah, was born about 1793, so it’s likely that Edmund wasn’t born too long before 1775. If Edmund was born about 1770, it’s likely that Samuel who was about 40 to 45 years old was his father or perhaps an uncle.

Associated Lines? I don’t believe our ancestors dropped out of the sky. I know that skillful sleuthing and measured calculations can help to link people to the correct branches of a family line. My gut tells me that Nicholas Pryor of Amherst County is closely connected to David Pryor and his sons David and John.

Nicholas Pryor served in the militia and his brother William stated on his Revolutionary War affidavit that he was born in Albemarle County. Nicholas received payment for time served in the Militia in Abemarle County in 1756 while John Pryor (son of David Pryor) was recorded on a deed in the same county in 1759.
Nicholas Pryor was counted in Amherst County in 1784. John Pryor and David Pryor were also in Amherst County in 1784.
• The Granite Monthly, Vol 42 stated that Capt. Daniel Pryor built a palatial residence in Amherst Co. in 1798 yet I can find no other records of a Daniel Pryor in that county. Yet, there is a David Pryor on the 1800 Tax list for Amherst County. Was ancient handwriting misread, substituting Daniel for David?

Did John Pryor Move On? I’m intrigued by the will filed by George Carrington in Fayette County , KY in 1782 mentioning land he purchased from John Pryor and Samuel Taylor in Cumberland County, VA. In 1783 there was a John Pryor in Fayette Co. who owned 6000 acres. Was this the same man who was Amherst County, Cumberland County, and was in Campbell Co., VA from 1785 to at least 1790?

Where did David Sr. and Nicholas Pryor Come From? I’ve seen many unsourced Ancestry.com trees that state Nicholas Pryor immigrated from Scotland or was the son of a Scottish immigrant. I’m not ready to commit to that yet. The guardianship papers for David Pryor Jr. were filed in Goochland County, which makes me lean to Goochland County as a place that David Sr. lived and perhaps David Jr and his brother John were born. I haven’t been able to find any stray David Pryors in Goochland records, however there is a Daniel Pryor born 1703 (son of Robert Pryor and Betty Virginia Green). Again I’m wondering if there’s a transcription issue with the names David and Daniel.

While this may feel like a beautiful ending, I sense this is the beginning of a lot more research!

Captain Pryor in the Revolutionary War?

I read a story online called “Our Grandmother’s Clock,” published in Catholic World, vol 38, October 1883 to March 1884 issue. It’s written by an adult recollecting their childhood when their grandmother told the story of meeting their grandfather during the American Revolution. Grandpa was a Captain Pryor with General George Washington’s army. It’s frustrating because there’s no author credit given and it’s hard to tell if it’s fact or fiction.  I’ve pulled some names and information from the story and I’m wondering if anyone sees any facts that match their ancestor.

  • Grandmother lived in Virginia as a girl and as an elderly widow she moved in with one of her children and grandchildren in Mt. Airy.
  • The story takes place on a plantation named Mount Airy. I looked in Wikipedia and found that it’s still a private mansion near Richmond, VA.  It was built by John Tayloe.
  • A  publication of a horse pedigree in The American Farmer states a horse named Federalist raised on the estate of John Tayloe, deceased, was sold to Major John Pryor by William Beale Jr. (published April 17, 1829, but the sale possibly occurred 10 to 20 years earlier). The America Stud Book, Vol. 1 states Federalist was bred at Mt. Airy.
  • Her mother’s married name was (Charlotte?) Lottie Randolph and she was (Mary?) Polly Randolph.
  • Captain Pryor was wounded and taken prisoner at Yorktown. He impersonated a British soldier to spy for General Lafayette.
  • This quote from the story indicates that the family moved westward: “This old clock was brought with other less sacred household goods when the spirit of adventure had seized upon grandfather and made him leave the honored borders of old Virginia for a home in the far West.” Where was the “far West?”– Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois?

I dug through my database and looked online, but I can’t figure out who this story is about. The frustrating thing is that if its fiction, the author has dusted it with real names to anchor it somewhat in reality.  My first thought was of Major John Pryor who lived in Richmond and who made the horse trade with John Tayloe. Major Pryor even at one point housed Nancy Randolph, a relative of President Thomas Jefferson who had a tarnished reputation. But he lived at Haymarket Gardens and his wife was a Whiting, not a Randolph and there were no children from their union (hence no grandchildren to tell stories to).  Major Pryor’s second wife was his housekeeper, Elizabeth Quarles Graves, but she remarried and moved to Boston also without children from her marriage to the Major.

So who was Captain Pryor? I suspect that the personas of the Captain and the Major have been melded together in history and in the research of some family historians. I did some searching for a captain rather than the major.

“I do certify that John PRYOR was c—–  (commissioned?) in a Captain Lieutenant in the first Regiment of Artillery on Continental —– the 13th of January 1777 —- in the service until the end of the war. Given under my hand this 29th day of June 1807. Samuel COLEMAN.” [from Revolution Bounty Warrants, Library of Virginia – online Catalog.  The back side of this document states that Captain Pryor was given 4000 acres.]**

A Goochland County will dated 1748 for a Samuel Coleman (obviously not the same Samuel Coleman who survived the American Revolution in the 1770’s) was witnessed by John Pryor, John Right, and Robert L. Woodson.

The Colemans, Pryors, and Woodsons were in Goochland County, VA records in the 1730’s onward. Samuel Coleman married at St. James Northam parish in December 1780. I suspect the John Pryor known by Samuel Coleman was John Pryor son of Col. William Pryor and Sarah Wood. This John Pryor was born in 1759 and was alive at the time of his father’s 1777 will. He was born in Goochland County and baptized at St. James Northam parish. He was the right age to be marriage material at the time of the Revolution.

I think that some of the confusion between Captain Pryor and old Major Pryor who married Anne Whiting comes out of them having close family connections. Major Pryor was a member of the Society of Cincinnati as was Samuel Coleman (the guy who knew Captain Pryor). A John Pryor, who I believe to be Major Pryor, is recorded in the board minutes of Hampden Sydney College in 1804 with Samuel Coleman.

Relying on “Twenty-One Southern Families: Notes and Genealogies,” by Elizabeth Pryor Harper, Capt. John Pryor received 4000 acres on Skaggs Creek in Kentucky. There’s a John Pryor on the 1800 Tax List of Barren Co., KY. John isn’t on Barren Co. records after that but it’s been offered that the John Pryor who was also getting large amounts of land near Louisville was the same person.

So is Capt. Pryor who spied on the British the John Pryor who was in Jefferson Co., KY and is believed to be the father of Nathaniel Pryor? Was Nathaniel Pryor’s mother actually a Randolph? That could explain why he was part of Jefferson’s Lewis and Clark Expedition!

To get to the root of Grandmother’s story it would be really helpful to know who Grandmother was and to know who were her grandchildren!

** Since first writing this post the writer has discovered the identity of the John Pryor who received the 4000 acres of bounty land [<<Read More>>]