Tag Archives: Wright

The Death of John Jackson and How A Pryor Relative Got His Money

lorene pryor

I saw this article in the Decatur Review from Decatur, IL published on February 12th 1917. It tells of a young girl named Lorene Pryor coming into an inheritance after she proved she was the grand-daughter of John Jackson, a hermit who had stashed away a small fortune.

I found Lorene Pryor on the 1910 Census in Quincy, Adams county, IL:

1910 Census Adams Co., IL
Quincy Ward 1, page 31a, Henry E PRYOR 42 married twice, married “0” years, IL OH KY, Addie F. wife 42 married twice MO OH NY, Lorene dau 8 IL MO MO, Gertrude Gregory step-dau 19 MO MO MO, Sylvia Gregory 17 MO MO MO, James Matthew boarder 25 OH OH OH

An earlier news story laid out the alleged family relationships. John Jackson who died in Santa Ana, CA may be “the same John Jackson who left his home near Chillicothe, MO nearly forty years ago.” It was explained that Lorene’s “mother’s name was Isabell Wright, and her grandmother name was Jackson.” (Santa Ana Register, Santa Ana, CA 26 Dec 1916). The search for a legal heir must have been going on for some time — an article published February 25, 1916 in the Los Angeles Times states that John Jackson had died a few days before his body was found on June 30, 1913.

OK, I love a mystery. I was wondering how Lorene Pryor proved her relationship to John Jackson in 1916 and if the relationship could be proved with modern access to records. So, here’s what I found.

Looking at the extract from the 1910 Census (above) Henry E Pryor and Addie were married “0” years and they were both married twice. Their union was a second marriage and Lorene Pryor was likely Henry’s child from his first marriage. If Lorene wasn’t Addie’s birth-daughter then her relationship to John Jackson must have originated through Henry’s first wife.

I found Henry Pryor married “Lizzie” Wright on April 10, 1895 in Hancock County, IL. They are on the 1900 Census, where she was recorded as Elizabeth, not Lizzie or Isabel.

1900 Census, Adams Co., IL
Quincy, 4th pct., page 323a, North 6th – Henry E PRYOR b. Sept. 1867 32, md 5 years IL OH IL night watchman. Elizabeth D wife b. Aug 1869 30 no children MO OH KY

Before the marriage, there is a Lizzie L Wright age 1 living in the household of David T Wright age 53 on the 1870 Census.  They were living in Chillicothe, Livingston County, MO. Ah-ha! That’s where John Jackson was supposed to have lived before moving to California.

David T Wright’s will is now available on Ancestry.com. He wrote his will in 1886 and named a grandchild named Lizzie L Wright, stated her parents were deceased, and left her and other grandchildren $1 each.

Now here’s the rub… I’m unable to locate a marriage between any of the Wright’s and a Jackson. I don’t see John Jackson on the Livingston County, MO census records. Lizzie Wright was identified as a “daughter” on the 1880 Census. Is suspect the will is correct and that Lizzie was Wright’s grand-daughter.

A 1917 newspaper article sheds some light on Jackson’s identity: “…claimants from around Chillicothe, Mo., who declared that Jackson must have been a relative of theirs who went West about 1881…They said he had had a row with an uncle, at whose house he lived, and had taken some mules he owned and departed for Arizona.” (Santa Ana Register, February 3, 1917). This same article indicates that Lenore’s family’s memory of Jackson’s old accident wounds were similar to testimony of people who had known Jackson in California.If we believe the newspaper account that Lorene’s grandmother was a Jackson then perhaps one of David T. Wright’s sons married a Jackson.

I wonder what she did with the money because in 1920 she was still living with her parents (possibly because she hadn’t married) and was working as a telephone operator. In 1930 she was working as a servant in a house hold in Yamhill, OR. It looks like things didn’t work out so well for Miss Pryor.


Theory of William Pryor of Goochland, Albemarle, and Amherst Counties

Places: Amherst County, VA (A) and the fort at Point Pleasant (B). About 275 miles through the wilderness.

I’ve shared my theory of before but I’ll flesh it out in this post. I think William Pryor of Goochland, Albemarle, and Amherst Counties was the father of Captain William Pryor of Amherst County. It may get confusing, however I’ll do my best by distinguishing them as Old William and Young William.

Young William Pryor was the Capt. Pryor who swore out a statement for a Revolutionary War Pension in 1832 that told of his own military service and his brothers’ military service and the trials of settling in Kanawha. Per this statement, Young William Pryor was born about 1752 in Albemarle County.

William Pryor of Goochland County Suit

I think I can place Old William in Albemarle County at the same time. A Court Case filed in Goochland County in 1744 places Old William Pryor in Albemarle County. A William Laffoon had died without a will and his widow Grace  came to court to petition her appointment as administrator of his estate. George Carrington was surety. By 1747 the case was MOVED from Goochland County to Albemarle County, which was probably the result of the formation of Albemarle County in 1744 from a portion of Goochland County. William Pryor (the Old William) was dismissed from the case on 13 May 1748. William Pryor was named as an heir of William Laffoon.

Old William Pryor is named in additional Albemarle records during the early 1750’s. He’s the only Pryor to turn up at this time Young William was born in that county, hence there’s a strong likelihood Old William is the father of Young William Pryor and his brothers Nicholas and John.

“WILLIAM PRIOR (who was then listed as a resident of Albemarle Co., VA) sold 200 acres of land in Henrico County to WILLIAM HARDING of Henrico Co. This land was noted as “part of a greater tract of land granted to WILLIAM LAFFOON by patent”. (1751)

William Pryor of French Indian War

1758 Act of General Assembly – March 1758 awarded pay to officers and soldiers for service (French Indian Wars) to William PRYOR and Nicholas PRYOR of Albemarle Co.

William Pryor in Amherst County

Amherst County was formed out of parts of Albemarle County in 1761. Young William Pryor mentions this in his pension application. So after that year we have to look in Amherst County for the this family of Pryors. There are two deeds (deed #1 and deed #2 below) from about this time for a William Pryor in Amherst County– this William was not Young William because Young William was 10 years old in 1762 and 14 years old in 1766.

Deed #1 – William PRYOR, 350 acres on Peddlar Creek (1762)

Deed #2 – William PRYOR 395 acres on Irish Creek, Blue Ridge (1766)

A deed a decade later (1774), a deed reveals a William Pryor sold land in Amherst county, possibly the same land he acquired on Irish Creek in 1766.

Deed Book D, p. 166 3 Jan 1774 WM. PRYOR & wife MARGARET, AC, to PHILIP THURMOND, AC, for L114-11, 395 acres on the blue ridge; branch of Irish Creek. Wit: Roderick McCulloch, David Crawford, Isaac Wright, Wm. Crawford (1774)

This William Pryor sold off his land in 1774 a few months after his son, Young William, stated he had moved to Kanawha. The younger William moved to the land near the great Kanawha river in the fall of 1773, but the Indians drove him out and he returned to Amherst, venturing back to Kanawha in 1775. This back and forth between Kanawha and Amherst County went on for several years.

I like to be a bit skeptical about dates and who was who. The 1774 deed doesn’t state which William was involved, however the only known marriage for Young William Pryor was to Elizabeth Wright. So there’s the possibility this 1774 deed reveals the name of Old William’s wife… Margaret.  It also contains the names of several men who were associated with this line of Pryors over time: Isaac Wright’s granddaughter, Elizabeth Wright, married Young William Pryor during the American Revolution in 1778. David Crawford’s will was witnessed by William Pryor and John Pryor in 1801– Was this the younger or the older William? I don’t know.

The first record of Young William Pryor in Amherst County was the purchase of land on Enchanted Creek in 1780. It was during this year that he served out 3 months of duty in the Revolutionary War and claims to have returned to Amherst County where he lived ever since.

William PRYOR Jr. grantee, 247 acres on Inchanted Creek

I haven’t seen any records of William Pryor earlier than the Laffoon lawsuit, so perhaps William and Margaret were a young married couple in the late 1740’s. Their son, Young William indicates they were having children around that time and into the 1750’s.  It’s estimated that Old William was born around 1720.

Old William and Margaret’s probable children were

1. Nicholas Pryor b. about 1740-1750 in probably Goochland County. Nicholas married (1) Mary and later to (2) Sally Paxton. Died about 1813 in Kanawha County, VA
2. Capt. William Pryor b. about 1752 in Albemarle. Married Elizabeth Wright. Lived out rest of his life in Amherst County, VA.
3. John Pryor b. about 1750. Fought in Lord Dunmore’s War. Killed by indians?
4. Susannah Pryor b. about 1765. Married (1) Shadrack Harriman last man to be killed by indians in Kanawha, (2) David Milburn.

Mary Kennerson Pryor born around 1720

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I’ve been checking more of the families who associated with the Pryors. Going back to an older post I wrote about Harris Pryor (see post) I was able to ID Harris’ wife as Mary Kinnerson. I gotta say the handwriting is really difficult. Her surname is written at least 3 times in the Chancery Court case I used to ID her. The best 3 examples I’ve shown below:


You can see, sometimes it’s spelled in the document with a “C” and sometimes it’s spelled with a “K”. I looked up the name online and saw that it’s a variation of Gunnison, Gunneson, Kenneson, Kenniston, Kennison, Kennerson, Gunnerson, and Kenson.  I’m adding this to my list with Pryor and Ballew that have more variations than you can shake a stick at.

They must be out there. I just haven’t found anyone living near the Pryors in Prince Edward County, Bedford County, Henrico County, or Goochland County with similar surnames.

You’ll notice familiar names on the deed below (George David vs. Harris Pryor, filed in Prince Edward Co., VA 1773). Yes, it’s Charles and Landis Patteson/Patterson who with Harris Pryor, were witnesses to the will of John Wright in Prince Edward County in 1775 (John Wright was the son in law of John Pryor and Mary New).

harris pryor

John Pryor and Mary New – This John Pryor on Beaver Creek Dam

1435495_49368213One of our Facebook friends has asked who is the John Pryor on Beaverdam Creek in Goochland County, VA. They would like to know if he’s the John Pryor who was involved in the attack on Fort Donnally. Thanks for asking! It’s time to gather up all we know about this John Pryor.

Let’s tackle the easiest answer straight away. This John Pryor was NOT at Fort Donnally. The attack on Fort Donnally occurred in 1778. This John Pryor wrote his will in 1755 and by 1756 a Chancery Case was filed disputing the estate and referring to John Pryor as deceased. The John Pryor at Fort Donnally was the brother of William and Nicholas who were born in Albemarle County, VA. [see John Pryor – Was He Really Killed by Indians? When?

I never know where these old locations are actually located, so I look at maps and Google a lot. When I looked up Beaverdam Creek I found that it’s along the James River, running through Goochland County, past Henrico County to Richmond. A fascinating little fact surfaced… the parish of St. James Northam is now Beaverdam Episcopal. What’s St. James? This is the parish where William Pryor who married Sarah Wood had his children baptized [see parish register].

I did a Google search to see who lived in the Beaverdam Creek area: John Webb, John Pryor, John Wright, James Christian, Thomas Christian, Joseph Pleasants. John Pleasants, John Woodson, John Bolling, Edward Curd, Henry Gill. These surnames were all in early deeds from 1713 to 1720’s. I believe the following records are of the John Pryor who was on Beaver Creek and also of associated families… New, Wright, Woodson, Christian.

The tough question that can’t be answered strait away is “Who is this John Pryor?” If he was living in St. James Northam Parish, then was he related to Samuel Pryor and Prudence Thornton or their son William Pryor and wife Sarah Wood? I think he’s related to Harris Pryor of Bedford County, VA because Harris witnessed the will of John Wright (the son in law of John Pryor of Beavercreek). Harris was born around 1740 so,  Harris could be a child of one of John Pryor’s siblings.

1722 Deed Henrico Co.- William New, February Court 1722 Henrico County Va. Page 230. John PRYER, Thomas Bailey, and Joseph Aslin prove deed of Edmund New to William New.

1722 Deed Henrico Co – February 1722 Henrico County. John PRYER, Thomas Baily and Joseph Ashlin prove deed of Edmund New to John Tuly.

1726, 4 July, Henrico County, Virginia Proved 5 September 1726. Pages 50-51. I Edmund New of Henrico County and St. James Parish. To son Edmund New all my land lying and being on lower side of upper branch Cavold? little creeks of Licking Hole. To Edmund New my son, all my nursery of apple trees. To my daughter Prissilla New all remainder part of my land lying on upper side of little creek of Licking Hole. To loving and lawful wife Mary New and son Edmund and daughter Prissilla personal effects to be equally divided between them and not to be appraised after my decrease. As also my full right to a forty pound bond of Thomas Christian’s all to them and their heirs. Wife, son Edmund, daughter Prissilla executors. I give and bequest to my grandson John New son to my son Edmund New deceased and to William New, Mary Prior, Rebecca Christian, Sarah Tuley, Eliz Patterson, Ann New and Henry New one shilling sterling money as their full due of dower.

1727 Deed Henrico Co – John PRIER 7 Thomas Christian, 400 Acres N.L. , Henrico Co. on N. side of James River; on Edmond New‘s line; 40 Shillings, October 13, 1727 Patent Book No. 13 Page 222

1730 Deed Henrico Co – Charles Chirstian of Charles City, 400 acres Goochland County adjoining Thomas Chirstian and John PRIER on Wild Boar Creek. 28 September 1730

1733 Deed Goochland Co. – John Wright 300 acres in Goochland County on branch of Beaver Dam Creek adjoining line of Thomas Christian and John PRIER. Charles Christian’s and Roger Powell’s line

1735-1737 Court Order Goochland Co.- In the action of trespass between David Walker, plaintiff, and John Woodson, defendant, the following jury is sworn; Robert Hughes, John Laine, John McBrid, Charles Lynch, Thomas Walker, John PRIOR, Peter Davis, Richard Crouch, Joseph Dabbs, Wm. Harris, Wm Arrington, John Spears, who return with their verdict. When the plantiff is called, he answers to his name, upon which the defendant moves his appearance may be recorded, on which motion the divided. John Fleming, Daniel Stoner, and Thomas Dickins are of the opinion his answering is an appearance, and William Mayo, Isham Randolph, and Thomas Turpin that it is not. The suit is continued for another Justice to give his opinion. (My Note: John Layne died May 1755 on Licking Hole Creek which places him as a neighbor of Edmund New above. Elizabeth Pryor married David Lane in 1757 at St. James Northam church)

1735 Vestry Record – page 286: [I find date between p. 284 and this p. 286. Therefore, I assume a date of 11 Feb 1735/6.] Orderd into one precinct for processioning, the Lands of Christopher Cawthon, George Alves, John Spradling, Nicho Gentry (Nicholas Gentry), Samuel PRYOR, Wm Cawthon, Jas. Philips (James Philips) & Wm HARRIS, and that Samuel PRYOR & Christopher Cawthon, See the said processioning performed &c Who made the following return, The Within Order Complyed with in the presence of David Alves Lawrence Forjuson (Lawrence Ferguson?), John Rofs (Ross?), John PRYOR, & James McLoughland by us Samuel PRYOR, Chris’r Cawthon

15 June 1736 William Mills of St. James Parish, Goochland, sold James Walker 300 acres on branches of Licking Hole Creek for L15.5 part of a greater tract Mills took up by patent 11 April 1732 bounded by Samuel Coleman, Chiles corner, Scott’s line, Kerby’s line & Henry Chiles. Mary released dower. Wit: John Pryor, Henry Chiles, Peter Patrick, Goochland Deeds & Wills Book 2 page 231 (Possibly John Pryor who married Mary New. John Pryor was the grandfather of Samuel Coleman’s wife Anne Wright Coleman)

1736 Court Order – June 1736, Action of Debt between Richard Dean Plaintiff and Jonas Lawson Defendant the following Jury are Sworn, Henry Chiles, Thomas Christian, David Walker, John PRIOR, James Robinson, Charles Lynch, Thomas Bailey, John Laine, John Cox, Stephen Cox, John Biby and John Twitty who after sometime bringing their verdict which on the Plaintiff motion is admitted to Record and is as followeth. We find for the Plaintiff nine pounds, twelve shilling and six pence current money, Thomas Christian foreman (Goochland County, Virginia Order Book 4, Page 71, September Court 1736.)

1737 Complaint filed in Goochland Chancery Court
Edmund New, an infant, prosecutes John Lane. Plaintiff summoned Thomas Christian and William Christian. Signed by Henry Wood, Clerk of the Court. 30 Sept. 1737. | William Christian for full satisfaction for the bond that was give by Thomas Christian Sr. to Edmund New Sr., both defendants of witness my hand. Edward New (his Mark). Wits Jacob Oglesby, John Wright (his mark).

and a second case…

1739 Complaint filed in Goochland Chancery Court
Hugh Morris and Mary his wife, executrix of Edmund New, deceased. Major Lewis and Priscilla his wife. Signed H. Wood Clerk of the court. Sent to Arthur Hopkins sheriff for service.

1740 Indenture – On 17 Sep 1740, the purchase of a tract of land by William New from Thomas Thornell. The land was on the North Side of the James River, 150 acres that had belonged to Edmund New, deceased, bordered by Thomas Bailey, Ebenezer Adams, Robert Rogers, David Patterson, Major Lewis. Signed by William and Pricsilla New. Witnessed by James Christian, Robert Christian, and John PRIOR.

1747 – Will of John Woodall. Proved 19 Mar 1750. Heirs: sons John and William Woodall, daughter Sarah PRYOR

1748 – Will of a Samuel Coleman was witnessed by John PRYOR, John Right (Wright?), and Robert L. Woodson.

1750 Will – Proved 19 Sept 1750, Robert Woodson died, husband of Rebecca PRYOR. Names children John, James, Benjamin, Robert, Eliza, Mary, and Sarah.

1753 Marriage – Alexander Trent to Elizabeth Woodson, consent from Charles Bates, Stephen Woodson, deceased. Security: John Woodson. Witness: Will PRYOR, H. Wood, Matthew Woodson, Samuel Branch. 1 Jan 1753.

1755 Will – Proved 19 Aug 1755, will of John PRYOR, daughters Ann Wright, Rebecca Woodson, grandson John Woodson, witnesses Thomas Bailey and Ann Bailey
Daughter: Ann Wright 50a. with plantation whereon she now dwells beginning at the low line so running as the rode goes till the 50a. is included; daughter REBECCA WOODSON 5 shillings curr.; grandson JOHN WOODSON two Negroes Will & Ick and all my estate real & personal excepting what has been given as above mentioned; grandson John Woodson executor. Witnesses, JACOB OGLESBY, ANN BAILEY, THOMAS BAILEY. Dated July 24, 1755. Proved Aug. 19,1755, and further proved Mar. 16, 1756. Albemarle Co., VA, Vol. 7, p. 77.

1756 Chancery Court Case – Filed June 1756. John Wright and wife Anne, daughter of John PRYOR deceased.vs. John Woodson, son of Rebecca Woodson, daughter of John Pryor. Suit states John Pryor came into 200 acres of land in about 1727 in Henrico County, which is now part of Goochland county, and the land is where the Wrights were living in 1756. The Wrights alledge that John Pryor gave them land only to have the Woodsons convince him in his last sickness during 1755 to deprive them of the land in his will. The case was dismissed in 1758 by agreement. Signed by Valentine Wood, clerk of the court

Big Clue to Ancestry of Harris Pryor of Bedford Co. and Prince Edward Co.

Goochland, Virginia

I think we can join Harris Pryor born about 1740 to his correct line of Pryor ancestors. If you need to refresh your memory go to my last post about Harris Pryor. I believe Harris is connected to Jesse Pryor of Overton Co., TN and Samuel Pryor who died in Anderson Co., TN in 1815 and other Pryors who were in Knox and Roane County. Now I think I know from which line Harris Pryor descends. I found online the 1775 will of John Wright the husband of Ann Pryor (daughter of John Pryor and Mary New).  I got interested in Ann Pryor and John Wright when they showed up as a DNA match on the Ancestry DNA test I’ve been moderating. What really lit up my day of research? Harris Pryor witnessed John Wright’s will. Ooops, I forgot to end that sentence with a big fat exclamation point!

There’s an article in The Virginia Historical Magazine  that includes a very brief synopsis of the 1755 will of John Pryor (husband of Mary New) stating legatees were his daughters Rebecca Woodson and Ann Wright. No mention of his wife nor any other children. If Harris Pryor wasn’t a son of John Pryor and Mary New who was he?

I’ve taken my pencil and I’ve drawn a tenative, yet optomistic line between Harris and my line of Pryors that begins with Nicholas. Now, I just need to figure out how he fits in.