The Beheadding of Eli Abbott – An Aweful Pryor Revenge?

Pryor feud

“An Aweful Revenge–Mr. Eli Abbot, formerly Mayor of Columbus, Miss. Was recently found in his bed, with his head cut off. It is stated that, about four years ago, he killed a young man, named Pryor, and that he has ever since lived in the constant fear of his relatives, some of whome, it is supposed, have at length taken this terrible method of revenge.”
New-York Tibune, New York City, 21 April 1841

The Death of Beverly Pryor

Geesh! Which Pryor did Abbott cross? I took a look at Abbot to see if I could figure out where he was and when he was there and which Pryor he may have killed. Well, I didn’t have to look far. Last year I wrote Murder on the Racetrack about the killing of Beverly Pryor by Eli Abbott. If it was a Pryor who later killed Mr. Abbott,  then they were patient to wait years. What is it that they say?… Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Looking at Eli Abbot

Abbot appears to have taken seriously whatever threat was made against him. The Mecklenburg Jeffersonian, a North Carolina newspaper published 27 April 1841 reported that Abbot resorted to “having his house barricaded, and never going out after dark.” I tried to find more about Eli Abbot but can only find his household on the 1840 Census in Lowndes County, MS. If Eli was the oldest male in his household he was 40 to 49 years old. There weren’t any Pryors on that census…but hey, they had horses so I guess they could travel.