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

map-amherst-pt-pleasant
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.
https://revwarapps.org/s8979.pdf

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.