TN Pryor: Wild West Sheriff


Russell August Pryor born 1835 in TN was a real sheriff deputy in the wild west. In 1880 he and his family were recorded in Humbolt County, NV and his occupation was stated as deputy sheriff. Did they really have twins they named Florence and Lawrence? The 1900 Census (below) solves that question… no.

1880 Census Humboldt Co., NV – Winnemucca
Page 269B R. A. PRYOR 46 TN TN TN Deputy Sheriff, Maggie 33 Scot Scot Scot, Edward son 14 CA, Lorance son 12 NV, Florance dau 12 NV, Maggie J. dau 5 NV, Jane Jinerson (sic) mother in law 58 Scot Scot Scot

Santa Rosa Mountains

“Santa Rosa Range, NV 2008” by Zack Sheppard from San Francisco, USA – FlickrUploaded by PDTillman. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons –,_NV_2008.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Santa_Rosa_Range,_NV_2008.jpg

Deputy Pryor got his name in the paper, praising his efforts track down a thief.

GOT HIS MAN. On the first inst. a man stole a watch and a sum of money in Winnemucca, and disappeared. Officer R. A. Pryor, of that town, took charge of the matter and followed the fellow so persistently that he could not escape, and the officer came upon him in Truckee ten days after…
(Nevada State Journal (Reno Nevada). 13 October 1878)

Sometime in the 1880’s Russell moved his family to CA. He started appearing on the California Voter Registrar in 1886 as Russell Augusts Pryor born 1835. By 1900 Russell Pryor and his family had moved to CA

1900 Census San Francisco, CA
ED#179, page 301A. 660 Broderick St., house154/219 Russell A. PRYOR Aug. 1835, 64, md. 30 TN TN TN watchman (day), Margaret wife Mar. 1850, 50, 4 children/4 living Scotland Scotland, Scotland, Laurence W. son Feb. 1870, 30, NV, Florence dau Sept. 1871, 28, NV, Margaret dau Sept. 1876, 23 NV.

His obituary confirms he died in 1906. I tried to figure out his birth date… I’m miserable at these types of calculations. Was his birthday 4 October 1835? If you’re tracing this line, there’s good news– there’s a death record in California.

PRYOR – In this city. March 11, Russell A. Pryor, beloved husband of Margaret M. Pryor, and father of L. W., E. R. and Miss M. Pryor and Mrs. C. W. Conlisk, a native of Tennessee. aged 71 years, 6 months, and 25 Days. Remains at the parlors of N. Gray & Co. 612 and 614 Van Ness avenue. between Golden Gate avenue and Turk street.
San Franciso Chronicle (San Franciso, CA. 12 Mar 1906)

I think Russell Pryor is the one Russell Pryor who was on the 1850 Census in Missouri:

1850 Bates Co., MO
Page 259B. House 424. William Pryor 59 TN, Elizabeth 22 MO, Russell 15 TN, James 17 TN

It’s speculated that Russell’s father, William,  is one of the sons of William Pryor of White County, TN who migrated to Missouri in the 1840’s.

I also think he’s the R. A. Pryor living in Mud Springs, California in 1860. This was after the Goldrush but men were still working as miners in Northern California. I looked up the Donner Party (you know that ill-fated immigration through the High Sierras in winter) and Russell’s friend Patrick Donner is not listed among them.

1860 Census, El Dorado Co., CA
Mud Springs, Page 980B, House 2367 G.H.H. Forester 45 miner MA, Patrick Donner 47 miner Ireland, R. A. PRYOR (male) 26 miner TN.

I think from MO he went to CA. His son Edwin Russell Pryor was born in Placerville, CA (Placer County) in 1866 (California, San Francisco Area Funeral Home Records, 1895-1985). His daughter, Florence born 1868, has a stated place of birth as NV on census records. I’m wondering what he did during the Civil War.

1870 Census, Nye Co., NV
Page 238, Belmont, Twp., house 3 R. A. PRYOR 35 ranchman TN, Margaret 24 keeping house Scotland, Edwin 4 CA, L. W. 2 NV, F. J. 10/12 NV