Trombonist Arthur Pryor – His Missouri Family Found!

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Was it really almost 3 years ago I last wrote about the genealogy of St Joseph trombonist Arthur Pryor? (  How time flies when you’re chasing Pryors!

This week we made great headway and I hope to hear from other researchers to fill in the blanks. Multiple biographic articles written during his lifetime state that Arthur’s father was the son of Samuel Pryor born 1844 in Clay County, MO.  I speculated, but we now know who were Arthur’s aunts and uncles.

James T. Pryor. He was born January 1830 per the 1900 Census in St. Joseph.  In 1870 he stated his place of birth was IN, however in 1880 and 1900 he stated his place of birth as NC. The tie-breaker for his place of birth was the description for his enlistment in the Union Army during the Civil War: he was born in Guilford, NC. James’ kinship with Arthur Pryor was suspected because a grandson was remembered as a cousin of the bandmaster in an obituary.  James Pryor’s obituary was found this week in Google News  – the St. Joseph News-Press on April 4, 1907 stated “Arthur Pryor’s Uncle Dead.”

Emsley R. Pryor. He was born in the 1830’s in North Carolina per the 1870 and 1880 Census in St. Joseph. I had already “penciled in” Emsley as kin to Samuel and Arthur Pryor because Emsley was a bugler during the Civil War – he just seemed likely to be part of this musical family. Emsley’s connection to Arthur Pryor was confirmed by his son Frank Pryor’s obituary which stated he was the cousin of Arthur Pryor.

Robert Pryor. Born 1841 in Missouri per census records where in 1860 he was recorded in Buchanan Co. as simply R. Prior. Robert’s connection to the other Pryor brothers was found in his Civil War records. Robert and James T. Pryor went AWOL in 1863 and were arrested in 1864 in Bellview, NJ. Their military records indicate they were returned to the Midwest. His description for his enlistment in the Union Army: he was born in Clay County, MO. In 1870 Robert was back in St. Jo, married with children, and an Alice Pryor (his sister ) living with his family.

Samuel D. Pryor. Born 1844 in Liberty, Clay County, MO.  Alas no sign of Samuel, his brothers or his parents on the 1850 Census in Clay Co. It’s suspected that he is the same person who was drafted as “Samuel Pryor” into the Union Army in 1863 with his Pryor brothers, however no service files have been located on Samuel Pryor. It should be noted that the Samuel Pryor who was drafted listed his occupation as “gentleman” as did an Alph Pryor, while Emsley and James T. listed their occupations as “laborer.” After the Civil War Samuel lived briefly with his wife and children in Midland, NE (1875 NE State Census) and then the family lived in Dallas, TX. Samuel Pryor is on the 1870 through 1900 US Census in Buchanan Co., MO.

Alice Pryor. Born 1847 in Texas. The Pryors may have migrated to the Republic of Texas or just after it became a state.  Alice Pryor is on the 1870 Census in St. Joseph, MO—she was counted twice. She was first counted in a rooming house with Ida Stone age 8 (Ida later lived with Samuel Pryor and family). She was next counted with her brother Robert Pryor.  In 1880 Alice may have been recorded on the census twice AGAIN. There is a musician Alice Pryor living in a St. Jo boarding house with an operatic company. The same year she was counted as “A. Hughs” in St. Jo with her husband John H. Hughes, nephew Robert S. Stone, and a brother named “A Prior” who was a musician.  Alice is on the 1900 census with her husband this time Robert is identified as her “nephew.” Alice Pryor Hughes died November 14, 1923 (Missouri Death Certificate) and her obituary (again thanks to the St. Joseph News-Press and Google News! ) states she was the sister of Samuel Pryor and Arthur Pryor’s aunt. It also confirms her relationship with Emsley Pryor by naming his children as her relations.

Mrs. Stone. There is probably another sister who married a Mr. Stone. She is possibly the mother of Ida  Stone born 1872 and son Robert S. Stone born 1868—they lived with Alice Pryor at various times.

Mr. A. Pryor. He was born in 1835 and is probably another brother. An “A Prior” was living with Alice Pryor Hughes on the 1900 US census, recorded as a brother,  and was also a musician. He may be Alph Pryor who joined the Union Army in 1863 in Buchanan Co., MO. He may be the “A. Prior” who was living near Robert Pryor on the 1860 Census in St. Joseph.

Can you unlock the identity of Samuel’s other siblings?

Isn’t fun we start to solve a line of Pryors!