Tennessee Pryor Criminal Cases

Robertson County Court Minutes (1811-1815)

Joseph Kizer (or Kiger) filed assault charged against Thornton Pryor in May 1814.

Assault and Battery, Overton Co. 1840

The State vs. Stephen Mayfield indictment for the assault of JOHN PRIOR. October Term of the circuit court 1840. $75 file and costs of the prosecution. Prosecuted by William Callom, Attorney General.

State of Tennessee, Overton County, October Term of the circuit court eighteen hundred and forty. The grand jurors for the State of Tennessee elected, e.? service and charged to enquire for the body of the county of Overton in the State Aforesaid upon them oath present and Stephen Mayfield yeoman upon the first day of September 1840 with force and .? In the county of Overton in the State of Tennessee in and upon JOHN PRIOR in the peace of God and our said State then and there being an assault did make and ----? The said JOHN PRIOR did then and there beat? Bruise? Wound and ill treat and other wrongs and injuries to the said JOHN PRIOR then and there did to his ---? Damage in contempt of the law of the land and against the peace and dignity of the State. William Cullom, Attorney General. JOHN PRIOR, prosecutor, witness sworn in open court and sent before the grand jury to give evidence in behalf of the State aforesaid this bill of indictment. October 28th 1840. James Harrison, foreman of the Grand Jury.

Murder Conviction, Jackson Co., 1847

Notes from the book "Tennessee Convicts: Early Records of the State Penitentiary" by Chuck Sherrill, JOHN PRYOR from Jackson Co., TN, age 25, convicted of murder. Sentenced to 12 years in the penitentiary. Received on Jan. 13, 1847. Discharged Aug. 27, 1852. This John Pryor can be found on the 1850 Census in the State Penitentiary in Nashville, Davidson Co. He is counted in the 2nd Subdivision, page 308. The census record states his age as 28, occupation laborer, born in Tennessee, convicted 1847 of murder.

1841, John Pryor Murdered

Proclamation issued April 7, 1841 by James K. Polk, governor of the State of TN.
A reward was offered for Wilkerson Fletcher who was charged with the murder of JOHN PRYOR of Weakley County. John Jefferson Fletcher (Wilks' brother) was wanted as an accessory to the murder. John Pryor was the husband of Arrena Fletcher Pryor. Wilkinson Fletcher went to Collin Co. and Denton Co., TX where he is found on the 1860-1880 Census records. (information provided by Barbara McKnight).

Murder of William Nelson, 1869

"WILLIAM NELSON died, R. A. Cox appointed administrator. No Inventory was filed before the burning of the court house. R. A. Cox makes oath above is correct. 1 May 1876."... "Heirs of Nelson employed myself and DeWitt to prosecute JOHN PRYOR, supposed murder of Nelson after his death, and the Same was continued after my appointment, and valuable services... Cox & DeWitt reasonably worth $100. Papers of estate were burned and destroyed. Nelson I think was killed in the early part of [looks like 1869 changed to 1870]. [No date]. s/s R. A. Cox"
Jackson Co., TN Loose District/Chancery Court Papers Reel #62. Cox, N. - Cox, S.
Genealogical Abstracts by Mary Lu Johnson

Murder Conviction, 1860

In 1860 JOHN PRYOR was counted on the Davidson Co., TN Census. He was in the State Penitentiary in Nashville. The book "Tennessee Convicts: Early Records of the State Penitentiary by Chuck Sherrill states "Jonathan Pryor was received on March 12, 1860. Convicted of malicious stabbing in Sumner Co. and sentenced to 3 years. Age 30. Occupation none. Birthplace Tennessee. Discharged January 2, 1863. Released under the Act of 1863. In prison leger 86 as number 2128. Additional information for prison leger 87: Born and raised in Overton Co. Father dead. Mother and one sister, wife and three children live in Sumner Co. One sister and three brothers in Overton Co.

NOTE: I believe this John Pryor to be a son of Spicy and William Pryor of Overton Co., TN. This kinship can be explained by census records and the relationships stated in the prison record. First it can be assumed that his father, William Pryor, was deceased by 1860 in that he was not counted on the 1850 Census. His mother, Spicy, was counted in 1850 in Overton Co. with a Phereba Pryor in the household. Phereba may be the sister referred to in prison record as she is counted in 1860 living close to Massy Taylor Pryor in Sumner Co. The divorce record for this John Pryor reveals that his wife was Eliza Beasley. Eliza was counted on the 1860 Census in Sumner Co. The divorce record states that Eliza and John only had one child. Two more children appear to be from John's first marriage to Ellen Lee, William E. Pryor and Mary Pryor. These children were living with the Mays family in 1860. The sister and three brothers living in Overton Co. were probably Mary Pryor, wife of Loderick Garrett; Edward Pryor, Overton Pryor, and Chesley Pryor.

1869 Hardeman County Murder

The book "Tennessee Convicts: Early Records of the State Penitentiary by Chuck Sherrill states, "Pryer, John. Received on Sept 28, 1869. Convicted of murder in Hardeman County and sentenced to a term of 20 years. Age: 18. Occupation: no trade. Birthplace: Georgia. Discharged: blank. Notes: White. In prison ledger 86, alpha section." This is probably a duplicate entry: "Pryer, John. Race white; age 20; born in Georgia. Convicted in Madison County of murder in Sept. 1869 for a term of 20 years. Remarks: In Oct. 1869 List of Prisoners." John Pryer is on the 1870 Census in Davidson Co., encarcerated.

An entry from July 1870

...ELIZA PRIOR and Mahaly Stanton Jr and Sr were kept in the Overton County jail 7 Aprand 8 Apr 1861, for "disturbing" N.G. Hutson - Overton County Court Minutes 1867-1872
July Term 1870, document page 395: Ordered by the court that W. G. Robert be allowed for keeping the bodies of Mahaly Stanton Jr. and Mahaly Stanton Sr., Eliza PRIOR in the jail of verton County on a charge of disturbing N. G. Hutson from 7th of April 1861 to the 8th of the same making 2 days at 40 cts pr day.
To six lawful turnkeys.



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