Research in to the Origins of John and William Pryor who settled in Overton Co. and Sumner Co., TN. Both of these men married Taylor sisters in Campbell Co., VA. The notes that follow were collected by M. T. Pryor, a descendant of John Pryor.

Pryors of Campbell County VA

Notes by M. T. Pryor

[As background, it should be remembered that Campbell County was created from the eastern portions of Bedford County in 1782. Later, Appomattox County took a slice off of the eastern side of Campbell - 1845]

John Pryer with Gideon Martin, Jane Preston, Thomas Stovall witnessed the will of Jacob Rector in Bedford County VA on 26 Oct. 1779. John Pryer along with Gideon Martin proved the will by oaths on 22 Nov. 1779. John Pryer along with David Martin and Thomas Stovall inventoried the estate of Jacob Rector on 3 Dec. 1779, returned 22 January 1781. "Prier" also used at one place in the record. (Abstracts of Bedford County Virginia Wills, Inventories and Accounts by Joida Whitten, Taylor Publishing Company (Dallas), pp. 101 and 113, referencing will book pp. 359-60 and 387.)

John Pryer then appears on the 1787 tax list "B" for Campbell County (my handwritten notes, taken from a published list at some time in the past)

John Pryor along with Robert Wright and James Rock witnesses the will of James Karr on 14 June 1785. (Campbell County, Virginia Wills and Inventories 1782 - 1847 by William Lindsay Hopkins, Richmond, VA (1989), p. , referencing Will Book 1, 1782 - 1800, p. 92)

On 25 November 1788, John Pryer of Campbell County purchases "from John Kitchen of Henry County . . . for 75 [pounds], one certain tract of land of 135 acres in C[ampbell] on the west branches of Stonewall Cr, 7 bounded by Stoval, Kitchen's corner on Cattail Branch, McBride. Signed - John Kitchen. Wit - Thomas Dunn, William Page, William Bernett (B (Burnett), Henry Truman, William Chenalt (Chenault), Charles Rork. Recorded Apr 2, 1789." (Campbell County Virginia Deeds, 1784 - 1790 published by T.L.C. Genealogy (Miami), p. 55, referencing deed book page 360)

Based on the 1859 map of Campbell County VA included with the above book, Stonewall Creek is in Appomattox County and the Cattail Branch that flows into this Creek starts in Campbell County but is mostly in Appomattox County. A Stovall's Creek is nearby in Appomattox. Thus, the land in question is probably now in Appomattox County. Other families in the immediate vicinity must have included Stovall, Rector, and Martin, based on all of these records.

On 15 March 1790, John Pryer witnessed the following deed "from Murrell Cunningham** of C[ampbell] to William Burnet*** of C[ampbell], for 30,000 weight of nett, inspected tobacco, 1 Negro woman, Fanny, and 9 children viz. Sam, London, Lymas, Agness, Betty, Charlotte, David, Coye, and William. Signed - Murrell Cunningham. Wit - John Pryer, Charles Rork, Martin Rector*** (X his mark) . This bill of sale was recorded Apr 1, 1790." (Campbell County Virginia Deeds, 1784 - 1790 published by T.L.C. Genealogy (Miami), p. 72, referencing deed book page 474)

At the TSLA there is a file of correspondence from William Cabler Moore of Stamford, CT to a Mrs. Lillard, seeking information about some Pryors. The letters are from the late 1930s and hard to read at places. Lots of speculation and random data in these letters. But, in one Letter Mr. Moore mentions that he received information from the Campbell County VA clerk that a John Pryor purchased some land in Campbell County in 1788, but sold part of it in 1796. Later, in 1812, William and John Pryor, "heirs" of this John Pryor, deceased, sold the remainder of the land. The land had originally been patented to John Ketchum or Kitchen. - obviously this is the same John and the same land purchase mentioned above. I have not, however, seen the original records that he received his information from. The manuscript accession number for this file is MS. AC. 75-183.

Ty's interpretation of all of this: The William Pryor and John Pryor who married Taylor sisters in Campbell County VA in 1809 and 1812 respectively are most certainly the same John and William who are "heirs" of the John Pryer who bought the land from John Kitchen. How they are heirs, I don't know. Perhaps sons. Perhaps nephews. The earlier John may have lived a long time in the same general area and appears in two counties - Bedford and Campbell - simply because Campbell was created. Had he lived long enough, he may have found himself in Appomattox County. Because the deed abstract book quoted from above purports to have deeds from the near beginning of Campbell County, this earlier John may have purchased land when Bedford was much larger and the deed would be recorded in Bedford county. This earlier John obviously was interacting with men by the names of Stovall, Wright, Martin and Rork. Additional court records from Campbell County VA will probably tell more about the earlier John Pryer and how he relates to our William and John who married the Taylor sisters, Spicy and Massey. The Tennessee State Library and Archives has very few Campbell County VA records, either on microfilm or in published book form.

** Murrill Cunningham is on the 1820 Census in Sumner Co., TN. 000101-00201. If this is the same person, he was of 45 years or older on the 1820 Census. A person by this same name is recorded in 1830 and 1840 in Hickman Co., KY. In 1840 he was recorded as 81 years old and a pensioner. Ancestry researchers place Murrell Cunninham's birth as Nov. 15, 1759 in Cumberland Co., VA. His mother is stated to be Sarah Martin, which may be a tie in to the Martin's Ty noted on the Appomattox Co. maps. -- V. Wood

*** Martin Rector married Betsy Burnett on Jan 5, 1789 in Campbell Co., VA. Martin Rector was counted on the 1830 Census in Morgan Co., TN and died in the same county on 11 Mar. 1832.



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