William Jackson and Martha Jane (Montgomery) Pryor
(from TN to Rusk Co., TX)
researched by Nova A. Lemons
(updated 19 Jun 2013)

William Jackson PRYOR was born 1818 in Tennessee (Morgan Co. per death certificate of his daughter Rosa).  Martha Jane MONTGOMERY was born 1824 in Tennessee.  William's father was Philip Pryor and his mother's name was said to be a Miss Reeter.  According to researcher Venita Grimes, Martha's parents were Robert Montgomery and Mariah Regina McCollum.

Sometime around 1843 William and Martha married.  The state-wide TN marriage books by Sistler does not list their marriage.  They may have married in McNairy Co., TN whose early court records were lost.  [See the article on PRYORs of McNairy Co., TN.]  The death certificate of their daughter Rosa showed that she was born 1846 in McNairy Co., TN and provided the full names for William and Martha.  The informant was their son, John (Rosa's brother).

After the birth of Elmira Rosalie on 11 Mar 1846, the family packed up, told their relatives "good bye" and answered the call to move to Texas, which recently became part of the United States.  Their daughter Mariah would be about 2 to 3 years old and Rosa an infant when the trip was made.

Lemuel M. PRYOR, (born circa 1826 in TN) might have made the trip with them.  William would have appreciated the additional help from his young brother in moving his family and their belongings to a strange place.  But since Lemuel did not show up on the tax list until 1849, it is possible that he joined his brother in 1848-49.  He would be about 21 years old in 1847 and should be on a tax list.  Later Lemuel named his first born child, Philip Jackson Pryor, and two grandsons had Montgomery as their middle name (Lemuel Montgomery and John Montgomery).  This indicated close ties to William Jackson Pryor family.

William J. Pryor was listed on 1847 Rusk Co., TX tax list with no property.  The 1848 Rusk Co. tax list showed him with 1 white poll tax.  By 1849 he was listed with 320 acres of the M. Chisum grant, valued at $480.  Lemuel was listed with a gun valued at $15.

For some reason William J. Pryor and Lemuel M. Pryor were not listed on the 1850 Rusk Co. tax list.  They were also not on the 1850 Rusk Co., TX census or the 1850 TX state-wide census index.  A search was made in neighboring counties without any luck.  The 1850 TN census index and 1850 McNairy Co., TN census do not show them either.  Where were they?  Were they overlooked by the census taker?

William J. Pryor was on the 1852 Rusk Co., TX tax list with 320 acres which he had until 1856 when he was listed with 220 acres.  Lemuel M. Pryor was on 1854 tax list with 100 acres of the M. Chisum grant which he had until 1856.  From 1857 to 1860 William was listed with 320 acres.  The property of William J. Pryor is probably located where the Pryor Cemetery is, just south of Kilgore, in Rusk Co. near the Gregg Co.-Rusk Co. line.  (Gregg Co. was created in 1872 from a portion of Rusk Co.)  The 1867 Rusk Co. Voter Registration List showed that William, resident of Danville and Precinct #2, lived in Rusk Co. and Texas for 20 years.  He worked as a farmer.

Martha Jane (Montgomery) Pryor died in 1857, either during the birth of her last child, Emma, or shortly afterwards.  William Jackson Pryor died in 1876.  Both are buried at Pryor Cemetery.  This cemetery is on private property and, according to Madge Pryor of Carthage, TX who visited the cemetery in 1996, contains two "separate" cemeteries, with the main one for the Pryors and a plot of ground beside it with a fence around it for the Skippers buried there.  Rosa's death certificate referred to the cemetery as "Baton Graveyard."

Children of William Jackson and Martha Jane (MONTGOMERY) PRYOR:
1)  Mariah L. PRYOR - born circa 1844-45 in TN and died 1912 in Rusk Co., TX; married
William T. BATON, 26 Jan 1874 Rusk Co., TX.  Burial locations for Mariah and her husband are not
known.  William T., son of Thomas and Mary (DAVIS) BATON, died in 1889.
2)  Elmira Rosalie "Rosa" PRYOR - born 11 Mar 1846 McNairy Co., TN and died 29 Dec
1917 Kilgore, Rusk Co., TX (per death certificate); buried at Pryor Cemetery; never married.
3)  John M. PRYOR - born 1848 Rusk Co., TX and died 1920; buried at Pryor Cemetery; was
single in 1880 so probably never married since no wife is buried beside him.
4)  Martha Matilda PRYOR - born 1850 (Rusk Co.) TX and died 1946; buried at Pryor Cemetery;
married Joseph D. TAYLOR (was married first to Matilda's sister Emma). Joseph is buried between
Emma and Matilda.
5)  Amanda M. PRYOR - born 1854 Rusk Co., TX and died 1913; buried at Pryor Cemetery;
never married.
6)  Emma L. PRYOR - born 15 Mar 1857 Rusk Co., TX and died 10 Jun 1911 TX; buried at
Pryor Cemetery; married Joseph D. TAYLOR, 10 Jan 1877 Rusk Co., TX. 

Rusk Co., TX Censuses:  1860 (New Danville, p. 288B); 1870 (p. 361B), and 1880 (p. 76A).
Rusk Co., TX tax lists.
Pryor Cemetery
Death certificate of Elmira Rosalie PRYOR (TX #36227).
Baton family articles submitted by Margaret Russell and J. Floyd Baton (pp. 104-105) for the Rusk Co. history book.
"Rusk County - 1867 Voter Registration List" from East Texas Family Records, Vol. 18, No. 4, Winter 1994, p. 22, published
by East Texas Genealogical Society of Tyler, TX.


Any additional information and/or corrections are welcome.  I also would love to hear from descendants of this family.
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