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Lemuel M. and Elizabeth C. (HARDEGREE) PRYOR


Lemuel M. PRYOR was born circa 1826 in Tennessee and shows up on 1849 Rusk Co., Texas tax list. William J. PRYOR was also on this tax list and he was born 1818 in Tennessee. These two men are believed to be brothers who came to Texas together. There were PRIORs in another part of Rusk Co. who were from Georgia. Neither Lemuel or William were on the 1850 Rusk Co. or Smith Co., Texas censuses or the printed 1850 Texas census index. They were not on printed 1850 Tennessee census index either. They may have been overlooked by the census taker.

Elizabeth C. HARDEGREE was born circa 1829 in Clarke Co., Georgia to John and Mary (WHITAKER) HARDEGREE. The HARDEGREEs came to Rusk Co., Texas circa 1849 and eventually moved to Smith Co., Texas.

Lemuel PRYOR and Elizabeth HARDEGREE were married on 19 January 1854 in Smith Co., Texas and they settled in the Starrville Beat area where they were on the 1860 and 1870 censuses.

The children of Lemuel and Elizabeth were:

  • 1. Philip Jackson PRYOR, born 5 November 1854 in Smith Co., Texas; married 1. Elizabeth Ann EASTEP, daughter of Abraham ESTEP and Anne Wallace, 16 June 1878, Smith Co., Texas; 2. Nancy Catherine (THORNE) CHANNELL, a widow, on 22 August 1887. The PRYORs lived in Van Zandt Co., Texas after the 1880 census until shortly after 1900 when they moved to western Oklahoma. Philip died on 9 February 1936 in Elk City, Beckham Co., Oklahoma.
  • 2. Mary E. PRYOR, born 1856; married her first cousin, Thomas Gadile HARDEGREE, on 2 August 1877 in Smith Co., Texas; died 5 September 1884, Smith Co., Texas (?).
  • 3. John Buchanon "Buck" PRYOR, born 12 September 1857, Smith Co., Texas; married Emma Jane TERRY, 28 May 1879, Van Zandt Co., Texas; died 17 March 1914 in Beckham Co., Oklahoma. This family also went to western Oklahoma after 1900.
  • 4. George W. PRYOR, born circa 1859-1860, Smith Co., Texas; died November 1881, Smith or Van Zandt Cos., Texas.
  • 5. Hiram PRYOR, born 1869, Smith Co., Texas; died after the 1880 census.
  • 6. Gulliver PRYOR, born 1871, Smith Co., Texas; died after the 1880 census.
  • Beulah PRYOR, born 1873, Smith Co., Texas; died 13 October 1885, Smith or Van Zandt Cos., Texas. She was living with her sister, Mary E. HARDEGREE, on the 1880 Smith Co. census.

There is a nine year gap between the births of George and Hiram and part of this reason may be due to the Civil War. Hiram and Gulliver were living with their brother, P. J., on the 1880 Smith Co. census. No further records have been found on them. A record was found of L. M. PRYOR serving in Co. H, 35 Texas Cavalry (Likens' Regiment) during 1863 to 1864. There may have been other children who died young.

The PRYORs continued to live in Smith Co. where Lemuel M. PRYOR died in 1878, leaving no probate records. Elizabeth C. (HARDEGREE) PRYOR died sometime during 1879 (before the 1880 census) in Smith Co. She could
have gone to live with one of her sons in Van Zandt Co., Texas and died there. Burial locations for Lemuel and Elizabeth have not been found.

SOURCES: 1849 Rusk Co, Texas tax list; 1860, 1870 and 1880 Smith Co, Texas census records; a very brief mention of probate minute record for L. M. Pryor, dec'd, on page 163 of "Abstracts of the Smith County Probate Records, Smith County, Texas 1846-1880" abstracted by Andrew L. Leath (1984); a Smith Co, Texas land deed naming the heirs of Lemuel Pryor; and Pryor family research by Nova Lemons.

Deed - Hardegree-Bell
Deed - Hardegree-Pryor-Eastep
Deed - Pryor-Hardegree-Dunn

Submitted by Nova A. Lemons, great-granddaughter of P. J. and Elizabeth Ann (Eastep) Pryor.


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