The Jackson Purchase region of Kentucky is comprised of the eight westernmost counties - Ballard, Calloway, Carlisle, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Marshall and McCracken. It is bordered on the west by the Mississippi River, on the north by the Ohio River, on the east by the Tennessee River and the state of Tennessee to the south. By Kentuckians it is generally referred to simply as "the Purchase".

Andrew Jackson and Isaac Shelby purchased the land lying west of the Tennessee River from the Chickasaw tribe and opened the area for settlement around 1820. Within the next few years, my grandfather's ancestors came there from Virginia, North Carolina and Tennessee - the Beadles, Clapps, Pryors and Wingos settled in Graves County with the Reeves and Halls in neighboring Ballard County.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pryor Ancestor - Mourning Thomson

James and Jonathan Pryor who settled in Graves County, Kentucky shortly after the area was opened for settlement were the children of Richard Pryor and Mourning Thomson originally from Virginia. Mourning Pryor was named as a daughter in the will of Thomas Thomson of Trinity Parish, Louisa County, Virginia written on 24 April 1774. Thomas Thomson died sometime before the 10th of October 1774 when the will was recorded.


Fanny Pryor,
daughter of Richard Pryor
grandson of Mourning
There has been much confusion regarding the identity of Mourning's mother who was previously listed in numerous online sources as Hannah McAllister. Based upon Thomas Thomson's will her name was Hannah but it appears that it was a Thomas Thomasson of Louisa County who was married to Hannah McAllister daughter of William McAllister (Mackalester) and Elizabeth Garland. Thomas Thomasson was the son of George Thomasson of Hanover County, Virginia. Thomas and several of his brothers moved to Granville County, North Carolina around 1777 where he died testate in 1818.

The identity of Mourning's grandfather, father of Thomas Thomson, previously believed to be Samuel Thomson who died in Louisa County in 1753 has recently also come into question based upon the name of slaves distributed to legatees of that will. This is an area that needs much research into the records of Louisa County to resolve.

Soon after the Revolutionary War ended, the Pryor family settled in the Greene/Cocke County, Tennessee area where Mourning Prier is recorded as being one fo the charter members of the Big Pigeon Primitive Baptist Church when it was constituted on the 6th of December 1787. In February of 1794, Mourning Prier made application for a letter of dismissal which was apparently in preparation for the family's move to Logan County, Kentucky.

Grave of Capt. A. J. Pryor
After their arrival in Logan County, Richard Pryor died in 1797 and Mourning is recorded as the administratrix of his estate. In Logan County on the 19th of June 1800, Mourning Pryor married widower Thomas White whose daughter Elizabeth was the future wife of Jonathan Pryor. When Thomas White died in 1806, Mourning was the executrix of his will.

As Mourning White, she was recorded in the census and tax records of Logan County, Kentucky until after 1810. There are unsubstantiated reports that Mourning, along with Jobe family relatives, attended the Old Mulkey Meeting House (Baptist) near Tompkinsville, Kentucky in Monroe County and that she lived to be past 100 years. There are no historical records that confirm these assertions. I have made several trips to Logan County searching the records as well as local cemeteries there, but was unable to find any further record of Mourning Thomson Pryor White. It seems far more likely that she died sometime before 1820 when her youngest children, James, Jonathan and Jeremiah left Logan County.


Picture of Fannie Pryor from the Pryor-Hogue Family Album courtesy of Don Howell of West Kentucky Genealogy.

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