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.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Mourning Pryor in Calloway County

Kentucky's Jackson Purchase
For as long as I have been working with Pryor genealogy, the date and place of death of Mourning Thomson Pryor White, Jonathan and James Pryor's mother, has been a mystery. There was much speculation and many theories, the most commonly accepted one was that she had died sometime before 1820 probably in Logan County. There are even 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. The fact that no historical records for Mourning Pryor White had been located after 1817 resulted in any number of unfounded claims.

Since Family Search has been adding more documents to their online catalog in recent months, I began to search the Calloway County records based upon having been told many years ago that Jonathan Pryor and extended family had lived for a time in Calloway County before settling in Graves County. The first year of tax lists for Calloway County was 1823 and to my delight, in the tax lists for that year were both Jonathan Pryor and Mourning White!

1823 Tax List of Calloway County, Kentucky

After locating Mourning in Calloway County, I began searching all of the counties adjacent to Logan, where Mourning, Jonathan and James Pryor were last recorded and Calloway where they appear in 1823. Mourning White along with James and Jonathan Pryor were last recorded in tax records of Logan County in 1817 after which they could not be found. A search of all the counties west of Logan toward the Jackson Purchase was fruitless. My next plan was to start searching the Tennessee counties just below the Kentucky state line, but I decided to search one last county in Kentucky first. Simpson County, Kentucky is adjacent to Logan to the southeast and it's western boundary is only a few miles from the area along the Red River where the Pryors' land is recorded. The 1819 tax list of Simpson County shows James and Jonathan Pryor along with Mourning White. In 1821 Mourning is still listed there but James and Jonathan had left, presumably preparing for the family's move to Calloway County.

James and Jonathan Pryor are both found in Graves County tax records beginning in 1824 and in all subsequent years thereafter, but there is no further record of Mourning. I believe we can assume that she either died in Calloway County circa 1823 or moved into Graves County with her sons where she later died. After so many years of not knowing what became of Mourning Thomson Pryor White when our Pryor ancestors moved to the Jackson Purchase, I have been extremely pleased to find that she came to the Jackson Purchase along with them.

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