Patricia Craig Johnson --- Searching for My Ancestors --- Sharing My Life Stories

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Monday, October 24, 2011

Yes -- Margaret Storms IS the Daughter of John Storms

It is amazing to me how much a little kernel of new information can make a genealogist's day!! That happened to me last Saturday. For years I have searched for proof that my ancestress, Margaret Storms, is the daughter of John Storms and Hannah Collard. I have to tell you that I have always known it in my heart, but that doesn't do much for documentation purposes.

To start at the beginning, the above Bible record is from Susannah Pryor's application to receive a widow's pension for her husband's American Revolutionary service. A widow had to prove that she was married to the veteran and often submitted pages from the family Bible to show proof of births, marriages, and deaths. I am sure Susannah was sad to have to tear pages out of the family Bible, but I am grateful that she did. Why? Because it was preserved. Otherwise it probably would have met the sad fate of so many other family Bibles and been lost or destroyed. It held the proof that my ancestor, Simon Pryor Jr. married Margaret Storms. There has been no other record of this found to date. It also gave the birth of their son, John Pryor and this proved that my John Pryor was their son. It was a great day when I found this information many years ago. The image you see is the short family record of Simon Pryor Jr. and his wife and children. It is extremely hard to read so I transcribed it for you.

Of course, an answer in genealogy is short lived, and soon I was wanting more information and more answers, like who were the parents of Margaret Storms? There seemed to be only one likely couple, John Storms and his second wife Hannah Collard. For one thing there weren't any other Storms in the area at the right time. For another thing, Margaret named her two oldest children Hannah and John. These names were not names that the Pryors used. So for many years I have had this question in the back of my mind.

During my recent trip to Kentucky, I gathered quite a bit of information about John Storms, but found nothing that mentioned a daughter named Margaret. He had signed the marriage bonds for several other daughters, but not for Margaret. Other researchers have copied the things I have posted on the Internet and entered Margaret as a daughter, but no real evidence to prove it, so it seemed I may never be able to really prove this father and daughter connection. Among the things I found in Kentucky were many tax lists in books and in genealogies that showed where John Storms was and where the Pryors were in various years. These are great, but there is nothing like actually looking at the tax lists themselves.

As I was reviewing these things I decided to order the Grayson County, Kentucky tax lists on microfilm from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. I had to see if, in 1813, John Storms was in the vicinity of the Simon Pryor family. Were they neighbors or physically near each other when Simon Pryor Jr.and Margaret Storms were married. Finally, my microfilm arrived at the Fort Collins Family History Center and last Saturday I went to read it. I set about writing down all of the Grayson County people I was interested in. When I got home I entered all of my notes into an Excel spreadsheet. I learned a long time ago to write down everything in the record, especially the dates on Kentucky tax lists. Why the date? Because the tax clerk wrote down people as they came in. If two men came in to file on the same date and were from the same part of the county, and if you think there may be a connection between them they probably traveled to the courthouse together.

I looked at my spreadsheet for awhile before I realized --- Simon Pryor Jr. and John Storms came to the courthouse on the same day, 17 April 1813. One month later, 20 May 1813, Simon Pryor Jr. and Margaret Storms were married -- per his mother's written record. Now I feel as if I have seen a tiny glimpse of the life of these folks. Simon Jr. most likely worked for John Storms, and fell in love with his young seventeen year old daughter.

I am at last convinced that my original theory was correct. It isn't conventional evidence, but it is circumstantial evidence, it is very convincing, and it answers my question. Plus the only other Storms in Grayson County, Kentucky in 1813 is Peter Storms and he is John's son.

John Storms is last listed on the 1815 Grayson County tax list. This coincides with the death date of 1815/1816 that other researchers have stated. Simon Pryor Jr. is last listed on the 1816 Grayson County tax list. His mother says he died in April 1818 and I firmly believe that is true. A mother would never forget when her child died. Because he died in April 1818, it was before he traveled to the courthouse to file the 1817 tax. That is if it was like today, when we normally pay personal taxes a year behind.

Margaret Storms Pryor lost her father and her husband within a short time of each other. She was one month pregnant with Babey when Simon Pryor Jr. died. I can only imagine the sadness and uncertainty she felt at that time. But, she went on to marry Isaac Hart about 1820 and have four more sons and three more daughters. I have not found her death information. I don't know why Simon Jr. died so young. I'll keep looking.

Oh yes, as I already told you, every answer to a genealogist means another question or two. And then there is the fact that we can't know every aspect of a another person's life ---- or can we? However, It sure is fun trying. patj

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