A Witcher Family Genealogy 

Here is a copy of  the Cedar Town story referenced in the above story. Keep in mind that some of the information has since been disproven, such as the fact that Asa Prior came to Morgan County, Georgia, before John Prior did. w

Type your paragraph here.

What a pity that no picture exists of Asa Prior or Sarah Abigail Witcher. Instead, one must form a mental picture of them from the existing records left behind of their hardships and success.

Asa Prior was the sixth child of Haden Pryor and Elizabeth Wade who married on September 9, 1769, in Granville County, North Carolina. They had 10 known children. In North Carolina, Haden was an influential merchant, land speculator, deputy sheriff, justice of the peace, and militia volunteer. Yet, on March 1, 1784, Elizabeth relinquished her dower right to the Granville land and mill sold by her husband Hayden Pryor. On November 23, 1784, Haden sold his remaining land in Caswell County, NC, and in 1785-1786 moved to Richmond County, Georgia. Asa Prior, born October 28, 1783, in Caswell County, NC, was about two years old. Haden’s first Georgia land purchases were 100 acres in Richmond County and a town lot in Augusta. He also received a Georgia land grant. In Georgia, he was a plantation owner, merchant, justice of peace, lieutenant in the militia, and a tobacco inspector. Thus, Asa grew up in a family that was fairly wealthy and well-connected.

Sarah Abigail Witcher, born September 17, 1785, in Pittsylvania County, North Carolina, was the fourth child of Ephraim Witcher and Elizabeth Fips. They had 12 known children. Ephraim, like Haden Pryor, was in the militia. But, unlike Haden, he moved around quite a few times but stayed mainly in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, and Surry County, NC. He, too, had notable Pittsylvania relatives (Capt. William Witcher) and was a successful farmer.

                                                         Oaths of Allegiance - 1777 Pittsylvania County, Virginia
                                                  (per "The Magazine of Virginia Genealogy, v.23, #1 (February 1985)

                                                                                      Reuben Pain's List
                                                                                         William Witcher

                                                                                      William Witcher's List
                                                                                          Daniel Witcher
                                                                                         Ephraim Witcher
                                                                                          James Witcher
                                                                                          John Witcher, Jr.
                                                                                        John Witcher, Sen.
                                                                                           Ruben Witcher

The Witcher tract in Surry was on the Yadkin and Mitchell rivers and included Greenwood Ford. Ephraim appears on the 1800 Surry County, NC, federal census in a household of 14 individuals. On the 1810 Surry, NC, federal census he is in a household of 13 individuals. The difference was one female who was Sarah, or Sallie. Calculating from the birth of their first child, it appears Asa and Sallie married abt.1805.
2   A marriage license has not been found.

1.  The spelling of the surname changed from “Pryor” to “Prior” when Haden moved to Georgia.
2.  William Henry Clay Prior’s Bible records the names of Asa Prior and Sarah Witcher but not the date of the marriage.  Surry County, NC Estate    records of Ephraim Witcher (DAR #126991) and his wife Elizabeth Fips show Asa Prior as the husband of his deceased wife Sarah Witcher.

It is not known how Asa and Sallie met, but a newspaper article provides us a picture of a strong romance.  The Weekly Madisonian [also printed as “The Pryor Family History, 1889 to 1986”, April 1, 1898, by Houston R. Harper, a member of the staff of The Rome News Tribune] states that Asa went back to North Carolina with two horses to fetch a wife and married Sarah (Sallie) Abigail Witcher. They returned to Georgia by horseback carrying her quilts and their wardrobe in the saddlebags

Evidently, Asa had decided that he could provide for a wife with the inheritance he received from his father’s estate. In late 1804, Haden died intestate; i.e., without a will. Asa’s elder brother Archibald acted as the administrator of Haden’s estate.
3  Asa was 21 years old. Sallie was 18. At the sale of Haden’s Elbert County, GA, estate, Asa received:

            1 Sorrel horse                    $83.00
            1 pr. cotton stockings            1.56 ½
            2 Bolts Silk ferriton                1.12 ½
            1 chain necklace                     .12 ½
            1 ditto                                    .68 ¾
            1 hat? Colt?                          3.50
            1 Billows, Anvil & Vise         46.12 ½
            5 2/4 yds blue casseme       15.00
            1 Negroe Boy Jeremiah       460.00
                                                   $651.12 ½

Since Asa was a blacksmith, the billows, anvil and vise would be useful tools for his trade.

Georgia’s 1807 Land Lottery granted land in three counties, one being Baldwin County. Morgan County was established on December 10, 1807 from Baldwin County. The above Weekly Madisonian article stated that Asa purchased five acres (the old Speed, or Steed, place) in Morgan County for $50 in July 1810, but this document has not been located. Asa was evidently in Morgan County before this date. Asa is shown on the 1808 tax list for Morgan County and last appears in this county in 1832.

    Morgan County Georgia Tax Lists

    Asa Prior    1808-1813, 1817, 1820, 1822-1824, 1829-1832; (Ephraim Prior 1829)

From the early poll numbers, it appears that Asa started off with only a few slaves:1808 – 1 white & 4 blacks; 1809 – 1 & 1; 1810 – 1 & 5; and   1812 – 1 & 5, land next to Fielder & others, 200 (+?) acres. But, as the years went by he accumulated more and more land.

3. Haden Pryor’s Georgia estate records show his son, Archibald Pryor, as the administrator, and his other heirs - [Elbert County Estate Inventory, Book 3, Wills & Mixed Records (1803-1806), pgs. 15-25] & [Elbert County Estate Sale, Book 3, Ordinary Estate Records, Wills & Mixed Records, 1803-1806, Atlanta Archives Drawer 93, Box 4, pgs. 70-81. Asa Prior is on p. 70.] Both records have type-written versions in Drawer 93, Box 41, pgs. 501-504, 536-544.

Morgan County, Georgia, Deed Books A-G, 1808-1820, by Michal Martin Farmer (R. J. Taylor, Jr. Foundation grant, 2002)
Deed Book C, 1811-1812
Pg. 122
p. 221   Morgan Co., Ga.:
23 May 1811, Henry Carleton to Asa Pryer, both of afsd. co., for $100, adj. said Carleton & Henry Shaw, beg. at cor. near said Pryer's blacksmith's shop, new line N. 33 S. 11.50 ch. to Milledgeville Road, S. 45 W. 23.59 ch. to Henry Shaw's Spring Branch, down branch to Wyatt's Branch, down meanders of Wyatt's Branch to include Spring said Pryer now makes use of, 21 1/2 acres, in fee simple. /s/ Henry Carleton. Wit: Winfery Lckett, Epps Duke, J.P. Recorded 4 July 1811.

p. 223   Morgan Co., Ga.: 26 May 1811, Henry Shaw to
Asa Pryer (Pryor) both of afsd. co., for $100, adj. John Fielder, Jnr., 22 1/2 acres, is part of tract Henry Shaw now lives on, beg. Pryer's field, S. 45 W. 11.97 ch. to Shaw's Spring Branch, N. 45 W. 18.79 ch. to cor. near old road, N. 45 E. 11.97 ch. to cor. in John Fielder, Jr."s line to beg. It is agreed that old Mr. Amos Shaw's house & improvements are included in above boundary & that he nor his wife is to be interrupted as long as they choose to live there, but not rent or lease it out to any other personn, in fee simple. /s/ Henry Shaw. Wit: Robert Penick, Silas Ballard, Robert Stoll, J.P. Recorded 4 July 1811.

p. 225    Morgan Co., Ga.: 23 May 1811, John Fielder, Jun. to
Asa Pryer, both of afsd. co., for $20, adj. Henry Carleton, beg. Milledgeville Road on old boundary, S. 45 W. 11.72 ch. in Pryer's field, N. 45 W. 6.40 ch., N. 45 E. 14 ch. on & along Milledgeville Road to beg. 8 1/2 acres, in fee simple. /s/ John Fielder, Jur. Wit: Winfery Lockett, Epps Duke, J. P.  Recorded 4 July 1811.

Deed Book D, 1813-1815
Pg. 161
p. 144    Ga.: 29 June 1813, Asa Prior of Morgan Co., to Roderick Leonard of Green Co., for $300, in town of Madison, Lot 63, & 1/2 of Lot 62, adj. full broad side on Lot 63, in fee simple. /s/ Asa Prior. Wit: Nicholas Howard, A.H. Greene, J.I.C.  Recorded 14 March 1814.

Pg. 178
p. 282    Morgan Co., Ga.: 3 Oct. 1814, Henry Shaw to Asa Prior, both of said co., for $150, 50 acres on Hard Labour waters, part of lot where Henry Shaw now lives in N. cor. of lot, beg. at N. cor., S. 45 E. 26.33 ch., S. 45 W. 11.97 ch., N. 45 W. 1 ch., S. 45 E. 8 ch., N. 45 W. 25.33 ch. to beg., in fee simple. /s/ Henry (x) Shaw. Wit: William Gresham, Jo. Evans, J.P.  Recorded 6 Dec. 1814.

Deed Book E, 1815-1817
Pg. 221
p. 173    Ga.:  1 May 1816, John Fielder, Junior to Asa Prior, both of Morgan Co., for $504, on Hard Labor Creek waters, balance of fraction Lot , 212, 20th Dist. formerly Baldwin now Morgan Co., 130 acres, 8 1/2 acres of the fraction was previously sold, adj. Lots 212, 208, & fraction 211 & boundary line as to grant of same, in fee simple. /s/ John Fielder, Junior.  Wit: I.S. Fannin, George Chatfield, J.P.  Recorded 1 May 1816.

Deed Book F, 1817-1818
Pg. 275
p. 92    Morgan Co., Ga.: 25 June 1817, James C. Cook to Asa Prior, both of said co., for $10, 1/2 lot in the town of Madison, part of Lot 62, the same which Miss Safford at present occupies & was deeded to said Prior by Wm. Mitchell, decd. in his lifetime, but Mitchell had no titles in himself, adj. Hutchison on E. side the street on N., Miss Saffold's land on W., sold is 100' back & front, in fee simple. /s/  James C. Cook. Wit: Fortunatus S. Cook, Eleazer S. Jeter, J.P.  Recorded 7 July 1817.

Pg. 283
p. 142   3 Jan. 1817, William Dunlap & Jane, his wife, of Elbert Co., Ga., to John Prior of Madison Co., Ga., for $603.75 in fee simple, in Morgan Co., Lot 186, adj. Lots 204, 187, 161, & 185, 202 1/2 acres on Sandy Creek waters [dist. not given]. /s/ Wm. Dunlap, Jain Dunlap. Wit: Wm. C. Morgan, Dunstan Blackwell, Jos. Blackwell, J.P.  Recorded  Sept. 1817.

Pg. 298
p. 218   Morgan Co., Ga.: Asa Prier, for $500, to William S. Beasley of said co., Lot 281 in said co., 4th Dist. of orig. Baldwin Co. [acreage not given], in feel simple, 6 Jan. 1816. /s/ Asa Prior. Wit: Wade Hemphill, Jn. Strozer, J.C. Cook, J.I.C.  Recorded 10 Dec. 1817.

Deed Book G, 1818-1820
Pg. 356
p. 356    Morgan Co., Ga.: 5 Dec. 1818, Henry Shaw to Asa Prior, both of afsd. co., for $1700, drawn by Asa Wright of Newson's Dist., Warren Co., in 20th Dist. of Baldwin now Morgan Co., 202 1/2 acres, Lot 208, adj. N.E. by Lot 212, N.W. by Lot 207, S.E. by Lot 209, S.W. by Lot 170. /s/ Henry (x) Shaw Wit: George Barnet, Robert Pearman, J.P.  Recorded 18 Dec. 1818.

Pg. 382
p. 152   17 July 1819, Peter Hughes to Asa Prior, both of Morgan Co., for $50, 5 acres, in S.E. cor. of Lot 178, in Baldwin now Morgan Co., parallel lines 4 square, in fee simpe [dist. not given]. /s/ Peter Hughes. Test: John F. Mapp, Hugh Means, J.P. Recorded 17 July 1819.

Pg. 406
p. 276    Morgan Co., Ga.: 4 Apr. 1820, Reuben Mann, sheriff of said co., to Asa Prier of same co., for $300. Sundry executions issued from Superior Court of same co., 1 Sept. 1819, Samuel Shields, plaintiff, & Edmond Ramey, Smith Haynes, & John Haynes, defendants. Sold 1/2 of lot in 20th Dist, of Baldwin now Morgan Co., part of Lot 235, 101 1/2 acres. Sold at public sale as property of Edmond Raimey. Asa Prier was the highest bidder. /s/ Reuben Mann, sheriff of Morgan Co. Wit: Stephen Durden, Jos. Heard, J.P.  Recorded 4 Apr. 1820.

Hall County, Georgia, Book A - Deed & Mortgages, 1815-1824
Pg. 332
December 7, 1821 - Asa Prior bought from Robert Farrow, orphan of John Farrow, for a tract or lot of land (#70, 11th district) drawn in the lottery by his orphans, for $500.
Pg. 333
December 8, 1823 - Asa Prior paid Phebee Farrow, orphan of John Farrow, dec'd of Morgan County, $50 in association with the same lot.

During this growth period, Asa’s and Sallie’s family size grew as well. Before the move to Paulding County, fourteen children had been born. Their first child, Ephraim Prior, was born on April 3, 1806, probably in Columbia County, GA. Their next son, Middleton E. Prior, was born on November 6, 1808, in Morgan County, GA. Asa had two sons! But, they were born deaf. Even though the custom was to designate them as “deaf & dumb,” I prefer to label them as deaf. Matilda Gartrel Prior (born May 24, 1810) was their third child and, needless to say, they were overjoyed when she could hear. Their third son, Haden Mathew Prior, born January 4, 1812, could also hear. Their fourth son, Allen Prior, was born on January 20, 1814. Sallie was pregnant again when he died (March 1, 1815) four months before the next son, Andrew Jackson Prior, was born on July 12, 1815. Next, they welcomed a set of twin girls, Mary Jane and Martha W., born on December 3, 1817. Then, on January 20, 1820, another daughter, Minerva E. Prior, was delivered. Another son, Asa Alfred was born on June 5, 1822. Unfortunately, the ups and downs of being a parent continued. Mary Jane died on October 24, 1822. Asa Alfred died on August 3, 1823. William Henry Clay Prior was born on February 2, 1825. Three deaf children followed: Lucius Augustus Prior on December 10, 1826, Sarah Ann Abigail Prior on October 2, 1828, and Angeline A. Prior on July 28, 1831. Sallie was 45 years old. It is difficult to imagine her state of mind.

In 1821 Asa’s brother, John, died and named his wife, Elizabeth, and Asa as his executors.
4  By 1825, Asa’s obligation was fulfilled. In 1830, Matilda married George W. West, and the couple shortly moved to the previous Indian territory of Paulding County. Ephraim, Middleton, and Abigail would never marry.

Considering their misfortunes and successes, it is not surprising that Asa and Sallie also decided to make a change in their residence. Sometime between the 1832 Morgan County tax list and the early part of 1834, Asa and Sallie moved to Paulding County. By this time, Asa was financially able to offer Sallie a comfortable new home.

4. John Prior’s will naming his wife and his brother, Asa, as executors - Morgan County, Georgia, Inferior Court for Ordinary Purposes, 1808-1834 and Will Books A & B, 1808-1830, by Michal Martin Farmer (R.J. Taylor, Jr. Foundation), p. 399  Will Book B, 1815-1830, pgs. 91 & 92.

The Record.  Cedartown, GA., April 8, 1876 article.

"In the year 1841... the whole of what is now Cedartown, north of the Baptist church, was owned by the late Asa Prior, and if I mistake not Mr. Prior was the only citizen.  He owned two dwellings, the one now occupied by Dr. Borders, and the other stood on or near the spot now occupied by Dr. Branch's residence."

Reprinted by Cedartown Standard, "Polk County History" by Dr. Charles K. Henderson, no date.

Note: His home in Cedartown was not designated as being in Polk County until 1852.

Asa’s sons, Haden Mathew and Andrew Jackson, joined their parents in Paulding County shortly after their marriages in 1836: Haden Mathew married Nancy Ann Montfort, and Andrew Jackson married Sarah Antoinette Whatley. Minerva married Richard P. Townsend in 1839. Sallie was probably pleased that her sons had married, but she would not get to enjoy the marriage of Minerva.

Sallie died on January 2, 1838. Family legend is that she died from cancer. She is buried in the Asa Prior Cemetery in Cedartown. The inscription on the concrete slab on her bricked grave has almost disappeared. A new metal plate has been placed on the front side with this inscription:

                                                                                      to memory of
                                                                                        Sarah Prior
                                                                                        Consort of
                                                                                         Asa Prior
                                                                               Who departed this day
                                                                                   Jan. 2 A.D. 1838
                                                                            52 years 3 months & 1 day
                                                                          Sleep on my loving wife sleep
                                                                      This world shall thy memory keep
                                                                       But deeper on my heart is graven
                                                                  The thought that we shall meet in heaven

Asa prospered in Cedartown but soon decided to move on to Texas.

The Record.  Cedartown, GA., July 24, 1875 (newspaper article).

Early part of 1834 Asa Prior settled near the big spring.  He brought some negroes, began building cabins, houses, a sawmill, and a grist mill.  "Asa Prior was a man peculiar to himself, but in the main a good, honest man.  He attended strictly in person to his own business, and toiled from early in the morning until late at night.  Never particular as to the adornment of his person, plain clothing in common with his workmen was his custom.  He was gentle and kind in his intercourse with all men, but stern enough when his personal honor required it.  He was a man whose whole soul would sicken under a sense of personal dishonor.  He was elected to the legislature in 1838 or 39, and made a good, plain, unassuming member.  He belonged to the old Whig party, and heartily supported the principles of his party while a member of the house.  He was about sixty-five years old when he left Polk County for Texas in 1853 or 54, and died soon after he landed in Texas.  He had, by close attention to business, accumulated a considerable amount of this world's goods; in fact he was called a rich man before he left the county, but he had lived nearly to man's appointed time, and beyond man's common lot; but when the summons came he breathed forth his gentle spirit to God who gave it."

"Hawkes Children's Library" by Mrs. M.C. Mercer, Librarian, Cedartown, Georgia [no date]

"Mr. Prior's first home was on the site of the Wm. Peek home, the same old log home having been moved down the road on the farm of the late Richard Jones. The Prior slave quarters were built on the banks of the creek where the foundry and old mill now stand. He built the home now owned by Dr. and Mrs. Pickett. Every stick of it was the choicest timber that could be found. It was through Asa Prior that the first schools were brought to our valley. The noted Mosely Academy, a boarding school for boys, was located on the Cave Spring road, and the Woodlawn Female Seminary, where the homes of Mr. Adamson, Dr. Fulmer and others now are.

After division of the county of Paulding and Polk was formed, the county seat was moved from Van Wert to Cedartown. Mr. Prior gave forty acres of land, including the Big Spring, to the township. He sold forty acres also. The town was laid off around the court house square with wide streets leading from it. Mr. Prior intended restricting the sale of whiskey, in his gift, but failed to do so. A man bought a lot, and put up a "grog shop" across from his beautiful home. Broken-hearted, he sold out and moved to Texas."

"Hawkes Children's Library" by Mrs. M.C. Mercer, Librarian, Cedartown, Georgia [no date]

"Mr. Prior built the first regular mill where the Benedict mill now stands, and later Mr. West built one on Pumpkin Pile creek. This creek is now called Little Cedar, the Indian and early historians called it Pumpkin Pile."

"History of Polk County, Georgia" by Susan B. Parker, 1981 [Cedartown Library]

"Included in a tract of land that the city received from Asa Prior was the Big Spring. The deed states that the spring can never be enclosed so that the people and livestock are denied water. Mr. Prior's home was on the corner of East Avenue and College Street, overlooking the Big Spring. One of the local legends says that Sherman at one time spent the night in that house. The house was later owned by Dr. and Mrs. J.W. Pickett who remodeled it. Today the house is occupied by Olin Gammage Funeral Home."

The first court house built in 1852 and 65 other buildings were burned down by Kilpatrick's Cavalry of Sherman's Army in 1864. The second courthouse built in 1867 also burned. In 1889 a red brick court house was built at the same location.

The first edition of the Cedartown Standard was published on April 4, 1888.

"Mr. Prior also owned the area known as Springdale Estates, on North College Street. Until he put his pigs in the limesink, there was no pond."

Polk County, Georgia, Deed Book A  (Atlanta Archives, Drawer 131, Box 65)
pg. 44
Dec. 24, 1852, Asa Prior of Polk County and Warren Akin of Cass County, $6,250, lots 925, 926, 875, 876, 853, 854, 804 & 803 (parts on the left side of Cedar Creek), 802 (on the east side of Cedar Creek, except abt. 13 acres owned by Mr. Peek), 855 (except 13 acres owned by Mr. Peek), 874 (except 10 acres owned by Mr. Peek); all being in the 2nd dist., 4th section originally in Cherokee county, known as a part of the settlement said Prior recently sold to A.N Verdery. Recorded 12th Dec. 1852.

pg. 90
Feb. 5, 1853, Asa Prior for $2,100 sold Haden M. Prior all that tract or parcel of land lying west of Cedar Town and south of the Cedar Town Spring branch containing twenty one acres more of less, said tract or parcel of land surveyed and laid off in Town lots by Jesse Watton...

pg. 125
March 12, 1853, Asa Prior to William H.C. Prior, without any pecuniary consideration and as a free gift (not as a part of his equal share of the Prior Estate) a certain tract of land consisting of 4 acres from lot 879 near the Big Spring.

pg. 191
March 22, 1852, Alsa Prior to Woodson Hubbard, Abner Darden, William Hutching, Rheese McGregor and Martin Ayers, justices of the Inferior  Court, for the sum of $1,200, that tract of parcel of land part of Lot 922 to be used for the location of a Court House and the Spring on said Lot 922 for the benefit and use of the citizens of theTown and county, the said right of way to the Spring. Has survey plat of land.

pg. 252
Oct. 4, 1853, same as above but easier to read (containing 20 acres).

pg. 428
Aug. 16, 597, 1849 (must have not been recorded, has Aug. 8, 1854 codecil signed by Daniel H. Witcher stating that he saw Asa Prior sign this deed)   Asa Prior to Woodson Hubbard for $350, lots 587, 589, 597, 598, 671, & 736, each containing forty acres

pg. 534
Oct. 7, 1853 Asa Prior to Robert & William M. Hutchings for $180, lots 29, 11, 253 of 40 acres each. Recorded Nov. 15, 1854

Carroll County, Georgia, Abstract of Deed Book, E, F, & G, 1843-1855, Volume III, Mary Florence Arthur Wood (West Georgia Family Research: 805 Rome St., Carrollton, GA 30117, 1996)

Pg. 63 Deed Book F - p. 124 Paulding County, ASA PRYOR to GREEN B. HAMMOCK. $53.37. Land lot #178, 10th dist. Carroll County. Attest: William Burrow, Benjamin Bigalow, J.W. Palmer, J.P.  4 Jul 1848.

Asa was a key proponent of a school for the deaf in Georgia. Before 1846, the deaf children of Georgia who wanted to attend school had to travel to the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut. The Georgia School for the Deaf began in 1846 as part of the Hearn Manual Labor School, established by the Baptist Church, in the area. (The Baptists and Methodists did not allow their children to go the same school. Each denomination had its own school.) The state Legislature provided $5,000 to build a school for the deaf children of Georgia. It was completed in 1848. The Prior children were some of the first students.

Lucius A. Prior (ASD #988) (student # 27) attended ASD briefly, from April-September 22, 1849, when he was expelled for "contempt of rules, disobedience, and [being] an evil influence." At the time of his admission, he was 22 years old, and had had some "common school" education previously, which may account for the behavior problems in what he probably regarded as a rather restrictive environment. At the time of his admission, his residence was Cedartown, Paulding County, Ga. [Deafness was congenital. At the time of his enrollment his mother was dead.]

Ephraim Prior (ASD #407) was born 3 Oct. 1806. His residence at time of admission was "Near Madison, Morgan County," Ga.

His brother, Middleton Prior (ASD #408) was born Nov. 1808.

Mary F. Hoge (student # 18) was admitted to GSD (Georgia School for the Deaf) in 1847. She was living in Cave Spring, Floyd County, GA. Her parents were first cousins. [Mary married Lucius.]

Angelina Prior (student #19) enrolled in 1847. [Angelina married twice: (1) Samuel Potts and (2) Thomas Payne.]

Before Asa left Georgia for bigger profits in Texas, he made up a will (October 13, 1853) of his Georgia holdings that divided his slaves and property between his children, giving the five deaf and dumb children a larger share under a trustee’s guidance.  His will indicated that the least amount of slaves he had was twenty-seven; however, he had already given others to married children and kept some for himself.  The will listed few males, which suggested that slave fathers were for the most part absent.  He stipulated that:

"It is my will and desire and I do hereby direct that in the division of my negro property that my negroes shall be allotted so that families may go together as much as possible, said division to be in accordance with the previous items in this my will and that none of my negroes shall be sold out of the family except such as desire to be so sold, and that they shall be sold to the highest bidder at public outcry by my executors."5

Asa left Polk County sometime between October 1853-1854.
6   His aim was to purchase enough land to have it called Prior County.  On December 24, 1852 (recorded on April 20, 1853), he purchased a League and Labor, or twenty-six million of square varas, of land in Sabine County, Texas for $4,000.7    However, his ups and downs were not over. Shortly after he arrived, he became sick and on July 2, 1854, he died. He was buried under a big tree but its location has been lost.

Today’s citizens of Cedartown still receive free water from the Big Spring even though knowledge of Asa Prior’s humanitarian efforts has faded. This founding father truly represented history’s picture of the American “pioneer”.

5.  Asa Prior’s will is dated October 13, 1853, Polk County, Cedartown, Georgia, Deed Book B, p. 4.

6. 1820 United States Federal Census, Capt. Cooks District, Morgan, Georgia, Enumeration Date:    August 7, 1820; 1830 United States Federal Census, District 276, Morgan, Georgia; 1840 United States Federal Census, District 848, Paulding, Georgia; 1850 United States Federal Census, Age: 66, Birthplace:    North Carolina, Militia District 848, Paulding, Georgia.
7. Sabine County, TX Deed Book G, pgs. 232-235.

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The Life and Times of

Asa and Sally [Witcher] Prior

This research and essay for the life of Asa Prior, his wife Sally Witcher, and the children they raised, is generously provided by

Ms. Jean Pryor Hughs. 

Jean is a direct ancestor of Asa Prior and is a seasoned family researcher who has resurrected the memories of this important pioneer family. She is also the individual who is responible for the placement of the monument on Sarah [Sally] Abigal Witcher's grave, and we are in her debt for this act of kindness. A picture of this monument can be seen at the bottom of this page. W.