I'm a descendant of Priestly through his son Sampson Van Buren Scurlock. I had seen references to a letter he penned from 1869 on this forum claiming Priestly’s family history was spotty. A xerox of this letter was sent to me along with a genealogical book referencing it by cousin Mica (a descendant of Sampson’s brother Doc Scurlock). I noticed that the letter had been erroneously deciphered in several parts and decided to do my own deciphering. After doing this I checked Priestly’s claims and have only found one glaring error. At the beginning of the genealogy he mentions his great grandfather William was the Scurlock immigrant, when in fact it was William’s grandfather Michael. Other than this, I don’t see any real error with the history which is really confined to his father and cousins/step-cousins. The following is the letter in full except for a few areas that were indecipherable to me because of areas that are illegible.
If you have any further information on this please contact me. I’m really curious about Priestly’s wife’s lineage of the Browns.
“Elmore Co., Ala. May 16th 1869
I am glad you have waked up and thought of me, for sure enough it has been a long time since I heard from you, and I have hopes that you and Mit will keep it up as long as I live.I have not been a quarter of a mile from my house in 19 months; nothing but chills and fever; but the quantities of Quinine that was uselessly and murderously administered to me, almost destroyed my nervous system and put my head in such condition that I shall never see any more satisfaction.I have now got so I can work a little.Never use Quinine in your family if you can help it.We are all well at this time, and since you have mentioned your family, I will name mine for you.William Priestly, eldest son, who died on Dauphin Island aged 22 years,S. Van Buren, aged 28, Daniel Norman aged 23, Joshua Baldwin 15, (I should have Josiah Gordon before Josh) age 19, and John Dargan age 7.Girls:Rhoda Ann 32.Has been married twice has three children, Martha Augusta Barrow; and, Charles Edward Armstrong and Clara Cornelia.
The ordeal you spoke of is not quite past for we are now drinking the dregs and there appears to be an ocean behind yet; so so far as the justice of our cause is concerned he that doubts it ought to be Damned.I have been born a cessationist and can never be anything else.It is an inherent right born with as a part of our nature, as it is said of worm, tread on it, and [it] will turn.You spoke of retiribution, that’s all a fub, the party of our Government is gone and there is not the power nor the virtue to restore it.So you must begin to accommodate yourself to circumstances and be prepared for any contingency.Glad to hear from Dan.Sorry to hear of Josh’s trip, it’s no go for a wise man.
I should have written to you sooner, but I wanted to see your Aunt Kitty as she is family oracle herself, but I have not seen her nor can’t soon, but will do so, and add all she knows respecting our family history, for I am now going to write to you occasionally as long as I live and you will answer (I forgot part of my family history).My three youngest girls, there’s Nancy Catherine 17, beautiful – a flame; Mary Caroline 13, Martha Lucena 10.So you see I have a considerable family yet.Sam has been married twice, has one child.At last advices your Aunt Kitty’s family were well but taking draughts of the aforesaid revolutionary dregs.
Now for your family history.My Great-Grandfather came from Wales.William Scurlough, this way the name was originally spelt.He had three sons – William, Joshua and Mial.He accumulated considerable property, which, according to the English law of primogeniture, fell to William, his eldest son, for this was before the Revolution.Joshua was my grandfather.He married an Adams by whom he had two children – Thomas and Agnes.Thomas had sons, Dudley and Beverly , who went to Kentucky.I know nothing of their progeny.Joshua went to Georgia, married, had 3 children who all died and he followed the year.Washington re-married in Virginia, and he never communicated.I know nothing of his progeny.He (Thomas) also had a daughter who married a Thompson.Agnes married a Watts.She had three sons.Tom Thornton and Ludwell.Lud was hung in Butts Co., Ga. For killing Denton Daniels.My Grandfather next married Bettie Norman.Had children as follows:William (William joined the Revolution Army at the age of 16 and served under the command of Genl. Nathaniel Green in South Carolina), Joshua, James, Priestly and Daniel; daughters: Sarah, Bettie and Lucy.Father had sons: Daniel, John, William and Priestly; daughters: Kitty, Winifred and Caroline.They had a daughter Elizabeth who died in infancy, also a son Joshua, older than your father.He was burned up in a house.At some future time I will give you the names and ages of all your cousins with as many interesting particulars as I can gather.Uncle Josh had 4 sons and 3 daughters.Henry went to Mississippi, married and died.Napolean, (physician) was accidentally killed at Prairie Bluff while on a night visit to a patient.James and Walter are still in Florida.So is their sister Harriet Pope.Of their progeny I know nothing.Lucy died in the first bloom of womanhood.Uncle James went to Tennessee and reared a large family of sons and daughters.William and Josh, his sons, have been to see my father in Ga.Joshua was a Captain in the Florida war and was twice at my father’s in Muscogee, Ga.Father thought Josh died in Florida, as he never called according to promise on his return.Daniel and Washington I never saw.Your preacher is a great grandson of Uncle James.Uncle Priestly had 2 sons at home, Jeff and Sam.Jeff died childless.Of Sam I know nothing.Eli and Jim Townsend were his two bastard sons.Jacob Parker had 2 daughters – Sarah and Mary.Next married Tom Hambrick – had sons, Joe, John, Jim, Bill and Burrell.Next married Wm. Ryan – had children; Hampton, Rysden and Elizabeth.Aunt Betty married Billy Wyatt.Had sons and daughters; John, William, James, Samuel, Jesse, Ezekiel, Wesley, Mary and Mahaney.Aunt Lucy married her cousin, Martin Norman.Had one child and both died.Would follow up the different ramifications further, but will wait until next time.
You spoke of having an interesting family, and let me …is by giving them a good education…as you can do at home, a good portion of which will …from your wife, and if I am rightly informed she is well qualified to second your exertion in elevating your children to an honorable station in life.William, cherish that wife as the most estimable jewel this earth affords.Tell Mit I haven’t forgot her and that I shall owe her an answer…kind.I intend to give her a good one and if it was in my power I would relieve her, but if I…do no more.I write…a letter as possible when I replenish my stationary.Tell …to write and let me know if she got Jo’s letter.
William, write as often as you can and tell me what you know of your Aunt Caroline and her family.Tell Dan to write me and to get all the information of her that you both can, also both of [you] give me some information of your Uncle William’s family whether he left any children.I havefairly run through my…haven’t said the …
P. N. Scurlock”