Harper-Prichard-Lyle-Farley Connections, A Vintage Vignette

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Harper-Prichard-Lyle-Farley Connections
A Vintage Vignette by John P. Rankin
February 14, 2011

Benjamin Franklin Harper (1850-1912) was Mayor of Madison in 1900. His tombstone in the Madison City Cemetery is not very close to that of his first wife, Lula Wingo. Lula was born in 1865 and died in 1885, one year after her marriage. In 1894, Frank Harper married again, that time to Nancy (“Nannie”) D. Russell, a daughter of James and Minerva Russell of Limestone County. However, Nannie has a small marker that has been dropped onto the ground near Frank's tombstone, but it has the name as Nannie Harper Pritchett, 1867-1964. A check of the Madison County marriage records did not identify the given name of Nannie's second husband. Still, the Pritchett name (frequently recorded as “Pritchart” or “Prichard”) has been in the county for a number of years.

Francis C. Prichard in 1838 purchased 69 acres of land from George Cook. That land is now part of Test Area 1 on Redstone Arsenal. In 1850 Prichard and John Hundley together purchased another 80 acres of adjoining land from Jacob Points of Monroe County, Mississippi. In 1854 Prichard obtained over 150 acres of additional adjoining land from the Government Land Office in Huntsville. Later, the names of John Simpson, Henry C. Simpson, and the firm of Dillard & Lyle appeared on land transaction records for parts of Prichard's holdings between 1870 and 1888.

Information provided by descendant Vivian Glasscock reveals that Francis C. Prichard was born in 1797 in Virginia. He was living here by 1823. In November of that year he married Elizabeth Clark in Madison County. She was also born Virginia. Francis was a son of Joseph Tharp Pritchard and Winnefred Williams of Virginia. The children of Francis and Elizabeth Prichard were shown in the 1850 census of Madison County as Aralissa C., 26; Mary E., 22; James H., 18; and Martha A. R. (Rebecca), 14. The family was listed in the 1860 Madison County census as Francis C. and Elizabeth W. Pritchet, with children Arry C., 30, and Mary E., 28. Rebecca had already married and moved to Morgan County. James H. was also absent, but he was found living in Galveston, Texas, in the 1870 census. He was still listed as single then. By 1880 James was back in Alabama, single and living in Cahaba, Dallas County. In the 1900 census he was in Chilton County and married. James and his wife had no children.

Additional research collected by Vivian Glasscock showed that Aralissa C. Prichard, born November 13, 1825, moved to Morgan County and became the second wife of Robert Butcher about 1863. She died April 30, 1907 in Morgan County. She had no children. Mary Elizabeth became the second wife of John Forrester Johnston on September 17, 1873 in Morgan County. She died October 26, 1919. She had no children. Arlissa C. Butcher and Mary E. Johnston share a tombstone in the Lyle-Breeding Cemetery in Morgan County. James H. Prichard, born June 12, 1829, died in Chilton County on April 7, 1914 and shares a tombstone there with his wife Betty in the Ebenezer Baptist Church Cemetery. Martha A. Rebecca Wyche Prichard (born April 6, 1835) in 1857 became the wife of John Michael Manasses Lyle (1833-1872) in Madison County.

Michael Manasses was a son of William Henry Lyle (1800-1896) and Delia Ann Farley (1807-1889). William Henry was a son of Manesseh Lyle and Sarah Chaney of Loudoun County, Virginia. William was a preacher at the Somerville Methodist Church for years. His wife Delia was a daughter of Michael Farley and Sarah Crafton of Virginia. Michael Farley died in 1832 and is buried in Madison's Farley-Crutcher Cemetery. Rebecca Prichard Lyle, wife of Michael Manasses Lyle, died in Morgan County on August 27, 1925. Michael Manasses died in 1872. They are both buried in the Lyle Cemetery at Valhermoso, on land homesteaded by Michael Manasses' father. Rebecca Prichard and Michael Manasses Lyle were parents of Mary (born 1859), James Henry (1861), Delia Elizabeth (1863), Zula May (1866), Laura Alabama (1868), and Michael Adella (1872). The Harper and Russell connection of Madison families to this particular line of Prichards is not yet known, but the Farley connection is well established.

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