Ancestry of Richard Pryor

compiled by Christopher Challender Child

The following material on the immediate ancestry of Richard Pryor should not be considered either exhaustive or authoritative, but rather as a first draft.

Most of the material is based on and Pryor Convictions-And other Life Sentences [1995] by Richard Pryor.

This report was compiled by Christopher Challender Child. The contribution of the undersigned is limited to HTML-izing Mr. Child's report.

In addition, Michael Meggison contributed to this report.

William Addams Reitwiesner

Ancestry of Richard Pryor (1940-2005)
1 Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor, b. Peoria, Illinois 1 Dec. 1940, d. Los Angeles, California 10 Dec. 2005
2 LeRoy "Buck" (a.k.a Junior) Pryor (aka Buck Carter), b. Decatur, Illinois 1915/16, d. Peoria, Illinois Sept. 1968 [he m. (2) Viola Hurst, d. Peoria, Illinois Dec. 1967]
3 Gertrude L. Thomas, b. Ill. ca. 1919/20, d. 1967 [she m. (2) Mr. Emanuel]
4 Roy P. Pryor, b. Missouri Mar. 1888-90, d. Decatur, Illinois 15 Jan. 1946
m. Church of the Living God, Decatur, Illinois 15 Aug. 1914 (div. ca. 1927)
5 Rithie Marie Carter, b. Decatur, Illinois 31 Oct. 1899, d. Peoria, Illinois Dec. 1978 [SSDI 321-56-3460)] [she m. (2) 1929 Thomas Bryant]
6 Robert Thomas, b. Missouri ca. 1899, d. aft. 1930 [1930 Census Pilot, Vermillon Co., Ill.]
7 Louise M. ---, b. ca. 1900, d. after 1930
8 William Henry Pryor, b. Randolph Co., Illinois May 1865/67, d. Sangamon Co., Illinois 24 Aug. 1942
m. ca. 1888/89
9 Mary F. ---, b. Missouri June 1868, d. Sangamon Co., Illinois aft. 1930
10 Richard E. Carter, b. Illinois Jan. 1867/68, d. Decatur, Illinois 19 Sept. 1925
m. Decatur, Illinois 31 May 1888
11 Julia Isabelle Piper, b. Troy, Madison Co., Illinois 1868/9, d. Decatur, Illinois 4 May 1921
16 Gilles Pryor, b. Illinois or Virginia 1838/40, d. aft. 1880
m. Randolph Co., Illinois 25 Oct. 1866
17 Martha J. Holden, b. Missouri 1845-50, d. aft. 1880
20 William Carter, b. Illinois 1846, d. Macon Co., Illinois aft. 1880
m. 1865
21 Fannie A. ---, b. Kentucky Oct. 1838/45, d. Decatur, Illinois 13 Mar. 1910
22 Abner Martin Piper, b. Great Barrington, Massachusetts 2 April 1834 [G.B. VRs to 1850], d. Decatur, Illinois 3 Jan. 1906
m. Macon Co., Illinois 30 June 1859
23 Sarah Maria Smith, b. Illinois or N.C. 1841, d. bef. 1906
44 Ira Piper, b. New York ca. 1813, d. West Stockbridge, Mass. 25 Sept. 1852 [Mass. VRs, 1852, 66:51]
45 Lucinda Phillips, b. Great Barrington, Mass. ca. 1814/1822, d. Sheffield, Mass. 12 Oct. 1894 (age 80) [Mass. VRs, 1894,445:118, age 28 1850 Census, G.B., but Abner is listed as age 14]
90 Pompey Phillips, b. a slave in New York State ca. 1785, d. Great Barrington, Mass., 13 May 1880 ae. 95 [Mass. VRs, 1880,319:38, also recorded in Sheffield, Mass., in 319:66]
91 Jane Van Alstyne, b. Chatham, New York ca. 1789, d. Great Barrington, Mass., 19 April 1877 ae. 88 [Mass. VRs, 1877,292:32]
182 Jack Van Alstyne
183 Sarah ----


1 -- The wives and issue (both by wives and by non-marital liaisons) of Richard Pryor:
     ~ ---- (paternity uncertain)

                1.  Renee, b. Peoria 1957
     m. (1) Peoria, Ill. 1960 Patricia Price (div. 1961)
                2.  Richard Pryor, Jr. b. Peoria 1961

     ~ Maxine Silverman

                3.  Elizabeth Pryor, b. 1967

     m. (2) Las Vegas, Nevada 13 Jan. 1968 Rochelle "Shelley" Bonis (div. 1969)

                4.  Rain Pryor, b. Los Angeles 16 July 1969 actress

     m. (3) 1977 Deboragh McGuire (div. 1979)
     m. (4) Hana, Maui, Hawaii 16 Aug. 1981 Jennifer Lee (div. 1982)

     m. (5) 10 Oct. 1986 Flynn Be-Laine (div. Jan. 1987)
                5.  Stephen Michael Pryor, b. 16 Nov. 1984

                7. Kelsey Pryor, b. 1987

     ~ Geraldine  Mason

                6.  Franklin Matthew Mason, b. c. 1986 
                    (born during marriage to Flynn Be-Laine)

     m. (6) 1990 Flynn BeLaine (div. 1991)

     m. (7) 2001 Jennifer Lee 

2 -- Richard Pryor says his father was named LeRoy Pryor but was better known as Buck Carter. In the 1920 census in Decatur he is recorded as "Junior Pryor."

4 -- See note 10, below.

6 -- According to Pryor Convictions, he owned a farm in Springfield.

10 -- In Pryor Convictions, Richard Pryor says his grandfather, "LeRoy Pryor," worked on the railroad in Decatur and in the late 1920's was struck between two railroad cars, which should have killed him instantly, but then went to a tavern, ordered a drink and then died. This is obviously his great-grandfather, Richard Carter whose obituary reads:
1925 Sep 20 - Obituary. 

"Richard Carter Dies of Injuries. Colored Man Crushed Between Cars. 

Richard Carter of 1144 South Jackson street died at 4 o'clock Saturday 
afternoon at the Wabash Employee's hospital from injuries received 
earlier in the day, when he was crushed between two cars. He was 
fifty-five years old. Mr. Carter was one of the well-known colored 
men of Decatur. He had been here many years and was well liked by 
those who knew him. He had been employed in the yards of the Wabash 
roundhouse for a long time.  About 11 o'clock Saturday forenoon he 
was crushed between some cars that were switching in the years and 
was so badly injured that he died five hours later. Mr. Carter was 
a steward of the A. M. E. church and was a member of the Knights of 
Tabor. He is survived by his wife, Fannie Carter, and the following 
children: James, Dane, Charles, Frank, Herman, Marie, and William 
Carter, all of Decatur. There are six grandchildren. He also leaves 
three brothers and a sister, John and George Carter of Peoria, William 
Carter of Pontiac, Mich., and Mrs. Daisy Motley of Decatur. The 
body was removed to the Moran & Sons undertaking establishment 
and prepared for burial."
"The Decatur Daily Review," newspaper, Decatur, Illinois, published 20 September 1925, (Online:, Inc., 2005), page 11.

182 -- "Jack Van Alstyne", a free black, is enumerated in the 1830 census of Chatham, New York.


See above.

William Addams Reitwiesner