"I never thought much on what my family’s importance was as I don’t really have any famous or celebrity family members." (Joe Pryor )
DALLAS, TX — A DNA kit from Ancestry.com has helped a Dallas man learn about his family’s uncanny connection to Dallas’ first mayor, Samuel B. Pryor. Joe Pryor, a commercial general contractor, made this discovery around March after using his DNA kit results to begin piecing together his family’s genealogy and history.
"Samuel B. Pryor is from my fathers side of the family, but no one in my immediate family knew about this due to my great grandfather separating from my great grandmother early on after my grandfather was born," Pryor told Patch. "I had no idea that he was a affluent member of early Dallas society and its first mayor and even more so that I resemble him so closely."
Physician Samuel B. Pryor moved to Dallas from Virginia in 1846, according to masonsofdallas.org. He was elected mayor a decade later when the city was incorporated.
Pryor ran against another physician, Dr. A.A. Rice, and won with 54 votes, which was roughly 60 percent of the total, according to a Dallas Journal article from 2002. Despite being in his mid-30s at the time, Pryor was called "Old Doc’ Pryor."
"He was not only a physician but also was involved in business and civic affairs," the Dallas Journal wrote. "The reason why men like Dr. Pryor who was involved in almost every step of the city’s development is because of two reasons. First, they were among the few educated people who were learned in all affairs, personal and public. Secondly, they also needed money. Many settlers did not have much money to pay the doctor enough for his services so doctors usually had other professions for extra income."
Pryor’s ancestral fact finding mission inspired him to share is discovery on Reddit’s r/dallas forum where it received overwhelming praise. The sudden internet fame was a great surprise, he said.
"I was pretty shocked to see all the reactions, I think a lot of people like to know about their families and family history, especially when its local. A lot of the comments dealt with how much I resemble him, genetics are pretty strong in my family I guess," Pryor said.