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Confederate (CSV)


William George Pryde

(1843 - 1900)

Home State: Tennessee

Branch of Service: Infantry

Unit: 37th Virginia Infantry

Before Sharpsburg

Age 18, a resident of Granger County, TN, he enlisted and mustered as Private, Company A, 37th Virginia Infantry on 12 March 1862 in Goodson (now Bristol), VA.

On the Campaign

He was wounded in action at Sharpsburg on 17 September 1862.

The rest of the War

He was captured at Spotsylvania Court House, VA on 12 May 1864 and held at Fort Delaware. He was released a year later on 11 May 1865 after taking the oath of allegiance.

After the War

He was an officer and detective on the Memphis Police Department from 1873 until his death in 1900. On Christmas Eve 1877:

A horrible accident occurred at 3:30 o'clock this morning [in Memphis] on Alabama St. Detective William C. Pryde, while half asleep, imagined that he heard a burglar at his window, took a pistol from under his pillow, and in attempting to cock it the weapon was discharged, the ball passing through the body of his 5 month old child, and also through the body of his wife, causing the death of both in a few hours. The inquest is now being held ...

The coroner's jury, in the case of Det. Pryde, who accidentally shot & killed his wife & child this morning exonerated him, his wife having repeatedly stated that it was an accident before her wound proved fatal.

... Those who witnessed the scene between Mr. Pryde and his wife after this shooting say that it was most heartrending. She caressed him and blessed him to the last, exonerating him entirely ... Mr. Pryde is well-nigh crazed with grief, and has the full sympathy of his brother policemen and all who know him. He is a faithful, efficient officer, and has had many perilous adventures with evildoers. It was only a few months ago that he was shot nearly to death by a negro burglar whom he was trying to arrest, and has only been on duty a short time since his recovery from that scrape ...

References & notes

His service from Rankin1 via the Historical Data Systems database. His Sharpsburg wound from a casualty list in the Abingdon Virginian of 3 October 1862 online from the Library of Congress. His occupation from Annual Reports of the City of Memphis (1900). The quotes above from the Arkansas Gazette and Cincinnati Enquirer, both of 25 December 1877. His gravesite is on Findagrave.

He married Nettie V Smith (?-1877) in 1873 and they had a son William H Pryde (1877); he accidentally killed them. He married Elizabeth J Lawless (1852-1906) in 1879 and they had a son John W Pride (1881-1931) who was himself a Memphis policeman.

More on the Web

For more about the Memphis Police Department, including the period of Pryde's tenure, see their History (pdf) online from the Department


12/01/1843; Buffalo Gap, Augusta County, VA


05/03/1900; Memphis, TN; burial in Elmwood Cemetery, Memphis, TN


1   Rankin, Thomas M., 37th Virginia Infantry, Lynchburg: H.E. Howard, Inc., 1987  [AotW citation 21756]