Samuel Lawson received a deed of gift from his stepfather, John James, 25 May 1770. In the deed, Mr. James uses a phrase that, both baffles and intrigues me. From Craven County Deed Book 18, p. 1 and 2 (emphasis mine).

North Carolina }
Craven County }

To all People to whom this Present Writing shall come I John James of the County of Craven and Province of North Carolina Sader [sic. Saddler] send Greeting Know ye that I the said John James as well for and in Consideration of the natural Love and affection which I have and bear unto my well beloved soninlaw Samuel Lawson as I stile him the son of present wife Mary James as for divers other good Causes and considerations me thereunto moving have Given and Granted and by these Presents do fully freely and clearly and absolutely Give Grant and unto the said Samuel Lawson his Heirs and assigns forever all & singular such my whole Estate both Real and personal in Doors and out of all my Goods and Chattles belonging to me the Land and Plantation whereon I now live including all the Land Contained in the bounds of my Patent and all my Houshold Commodities and all my Cattle, Horses, Hogs and Sheep and singular all and every thing that is mine I the said John James doth freely and positively give unto the aforesaid Samuel Lawson his Heirs and assigns forever hereafter and I the said John James do by virtue of this Present Writing give the said Samuel Lawson full and free Possession of all my Estate aforementioned to be his absolute Property forever to have, Hold, use, occupy, possess and Enjoy and by these Presents I do hereby warrant and defend the Estate hereby given unto the aforesaid Samuel Lawson from me and my Heirs and from all and every other person whatsoever forever hereafter in Witness whereof I have hereunto set my Hand and affixed my Seal, this 25 Day of May in the year of our Lord God one Thousand Seven Hundred & Seventy—–
Signed Sealed and Delivered John James
in Presence of——
James Brinson
John Miller [signed with his mark, a capital “I”]
Craven County Deed Book 18, p. 1
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What did he mean by “as I stile him”? At the time, son-in-law was the correct term for stepson, so I doubt that that is to what he referred. Samuel was almost certainly not the son of an earlier Samuel Lawson, whose wife was called Margaret. He did have a daughter, though, Mary Pallis Lawson. I’ve also wondered if, perhaps, Samuel’s biological father, or Mary, was a Justice.

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