Below I have transcribed a deed from my 4th great-grandfather John HOLMES to Church CHAPMAN of Craven County.

In the deed, John HOLMES is selling his wife’s (and by extension, his) interest in four slaves who were originally the property of David AVERITT, but who were lent to David’s wife Sally during her widowhood in David’s will. Sally’s maiden name was Sarah BUTLER. She was the daughter of Arthur BUTLER and Sarah JOHNSON. The other heirs who would’ve inherited interest in the slaves along with Selah were her sister, Betsy, and her half-sister, Permelia.

It’s worth noting that John HOLMES and his family were members of Union Chapel Church in Chocowinity, a church that was established in sympathy with the Union cause during the Civil War. Also, John HOLMES daughters Sarah, Jane, and Sophia, were married to men who fought for the Union during the war. It would be fair to assume he was opposed to slavery. It’s also worth noting that man who I think is likely the father of John HOLMES is also named John HOLMES. He lived in Chocowinity and his entire household were listed as “other free” in the 1790 and 1800 census, but when the head of household died, the family was from then on apparently listed as “white.”


State of North Carolina }
Craven County }

Know all men by these presents that I the said John Homes for and in consideration of the sum of one hundred dollars to me in hand paid by Church Chapman of said County at or before the sealing and delivery of these presents the receipt hereof I the said John Homes do hereby acknowledge have granted bargained & sold and by these presents do grant bargain & sell unto the said Church Chapman his heirs & assigns, all my right interest & claim in & to a certain parcel of negroes to wit namely Rachel, Asa, Amos, Feriba, which negroes is now in the possession of Sarah Averitt which was formerly the property of David Averitt dec’d and by him lent to the said Sarah Averitt during her widowhood and after the death or marriage of the said Sarah Averitt my wife Selah Homes formerly Selah Averitt becomes an heir among others agreeable to the last will of David Averitt Dec’d and I the said John Homes hath bargained and sold and by these presents doth sell unto him the said Church Chapman he and his heirs all my right title & interest in and to the aforesaid negroes and I do warrant & forever defend all my right to him the said Church Chapman he and his heirs forever against any lawful claim, and in witness whereof I hereunto set my hand & seal this the thirteenth day of May A.D. 1833

John ( his x mark ) Homes { Seal }

Witness
John Chapman }
Sarah Averitt }

Craven County Court May Term A.D. 1834
Then was the execution of the foregoing deed proved in open Court and in due form of law by the Oath of John Chapman one of the subscribing witnesses thereto.

Ordered that said deed be registered.

Attest J.G. Stanly, Clk.