Was John HOLMES of Beaufort County the son of George FISHER of Craven County? If not, what was their relationship? I’m not sure, but I’m collecting evidence and I welcome any ideas or suggestions you might have!

John and Esther HOLMES are my fifth-great grandparents, and since I descend from them twice, I certainly am motivated to learn whatever I can about them.

On the 1790 and 1800 Federal Census in Beaufort County, John HOLMES and his household are listed as “Other Free,” although there is no way of knowing what that means other than that he and the members of his household appeared to be something other than white. Once John is dead, Esther shows up on the census next to their son, John Jr., but they are now listed as “White” on the census.

Now that the Beaufort County deeds are available online through FamilySearch, I’m finally starting to get somewhere on this line. It all started with a deed from 1844 in which my 4th-great-grandfather, John HOLMES (Jr.) sells a piece of land to Allen BUCK. In it he mentions the land came to him from his father, and that it was originally part of the FISHER patent.

I did a search at NCLandGrants.com and found only one Fisher land grant in the area described by the deed: George Fisher, May 27, 1757. That led me to do some digging about George Fisher. See what I discovered below.

John Holmes to Allen Buck, Beaufort County (September 1844)

From Deed Book 22, page 365

This Indenture made this the thirty first day of January A.D. One Thousand Eight hundred and forty three between John HOLMES of the one Part and Allen BUCK of the other part Witnesseth that the said John HOLMES for and in consideration of the sum of fifty Dollars to me in hand paid the receipt thereof is hereby acknowledged and himself fully satisfied contented and paid have bargained, en??, conveyed, and Confirmed and by these presents do bargain and confirm unto the said Allen BUCK his heirs and assigns forever a certain piece or parcel of land situated lying and being in the County of Beaufort and State of North Carolina on the South side of Tar River, a Piece or parcel of land that fell to the said John HOLMES by the death of his Father it being a piece out the Fisher patent Adjoining David CREMER, Noah SPEER (Noah Spear), and Allen BUCK containing Twenty five acres to have and to hold the above described unto the said Allen BUCK his heirs and assigns for ever and I the said John HOLMES the promises do warrant and ever defend against of all persons whatsoever during in witness whereof I have set my hand and seal the day and year above written.

John { his X mark } Holmes { Seal }

Signed Sealed and delivered in Presence of
Ephraim EDWARDS
William C. ECKLIN

“The Fisher Patent”

23 May 1757. 200 Acres of land in Beaufort County on Cabbin branch on each side of the branch and on both sides of the main road that leads to Mr. Salter’s beginning at a black Oak on the Wt. side of said road running thence No. 106 3/10 ? to a pine stump thence So. 70 Et 300 perches? to a pine thence So 100 3/10 perches? to a black oak thence No 70 Wt 300 perches? over the branch and road home to the first station 23 day of May 1757

Please note: Fisher sells 133 acres of this patent in 1764 to Jacob Miller. See bottom of this post.

Will of George Fisher (1778/1785)

In the Name of God Amen. I George Fisher of the County of Craven, and State of North Carolina, Planter, Being of Sound and Perfect Mind and Memory, (Blessed be God) Do this Fourth Day of October and in the year of our Lord one Thousand Seven Hunderd and seventy Eight, make and Publish this my Last Will and Testament, in Manner Following that is to say. Viz ~~

Imprimis. I Give and Bequeath unto John HOMBS (John HOLMES) of Pitt County the Land and Plantation that I am now Owner in the Sd County Whereon the Sd HOMBS Now Dwells together with all Previdges and Benifits to the Same Belonging, to him and his Heirs for Ever to be at his own Disposal after my Death and my wifes Death.

Item. This is my will and Desier, that my old fellow, Named Tony & my old wench, Named Sary, Should be free after my Decease and I hereby set them Both free after my Decease, and I hereby Set them Both free with Ample Authority to make any Lawfull Bargain, that is to say to bye and sell for them selves, without the Interruption of any Person.

Item. I Give and Bequeath all the Rest of my Estate Both Rael and Personal, that is to say Lands Negroes Money Stocks of all Kinds Household furneture & EVery that I am Now Owner of or Posse’d with, to my Beloved Wife, Mary Fisher, to be at her own Disposal after my Decease to her and heirs for Ever

Impremis. And I hereby make and Ordain my Beloved Wife Mary FISHER, Executrix of this my Last Will and Testament, in Witness whereof I the sd George Fisher, have to this my Last will and Testament, Set my hand and seal the Day and year above written ~~

} George Fisher { SEAL }

Signed, sealed, Published, and Decleared by the Sd. George FISHER, the Testator, as his Last Will and Testament, in Presents of us, who were Present at the time of Signing and sealing thereof

(Witnesses)
Moses ERNUL ?
Winefred { her W mark } SEARLES

March Craven County Court 1785

Then was the foregoing last Will and Testament of George Fisher proved in Open Court by the Oath of Moses ERNAL (Moses ERNUL) One of the subscribing Witnesses thereto agreeable to law, at the same time Mary FISHER qualified as Executrix – Orderd that Letters Issue Accordingly.

Attest ~ Wm. BRYAN CC

(Ed note: HOMBS? I’ve never seen HOLMES spelled that way before. I’ve seen at as HOME, HOMES, HOLM, but now I have a new spelling to add to the list.) 


Other items of interest

257-(31) Deed from George FISHER of Craven Co to Jacob MILLER of same. 21 Jun 1764. £[blank] proclamation. 133 acres in Pitt Co (formerly Bufard Co), which was part of George FISHER’s patent dated 23 May 1757, on Cabbin Branch above the road that leads to Mr Salter’s. Wit: James WILLIS, William PERDUE. Proved Oct Ct 1764 before Peter CONWAY C.J.C. (From Craven County, North Carolina Vol. 2 by Dr. Stephen Bradley)

(more to come)