1857: Slave Deed of Mary King (Wilkes) Orr

This original copy of a property deed prepared in 1857 transmitted the ownership of two slaves—a young boy named Gilbert and a young girl named Fanny—from Mary King Wilkes (1805-1870), the widow of William McGee Orr (1800-1844) to her son, DeWitt Clinton Orr (1827-1881), both of Marshall county, Tennessee. DeWitt was married to Sarah Vincent Cox (1837-1905) about 1853. He was a dry goods merchant and farmer.

Two of DeWitt’s younger brothers fought for the Confederacy: William Leonidas Orr (1838-1861) in Co. E, 4th Texas Regiment, and Lafayette M Orr (1843-1915) in Holman’s Battalion of Tennessee Partisan Rangers.

My hunch is this deed was a draft that was kept as a copy of the signed deed as there are fields not completed on this document.


Whereas my husband William M. Orr, deceased, by his will directed or permitted me, his widow, as our children come of age, to give off property to such child or children coming of age, or marrying, a portion of the property of the estate of my said deceased husband. In consideration of this direction & power in said will & for the love & affection I bear my son DeWitt C. on this day of [      ], 185[  ], I give to said DeWitt C. the following named slaves at the valuations, their then values, as follows.

One negro boy named Gilbert, aged [   ] years, valued at [    ] dollars & a negro girl named Fanny, then aged [   ] years & then valued & then work [   ] dollars. In consideration of the premises, I hereby convey to said DeWitt C. the slaves aforesaid to have & to hold the same to the said DeWitt C. his heirs & assigns forever. Witness my hand & seal this [  ] day of April 1857  Witness


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