Self-enslavement for profit.

by Lisa Y. Henderson

Who was Seller and Who was Sold? Col. Carson Vance lived on Rose’s creek, between Alta Pass and Spruce Pine before and during and after the Civil War. He was a bright, but eccentric man. He was admitted to the bar and practiced law to some extent. But he and a free negro named John Jackson made up a plot at the commencement of the Civil War whereby they were to go together to New Orleans, Vance as master and Jackson as slave. At New Orleans Jackson was to be sold for all the cash he would bring, after which Vance was to disappear. Then Jackson was to prove that he was a “free person of color,” regain his freedom and rejoin Vance on the outskirts of New Orleans. It is said that this scheme worked successfully and that Vance and Jackson divided the proceeds of the sale.

From John Preston Arthur, Western North Carolina: A History from 1730 to 1913 (1914).