In the deeds, what is the consideration stated for the transfer of the slaves. Deeds of gift would say, "for the love & affection I bear," or something along those lines. Bills of sale would have an actual dollar amount, but if it was significantly lower than normal, less than the average "value" of slaves of that age/physical condition, then it was just a way to basically distribute the estate before death. This was usually done to save the executor the cost and trouble of doing it later. Are there similar deeds for the lands he owned?