A Barnes cousin that I contacted several years ago messaged me a few weeks ago. He payed a researcher to do some research for him in North Carolina. The researcher found a goldmine among the deeds of Gates County, North Carolina.
A deed from Frances Smith to John Sanders Barnes, for her love of him, and one dollar gives all her possessions, land and slaves, to John S. Barnes of Russell County, Alabama. John S. Barnes agreed to care for Frances and her daughter Jane Horton. Since both of these ladies are in my ancestor John Sanders Barnes home in 1850 in Russell county, AL there is no doubt that this does prove there is a relationship between the two.
The most logical relationship would be that John S. Barnes is a son of Frances. A will dated 1824 and put to court in 1831 for Robert Smith in Gates County, North Carolina leaves most all of his property to his widow Frances Smith and to his "daughter in law" (step daughter), Jane Parker he leaves some furniture. He also leaves some furniture to David Parker and his children. Robert Smith's home in 1820 in Gates county has a male the age of John S. Barnes in his home, as well as female the age of Jane. David Parker if I have found him, was the age of Jane Parker, about a decade older than John.
So it would appear that John is Frances' son. The only other relationship I could think possible is that Frances is his Aunt.
Gates county, North Carolina, and the surrounding counties in North Carolina and Nansemond county, Virginia are riddled with Barnes and Sanders. I think we found the right place. Unfortunately, none of the estates in probate have thus far yielded a father for John. We know that the land that Frances gave John, and they later sold comes from an Estate from 1814. However, this is not an estate John or Frances are involved in. Was this Barnes (Thomas Barnes) a relative of John's father? It's a good question. It may be that deeds will be the avenue that we discover this truth.
As for Frances, is she a Sanders? It is difficult to tell. Unfortunately Nansemond is a burned county. We may never find the information about her in a paper trail.