Thanks for your reply. Yes, I've found the Sampson County deeds that are now online and have downloaded all kinds of great stuff from there. Familysearch.org also has will images for Duplin and Sampson counties, which has been very convenient. I haven't checked the Cumberland county deeds yet, but will do so.
Any ideas on who William Newman's wife, Sophia, might have been? In 1832, she and William, along with Hardy Royal Sr., sold 189 acres to John Butler. John's price to Hardy was $100, but only one cent to William and Sophia and it referred to "the natural affection that he the said William Newman and Sophia Newman hath to the said John Butler...."
I've always assumed that Sophia was a second wife, and wonder if perhaps John Butler was a son by a previous marriage. That wouldn't explain the tie-in with Hardy Royal, however. Hardy bought the 189 acres in 1828 at public auction; it had previously been owned by Reddin Butler. William Newman's son, Jacob, was a witness to the deed transfer when Hardy bought the land, but Hardy was the sole grantee so I'm mystified as to why William and Sophia Newman would have been named as grantors as well when the land was sold 4 years later.