Former slave John Carruthers Stanly rose from the depths of slavery to become one of the wealthiest businessmen in North Carolina and a slave owner himself. While a slave, Stanly was taught to read and write and was trained as a barber. His ability to earn a living eventually led to his owner granting him his freedom. As a freeman, Stanly gained increased wealth including plantations, rental properties, and up to 168 slaves. Stanly was held in rather high regard amongst the local white community and was considered a astute businessman. Stanly's family continued to own slaves until the end of the Civil War.