Here are some pieces of information that I have excerpted from primary documents, which may shed some light on this subject:
HALIFAX CO. VA DEEDS: p. 287-22 Dec 1761. Nathaniel Abney, and William Abney of Halifax... to Mattox Mayes of Lunenburg....
Sig. Nath'l Abney, Wm. Abney
Wit. William Hill, Abraham Abney, Joseph Mayes, Joseph East, John Mayes.
p. 289 - 16 March 1762. George Abney of Halifax to Mattox Mayes of same...
Sig: Geo. Abney, Unity Abney
Wit: Nat. Abney, Sam. Abney, Wm. Hill, Joseph Mayes.
Unity, w/o Geo. Relinquished rt/o dower
WILL OF MATTOX MAYES: 16 August 1772, Halifax Co., VA.
Ref: wife Dorcas, children to wit: Abney, William, Samuel, Salley,Tabitha
Excrs: Dorcas Mayes, William Hill, Abney Mayes
Sig: Mattox Mayes
Wit: Elijah Hunt, John Glass, Cassandra Abney
Prob. 18 March 1773 Pres. by Dorcas Mayes, Wm. Hill
Liberty Res. to Abney Mayes to join in sd probate "when he shall think fit".:
WILL OF ABNEY MAYES: 5 Feb 1804, Edgefield District, SC.
Ref: wife Elizabeth, sons William, Gardner, Mattox, John, Abney, Meady, James, Henry. daughters Elizabeth (Whitley), Sally, Tabitha, Nancy
Appt. brothers Samuel Mayes, Dannet Hill, son William Mayes, as Excrs.
(Signed Witnesses only):
Dorcas (X) Hill
Jefas (X) Mays
Samuel Mays, Dannet Hill, Ufan Mays appeared before John Simkins, esq., swore they saw Abney Mays, sign, seal, publish, deliver his L.W. and T., etc....
WILL OF WILLIAM MAYS: 4 Sept 1801, Will Book 9, Edgefield District, SC.
Ref: wife Ollive, son William, Daughter Mary
Execrs: brothers Samuel Mays, Dannet Hill
Sig: S.(Samuel) Mays, Abney Mays, J. (John) Abney
The surname Mayes, (seen in early Henrico, Halifax, and Lunenburg Cos., VA, as associated with the Abney, and Dean families, etc.) did undergo the change of dropping the "e," and I believe this was also so in the Cherokee Nation East, and continuing in the C.N. West, after the Removal Period.
Also, in my opinion, the John May(e)s who went to Tugaloo (located in Pendleton District - present day Oconee Co., SC), would most likely have been the John who was son of Abney Mayes, as the dates involved most likely would support this. There were a few squatters and Traders who were (Tugaloo) there before 1786 (John Abbott, Ezekiel Buffington, Mordecai Fuller, etc.) but did not really open up until just before 1790.