I just found a short entry about my ancestor, Royal Spain, in an Alexandria, Virginia newspaper. They apparently picked it up from another paper and passed it along.
The Daily State Journal
May 1, 1872; p. 1, col. 2
"VIRGINIA NEWS...The Roanoke Valley announces the death of Royal Spain, of Mecklenburg county, in the eighty-seventh year of his age."
I would love to find the actual article from the Roanoke Valley. The Library of Virginia has some of their remaining issues on microfilm. I might try to slip down there this weekend and see what I can find.