Amanuensis Monday — 1818 Deed of Heman Ray to Benjamin Sever (1791-1825) in Gardner, Massachusetts

 This week’s document for transcription is the 1818 land deed of Heman Ray selling land in Gardner, Massachusetts to Benjamin Sever of Westminster, Massachusetts:

[Volume 246, pages 50-51]:

{Volume 246, page 52-53}:

The transcription of the deed is:


[Page 50, the bottom portion of the page]:

[left-hand margin]:

Ray Heman
       to
Benj’n Sever

[body of document]:

Know all men by these presents that I Heman Ray of Westmin-
ster in the County of Worcester, yeoman and guardian of
Martha Sever, Silas Sever, Isaac Sever, Rozilla Sever and Mary
Jane Sever, minors, children of Benjamin Sever late of said
Westminster, deceased, intestate, by an order of the Supreme
Judicial Court begun and holden at Worcester within and
for said county of Worcester on the fourth Tuesday of Septem-
ber last past, was licensed and duly empowered to sell and
pass deeds to convey the whole of said Minors real estate the
proceeds thereof to be put out and secured to said minors, on
interest for their benefit, and whereas I the said Ray, having
given thirty days public notice of the intended sale, by posting
up advertisements in said Westminster, Princeton and Worcester
on the twenty fourth day October last past, that the following
described real estate of said minors would be sold to the high-
est bidder on the premises on the twenty sixth day of November
then next following at nine of the clock in the fore-noon, and
having first given bonds and taken the oath by law in such cases
required, did on the said twenty sixth day of November, pursu-
ant to the license and notice aforesaid, sell at Public Vendue
the following tract of land being a part of the real estate of
said Minors to Ethan Sever of Gardner in said county, Yeo-
man for the sum of fourteen hundred and eighty dollars
he being the highest bidder therefor, who has refused to take
a deed of said land, and give security for the said sum,

[page 51]:

and I hereby have bargained the same premises to Benjamin
Sever of said Gardner yeoman, for the same sum of fourteen
hundred and eighty Dollars, as was struck off to the said Ethan as
highest bidder therefor as follows to wit, beginning at the south-
easterly corner thereof by land of ^Abraham Mossman & Land of^ Charles Taylor at a stake and
stones, thence South fifty one degrees West sixty four rods by land
of said Taylor to a stake & stones, thence South forty three degrees
East twenty three rods by land of said Taylor to a stake and
stones, thence South fifty one and a half degrees West eighty six
rods by land of David Cowee to a stake and stones, thence north
thirty nine degrees West twenty nine rods by land of Merari
Spaulding to a stake and stones, thence south forty eight deg’s
and twenty minutes West fifty six rods and thirteen links by
land of said Spaulding to a stake and stones by the town road
thence Northerly on the town road aforesaid to a stake & stones
in a crook in the wall, a little South of the house, then cross-
ing said road and running Northwesterly by land of Jabez
Fairbank & Benjamin Sever aforesaid fifty four rods to a
stake & stones in a corner of said land, thence North eleven
degrees West by land ^of^ Pearson Cowee forty six rods and thir-
teen links to a stake & stones, thence Easterly by land which the said
intestate purchased of one Josiah Kendall, and land of John
Jackson eighty two rods and thirteen links to a stake and stones
by said road, thence crossing said road at a stake and stones by
land of Samuel Whitney, thence South thirty seven degrees
East by land of said Whitney ten rods to a stake and stones,
thence North forty one degrees East by land of said Whitney
eleven rods to a stake, thence crossing a branch of said road east-
erly by land of Zebina Spaulding fifty five rods to a stake
& stones thence North forty three degrees East sixty nine rods
& twelve links by land of said Zebina to a stake & stones, thence
North eight and a half degrees East fifty one rods to a stake and
stones, thence North nine degrees East fifty one rods to a stake and
stones, thence north nine & a half degrees East eight rods & two
links by land of Ezekiel Frinks to a stake & stones, thence South
forty four degrees East forty rods to a stake & stones, thence South
twenty degrees East fifty six rods by land of said Abraham
Mosman to the bound first mentioned.  Therefore Know ye
that I the said Heman Ray, Guardian, as aforesaid by virtue
of the power and authority in me vested as aforesaid, in con-
sideration of the aforesaid Sum of fourteen hundred and eighty
Dollars to me paid by the said Benjamin Sever, the receipt 
whereof I do hereby acknowledge, do hereby give, grant, sell
and convey unto him the said Benjamin Sever, his Heirs and

[page 52]:

assigns, the tract of land herein above described, or howsoever the
same is reputed to be bounded or described.  To have and to hold
the above granted premises, with all the privileges and appur-
tenances to the same belonging to him the said Benjamin Sever
his Heirs and assigns forever to his and their use and Behoof for-
ever, and I the said Ray Guardian as aforesaid, do hereby coven-
ant with the said Benjamin Sever his Heirs and assigns, that I
was lawfully authorized and empowered to make sale of the
same as aforesaid, that I gave thirty days public notice of the said
intended sale, as aforesaid, that I gave bonds and took the oath by
law required previous to said sale, that it was necessary the same
should be sold for the purposes aforesaid.  In witness whereof
I the said Heman Ray Guardian as aforesaid have hereunto set
my hand and seal this fourteenth day of January in the
year of  our Lord one thousand eight hundred and eighteen.
Signed, Sealed & delivered  }    Heman Ray Guardian  {seal}
in presence of us                  }   Worcester Ss January 14 1818  Then
  W’m Penniman      }  the above named Heman Ray personally
  Ethan Sever           }  acknowledged the above Instrument by him
Subscribed be his free act and Deed – before me 
                                                  Alex’d  Dustin  Justice of the Peace
Rec’d. July 5’th 1825. Entd. & Ex’d By Art’s Ward, Reg’r.

The source citations for this deed file is:

"Massachusetts, Land Records, 1620-1986," digital images, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org : accessed 9 May 2021), Worcester County, "Deeds 1825-1826, Vol 246-247," Volume 246, Pages 50-52 (images 45-46 of 720), Deed of Heman Ray to Benjamin Sever, executed 14 January 1818, recorded 5 July 1825.

The blog post, Amanuensis Monday – the Probate of Benjamin Seaver’s (1757-1816) Estate (31 May 2010) summarizes the probate file of the deceased Benjamin Seaver (1757-1816) who died intestate on 20 June 1816.  He and his wife, Martha (Whitney) Seaver (1764-1832) had ten children, but the youngest five were minors when Benjamin Seaver died in 1816.  Therefore, Heman Ray was appointed guardian of those five children, and the minor children were given equal shares of the home lot (in Gardner and Westminster) amounting to 104 acres of land.  The deed does not provide an acreage – it is probably the 104 acres with buildings that was bequeathed to the five minor children.  Presumably, each of the five children received $296 from the sale.

Their mother, Martha, was granted a living on the home lot in the division of her husband’s estate for one year, which probably resulted in the sale of this property so she had a place to live with her youngest children.  It is likely that Martha, her five youngest children, and Benjamin Seaver with his family lived on the home lot after this deed was executed, or until the children married and left the home lot. 

Ethan Seaver (1765-1823) was a brother of Benjamin Seaver (1757-1816), and was not an heir of Benjamin.  He had the highest bid on the property in a public vendue, but then declined to buy it.  consequently, Heman Ray bargained with Benjamin Seaver to buy the land for the same price.  

Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825) was the second son of Benjamin and Martha (Whitney) Seaver, and he received a 51 acre portion of the home lot in the division of his father’s estate.  Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825) married Abigail Gates (1797-1867) on 2 March 1817 and they had four children between 1817 and 1825.  After Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825) died, his widow Abigail (Gates) Seaver married his brother, Isaac Seaver (1802-1870) in 1832.  The deed was recorded after Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825) died on 25 May 1825.

While this seems very convoluted, seeing the father’s probate distribution and all of the land deeds helps determine what was happening for the descendants of Benjamin Seaver (1757-1816).  It is apparent that they tried very hard to keep the family together and support all family members as much as possible while meeting all of the legal requirements of probate.

The home lot of the deceased Benjamin Seaver (1757-1816) was in the northwestern part of Westminster, and probably bordered on the town of Gardner to the west.  The "road" is probably what is now Overlook Road.  It was near the intersection of what is now Overlook Road and North Gardner Road.  The lot was probably some of the area south of North Gardner Road and perhaps west into the town of Gardner.  The Norman Seaver house, which Benjamin Seaver received in the distribution of Norman Seaver’s land in 1787, is south of North Gardner Road on the east side of Overlook Road and is still standing.  

Benjamin Seaver (1757-1816) and Martha Whitney (1764-1832) are my 4th great-grandparents, and Benjamin Seaver (1791-1825) and Abigail Gates (1797-1867) are my 3rd great-grandparents through thier son Isaac Seaver (1823-1901).  

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NOTE: Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent TransylvanianDutch blog) started a Monday blog theme years ago called "Amanuensis Monday." John offers this definition for "amanuensis:"

"A person employed to write what another dictates or to copy what has been written by another."

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Posted On: May 9, 2021 at 08:21PM