Monday, March 5, 2012

Amanuensis Monday - Deed of Hinsdale Fisher to Lucy Butterfield in Medfield, Mass, 1841

Genea-blogger John Newmark (who writes the excellent TransylvanianDutch blog) started his own Monday blog theme many months ago called Amanuensis Monday. What does "amanuensis" mean? John offers this definition:

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

The subject today is the deed for land in Medfield, Massachusetts sold by Hinsdale Fisher, administrator of the estate of Alpheus B. Smith (1802-1840) to Lucy Butterfield.  This deed is in:

Norfolk County (Massachusetts) Register of Deeds, "Land Records - Deeds, 1793-1890," Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah, on 373 microfilm reels.  Volume 139, Page 109-110 (accessed on FHL US/CAN Microfilm 841833), Deed, Hinsdale Fisher to Lucy Butterfield, dated 16 August 1841, recorded 2 January 1843.

This deed starts on the bottom of the first image above, and is completed on the second image.

The transcription of the deed is (handwritten portions in italics): 

Fisher ad. to Butterfield [in margin]

To all People to whom these Presents shall come, whereas I Hinsdale Fisher Administrator upon the estate of Alpheus B. Smith late of Medfield in the County of Norfoilk deceased by an Order of the Judge of Probate of said County made at a Probate Court holden at Dedham on the first Tuesday of August 1840 was licensed to make sale of the real estate of said deceased so far as should be necessary to pay the sum of six hundred twenty three dolls and seventy one cents being the just debts of said deceased over and above what his personal estate will pay.  Therefore Know ye that I the said Hinsdale Fisher Administrator as aforesaid as well by virtue of the power and authority to me given as aforesaid as in consideration of the sum of three hundred and fifty eight dollars paid me by Lucy Butterfield of Dedham in said County  the receipt whereby is hereby acknowledged, have granted bargained and sold and do hereby grant bargain and sell, confirm and convey unto her the said Lucy, her heirs and assigns forever the following described real estate, situated in the Southerly part of Medfield, and bounded as follows viz. northerly on the heirs of Elisha Clark, Mrs. Keziah Mann and Eliakim Morse, Easterly upon the land of David Smith, Southerly upon Asa Hamant, westerly upon road leading to Walpole and containing sixteen acres more or less.  And also all the reversionary right in that part of said deceased real estate which was set off to and assigned his widow as her Dower consisting of about one acre of land with a house and barn, thereon.

To Have and to Hold the same with all the privileges and appurtenances thereof, to her the said Lucy her heirs and assigns forever.  And I do hereby in the capacity aforesaid covenant with the said Lucy her heirs and assigns that the said Alpheus B. Smith died seized of the premises, that I was duly licensed by said Court to make sale thereof, and that it was necessary the same should be sold for the purposes aforesaid.  That previous to the intended sale I took the oath prescribed by law, and gave public notice thereof according to the directions of said Judge and that the said Lucy offered the most for the said premises and the same were thereupon struck off to her for the aforesaid at a public vendue held at the house on the premises on the twenty first day of April 1841.  And I do further in the capacity aforesaid, covenant to and with the said Lucy her heirs and assigns.  And I do further in the capacity aforesaid covenant to and with the said Lucy her heirs and assigns that the premises are free of all encumbrances, and that I will warrant secure and defend the same to her the said Lucy her heirs and assigns forever against the lawful claims and demands of all persons.  In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal  this first day of May A.D. eighteen hundred and forty one.  Hinsdale Fisher Administrator {seal}  Signed sealed and delivered in presence of Jona. P. Bishop Caroline E. Bishop, Norfolk SS. August 16 1841.  Then personally appeared the above named  Hinsdale Fisher and acknowledged the above to be his free act and deed, before me Jona. P. Bishop Jus. Peace Jany 2 1843 Recd Entered & Examined By Enos Foord Regr.

Fortunately, this deed was on the same page as the deed (transcribed last week) of Elizabeth H. Smith to Lucy Butterfield  in the Norfolk County (Massachusetts) Deed Book.  

With this deed, it appears that the last parcel of the land that Alpheus B. Smith obtained prior to 1826 was sold off in order to pay the debts accrued by Alpheus Smith during his lifetime.  Other posts related to the estate of Alpheus B. Smith include:

*  Amanuensis Monday - Insolvency Sale of Land of Alpheus B. Smith (posted 17 January 2011).

*  Amanuensis Monday - Alpheus B. Smith Probate Papers - Post 2 (posted 31 January 2011).

*  Amanuensis Monday - Deed of Alpheus B. Smith to Lois Smith (posted 13 February 2012)

*  Amanuensis Monday - Deed of Alpheus B. Smith to Simeon Richardson in Medfield in 1834 (posted 20 February 2012)

*  Amanuensis Monday - Deed of Elizabeth H. Smith to Lucy Butterfield in Medfield in 1841 (posted 27 February 2012)

Looking at the records above, I am unclear as to what happened here.  At the public sale on 21 April 1841, James H. Dill (the brother of Elizabeth H. (Dill) Smith) was sold the 16 acres of land, and the widow's portion of the land, for $288 and $70 respectively (according to the Insolvency Sale post).  However, the 1841 deed above, and this deed, indicate that the same land was sold to Lucy Butterfield on 21 April 1841 for $358 and $100, respectively.   

Was the land sold twice in order to pay off the debts of Alpheus B. Smith?  Did James H. Dill then quitclaim the land back to the widow Elizabeth Smith and the estate of Alpheus b. Smith in order to be sold again?  When I searched the Deed index in Salt Lake City on 31 January, I did not find any other deeds to or from Alpheus B. Smith, Elizabeth H. Smith or James H. Dill.    

It may be that James H. Dill did this as part of settling the estate of his father, Thomas Dill of Eastham, who died sometime before 1836 (see 

Amanuensis Monday - James H. Dill's Inquiry in Thomas Dill's Revolutionary War Pension File).

This is one of my biggest family history puzzles.  I need to go look at the probate packet in Norfolk County, Massachusetts some time to determine if it contains other papers that were not entered into the Probate Court record books.  

Copyright (c) 2012, Randall J. Seaver

1 comment:

J. Paul Hawthorne said...

Great job on transcribing the deed. I bet a lot of work went into that. Great analysis too! Good luck on your quest.