Monday, October 28, 2013

Amanuensis Monday - Post 192: 1861 Land Deed of James R,. Bruce to Isaac Seaver 3rd in Westminster, Massachusetts

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 a land deed in Worcester County, Massachusetts dated 6 February 1861, transferring three tracts of land in Westminster, Massachusetts from James R. Bruce to Isaac Seaver 3rd (my second great-grandfather) for $1000 (two page images shown below):  

The transcription of the deed is: 

Bruce Jas. R.
Isaac Seaver 3d
(1$ Cancelled)

Know all men by these presents, that I, James R. Bruce of Westminster County of Worcester and Commonwealth of Massachusetts in consideration of one thousand dollars paid by Isaac Seaver 3d of said Westminster the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, do hereby give, grant, sell and convey unto the said Isaac Seaver 3d his heirs and assigns a certain tract of land situated on the road leading from the street in said Westminster to Lorenzo Winship's and bounded as follows.  Beginning at the Northerly corner of said tract on the Westerly side of said road thence 75 W 8 rods 16 links, thence S 50 W 4 rods 11 links, thence S 9 E 16 rods, thence S 86 E 12 rods 4 links, thence N 9-1/2 W 19 rods to the first to the first named bound, the last line running on said road. 

 Also, one other tract of land situated on the Easterly side said road and nearly opposite of the above described tract and bounded as follows: Beginning on at a stake & stones on the Easterly side of said road, thence N 8 W 29 rods 5 links to a stake & stones, thence N 21 E 11 rods 6 links to a stake & stones, thence S 40-1/2 E 21 rods 12 links to a stake & stones, thence N 52 E 57 rods 8 links to a stake & stones, thence S 52-1/4 E 24 rods 10 links to a stake & stones, thence S 33-1/2 E 43 rods to a stake & stones, thence S 53 W 12 rods 1 link to a stake & stones on land of T.H. Bailey thence N 42-3/4 W 32 rods 10 links to a stake & stones on land of Wid. A. Mosman, thence N 81 W 21 rods 5 links to a stake & stones, thence S 33 W 20 rods 6 links to a stake & stones, thence N 37-1/2 W 1 rod to a stake & stones, thence in a straight line to the bound first named on said road containing 17 acres more or less.  

Also one other tract of land adjoining the first above described tract on its Southerly side and Westerly side of the afore named road  and bounded as follows:  Beginning at the Southerly corner of the first above named tract on said road, thence Southerly on said road 6 rods to land of Charles Upton, thence Westerly on land of said Upton 5 rods, thence Northerly by said Upton's land 6 rods to the line of land first described above, thence Easterly by said land 5 rods to the first named corner at the road.  

The said Seaver herewith and hereby declares that he makes purchase of the above described Real estate to hold as and for a homestead in accordance with the statutes of the Commonwealth. To have and to hold the afore granted premises to the said Isaac Seaver 3d his heirs and assigns, to their use and behoof forever.  And I do for myself, my heirs, executors and administrators covenant with the said Isaac Seaver 3d his heirs and assigns, that I am lawfully seized in fee of the afore granted premises, that they are free of all incumbrances; that I have good right to sell and convey the same to the said Isaac Seaver 3d and that I will and my heirs shall warrant and defend the same premises to the said Isaac Seaver 3d his heirs and assigns forever against the lawful claims and demands of all persons. 

And, Lucinda Bruce, wife of the said James R. Bruce, for the consideration aforesaid do hereby release and quitclaim unto the said Isaac Seaver 3d his heirs and assigns all right claim or possibility of dower in said premises.

In witness whereof, we the said James R. Bruce and Lucinda Bruce have herewith set our hands and seals this first day of January in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty four.

Signed, sealed and delivered     }                             James R. Bruce     {seal}
in presence of                         }                              Lucinda Bruce       {seal}
W.S. Bradbury                       }                              
Abbie E. Bruce                       }                              Worcester ss. Jan 11
Elis. H. Smith                         }                               1864.  Then 
personally appeared the within named James R. Bruce acknowledged the above instrument to be his free act and deed.

Before me                    William S. Bradbury                   Jus. of the Peace
Rec^d Nov 15th 1864 at 9:30 A.M. Ent^d & Ex^d By. Alex. H. Wilder, Reg^r.

The source citation for this document is:

"Massachusetts, Land Records, 1620-1986," digital images, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, FamilySearch ( , Worcester County, "Deeds 1864, Vol. 692-693," images 252-253 of 702, in Volume 692, Page 468-469, James R. Bruce to Isaac Seaver 3d deed in Westminster, Mass., 1861.

This appears to be a straight-forward exchange of James R. Bruce's land for Isaac Seaver 3rd's money.  But we may not know the full story - next week's amanuensis Monday's deed may provide more information.

The three land descriptions in this deed don't provide much information that would help locate these three parcels of land, except that they are along the road in Westminster leading to Lorenzo Winship's property.  I will have to find Winship's property on a plat map, or find a description of Winship's property relative to his neighbors to determine thel ocation.

The witnesses to this deed were W.S. Bradbury, Abbie E. Bruce and Elis. H. Smith.  Who are these people?

*  James Rockwood Bruce (1814-1884) married Lucinda Seaver (1821-1899) in 1846 and resided in Westminster.  Lucinda Seaver is Isaac Seaver 3rd's older sister.
*  W.S. Bradbury is not related to either party, to my knowledge.
*  Abbie E. Bruce is probably related to James R. Bruce, but I don't know the relationship.  She is not his mother (who was Prudence Taylor).  James and Lucinda (Seaver) Bruce had a daughter, Abbie Ellen Bruce, born in 1847, but she would not be old enough in 1861 to witness a deed.
*  Elis[abeth] H. Smith was almost certainly Elizabeth Horton (Dill) Smith (1791-1861), the mother of Lucretia (Smith) Seaver (1828-1884), wife of Isaac Seaver 3rd (1823-1901).  She may have been residing with Isaac and Lucretia (Smith) Seaver in Westminster at this time.

Astute Genea-Musings readers will recall that last week's post - Amanuensis Monday - Post 191: 1861 Land Deed of Isaac Seaver 3rd to James R. Bruce in Westminster, Massachusetts had the same parties, was for the same land parcels, for the same amount of money, and was written on the same date.  It was recorded at a different time, however.  Why would they do this?  It probably has to do with the law mentioned in the first paragraph of the deed in Post 191:

" order to comply with the requisition of the Chapter 238 of the Statutes of this Commonwealth passed in the year 1855 entitled 'An Act to exempt from Levy on Execution the homestead of a Householder' ..."

So Isaac and Lucretia (Smith) Seaver sold the property to brother-in-law James R. Bruce, and then bought it back in order to comply with, or be subject to, the 1855 Law.  A search for the Law revealed this page with the text of the law.  It appears to have to do with tax levies and insolvency, and seems to preclude taking a residence from a homesteader for those purposes.  There was also a commentary about the intent of the law and the results of the law here.

Whatever the reason, having these two deeds adds more information about where Isaac Seaver owned land, and provided more associates for Isaac Seaver 3d.

The URL for this post is:

Copyright (c) 2013, Randall J. Seaver

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