Monday, June 21, 2021

Amanuensis Monday -- 1800 Mortgage Deed of Ephraim Witherbee Selling 62 Acres of Land in Westminster, Mass. to Benjamin Seaver and Joseph Spalden

  This week's document for transcription is the 1800 land record for Ephraim Witherbee, yeoman of Westminster, Massachusetts, selling 62 acres of land in Westminster, Massachusetts for $200 to Benjamin Seaver and Joseph Spalden, yeomen of Westminster: 

[Worcester County, Mass. Deeds - Volume 141, Page 517]:

[Worcester County, Mass. Deeds - Volume 141, Page 518]:

The transcription of the deed is (from near the bottom of the left-hand page of image):

[page 517, starts halfway down right-hand page]

                                   Know all men by these presents that I
Ephraim Weatherbee of Westminster in the County of Worces-
ter & Commonwealth of Massachusetts yeoman in consid-
eration of the sum of two hundred dollars paid to me
by Benjamin Sever & Josiah Spalden both of Westmin-
ter of the County & Commonwealth aforesaid yeomens
the receipt thereof  I do hereby acknowledge do hereby give grant
sell & convey unto the said Benjamin Sever & Josiah Spalden
their heirs assigns forever the following tract of upland
situate lying & being in the Town of Westminster & the North-
erly part thereof being the one half part of a second division lot
on which I now dwell and the whole contains sixty two acres
the one half of which is here conveyed both for quantity & for
quality with the one half of ^all^ the buildings & improvements
thereon and it bounds Northerly on land of Mr. Lincoln &
Easterly on Linds & Kendalls land Southerly on Kendalls

[page 518, left-hand page]

land Westerly on Alphus Whitneys land or however other
wise bounded or expected to be bounded.
     To have and to hold the same to the said Benjamin
Sever & Joseph Spalden their heirs & assigns to his & their use
& behoof forever And I do covenant with the said Benjamin
Sever & Joseph Spalden & their heirs assigns that I am
lawfully seized in fee of the premises that they are free
of all incumbrances and that I will warrant & defend the
same to the said Benjamin Sever & Joseph Spalden & their
heirs assigns forever against the lawful claims & demands
of all persons.
                                      Provided nevertheless and this to be
understood that the said Benjamin Sever & Joseph Spalden
at the special instance and request of the said Ephraim With-
erbee stand bound & obliged to Stephen Miles Treasurer of the
Town of Westminster & for the sum of forty three dollars & thir-
ty four cents payable in one year from the first day of Jan-
uary A.D. one thousand eight hundred with interest.  If there-
fore the said Witherbee or his heirs or assigns shall well & truly
pay or cause to be paid to the said Stephen Miles or his Succes-
sor in the office of Treasurer for said Town of Westminster with
in one year from January eighteen hundred the abovesaid sum
of forty three dollars & thirty four cents with the lawful
interest so as to save the said Joseph Spalden & Benjamin Sever
harmless & their heirs & executors & assigns then the above
deed is to become void or else to be in full force forever.
      In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand &
seal this twenty sixth day of August A D 1800
Signed sealed & delivered                  Ephraim  Witherbee {seal}
Abner Holden
Stephen Miles                Worcester ss  Westminster August 1800
Rec'd Sep^r 25, 1800  Enter'd & exam'd per Dan'l Clap Reg.

[In left-hand margin of page 518]

Know all men by these presents that we Joseph Spalden & Benjamin Sever both of Westminster in the County of 
Worcester & Commonwealth of Massachusetts yeomans do by these presents acknowledge that we have received of the within
named Ephraim Witherbee the full sum of forty three dollars & thirty four cents the sum within mentioned with the interest 
and we do hereby declare the within deed to be forever hereafter to be nul & void.  In witness our hands & seals
In witness our hands & seals in presence of us -- Abner Holden, Isaac Miller                           }       Joseph Spaulding
Worcester ss Westminster April y'e 6'th 1801 personally appeared  Joseph Spalden & Benja-  }    Benjamin Sever
Sever & acknowledged the above to be their free act & deed. before Abner Holden, Justice Peace
                                  Rec'd Ap'l 14 1801  Enter'd & exam'd pr  Dan'l Clap Reg'r
The source citations for this land record is:

"Massachusetts, Land Records, 1620-1986," digital images, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, FamilySearch ( : accessed 11 June 2021), Worcester County, "Deeds 1800, vol. 140-141," Volume 141, Pages 517-518 (image 623-626 of 696), mortgage deed of Ephraim Witherbee to Benjamin Seaver and Joseph Spaldin, executed 26 August 1801, recorded 14 April 1801; citing original records in County Courthouses, and on FHL Microfilms.

This deed is for a 62 acre parcel of land in Westminster, which was one half of Ephraim Witherbee's tract of land.  They paid $200 for the land, which was used as collateral for Ephraim Witherbee's debt of $43.34 owed to the town of Westminster.  The deed was voided when Witherbee paid his debt.

Benjamin Seaver (1757-1816) of Westminster, Massachusetts married  Martha (Whitney) Seaver (1764-1832) in 1783, and they had ten children between 1784 and 1812.  

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 their son Isaac Seaver (1823-1901).  


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."

Read other transcriptions for my ancestors in Amanuensis Monday Posts.

Copyright (c) 2021, Randall J. Seaver

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  1. There is something I don't understand. Seaver and Spalden paid Witherbee $200 in return for a mortgage on his land. Witherbee paid back $42 and they called it even and canceled the mortgage. Seems like Witherbee maid out like a bandit!

  2. Hi Peggy,

    It's complicated. Seaver and Spalden paid $200 for the land. Witherbee owed the town $42. If he paid it to the town, then the deed was void. He did do that, so Seaver and Spalden did not receive the land and did not pay anything. It doesn't say that Witherbee refunded the $200, but I'm sure he did, otherwise no one would lend money to someone else. They may have received a bit of interest on the "loan." This is how mortgages worked in this time frame - there no banks to lend money so friends helped each other out.

  3. Thank you, Randy. I think I'd want that refunding bit in writing. But, you're right. Community norms meant a lot.