I love this deed because it provides proof of two relationships and a direct line for three men named Heard. But what does it say about the life of these men? If I want to jump the aisle from genealogist to family historian, what can I learn about these people?
Frederick Heard died at Great Falls, a section of Somersworth, New Hampshire on 31 August 1846 at age 59. [death notice in the Exeter News-Letter of the same date] That would put Frederick's birth somewhere between 1 September 1786 to 31 August 1787. That means his father, Jonathan, deeded all his land to Frederick when he was only 21 years old on 18 November 1808. That seems odd to me. Frederick would not marry until 28 November 1822. It is true that Frederick was Jonathan's only son. However, Jonathan was only about 50 years old in 1808. He married his wife, Sarah Yeaton on 9 May 1782.
Note some of the language in the deed. Jonathan notes the land he bought from his father Reuben in 1804, but never calls him deceased. It would be typical to say, "my honoured father Reuben Heard, deceased." So, Reuben was still alive in 1808. He was born on 9 March 1721/22, so he was 86 years old. Reuben's wife was still alive as well, as I have identified her as the "old widow Hurd" who died in 1819 at age 92. So, it seems that to ensure the property's continuance, Jonathan chose to give it to his young son right away. Why? Certainly in the 1804 deed, the language is clear that Reuben is giving up his land for life support. This isn't the case here.
Frederick certainly took care of the farm as a single man from 1808 to 1822. By that time both of his grandparents had died. Then we need to look at his mother's dower release of 30 April 1823. She calls herself the wife of Jonathan Heard, not the widow of Jonathan. So, both are still living on that date. They are in their mid-60s then. However, by the 1830 census, Frederick has left the farm in Rochester and has settled in Somersworth where he is enumerated with his wife and three young sons. Either his parents had died or had gone to live with one of his sisters.
So, the deed provides proof of these relationships, but I have no clear death dates for Reuben or Jonathan or Sarah. I also lack one for Frederick's wife, who in her widowhood is found in the 1850 and 1860 censuses, but not thereafter.