Thanks, Ben. I'll call the library to see if I can get my hands on some old statutes. I also thought about the lifetime gift. For example, before the older Philemon passed away, the younger Philemon, who apparently had been residing on the property of another, purchased his own home outright in a nearby town. Given how poor the younger Philemon was (based on tax records), I wondered whether the purchase money for that mortgage was a lifetime gift from a parent. During this time, the younger Philemon was living among several Candee families (per 1830 U.S. Census), and Candee is the maiden name of the older Philemon's wife. Assuming family connection among these Candees, it didn't seem far-fetched that the relative could be the older Philemon.
Unfortunately, there is no evidence of such a gift, including in the probate record. Thanks for the suggestion!