In 1836, he purchased a 40 acre lot of land in Solon from Elisha Coolidge, the "north half of lot 18 in the north half of town" [Somerset County Deed 37-210]. Joseph was "of Athens" at that time, a yeoman. He purchased another 10 acres of this same lot from a Timothy Eaton [I did not see this in registry], the deed saying "same where I now live", so it seems that piece had the homestead built on it.
Joseph was seen in Solon for the 1840 census, with only himself (aged 50-60) and a female (aged 50-60, likely his wife Abigail, seen years later on a land deed).
In August of 1847, Joseph (with Abigail relinquishing dower) sold the 50 acres of lot 18 for $250. to Rebecca Berry of Brighton, a married woman [Som. Deed 61-509]. She, in turn, for the same dollar value, sold to Joseph the "south east corner of lot 5, second range" in Brighton, 20 acres [Som Deed 65-9].
The Somerset County Deeds show that Joseph mortgaged his 20 acre Brighton property in 1862 and again in 1863. In 1864, he sold to William Corson of Brighton this property, as well as another piece of land (the north-west 1/4 of lot 5 in third range) containing 50 acres [Som Deed 105-518]. I did not find the deed where Joseph had previously obtained the latter property. Following this sale, he moved back to Athens, Maine. His wife may have died around this time, as she didn't sign any of these deeds. In 1868, he sold 100 acres of land in Brighton to Elias H Hammond, which was the eastern half of lot in the third range [Som Deed 121-48]. Again, I did not find reference to when Joseph had acquired this land but he had all 170 acres by the time of the 1860 Agriculture Schedule.
Whether it happened just after his 1864 property sale, or perhaps soon after that, he moved in with (his daughter?) Elmira and her husband Joseph Leavitt.
In the 1820 census for Newfield, Maine, I see a Joseph Gray there, aged 26-44. With him were 3 females under 10, a female aged 16-25, and a female aged 26-44. Thomas M hadn't been born yet, but Elmira and Sarah could be two of the females. Newfield also borders Wakefield, NH, where Joseph was apparently from, according to Thomas' death record.
Then I found this, a War of 1812 pension index card:
Within the pension file is a paper showing a Joseph Gray receiving a bounty land, but this does NOT belong to my Joseph. There was another person of this name who served in the War of 1812 AND served in the 33rd US Infantry, but he was from Sedgwick, Maine and was about 7 years younger (the ME Archives index also shows they were two different men). The ME Archives does list Joseph's birthplace as Swansey(sic), NH. A search through Swanzey vital records and history book did not find anyone with the Gray name.
The pension file does not list a death date for Joseph, and does not list any family members, other than wife Betsey, and it also doesn't list a death date for her either. So, I still have no source for Joseph being Elmira's father, so I continue my search.