Sunset at Gowanus Bay

Sunset at Gowanus Bay
Sunset at Gowanus Bay, Henry Gritten, 1851

Saturday, October 25, 2014

George J. Brower of Brooklyn and Staten Island, New York

George J. Brower was born ca. 1809 in New York County, New York (1855 NY State census). He is found on the U. S. census records of 1850 and 1860 in Richmond County (Staten Island), New York, but appears to have died prior to the taking of the 1870 U. S. census when his wife, Laura, is enumerated as the head of household. Although George J. Brower's direct Brower/Brouwer ancestry is not certain, we do know through Y-DNA testing of a direct descendant, that George J. Brower must be a descendant of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, Long Island. The Y-DNA test results of the descendant, along with a consideration of the names a few of George J. Brower's children, leads us to a probable placement in the large family of Adam Brouwer's descendants.

The descendant of George J. Brower tested through the Brewer DNA Project, is represented by kit #360871. Results from a 67 marker Y-DNA test, and their comparison to other descendants of Adam Brouwer can be seen on the Y-DNA results page at the Brewer DNA Project website. The Adam Brouwer Group DNA Results page at the Brouwer Genealogy Database will be updated with the participant's results sometime in the next few months. At the 67 marker level of testing* the descendant of George J. Brower most closely matches (66 of 67 markers) two descendants of Adam Brouwer's eldest son, Pieter Brouwer. A third match at 66/67 is with a participant whose complete Brouwer lineage has not been determined through traditional research but who is believed to also be a descendant of Pieter Brouwer. Also of interest, is that at the 37 marker level, George J. Brower's descendant has just a one-step genetic difference (36 of 37) with kit #207810. This participant is a descendant of Pieter Brouwer through Pieter's great-great grandson Nicholas Brouwer of New York City (b. 6 Aug 1775) and his wife Christina Weyman. (See the Pieter Brouwer Y-DNA Chart). Based upon given names found among George J. Brower's children, it is highly likely that George J. Brower is a previously unknown son of Nicholas Brouwer and Christina Weyman.

It should first be noted that no record of birth or baptism for George J. Brower has yet been found. His date of death or place of burial is not known, but he was alive for the taking of the 1860 census, but was deceased before the taking of the 1870 census. Probate records for Nicholas Brouwer have also not been found. His date of death is not known but it is suspected that he died sometime during the 1830s. Christina (Weyman) Brower died on 16 June 1869 and is buried in Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery, but a record of the the settlement of her estate has also not been located. It is possible that there are deeds among the land records in either or both New York County and Kings County involving the transfer of property involving heirs of Nicholas Brouwer and Christina Weyman that might have genealogical evidence. Such records have to still be searched for.

What is known of George J. Brower is currently limited to the U.S. Federal Census records of 1850 and 1860, and the New York State census of 1855. From the census records it appears that George J. Brower was probably married twice, although this cannot be claimed with certainty, as the 1850 and 1860 Federal census records do not include stated relationships between persons found in any given household. In 1850, George J. Brower is found at Castleton, Richmond Co. (Staten Island), New York.

George J. Brower household 1850 U.S. census (NARA via Ancestry.com)
 The household includes "Laura Brower," whose age is given as 39, born in Pennsylvania; Cordelia Brower, age 18; Albertus Brower, age 17; Horace Brower, age 6; Nichol Brower, age 5; Christina Brower, age 2; and Louis Brower; age 1 month (written as 1/12). It appears that the recording of Laura's age as 39, in this census, which would imply that she was born ca. 1811, is in error. All subsequent records involving Laura indicate that she was born seven or more years later, ca. 1818 to ca. 1825. In 1855 she is age 29. In 1860, she is age 39, born in Pennsylvania. In 1870 she is age 45, born in New York. In 1880, age 62, born in New York. Finally, the record of Laura Brower's death on 11 April 1900, gives her age as 79. I suspect that Laura's age given in 1850 is the most out of line, and that she was probably born in the early 1820s. If correct, and assuming that Cordelia (age 18) and Albertus (age 17) found in George J. Brower's household in 1850 are his children (and their ages are correct), then it would appear that Laura could not be their mother, and that George J. Brower could have had a previous wife who is not yet identified. It also should be noted that the next child in 1850 is Horace, age 6. The eleven year gap between the ages of Albertus and Horace could be explained by the death of a first wife followed by a period when George was a widower, followed by a second marriage to Laura. The given names of two of the younger children, Nichol (Nicholas in 1855 and 1860) and Christina is what leads us to the belief that George J. Brower was a son of Nicholas Brouwer and Christina Weyman. In 1860, 1870 and 1880, we also have the presence of a son Solomon (a.k.a. Solomon D. Brower) in the household, and this name is also a clue that George J. Brower belongs to the family of Nicholas Brouwer and Christina Weyman.

George J. Brower 1860 US census (NARA via Ancestry.com)
Nicholas Brouwer was a son of Jacob Brouwer and Marie Catharine Jeander. One of Nicholas' sisters, Maria, was married to Solomon Davis. It does not appear that the couple had children, and Nicholas named one of his sons (probably the youngest) Solomon Davis Brower, no doubt in honor of his sister's husband. Has noted, George J. Brower named a son, Solomon D. Brower. In turn, Solomon D. Brower named a son, George Davis Brower (b. 1888). It is not known what George J. Brower's middle initial stands for, but it should be pointed out that the family name of Nicholas Brouwer's wife, Marie Catharine, was Jeander.

Laura has been identified by the participant in the Y-DNA project, as Laura Porter, and a couple of user submitted family trees at Ancestry.com state she was a daughter of Horace H. Porter. I have not had the opportunity to research or verify these statements, but have encountered no reason to question Laura's identification. George and Laura's eldest child was named Horace Holden Brower. He was a Civil War veteran who lost a leg in action in 1862, and lived most of his adult life in Washington D.C.

Nine children have been identified for George J. and Laura (Porter) Brower. In addition to the above mentioned Horace H., Nicholas, Christina and Solomon D., are George A. (1850-1915, for some reason recorded as Louis in 1850), Mary (b. ca. 1853), Theodore M. (b. 1857), William (b. ca. 1859) and Laura (b. ca. 1863). Descendants have been traced for Horace H., Solomon D. and George A. using resources at Ancestry.com (see George J. Brower and Laura Porter). The 1855 State census at Castleton, Richmond County, states that the children Horace and Nicholas were born in Brooklyn, while Christina, George and Mary were born in Richmond County. The 1840 U.S. census at Brooklyn has a George Brower as the head of a household of 1 male under 5, 1 male 20-30, and 1 female 20-30, and 1 female 60-70. This record could pertain to George J. Brower's family with a first (unknown) wife, and perhaps the female age 60-70 is the widowed Christina (Weyman) Brouwer.

While genetic evidence confirms that George J. Brower is certainly a descendant of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, L. I., and while genetic evidence coupled with onomastic observations leads us to suspect that George J. Brower is a son of Nicholas Brouwer and Christina Weyman, confirming evidence for this likelihood evades discovery. As time permits we will continue to search for birth, baptism or death records, probate files, and land records for additional evidence.

*Although Family Tree DNA offers Y-DNA testing for as few as 37 markers, it is now recommended that all new participants ordering Y-DNA tests, test at least at the 67 marker level. It is also suggested that all who have previously tested, but at less than the 67 marker level, upgrade to at least the 67 marker level. Data at the 67 marker level is more useful when trying to identify genetic signatures for all the numerous lines of descent from Adam Brouwer, and other Brouwer/Brower/Brewer progenitors.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Will of Joseph G. Brower of the City of New York, 1836

The will of Joseph G. Brower of the City of New York, Merchant Tailor, is found in New York County, Surrogate's Court, Will Book 75. Images are online at Family Search in New York, Probate Records, 1629-1971, New York, Wills 1836 vol. 75, new pages 364-366 (old pages 350-351) (images 226-227). Additional documents are found in New York, Probate Records, 1629-1971, New York, Proceedings 1834-1836 vol. 3, pages 384-387 (images 242 and 243).

A summery of Joseph G. Brower's will dated 6 May 1836 (proved 8 August 1836), and what is recorded in the proceedings of 21 July 1836:
Joseph G. Brower, of the City of New York, Merchant Tailor. Directs that all just debts and funeral expenses be paid out of his estate. Executors of the estate are to have at their discretion the ability to sell real estate and to put the proceeds at interest or mortgage for benefit of the estate. Wife Charlotte to have income from said interest for her own benefit and for the education and support of "our children" (not named, nor number of children stated). Appoints as executrix his wife Charlotte and as executors his friends Henry Garner and Edgert Scudder of the City of New York. Witnesses: John M. McKinley, Chas. W. Sandford, both of New York City (addresses given). Proved 8 August 1836. Proceedings dated 21 July 1836 name as the heirs of Joseph G. Brower, his widow Charlotte, and heirs Joseph Henry DeWitt Brower and Charlotte Ann Brower. The widow Charlotte Brower is appointed guardian of the two children. The proceedings also state that Joseph G. Brower died in Brooklyn on 17 July 1836, and that he was a resident of New York County (Manhattan).

From the above it is found that Joseph G. Brower was a merchant tailor, lived in New York City, and died at Brooklyn. His wife's name was Charlotte and they had two children, a son Joseph Henry DeWitt Brower and a daughter Charlotte Ann Brower, both presumed to be minors as their mother was appointed their guardian. Additional searching has found that Joseph G. Brower's death was reported in the New York Herald, July 20, 1838. Unfortunately, the website Old Fulton NY Post Cards, probably the best free site online for New York newspaper images, only has PDFs of the New York Herald beginning in the year 1841.

Further research yields a bit more regarding Joseph G. and Charlotte Brower's family, but nothing on Joseph G. Brower's ancestry or Charlotte's family name. Joseph G. Brower was baptized, presumably as an adult, on 2 June 1826 at the Vandewater Street Presbyterian Church in New York City. Joseph Henry Dewitt Brower, son of Joseph G. and Charlotte Brower, was baptized in the same church on 12 December 1828. He was born on 21 June 1828.

The 1830 U. S. census finds two men named Joseph Brower  enumerated as heads of households in New York County (Manhattan). The first is found in the 7th Ward and the household is one male aged 5-9, and one male aged 50-59. There are no females in the household. The second Joseph Brower is found in the 3rd Ward with a household of one male 10-14, one male 30-39, one female 15-19, two females 20-29, and one female 30-39. There is not enough information here to tell us which one, if either, is Joseph G. Brower. I suspect that neither is Joseph G. Brower.

As noted above, Joseph G. Brower died in 1836, and in 1840, Charlotte Brower is found as a head of household on the U. S. census in New York City's 10th Ward with a household of one male 10-14, one female 5-9, one female 30-39, and one female 40-49. I suspect that this Charlotte Brower is likely Joseph's widow. Also in 1840, Charlotte Brower and Henry Garner, executors of the estate of Joseph G. Brower, deceased, and Joseph Henry DeWitt Brower and Charlotte Ann Brower, were listed as defendants when sued in the Chancery Court in New Jersey by Peter Mount. A notice of this action was posted in the New York Evening Post, apparently in May of 1840 (exact date uncertain, see column two, third up from bottom in this image found online at the fultonhistory.com website). Back in November of 1837, a Bill was introduced in the New Jersey Legislature titled, "An Act for the relief of the Executors and Trustees of Joseph G. Brower, deceased, with an amendment" (Votes and Proceedings of the Sixty-Second General Assembly of the State of New Jersey Legislature, Newark: M. S. Harrison, 1838, page 35).

In 1850, Charlotte Brower is found as the head of a household on the U. S. census in the 16th Ward, 3rd District, New York City, New York County. Her age is given as 47 years and her place of birth as New York. There are three others in the household, Samuel G. Vanusden (as transcribed by Ancestry.com), age 22, a chairmaker; Charlotte A. Vanusden, age 18; and Hester A. Turner, age 12. I am assuming that Charlotte A. Vanusden is Joseph G. and  Charlotte Brower's daughter, and she is the wife of Samuel G. Vanusden. If so, it would have been her first marriage. Hester A. Turner's relationship to the others in the household is, as of now, unknown.

Charlotte Brower household, 1850 U.S. Census (NARA via Ancestry.com)
Charlotte Brower, the widow of Joseph G. Brower, died on 2 May 1887 at her daughter's house in Brooklyn, New York. Her death was reported in the Brooklyn Daily Union, May 4, 1887. Her daughter is described as "Mrs. T. W. Meighan." Her age at death, which may be overstated, is given as 89 years. A search of both the New York County and Kings County Surrogate's Court records did not find a will for the widow Charlotte Brower. It is possible that there are proceedings in the Administration records for Kings County, but that search has not yet been attempted. In 1860 and 1870, Charlotte Brower is found in the household of Thaddeus W. Meighan (recorded on the U. S. census records of those years respectively as "Mahan" and "Meighl"). In 1880, Charlotte Brower, widow, age 80, is found in the household of Charlotte "Minghan" also a widow.

Charlotte Ann Brower, the daughter of Joseph G. and Charlotte Brower, married Thaddeus W. Meighan on 29 March 1852 at St. Peter's Episcopal Church in New York City (as stated in a few "Public Family Trees" found on Ancestry.com, none of which display a direct source for the statement). The couple had nine children born between 1852 and 1874. The birth record of one son, Thomas Seaquist Meighan, 2 October 1869 in Brooklyn, can be found online in a Family Search database (here the mother's surname is incorrectly transcribed as "Brown"). In 1860, Thaddeus W. and Charlotte "Mahan" with four children and Charlotte Brower, age 60, are found in Ward 20, District 6, New York City, New York County. In 1870, Thaddeus and Charlotte "Meighl" with seven children, and Charlotte Brower, age incorrectly stated as 60, are found in Ward 13, Brooklyn, Kings County. Thaddeus W. Meighan died 4 January 1874, and his death was reported in a number of New York City area newspapers including the Eastern State Journal (White Plains, New York), 9 January 1874. Thaddeus W. Meighan was apparently a journalist, editor, play-write, author and composer of note in the New York City area during his time. A web search of his name will bring up enough hits to keep anyone interested in perusing his life more, busy for a time. The Eastern State Journal death notice reads as follows:

      "Thaddeus W. Meighan, one of the oldest and most versatile writers of the metropolitan press, died on Sunday last, after a short illness. He had just accepted the position of managing editor of the Express when taken sick. There is not a paper in New York city with which Mr. M. had not at sometime or other been connected."

Charlotte Ann (Brower) Meighan died on 1 May 1922, in Brooklyn at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Frances C. Vander Waag. This as reported in the Brooklyn Standard Union, 3 May 1922. Her death was recorded and is found in the New York City Death Index, Charlotte A. Meighan, age 86, died 1 May 1922, Kings County (cert #9878). A copy would have to be purchased from the New York City Department of Records. It may contain her mother's maiden name.

Joseph G. and Charlotte Brower's son, Joseph Henry DeWitt Brower, is found on the 1850 U. S. census at the correctional facility at Ossning ("Sing Sing") in Westchester County, New York. His age is recorded as 22 years, born in New York City, a clerk, he was incarcerated in 1849, convicted of Grand Larceny.

Joseph H. Brower, 1850 U.S. census (NARA via Ancestry.com)


 The Eastern States Journal (1849, exact date uncertain but likely in October) reports under the Grand Jury proceedings, the case of The People vs. Joseph H. Brower alias Joseph H. Dewitt, indicted for grand larceny, pleading not guilty (second column). On the same page, further down the same column, under September 20, we find that Joseph H. Brower alias Joseph H. Dewitt was found guilty of horse stealing. He was sentenced to two years "apprenticeship under Mr. Porter, warden at Sing Sing." (Image from fultonhistory.com, search using "Joseph H. Brower").

On 11 March 1864,  Joseph H. Brower of New York City, age 36 (b. ca. 1828), enlisted at New York City in Company U, New York 25th Cavalry Regiment. The New York City Death Index has an entry for a Joseph H. Brower, age 76, died 20 January 1905, Kings Co., New York (cert #1434). A copy would have to be ordered from the New York City Department of Records to view other information, such as the names of his parents (if recorded).

Joseph G. Brower wrote his will and died in 1836. His age at death, and where or when he was born is not presently known, nor are the names of his parents or his ancestry. He was a "merchant tailor," and had also been described as a "tailor and draper." His wife, Charlotte's family name is unknown, but the death certificate, filed in Kings County, of her daughter Charlotte Ann (Brower) Meighan, may provide an answer to her identity. Charlotte (___) Brower was born about 1800 (probably between 1798 and 1803). Daughter Charlotte Ann (ca. 1834-1922) has been traced and she left descendants. The life of son Joseph Henry DeWitt Brower (1828-poss. 1905) is known only incompletely. Whether or not he married and has descendants has not been determined. Although it appears that he served during the Civil War (enlisting in 1864) Joseph H. Brower has not been located on the census records of 1860, 1870, 1880, or 1900.

Please feel free to use the comments section to add any additional information.











Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Will of William Brower of Monroe Co., New York and Linn Co., Missouri

Family Search just announced the addition of Missouri Probate Records to their growing collection of free online records. This is a browseable collection, no search index has been created, and the probate records are organized by county.

The will of William Brower, of the Town of Parma, Monroe County, New York, dated 21 August 1860, was probated in Linn County, Missouri and is recorded in Will Book A, pages 84-90. It can be viewed online beginning with image 52 of "Missouri, Probate Records, 1750-1998 > Linn > Wills, 1869-1891, Vol A."

William Brower's will is summarized as follows:
William Brower of the Town of Parma, County of Monroe, and State of New York. After payment of all debts and funeral charges, I bequeath the use of all my real and personal property and estate to my beloved wife Loretta Brower for and during her natural life. If the interest or income of said property is not sufficient for her comfortable support and maintanence I give her enough of the principal for that purpose.
After the decease of my wife Loretta, I give and bequeath three eighths parts of all my property there remaining to my son Jonathan L. Brower.
After decease of my wife, I give and bequeath the balance of my said property, that is five eighths parts to my daughter Cynthia L. Wilder, and my granddaughter Rose A. Hall to be divided equally between them share and share alike. Should my said granddaughter die without heirs of her body, I give and bequeath her share to my said son Jonathan L. Brower and daughter Cynthia L., to be divided equally between them.
I give and bequeath to my granddaughter Loretta A. Blanchard two hundred dollars to be paid to her after the death of my said wife, and previous to any division of the said property between my other legaties.
I direct my executrix to procure suitable gravestones for me, and bequeath a sufficient sum for gravestones for my said wife, the gravestones to be paid from my property before any division is made. Appoints his wife, Loretta Brower, as executrix. Signed Wm Brower. Witnesses: J. E. Paterson, N. C. Paterson, both of Parma, New York.

Following the William Brower's will in the Linn County will book is a lengthy proof beginning on 18 September 1873, involving the witness, Mrs. N. C. Paterson who appears before Judge H. R. Brill in Ramsey County, Minnesota. Mrs. Paterson's answers to a set of questions tells us that she is Nancy C. Paterson, age 51, now a resident of St. Paul, Minnesota. On 21 August 1860 she lived in Parma Centre (sic), Monroe County, New York, and her husband was John E. Paterson, an attorney at law who practiced at Parma Center. Her husband, John E. Paterson, died on 17 March 1870 at Parma Centre (sic). Mrs. Paterson testifies that she did witness William Brower sign the will which was drawn up by her husband in his office, and that William Brower appeared to be of sound mind at the time.
On 11 December 1873, Jefferson Wilder appears before the Probate Judge in Linn County, Missouri and testifies that he is familiar with J. E. Paterson's signature, and that he had died some three years earlier in Parma Center, New York, and that William Brower died in Linn County, Missouri in January 1873. Jefferson Wilder states that the will was found among William Brower's papers. Based upon the testimony of Mrs. Paterson and Jefferson Wilder, the Linn County Probate Judge proved the will on 11 December 1873.

William Brower was a son of Matheus Brouwer (a.k.a. Matthew Brewer) and his second wife Sarah West. His birth date of 23 November 1792, and baptism date of 14 April 1793 are recorded at the Dutch Reformed Church at Schaghticoke, in Rensselaer County, New York. William is a great-great grandson of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, Long Island. William's wife, Loretta, has not been identified further. Perhaps her family name was Lyon (or Lyons) as her son Jonathan has been stated to have been named "Jonathan Lyon Olonzo Brower." Two children are identified in the will.

Son, Jonathan L. Brower was born in New York, according to his gravestone, on 6 September 1817. He died on 23 May 1876 at Wellsville, Montgomery County, Missouri. He was married twice, first to Ascenath Wilder, and second, in Michigan on 11 December 1847, to Sarah Mariah Vansise. Jonathan had eleven children between his two wives, the eldest being Loretta Ascenath, born in 1841, who married James Blanchard and is mentioned in William Brower's will. Jonathan and his family apparently lived in Michigan and in Illinois before settling in Missouri. Further, and more accurate research is needed on Jonathan and his descendants.

Daughter, Cynthia L. Brower was born 17 December 1827 in New York, and died 7 June 1880 in Missouri. She was married to Jefferson Wilder in New York. The dates here are from an internet search and require further confirmation. This family has not been researched further. William Brower's will also mentions a granddaughter, Rose A. Hall, who may be a daughter of Cynthia L. (Brower) Wilder. She is not a daughter of Jonathan L. Brower.

The ten year gap in birth dates between Jonathan and Cynthia would lead us to believe that there were additional children of William Brower and his wife Loretta who may have died in childhood. William's household is found on the 1850 U.S. census at Parma, Monroe County, New York, and in the household is one Amy A. Brower, age 32, born in New York. She could be another daughter of William and Loretta. Rose A. Hall, could be a daughter of Amy A. Brower.

William Brower household, 1850 U.S. Census (NARA via Ancestry.com)
 William Brower was in Parma in 1840 with a household of 1 male 10-15, 1 male 20-30, 1 male 40-50, 1 female 10-15, 1 female 20-30, 1 female 40-50. In 1860 he is also found at Parma, New York, age 67, with his wife Loretta, age 64, and Rosah Hale (no doubt Rose A. Hall) age 5. Family relationship descriptions were not specified on the U.S. census records prior to 1880. In 1870, William Brower, age 77, born in New York, can be found at Parson Creek, Linn County, Missouri, with Loretta, and Rosa Hall, age 15.

No direct male descendants of William Brower have yet participated in the Brewer DNA Project by taking a Y-DNA test. Direct male descendants of two of William Brower's brothers have participated, and their Y-DNA test results match others who are descendants of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, Long Island. They can be found on the Pieter Brouwer Y-DNA Chart at the Brouwer Genealogy Database website. Y-DNA testing of a direct male descendant would help to confirm William's placement as a descendant of Adam Brouwer, and would be of help in the effort to establish genetic relationships between Adam Brouwer's descendants.


Monday, September 1, 2014

The Will of John N. Brower of New York City, 1828

The will of John N. Brower, dated 21 February 1828, is found in New York County, Surrogate's Court, Wills, volume 62, pages 37-38. Digital images can be found online at FamilySearch, New York, Probate Records, 1629-1971, New York Wills 1828-1829 vol. 62 beginning with image 50.

A summery of the will: John N. Brower of the City of New York, Grocer. Devises and bequeaths to his wife, Susan, "so long as she remains my widow, all right title and interest in and to the following leases of lots of ground belonging to me and the buildings thereon erected, to wit the lease of a lot of ground in Stanton Street and the house thereon erected and lease of the lot adjoining thereto (together with the appurtenances) in Stanton Street, all in the City and County of New York..." also all wearing apparel, beds, bedding, the "said Susan had when I married her," and all household furniture purchased by his wife Susan after their marriage, "to be held and used or dispossed of by the said Susan for her own benefit in lieu of the said Susan's right and interest in my estate so long as the said Susan shall remain my widow." He next orders that his executors dispose of, either at public or private sale, the remainder of his estate both real and personal, with the proceeds to pay for funeral expenses and to pay off just debts with the remainder to be given to my "now brothers and sisters and not to my half brothers and sisters," but does not record their names. Should his wife die or remarry, the property devised to her is also to be given to "my now brothers and sisters." Appoints as executors "my true and faithful friends Benjamin Riggs, Matthew Curtis St. John and Hiram King, all of the City of New York." Witnesses: William S. Sears, William E. Sewall, Samuel H. Miller.

John N. Brower can be identified as the son of Nazareth Brouwer (1756-1817) and his first wife Ginny Brouwer, a.k.a. Jane Brouwer (1757-1795), who were first cousins. John N. Brower is a great-great-great grandson of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, Long Island. John N. Brower was born 14 March 1779, probably at or very near to Poughkeepsie, Dutchess Co., New York, where his parents lived. The "middle initial" N is most certainly a reorganization of his father's name, and was likely used to differentiate him from others named John Brower. John N. Brower is found on the U.S. census in 1810 and 1820 at Poughkeepsie. His household in 1810 has a male age 26-44, one female age 10-15, and one female age 26-44. In 1820 the household consists of one male age 26-45 and one female age 26-45, and he is "engaged in manufactures." If the female aged 10-15 on the 1810 census is a daughter of John's, she may have died prior to the date he wrote his will which does not mention any children or grandchildren. He apparently went to New York City soon after 1820 where he was a grocer in partnership with his nephew Nazareth Brower Taylor. Their names, along with that of Bernard McCloskey are found in the minutes of the Common Council of New York City under the date of 2 August 1824. The Reciept Book, 1828-1834, of Nazareth B. Taylor, which begins with entries for "Brower and Taylor" is archived in the New York Historical Society Manuscript Collection (see this entry at WorldCat).

The will of John N. Brower was proved 25 February 1828, therefore he died sometime between the 21st and 25th of February 1828. An exact date of death has not yet been found. John N. Brower does not mention any children in his will, and no other evidence has been found, with the exception of the 1810 census mentioned above, that he had children. In the will he names his with Susan, and from the fact that she brought property of her own to their marriage, it is probable that she had been married previously. A marriage record for John N. Brower and Susan has not been located, and her family name is not yet known. The Poughkeepsie Reformed Church includes the record of the baptism of Sarah Warmer (baptized 4 April 1811, born 13 Oct 1775) the wife of Jno. Brower. "Jno." was a common abbreviation for John, and it may be possible, although far from certain, that John N. Brower was Jno. Brower. If this is the case than John N. Brower's marriage to Susan would have been a second marriage.

Also mentioned in the will, receiving the residue or remainder of the estate as well as the real and personal property left to Susan should she die or remarry, are "my now brothers and sisters," who are differentiated from "my half brothers and sisters." John's father, Nazareth Brouwer, was married three times and had seven children (including John) by his first wife, and eight children by his third wife, Deborah Wiltsie, who was twenty years his junior. His second wife was Catharina Dolson, and Nazareth had no children by her. The will does not state the names of John N. Brower's brothers and sisters.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Will of John J. Brower of New York City, May 14, 1822

The Last Will and Testament of John J. Brower, dated May 14, 1822, is found in New York County, Surrogate's Court, Wills Vol. 58, page 92 (old liber, page 82 new). Images are available online through the Family Search website beginning at the very bottom of this image.

John J. Brower is found variously in records and published accounts as Johannes Brouwer, John Brouwer, John Brower and John Brewer. In his will he signs his name as John J. Brower. He was a son of Jacob Brouwer and Jannetje Hartje, a grandson of Abraham Brouwer and Lea Demarest, great-grandson of Pieter Brouwer and Petronella Kleyn, and great-great-grandson of Adam Brouwer and Magdalena Verdon. John J. Brower was an upholsterer who lived on Broad Street in New York City. He died 12 April 1823, age 73 years, according to the New York Evening Post. No record of baptism has been located for John J. Brower. He is placed in the family of Jacob Brouwer and Jannetje Hartje based upon relationships stated in his will.

John J. Brower was married to Catharine Duryea, a daughter of Johannes Duryea and Antje Voorhees. They were married on 23 March 1769 in the New York City Reformed Dutch Church. Catharine died in Oct 1812. The couple had nine children, all baptized in the New York Reformed Dutch Church between 1770 and 1796. It appears that John J. Brower outlived them all.

William J. Hoffman discusses John J. Brower (Johannes Brouwer) and Catharine Duryea in "Brouwer Notes No. II," published in the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, volume 72, no. 4 (October 1941), pages 332-337. In this article Hoffman presents evidence that corrects earlier published account which claimed that John J. Brower was a son of the couple Johannes Brouwer and Susanna Deroilhet (Droilhet). The incorrect ancestry of John J. Brower had previously been published in Cuyler Reynolds, Genealogical and Family History of Southern New York (p. 951 ff) and in the St. Nicholas Society Genealogical Record (1923, p. 6). The incorrect lineage is also on record with the Holland Society of New York. Hoffman reads John's name in his will as John I. Brower. The copy available at Family Search with the image link above is not the original, but is instead a clerk's copy done around 1900 or so. Here the initial looks more like the letter J. Hoffman does not specify that he reviewed the original will, and it is true that the letters I and J were sometimes used interchangeably (we occasionally find Jsaac for Isaac for example), but in the case of John Brower, I suspect that the initial J is more correct and it most certainly represented his father's name, Jacob.

The first person John J. Brower names in his will is his sister Leah. Her surname is not stated. She was baptized in 1732 at Schraalenburgh, New Jersey and so was about 18 years older than John. Leah was married to Johannes Van der Heyde by 15 August 1756 when the two appeared, as husband and wife, as sponsors for a child of her sister Maria and her husband Jan Loosje.
Next named is John's sister Jane Vredenburgh. Jane (Jannetje) Brower was married to Jacob Vredenburgh in the New York Reformed Dutch Church with banns published there on 23 October 1769. She was executrix of her husband's will dated 9 November 1799. Jacob's will did not name any children and he left much of his estate to his wife. His brothers-in-law John Brower and Teunis Jeralman are also named.
The third person left a legacy in John Brower's will is his niece "Jane V. Jorelmin," who can be identified as Jannetje Loosje, baptized in 1766 at New York, the daughter of Jan Loosje and Maria Brower (John's sister). Jane V. (Jannetje) was married to Teunis Joraleman, who was named in Jacob Vredenburgh's will.
Fourth named is Ann Eliza Pettit, "niece of my late wife." I have not researched the family of John's wife, Catharine Duryea, sufficiently enough to place Ann Eliza Pettit at this time.
John J. Brower then names his executors as James Forrester, of New York City, teacher, William Leveridge, of New Town in Kings County, Esquire, and Samuel Ward, of New York City, grocer, and appoints the three as trustees of the estates of his grandchildren. Here John mentions children of his deceased son John Brower, deceased daughter Jane, former wife of George Forman, and deceased daughter Catharine, former wife of William Galatian. As mentioned above, John Brower and Catharine Duryea had nine children baptized in the New York Reformed Dutch Church. There were two named Hannah, and two named Abraham, and it is assumed that the first born of each name had died early in childhood. This leaves four children, Hannah, Maria, Abraham and Jacob Vredenburgh Brower (the youngest, baptized in 1796), who are neither named, nor have heirs that were named in John J. Brower's will. While it is probable that all four died previously to their father, and without heirs, this cannot be considered certain. It is possible that John Brower provided for one or more of the unnamed four prior to writing his will. Land records in New York City (County) should be checked for deeds relating to the family of John J. Brower

John J. Brower's will was proved 14 April 1823.

A Family Group Sheet for John Brouwer and Catherine Duryea is online.

(Update September 4, 2014: A second copy of John J. Brower's will is found in NY Co. Wills, vol. 65, p. 504. The will is proved again under the date of 30 November 1835, and there is a notation in the margin directing one to see Lib. 3, Proceedings to Probate Wills of Real Estate. Here in the index we find John J. Brower at page 229. The document found here names as the heirs of John J. Brower - John J. Brower, John B. Galatain, James Quackinbush and Effie his wife and Catharine Forman).

Thursday, July 10, 2014

John G. Brewer (1795-1886) of Miami, Greene Co., Ohio

The "Ohio Deaths and Burials, 1854-1997" database/index at FamilySearch.org includes a record for John G. Brewer, b. 1795 at Trenton, New Jersey, d. 27 Jan 1886, age 91, at Greene Co., Ohio. We do not know who the parents of John G. Brewer are, and we do not know his complete Brewer ancestry, but, thanks to Y-DNA testing of a direct descendant, we do know that John G. Brewer is a descendant of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, Long Island.

The descendant of  John G. Brewer who joined the Brewer DNA Project and took a Y-DNA (111 marker) test is represented by kit #342692, and results and comparisons can be seen on the Y-DNA Chart page under the Adam Brouwer, Gowanus, L.I. Group. Although the descendant has tested at the 111 marker level we can only compare him at 67 markers, as no other descendant of Adam Brouwer has yet tested at 111 markers. At the 67 marker level, our descendant matches kit #s 30185 and 159021 on 67 of 67 markers. He also matches kit #50688 on 66 of 67 markers. Direct lineages for kit #s 30185 and 159021 can be found on the Pieter Brouwer Y-DNA chart at the Brouwer Genealogy Database website, while the lineage of kit #50688 is found on the Jacob Brouwer Y-DNA chart. The lineage for the descendant of John G. Brewer will be added to the Adam Brouwer Group Y-DNA results page with the website's next update (probably this coming winter). Adam Brouwer descendant pedigrees are also found online here.

Of the above mentioned matches, kit #s 30185 and 159021 are descendant's of Adam Brouwer's eldest son, Pieter Brouwer, while kit #50688 is a descendant of Adam's son Jacob Brouwer. Although the descendent of John G. Brewer is slightly more closely related genetically to the descendants of Pieter Brouwer than to the descendant of Jacob Brouwer, based upon what we know from traditional genealogical research, I am of the belief that John G. Brewer is more likely a descendant of Jacob Brouwer.

According to his death certificate, John G. Brewer was born in 1795 at Trenton, New Jersey. In 1795 Trenton was within Hunterdon County and today it is within Mercer County. Trenton is the capitol of New Jersey. We can never be one hundred percent certain that birth information recorded on death records is accurate, but until proven otherwise we will take this as being accurate or at least close to accurate. The first hint to John G. Brewer's identity is his middle initial, G.

In 1795, the use of "middle names" which are common today, was very rare. When we find someone from that time period, and notice that he has a middle initial (or name, but usually it is only an initial), what we are most likely seeing is the initial of the given name of the individual's father. It is in a sense, a holdover or transition from the time when patronymics were more common. An exception might be when a child is named for a famous person, which was a practice that began to become popular after the founding of the United States. So, for example, we find males named "George Washington Brewer," or "Benjamin Franklin Brewer," or "John Wesley Brewer" born in the late 1700s and into the 1800s. Technically, I don't know that we should call (in the above cases) "Washington," "Franklin," and "Wesley," middle names. At least not in the same context in which they are used today. Still, in and around 1795, when a male is seen with a middle initial, that initial most often represents his father's given name. In the specific case of our John G. Brewer, my guess is that the G. stands for George, and that John was very likely a son of a man named George Brewer (or Brower).

It is noted above that the descendant of John G. Brewer was a match to two different descendants of Pieter Brouwer on 67 of 67 markers. However, I do not think John G. Brewer's line back to Adam Brouwer is found within either of the two lineages that are matches to John G. Brewer's descendant (again, the lineages can be seen on this chart page). In the case of #159021, the ancestry traces back to Pieter Brouwer's son Matheus Brouwer/Matthew Brewer who lived in the vicinity of Albany, New York and the descendants in this line are found in the Mohawk Valley region of New York, Illinois and finally Wisconsin. John G. Brewer, on the other hand, was born in New Jersey. The lineage for kit #30185, has a better chance of being John G. Brewer's line as well, there is even an ancestor named John G. Brewer (born in 1814) found in this lineage, but still I'm not convinced. This lineage begins with Pieter Brouwer's grandson, Daniel Brouwer, who lived first in Bergen County, New Jersey, then spent a short period of time at the Conewago settlement near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, before settling in Mercer County, Kentucky. In 1795, at the time when our John G. Brewer was born, in New Jersey, Daniel Brouwer's direct descendants were all living in Kentucky. It may be that John G. Brewer is a descendant of Pieter Brouwer through one of his other sons or grandsons, but what gives me hesitation is that the given name, George, which we are assuming is the most likely name of John G. Brewer's father, is just not found among Pieter Brouwer's known descendants.

The 66 out of 67 match with kit #50688 is, in my opinion, more promising. #50688 is a descendant of Adam Brouwer's son Jacob Brouwer and the lineage is online in this chart. If you look at the lineage of the other tested descendant of Jacob Brouwer (kit #32376) you will see an ancestor named George Brewer (b. 1770, d. 1851). I believe that it is this George Brewer who is most likely the father of our John G. Brewer. Unfortunately kit #32376 has only tested at the 25 maker level (he is one of the earliest participants in the Brewer DNA Project) and so an advanced level comparison is not possible. George Brewer, also known as George Brower, was a son of Elazerus Brewer and Frances Morris of Monmouth County, New Jersey. He was married twice and as far as we know lived his life in Monmouth County. There is no known birth or baptism records for the children of George Brewer. He is a grandson of Adam Brewer of Monmouth County, who had joined the Quakers. Adam's children were either Quakers, Baptists, or possibly did not practice any religion, but at any rate, records of baptisms for children are just not found within the Reformed Dutch Congregations in Monmouth County. George Brewer's children are known from his will which was written 1 December 1841 and filed 26 April 1851 in Monmouth County. George Brewer died 23 March 1851. Among his children named in the will is one, John Brower (the Brewer and Brower surnames are both seen in records regarding descendants of Adam Brewer of Monmouth County). I have previously estimated his birth as about 1793, this based simply on how he might fit in with his siblings for whom much more is known. To date, nothing other than the fact he is named in his father's will, is known of George's son, John Brower (or Brewer). He has not been identified as an adult in records in Monmouth County, although we do know he was living in 1841. Taking into consideration all that is known to date regarding the descendants of Adam Brouwer, I think that he most likely scenario is that our John G. Brewer, of Miami, Ohio, is Georger Brewer's son, called John Brower in his will. Although this is not conclusive, and not certain, we could never have gotten at least this far without the participation of a descendant of John G. Brewer in the Brewer DNA Project. And so, I'd like to extend a thank you to that descendant.

We do know more about John G. Brewer. He was married in Greene County, Ohio to Sarah Miller, and apparently lived his entire adult life in Miami Township, Greene County, Ohio. John G. Brewer and Sarah Miller had nine children born between about 1824 and 1847. Their eldest son was named George Brewer. The eldest daughter was named Rebecca, and it should be noted that John Brower/Brewer's mother, the first wife of George Brewer of Monmouth County, was Rebecca Schenk. The participant who took the Y-DNA test is a descendant of John G. Brewer's son, Charles Brewer, born in 1836, and died 30 January 1897 at Xenia, Greene County, Ohio.

We would very much like to hear from other descendants of John G. Brewer who may have more information on his possible ancestry. Perhaps there are Bible records, or family records and memoirs out there that are not a part of the public records, that could add some insight into John G. Brewer's origins. In addition, land records in New Jersey that may involve the sale of land previously belonging to George Brewer, and perhaps sold by his heirs, should be searched for evidence of a family relationship.

Details and sources on all of those mentioned above can be located on the Brouwer Genealogy Database website. A lineage chart on the Adam Brouwer Group DNA Results page, for John G. Brewer, will be added with the next update. And once again, thanks to the participating descendant.