Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Friday, December 16, 2011

William Brewer/Brower (Willem Brouwer) of Middletown, Monmouth Co., New Jersey

This posting describes changes to the families of Pieter Jansz Brouwer and his wife, Annetje Jans, and to the family of Willem Jacobsz Brouwer (William Brewer) and his wife, Maritje van Oort (Van Nort/Van Note).
The records of the Dutch Congregations of Freehold and Middletown record the baptism, on 5 May 1723, of "A daughter" of Willem Brower. The name of the child, as well as the name of the mother, are not recorded. No sponsors or witnesses are recorded (GMNJ 23:11). Previously, this Willem Brower was placed in the family of Pieter Jansz Brouwer (a son of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands) and Annetje Jans. This was done simply as a best guess, and in hindsight it is very clear that there is no evidence Pieter Jansz Brouwer and Annetje Jans ever had a son named Willem, nor is there any reason to suspect that they might have had one. This previous incorrect placement can now be corrected.
The deed records that were recently abstracted (see the post of December 12, 2011) helped fill in the missing details as to who this Willem Brower, who had a daughter baptized at Freehold-Middletown, more likely is. In 1725, William Brewer of Middletown sold land to William Leeds, and signed with his mark. In 1726, William Brewer of Middletown, and Mary, his wife, sold land to Samuel Hoffmire, Benjamin Hoffmire and William Hoffmire, and signed by the same mark as in 1725. In 1746, William Brower sold land to Jacob Brower of "Mansquan" in Shrewsbury Township, property along the river (setting aside fishing rights), and signed by the same mark as found in the 1725 and 1726 deeds. In 1720, the earmark of William Brewer was recorded at Middletown (Stillwell's Miscellany vol. 2, p. 209), and in 1721, the property of William Brewer was described in a deed from Charles Mott to the same Hoffmire brothers mentioned above (abstracts posted on December 12, mentioned above). It follows that the William Brewer/Brower of Middletown in 1720, 1721, 1725, 1726 and 1746, was the same William Brower whose daughter was baptized in 1723 at the Freehold-Middletown Congregation.
Willem Brouwer, the son of Jacob Brouwer and Annetje Bogardus, was baptized at the Old First Dutch Reformed Church of Brooklyn on 8 May 1687. On 19 May 1709, at the Reformed Dutch Church of New York, he married Marritje van Oort, daughter of Goosen van Oort and Maria Peeck, and widow of Pieter Hennion (the record calls her Maria Hennion). They had three daughters, Annetje, Lucretia and Catharina, baptized at New York between 1710 and 1714. In addition, they stood as witnesses for six baptisms (between them, once together) at the New York Dutch Church during this same period. After 1714, neither William nor Mary are found in the New York Dutch Church records. It's likely they went to Monmouth County, New Jersey at this time. The 1726 deed mentioned above involves both William Brewer and his wife, Mary. No other known William Brouwer from this period was married to a woman named Mary. William's younger brother, Adam Brewer, also settled in Monmouth County (at Shrewsbury) at this time. The William Brower who had a daughter baptized at Freehold-Middletown in 1723, was mistakenly placed in the family of Pieter Jansz Brouwer. It is now clear that this William Brower is the same as the Willem Brouwer who married Marritje van Oort. The Family Group Sheet for Pieter Jansz Brouwer has been corrected, as has the Descendant Chart for Jan Brouwer of Flatlands.

The question now is, who is the Jacob Brower who purchased land from William Brower in 1746? In the post of December 9, 2011, the abstracts placed online include a 1808 deed of Jacob Croxson who sells land in Shrewsbury that he in part, inherited from his grandfather, Jacob Brewer. Adam Brewer (mentioned above, brother of William) is not known to have had a son named Jacob. Although there is no direct evidence to support it at this time, it is my belief that the Jacob Brower of Shrewsbury mentioned in the 1746 deed, and the Jacob Brewer mentioned in Jacob Croxson's deed of 1808, are the same man, and he is most likely a son of William Brower and Marritje van Oort, probably born in Monmouth County, New Jersey between 1715 and 1725. Jacob in turn probably had a daughter (not yet discovered) who married a Croxson (given name not yet known) and had a son Jacob Croxson. It must be emphasized that records confirming the just mentioned hypothesis have not been located, and for now it can only be regarded as a possible scenario.
Thanks to William B. Bogardus for sharing the documents he collected and for his thoughts on this matter. The present edition of the Brouwer Genealogy Database does not yet reflect this new information. It will not appear online at the BGD until that site is once again updated (which may not happen for a couple of months).

Still unaccounted for are: the William Brewer of Amwell, Hunterdon Co., New Jersey, whose estate was administered on 31 January 1730 (granted to James Chambers), AND, the William Brewer of Readington, Hunterdon Co, New Jersey, who appeared as a debtor before the Monmouth County Court of Common Pleas in 1735 (see Abstracts part 3 Nos.58-61).

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