Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Family of Willem Brouwer and Lysbeth Drinkvelt

Willem Brouwer, is one of the three principal progenitors of families named Brouwer who are found in New Netherland and who left descendants. His wife was Lysbeth Drinkvelt and their son Hendrick was baptized on 9 May 1652 at the Oude Kerk (Old Reformed Church) at Amsterdam in the Netherlands. He was in New Amsterdam by the fall of 1655. On 11 October 1655, at New Amsterdam, Willem Brouwer was among those summoned by the Court Messenger to come forward for the voluntary contribution and taxation required by a resolution passed that same day. William was listed as excused. William J. Hoffman, in his Brouwer Manuscript Notes (formerly held by the NYGBS) states that "Willem Hendrickz Brouwer with his wife and three children arrived in de Waegh, August 13, 1655, to act as comforter of the sick and reader. Hoffman cites Colonial Manuscripts XIV:324. I have been unable to confirm this. A reconstructed online account of this ship's voyage can be found on the Olive Tree website (Waegh), but no mention of Willem Brouwer is found on this page. Willem is mentioned in legal proceedings at New Amsterdam in 1655 and 1656 and in 1657 he was in the vicinity of Beverwijck (now Albany, NY) when he bought a brewery at Greenbos (Greenbush) from Cornelis Cornelisz and Jan Witmond, which he sold to Cornelis Van Nes and Jan Oothout in 1664. He is mentioned in the Fort Orange (Albany) records on three occasions in 1660 and in a case of default in November 1660 at New Amsterdam. On August 31, 1661 at Beverwijck, Goosen van Oort bound himself to work for Willem Brouwer as a journyman shoemaker. During the period of 1664 through 1666, Willem Brouwer can be found in the accounts of the Deacons at Beverwijck, receiving charity in the form of small amounts of money and staples such as beans, butter and lard. In 1666 he pawned his stockings to repay a debt. He died in late July or early August 1668. On August 3, 1668, the Deacons at Beverwijck paid for his burial, and on December 29 1668, his widow, Lysbeth Brouwer, petitioned the court asking to be excused from paying her husband's debts.

Willem Brouwer's parents, and his origins in Europe, have not been discovered. He is often assigned the patronymic, "Hendricksz" (as William Hoffman did in his manuscript notes) but there is nothing yet discovered that would confirm his father's name as Hendrick. The fact that Willem named a son Hendrick, and that a man named Philip Hendricksz Brouwer appeared in Beverwijck at about the same time as Willem, is not proof that Willem had a father named Hendrick.

The picture that we take from the above is that Willem Brouwer had a rough go of it during his relatively short time of about thirteen years in New Netherland. He was in possession of a brewery for some years, although he apparently knew the trade of a shoemaker. He tried his hand at trading, apparently without the authority to do so (lawsuits brought against him in 1660), and appears as a defendant in a number of suits regarding debt. During the last years of his life he was receiving assistance from the Church at Beverwijck.

Of his wife, we know her name as Lysbeth Drinkvelt from the baptism record of her son Hendrick, and from an occasion in 1695 when she appeared as a sponsor at the baptism of her son Hendrick's daughter, Elizabeth. She was burdened with her husband's legacy of debts after his death, and Lysbeth herself is found in the Deacon's accounts receiving assistance. She remarried to Jan Rinckhout, a baker, and widower of Eva Jeurians. Apparently her luck with Jan was no better. He is stated to have become a recluse, who died alone in a hut on his farm in Schenectady. On September 4, 1697, "Elisabeth Brinckfelt," wife of Jan Rinckout, with letter from N. Albany, joined the Reformed Dutch Church at New York. In 1702, Lisabet Rinkhout, was a sponsor at the baptism of Johannes, son of Symon Groot and Geertruy Janse Rinkhout (possibly her daughter from her second marriage) at Schenectady. This is the last record we have of Lysbeth.

Willem Brouwer and Lysbeth Drinkvelt are believe to have had four children. Of them, only Hendrick is confirmed with a record of baptism (see the March 3, 2012 post). Daughter, Elisabeth, who married Claas Andriesz de Graaf, and daughter, Maria, wife of Isaac du Trieux (Truax) are most probably daughters, but son, William Brouwer, who married Rebecca Vedder and was an early settler of Stone Arabia, New York, and was first assigned to this family by Jonathan Pearson in 1873, is less certain. All three will be covered in future posts.

A Family Group sheet for Willem Brouwer and Lysbeth Drinkvelt is online. Source citations for the statements found above can be found in the profiles of Willem Brouwer, Lysbeth Drinkvelt and Jan Rinckhout at the Brouwer Genealogy Database website. Look them up in the index or access Willem from the Progenitors page.

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