Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Friday, December 14, 2012

Nicholas Brouwer and Jannetje Caljer

Nicholas, the son of Adam Brouwer and Magdalena Jacobs, was baptized at the New York Reformed Dutch Church on April 16, 1672. The sole sponsor was Ariaentie Scherps (who I have not yet identified). Nicholas is the youngest son, and youngest child of Adam Brouwer and Magdalena Verdon's fourteen children who reached adulthood.

William J. Hoffman devotes more coverage to Nicholas Brouwer and some of his descendants than he does with any other child of Adam Brouwer. This is largely due to the good deal of misinformation and incorrect statements that had been published in earlier years, a number of which place descendants of Nicholas Brouwer among the families descended from his brother Jacob Brouwer and his wife Annetje Bogardus. In The American Genealogist, Nicholas Brouwer is covered in volume 24 (1948), pages 161-169. Also relating to Nicholas Brouwer is Hoffman's "Brouwer Corrections," New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, volume 69 (1938), pages 172-179, which was followed up by, "Brouwer Notes No. II," NYGBR volume 72, pages 332-337.

An initial source of published misinformation regarding some descendants of Nicholas Brouwer can be credited to Anton Temple Gesner, Gesner Family of New York and Nova Scotia (Middletown, Conn.: Pelton & King, 1912). Problems in Anton T. Gesner's account were addressed by John Reynolds Totten in "Anneke Jans and her Two Husbands," NYGBR volume 56 (1925), pages 202-243, specifically at pages 235-237. Also of interest would be a reaction to Totten, by Gesner (and Totten's subsequent reply to Gesner) found in the Letters and Comments section of NYGBR volume 57 (1926), pages 81-84. Totten's account in "Anneke Jans and Her Two Husbands," while correcting Gesner's error, did create new errors, later corrected by Hoffman. While the Gesner Family of New York and Nova Scotia is useful for it's account of the later Gesner descendants, it should not be relied upon for their descent from Adam Brouwer.

Nicholas was probably the youngest child of Adam Brouwer and Magdalena Verdon. A child named Daniel, who was baptized at the New York Reformed Dutch Church on 7 May 1678, with his parents recorded as "Adam Brouwer and Aeltje Van der Beeck," may not have been a son of Adam Brouwer and Magdalena Verdon (there will be more on Daniel in a future post). In documents pertaining to members of the Adam Brouwer family, all Brouwer family members, with the exception of Nicholas, sign with a mark. Nicholas, however, signs his name. He may well have been the only literate member of Adam Brouwer's large family.

The marriage banns for "Niclaes Berckhoven, j.m., op Breukelen met Jannetie Callier, j.d., op Boswijke," were published at the Flatbush Reformed Dutch Church on 15 September 1692. This is the only record in which Nicholas is found with the surname, "Berckhoven." His wife, Jannetje Caljer was a daughter of Jurian Caljer and Lysbeth Cornelis (van der Hoeven), and was probably born at Kinderhook, on the Hudson River in New York, about 1674. Her sister, Cornelia, was the wife of Nicholas' brother, Abraham Brouwer. At the time of their marriage she was living at Bushwick, Long Island, and the couple are found on the census there in 1698 with a household of 1 man, 1 woman, 1 child and 1 apprentice.

After the death of his father, Nicholas and his brother Abraham purchased the entire interest in the Gowanus Mill property from their siblings and from their mother. During the first decade of the 1700s, Nicholas built a second mill on the property which would be known as the "New Mill" or the "Yellow Mill." In 1710, Nicholas and his wife, Jannetje, and Abraham and his wife, Cornelia, signed indentures that described each parties holdings at Gowanus. In 1712, Nicholas and Jannetje sold their lands to Abraham and Cornelia. Nicholas had also been pursuing other real estate interests. Apparently, as early as 1702, he purchased property at Wappingers Creek in Dutchess County, from the van Courtlandt family and from a Peter Lawson. In 1714 he is recorded as dividing land with Samuel Vail in Westchester County. In 1718 and 1719, when described as "of Westchester County, miller," Nicholas purchased a number of parcels in the City of New York from Elizabeth Bruce, from Margaret LaRoux, and from Gertie Luertze, all widows. The lots were on, or adjacent to, Orange Street, and William Street. On 26 May 1719, Nicolaas Brouwer and Jannetje Coljer, his wife, of the Manor of Fordham, were members of the Reformed Dutch Church of New York City. On 1 April 1726, Mary Sinclair, bought from Nicholas Brouwer and Jannetje, his wife, a lot in the East Ward of New York City. Nicholas was involved in other deeds regarding New York City property, including property on Pine Street bought of William Nazareth (his brother-in-law) and Jan Vigne, later owned by William Vesey, the Rector of Trinity Church. What is apparent from the conveyances mentioned above, is that Nicholas and Jannetje relocated to Fordham Manor in Westchester County during the decade of 1710 to 1720, and probably remained there for the remainder of their lives.

It appears that Nicholas and Jannetje had seven known children. There are records of baptism for five of the children.
- The eldest, Adolphus, named for his paternal grandfather, Adam Brouwer, was baptized on 15 October 1693 at Brooklyn. Sponsors were Adam Brouwer (Nicholas' brother) and Maddalentje Brouwer (Magdalena Verdon, Nicholas' mother).  Adolphus was married to Jannetje Verdon, daughter of Jacob Verdon and Femmetje Westervelt, granddaughter of Thomas Verdon and Barbara Imbroeck, and great-granddaughter of Maria Badie and her first husband, Jacob Verdon. Adolphus was also a great-grandchild of Maria Badie, and the couple, Adolphus Brouwer and Jannetje Verdon, were second cousins. It is this Adolphus that was initially, incorrectly, stated to be a son of Jacob Brouwer and Annatje Bogardus, by Anton T. Gesner. Adolphus and Jannetje had ten children and lived the majority of their life in Bergen Co., New Jersey.
- Lijsbet (Elizabeth) daughter of Niclaas Brouwer and Jannetje, was baptized on 18 June 1699 at Brooklyn. Sponsors were Cornelis Caljer and Geertruit Caljer, brother and sister of the child's mother. She was certainly named for her maternal grandmother, Lysbeth Cornelis van der Hoeven. Lysbet Brouwer married John Parsell on 16 May 1715 at the New York Reformed Church. There are four known children, baptized at New York between 1719 and 1726. There may have been others. This family should be researched further.
- Jurje (Jurge), son of Niclaas Brouwer and Jannetje, was baptized on 30 March 1701 at Brooklyn. Sponsors were Jurie "Case" and Lena Nazaret. Jurje was named for his maternal grandfather, Jurian Caljer, who was no doubt the sponsor mis-recorded as Jurie "Case." The second sponsor was Helena Brouwer, wife of William Nazareth and sister of Nicholas the child's father. Jurge, also called Jeremiah, married Elizabeth Holmes on 25 September 1720 at the New York Reformed Dutch Church. Elizabeth was very likely a daughter of George Holmes and Anneken Caljer, who was a sister of her husband's mother, Jannetje Caljer. Jurje/Jeremiah Brouwer and Elizabeth Holmes, were first cousins. Jurge lived for sometime in Somerset Co., New Jersey. There are two confirmed children for Jurge and Elizabeth, and very probably, at least two others that can be identified, for a total of four likely children.
- Son, Cornelis, was baptized at the New York Reformed Dutch Church on 18 April 1705. Sponsors were Jan Hendricks and Marytje Coljer. The later is most likely a sister of Jannetje Caljer. The former, Jan Hendricks, has yet to be identified. Cornelis Brouwer was married twice. His first wife was Hannah Hilton, daughter of Anna Brouwer and William Hilton. Cornelis and Hannah were first cousins. They were married on 18 December 1725 at the New York Reformed Dutch Church. It appears that they had one son, Nicholas, who married Maria Boom in 1757 and lived at Albany, New York. Hannah did not live long, and Cornelis was married to his second wife, Mary De Roselle, in about 1730. They had one daughter, Hannah, who married Edmund Turner of Westchester County, and later New Marlborough and Plattekill in Ulster County, New York. Cornelis apparently did not live long himself after his second marriage, and it has been stated that Mary De Roselle was married to David Demarest (son of John Demarest and Deborah Heyet) in about April 1732. This entire family is somewhat unsettled and will be explored more fully in a future post.
- Nicolaas, son of Nicolaas Brouwer and Jannetje, was baptized at Brooklyn on 16 March 1707. Sponsors were Joris Homs (a.k.a. George Holmes) and Lena Douscon (Dawson). Joris Homs, the Dutch version of George Holmes, was a brother-in-law of Jannetje Caljer. Lena Douscon's relationship to the family has not been determined. No marriage for this Nicholas has been found, and he has not yet been identified with certainty in any other record. Hoffman, in "Brouwer Beginnigs," simply states, "no further record" (TAG 24:165). A descendant of the father, Nicholas Brouwer, claimed (in the later half of the 1800s) that Nicholas, the son, went to North Carolina. This has not otherwise been proved, and while there was a known man named Nicholas Brower in North Carolina, in the 1700s, he was more likely a descendant of Hubert Brower, an immigrant from the Palatine to Pennsylvania in 1727.
There are two additional children for Nicholas Brouwer and Jannetje Caljer, for whom baptism records are not found.
- Magdalena Brouwer was married to Joost Vredenburg on 26 June 1725 at the New York Reformed Dutch Church. She was likely the second daughter born to Nicholas and Jannetje, and was named for her paternal grandmother, Magdalena Verdon. Magdalena and Joost had two children baptized at New York, their names being Nicholas and Jannetje. A third child, Isaac, named for Joost's father, Isaac Vredenburgh, was baptized at Hackensack. Magdalena was a sponsor at baptisms for children of her brother Adolphus (wife Jannetje Verdon) and sister Lysbeth (husband John Parsell) in 1725 and 1726. The son Isaac was baptized in 1730, and this family needs further research beyond that date.
- The last child of Nicholas and Jannetje is somewhat controversial in that there is no known direct record for him. In other words, there is no first hand account of him. His identity comes from the word of descendants. Nazareth Brouwer is stated to have been a son of Nicholas Brouwer and Jannetje Caljer, and he was married to a woman named Anne Rozell. If so, he was likely born between 1702 and 1710, probably at Gowanus, Long Island. There are five children claimed for the couple, Nazareth Brouwer and Anne Rozell, for whom there are records, albeit few. The appearance of the given name, Nazareth, in later generations, gives credence to the existence of this initial man named Nazareth Brouwer. He was no doubt named to honor Nicholas Brouwer's brother-in-law, William Nazareth. I know of no other 17th or 18th century family in New York, New Jersey, or all of New England, in which this given name appears. The lack of a first hand account can be explained by the likelihood that Nazareth probably live as short life (possibly dying in his thirties) and that he likely lived in Westchester and/or Dutchess County during the first half of the 1700s when few people living there owned land (most were tenants on manor farms) and few records survive. The stated children of Nazareth Brouwer are: Cornelis Brouwer who married Mary Archer and lived at Poughkeepsie (had ten children, including a son Nazareth); Jane, or Jannetje Brouwer, married Thomas Benjamin Hill, and had four children including Nazareth Brouwer Hill; Lana Brouwer, for whom a marriage and further record has not been discovered; Charles Brouwer, married Jane Ryder, and had a daughter Ginny Brouwer who was the first wife of her first cousin Nazareth Brouwer (son of Cornelis Brouwer and Mary Archer); and Nazareth Brouwer, who married Bridget Pells and left a will dated 10 September 1787 which names a son John Brouwer. Despite the lack of direct proof of the first Nazareth Brouwer's existence, it is difficult to reconcile and place the families just mentioned without him. I would certainly welcome hearing from anyone with hard proof of Nazareth Brouwer's existence.

Where and when Nicholas and Jannetje died is not known with certainty. The last record identified for both is the deed of 1 April 1726 in which they sell a New York City lot to Mary Sinclair. A descendant, testifying in a court case in the early 1850s, stated that Nicholas died in 1749, and that he had outlived all of his children. The despondent, however, also stated that he left only one heir, a granddaughter named Hannah who married Edmund Turner. This second statement is, of course, not true, and since the lawsuit was seeking to claim a supposed inheritance, the witnesses testimony has to be considered suspect. The distance in time, 100 years, also casts doubt over the testimony. No settlement for an estate of Nicholas, or Jannetje Brouwer is found in Westchester Co., New York Co., or Albany Co. probate records. It is likely that Nicholas lived out his later years in either Westchester County or New York City, or both. A search for additional records, between the years 1726 and 1749, should be conducted, especially in Westchester County.

The Family of Nicholas Brouwer and Jannetje Caljer

Additional info and source citations can be found on the Brouwer Genealogy Database website.


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