Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Family of Anna Brouwer and William Hilton

Anna Brouwer, a daughter of Adam Brouwer and Magdalena Verdon, was probably born about 1666 at Gowanus, Long Island. A record of baptism has not been found for Anna. She is named in her father's will dated January 22, 1691/92. At the time was was not yet married.

William J. Hoffman, in "Brouwer Beginnings," covers Anna Brouwer and William Hilton at TAG 24 (1948):169-170. The account is relatively brief and mentions that Anna is possibly the Annatie Hilton who died at Albany on February 25, 1748. No source is given for this date. The 1756 census at Albany does list a "widdow Hilten," who, if not Anna, is otherwise unplaced as Anna's three sons, Richard, Jacobus and William, were all living in that year. No attempt is made to discover the origins of William Hilton, and Anna is covered as the 14th child of Adam Brouwer. She was more likely the tenth child.

Anna was a witness to the baptisms of children of three of her siblings. In 1687 she witnessed the baptism of Jan, son of Jesaijas Dreets and Aeltje Brouwer, at Brooklyn. In 1690, she was witness to the baptism of Lysbeth, daughter of Willem Nasarets and Helena Brouwers, at New York. And in 1709, she witnessed the baptism of Maria, daughter of Willem Brouwer and Martha, at Brooklyn.

Anna was married to William Hilton on 6 April 1693 at the Albany Reformed Dutch Church. The record reads, "William Hilte, wid. of Sara Ebb, and Antje Berkove, of N. Y." Although the record tells us nothing of William's origins, it does inform us that he was a widower and his first wife was named Sara Ebb. Attempts to identify her, either in New York or New England, have thus far yielded no leads. Anna, in this record, is found with the surname, "Berkove" (Berckhoven) a name that Adam Brouwer used for the first and only time in his 1692 will. The record also tells us that Anna was from New York City.

Ann and William lived at Albany, New York and had eight children baptized at the Reformed Dutch Church between 1693 and 1708. In most of the records Anna is recorded with the surname, Berckhoven (or some variation thereof). In the last two baptisms, 1705 (Jacobus) and 1708 (William), she is recorded with the surname, "Barko." Of all of Adam Brouwer's children, Anna is recorded with the most times with the Berckhoven surname. The 1708 baptism, appears to be the last time it was used (for any of Adam's children). Of all the sponsors recorded for Anna's children, none are immediate family members (Hoffman points this out in "Brouwer Beginnings"). None appear to have any family relationship with William Hilton either. Most of the sponsors have family names that would be familiar to anyone who has researched the early Albany, New York families. Of the eight children, seven reached adulthood, and six are known to have married and had children. Descendants can be found, using the Albany records, well into and through the 1700s. Daughter Mary (baptized in 1698) appears as a sponsor in two baptisms in 1722, when she would have been aged 24. She appears to be single at this time, and a marriage for her has not yet been located. Two of the daughters married Brouwer cousins. Hannah (1695) married Cornelis Brouwer, son of Nicholas Admasz Brouwer, while Elizabeth (1703) was married to Jeury Brouwer, son of Abraham Admasz Brouwer.

William Hilton's origins have not been discovered. His profile at the "People of Colonial Albany Live Here" website, states that he was from Leeds, Yorkshire, England and came to the American colonies in 1686 at the age of 21, apparently as a soldier. In 1697 and in 1700 he was a private in Capt. Richard Ingoldsby's company of Grenadiers. His year of death is given as 1749. The webpage, however, does not provide detailed verifiable sources or citations for the statements. Anna also has a brief profile posted at the PCALH website.

There is a large Hilton family found from a very early date in New England, where three (apparent) brothers, William, Edward and Richard Hilton settled. William Hilton was there as early as 1621, and Edward Hilton is considered to be the first permanent settler in New Hampshire (at Dover). The early generations of descendants are primarily found along the northern New England coast in New Hampshire and Maine. One descendant, a William Hilton, was a noted mariner, navigator and explorer. He is the Hilton for whom Hilton Head, South Carolina is named. The given name, William, is common in the family, however, no connection between this large family and our William Hilton of Albany, New York, has been established.

The Family of Anna Brouwer (Berckhoven) and William Hilton

Additional info and source citations for Anna Brouwer and William Hilton can be found at the Brouwer Genealogy Database website. Some research on the Hiltons of New England (William, Edward, Richard and descendants through the 17th century) is available there as well.

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