Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Cases of Two Women Named Catharine Brewer

Items nos. 20 and 21 from Abstracts of Early Monmouth County Court Papers, concern two separate cases involving the paternity of children born to two different women named Catharine Brewer.

The first case (no. 20) was heard at the Monmouth County Court session on June 7, 1825. On October 17, 1822, Catharine Brewer, a single woman of Middletown, gave birth to a daughter, and on November 22, 1822, swore under oath that the father was Garret Hendrickson. At this session, Garret Hendrickson and Hendrick Hendrickson, both of Middletown, acknowledge that they are indebted to the state for the sum of $1000 each. Garret Hendrickson is ordered to appear at the next session.

No. 20 Catherine Brewer, Garret Hendrickson

The child's name is not stated at this hearing, and it is difficult to determine with certainty who this Catharine Brewer is. John Brewer and Nelly Hendrickson had a daughter Catharine who was baptized on 30 May 1795 at Freehold-Middletown. She would have been aged 27 in 1822, and no marriage has yet been identified for her. Her grandfather, Hendrick Brouwer/Brewer, lived in Middletown and it is assumed that her father, John Brewer, did as well. John and Nelly Brewer are buried in the Luyster Cemetery in present day Holmdel, New Jersey.
A second Catharine Brewer, who could possibly be identified with the Catharine Brewer in this court record, would be the daughter of Isaac Brewer and Styntje Van Brunt, who was baptized at Freehold-Middletown on 4 December 1804. She would have been just shy of age 18, in October 1822 when the child was born. Isaac Brewer, however, lived at Freehold, and not at Middletown.
The better candidate of the two Catharine Brewers, as the one who gave birth to an illegitimate daughter of Garret Hendrickson, would be the daughter of John Brewer and Nelly Hendrickson. Enough is not known to make a definite identification.

Item no. 21, took place at the Court Session of October 1806. On July 10, 1806, Catharine Brewer, the widow of Peter Brewer, late of the township of Middletown, states that on June 17, 1806, she was delivered of a son, and names Thomas Field of Middletown as the father.

No. 21 Catherine Brewer, Thomas Field

On 18 September 1794, Catharine Hendrickson and Peter Brewer were married and the marriage is recorded in the records of the Reformed Dutch Congregations of Freehold and Middletown. I suspect that this couple is the Catharine and Peter who are named in the October 1806 court hearing. Presently I do not have positive identifications for either Catharine Hendrickson or Peter Brewer, but I would strongly suspect that Peter is the son named Petrus, of Hendrick Brouwer and Abigail Hunt, who was baptized at Freehold-Middletown on 19 March 1770. Neither a wife or date of death has yet been identified for this Peter Brewer. I have no other candidates to identify as the Peter Brewer who is the deceased husband of Catharine Brewer in October 1806.

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