Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Friday, February 21, 2014

Brouwer in Grenville Mackenzie's, "Families of the Colonial Manor of Philipsburg"

Found in the manuscript collection of the Westchester County Historical Society, is Grenville Mackenzie's, Families of the Colonial Manor of Philipsburg." The pages covering the family,"Brouwer - Brower - Brewer," are found in the William B. Bogardus Collection, in Box 5, labeled UNP PP-62.

UNP PP-63 Brouwer, Families of the Colonial Manor of Philipsburg

Mackenzie's manuscript (or typescript) has never been published and it is not easy to access. The Family History Library has not filmed the manuscript. In addition, Mackenzie's work has its limitations. He does not cite or provide any sources. More critically, it is known to contain errors. But then again, any 600 page work on genealogy is bound to have some. The Brouwer pages found in the above file are no exception, they do contain errors. Perhaps, some day there will be the opportunity to go through these pages one name at a time, but there isn't that time right now, and so I'll just point out one error, and one entry that is of interest.

On the second page is no. 35, Johannes, baptized 1687, son of William Brouwer and Elizabeth Simpson. That much is correct. Mackenzie, however, states that this Johannes married Mary Lamb. That's the error. The Johannes Brouwer who did marry Mary (Marritje) Lamb, was a son of Matthys Brouwer and Marritje Pieterse (Wyckoff). No record of baptism for this Johannes is found, but evidence that this placement is correct is found in the names of Johannes Brouwer and Mary Lamb's first son, Matthys, and their second daughter, Marritje (named for Matthys Brouwer and Marritje Pieterse). The second son, Alexander, and first daughter, Elizabeth, were named for Mary Lamb's parents, Alexander Lamb and Elizabeth Adriaense Konink.

Of further interest is no. 62, Nicholas Brouwer, found on the third page. Nicholas was baptized in 1707 at Breuckelen (Brooklyn) the son of Nicholas Brouwer and Jannetje Caljer. What became of this Nicholas Brouwer is not clear. William J. Hoffman, in "Brouwer Beginnings," TAG 24 (1948): 165, says "no further record" (a phrase that is often prematurely used in published genealogies, and should not be accepted as a final word). In 1851, a descendant of Nicholas Brouwer and Jannetje Caljer, testified in a civil court case that Nicholas (b. 1707) went to North Carolina. There is no evidence to support this, and why a descendant testifying in 1851 would claim this is not apparent.

In this manuscript, Grenville Mackenzie states that Nicholas (b. 1707), lived at Mile Square in Yonkers (in Westchester Co.) and had sons William (b. 1738) and Dennis. This is the first I have seen of such a claim. Mackenzie states that William married Elizabeth Dutcher. This statement is known from other sources. William Brouwer and Elizabeth Dutcher (Duyster) had a daughter, Lena, baptized at the Sleepy Hollow Dutch Reformed Church (Tarrytown) on 1 May 1765. The sponsor was Abraham Duister. It has been claimed (by an undocumented source and without sufficient proof) that William and Elizabeth also had a daughter named Rachel who was born 11 Oct 1767 in what is now Saratoga Co., New York. This would imply that William moved his family from Westchester Co., to (now) Saratoga Co., around 1766.
Jeremiah Brower, of Highgate, Vermont, lived at Newtown (which is in present day Saratoga Co.) in 1777, and in his Loyalist claim, mentions a Nicholas Brouwer as a witness (or reference). A Jeremiah Brouwer, assumed to be the same as Jeremiah Brower of Highgate, and his wife, Margaret Hedickie (Hegger) had sons named William and Abraham, baptized at Schaghticoke (in present day Rensselaer Co., but near enough to Newtown) in 1766 and 1774.

This opens up some new possibilities that have not been considered before. Is Mackenzie correct about his placement of William Brouwer (b. 1738)? Could the Nicholas Brouwer of Jeremiah Brower's Loyalist claim be the Nicholas Brouwer baptized in 1707? Or did Nicholas (b. 1707) have a son named Nicholas (undetected by Mackenzie) who is the Nicholas of the Loyalist Claim? Are there two Jeremiah Browers? One being Jeremiah Brower of Highgate (married Hannah Thomas) and the second being Jeremiah Brouwer who married Margaret Hideckie and had sons, William and Abraham? And is this second Jeremiah Brouwer also a son (undetected) of Nicholas Brouwer (b. 1707)? Or, is the assumption that only one man named Jeremiah Brower existed, and he did in fact marry twice, but he is a son of Nicholas Brouwer (b. 1707) and not a son of Jurge Brouwer and Elizabeth Holmes as has been previously suggested? And further along, could Jeremiah John Brower and his presumed father John Brower, of Cass Co., Indiana, known to be genetic descendants of Nicholas Brouwer and Jannetje Caljer, somehow have there origins with this unsettled group of somehow related families?

The second son that Grenville Mackenzie assigns to Nicholas Brouwer (b. 1707) is named Dennis, and Mackenzie states that he married Anne Fowler. Dennis is not a name found in the early Brouwer family in Kings County. However, it is well known among the families living near Gowanus in the late 1700s, originating with Denyse Theuniszen (bapt. 1654). Could Nicholas Brouwer (b. 1707) have had a wife that was a descendant (probably a granddaughter) of Denyse Theuniszen? The Fowler Genealogy that ran for some years in the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record (see vol. 69, page 317), by Theresa Hall Bristol, also mentions that Dennis Brewer married Anne Fowler (daughter of Benjamin Fowler and Sarah Vincent). Bristol cites Bolton's History of Westchester County, Vol. 2, p. 734, for this statement.

Although MacKenzie's work does contain errors, it does suggest and open up some new possibilities for some of our unplaced 18th-Century Brouwer families.


  1. Mackenzie states in his Cranckheit family that Newtown is in Long Island. I live in Saratoga County and have never heard of the Town of Newtown there, in Rensselaer Co., Albany, Co., Washington Co., or Warren County, most of the counties that surround Saratoga County. At one time Rensselaer and Saratoga Counties were in Albany County. Before writing this I went on line to be sure that I was correct and what I found was an article stating that Newtown was a former part of Queens County which borders Long Island.

    1. The Newtown in Queens County on Long Island was established by the Dutch in 1652 as Middleburgh. The name was changed by the English after their takeover of New Netherland in 1664, to New Town, or Newtown. Today it is known as Elmhurst, a neighborhood in the Borough of Queens.
      Elmira, which is in Chemung County, NY, was also once called Newtown.
      The Newtown of Saratoga County is now a hamlet in the Town of Halfmoon. A few years back I spoke with the Halfmoon Town Historian who told me that today Newtown is essentially an intersection of routes 146 and 86.
      In 1852, James Riker published "The Annals of Newtown in Queens County." It can be found online on the Internet Archives website.


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