Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Thursday, July 10, 2014

John G. Brewer (1795-1886) of Miami, Greene Co., Ohio

The "Ohio Deaths and Burials, 1854-1997" database/index at FamilySearch.org includes a record for John G. Brewer, b. 1795 at Trenton, New Jersey, d. 27 Jan 1886, age 91, at Greene Co., Ohio. We do not know who the parents of John G. Brewer are, and we do not know his complete Brewer ancestry, but, thanks to Y-DNA testing of a direct descendant, we do know that John G. Brewer is a descendant of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, Long Island.

The descendant of  John G. Brewer who joined the Brewer DNA Project and took a Y-DNA (111 marker) test is represented by kit #342692, and results and comparisons can be seen on the Y-DNA Chart page under the Adam Brouwer, Gowanus, L.I. Group. Although the descendant has tested at the 111 marker level we can only compare him at 67 markers, as no other descendant of Adam Brouwer has yet tested at 111 markers. At the 67 marker level, our descendant matches kit #s 30185 and 159021 on 67 of 67 markers. He also matches kit #50688 on 66 of 67 markers. Direct lineages for kit #s 30185 and 159021 can be found on the Pieter Brouwer Y-DNA chart at the Brouwer Genealogy Database website, while the lineage of kit #50688 is found on the Jacob Brouwer Y-DNA chart. The lineage for the descendant of John G. Brewer will be added to the Adam Brouwer Group Y-DNA results page with the website's next update (probably this coming winter). Adam Brouwer descendant pedigrees are also found online here.

Of the above mentioned matches, kit #s 30185 and 159021 are descendant's of Adam Brouwer's eldest son, Pieter Brouwer, while kit #50688 is a descendant of Adam's son Jacob Brouwer. Although the descendent of John G. Brewer is slightly more closely related genetically to the descendants of Pieter Brouwer than to the descendant of Jacob Brouwer, based upon what we know from traditional genealogical research, I am of the belief that John G. Brewer is more likely a descendant of Jacob Brouwer.

According to his death certificate, John G. Brewer was born in 1795 at Trenton, New Jersey. In 1795 Trenton was within Hunterdon County and today it is within Mercer County. Trenton is the capitol of New Jersey. We can never be one hundred percent certain that birth information recorded on death records is accurate, but until proven otherwise we will take this as being accurate or at least close to accurate. The first hint to John G. Brewer's identity is his middle initial, G.

In 1795, the use of "middle names" which are common today, was very rare. When we find someone from that time period, and notice that he has a middle initial (or name, but usually it is only an initial), what we are most likely seeing is the initial of the given name of the individual's father. It is in a sense, a holdover or transition from the time when patronymics were more common. An exception might be when a child is named for a famous person, which was a practice that began to become popular after the founding of the United States. So, for example, we find males named "George Washington Brewer," or "Benjamin Franklin Brewer," or "John Wesley Brewer" born in the late 1700s and into the 1800s. Technically, I don't know that we should call (in the above cases) "Washington," "Franklin," and "Wesley," middle names. At least not in the same context in which they are used today. Still, in and around 1795, when a male is seen with a middle initial, that initial most often represents his father's given name. In the specific case of our John G. Brewer, my guess is that the G. stands for George, and that John was very likely a son of a man named George Brewer (or Brower).

It is noted above that the descendant of John G. Brewer was a match to two different descendants of Pieter Brouwer on 67 of 67 markers. However, I do not think John G. Brewer's line back to Adam Brouwer is found within either of the two lineages that are matches to John G. Brewer's descendant (again, the lineages can be seen on this chart page). In the case of #159021, the ancestry traces back to Pieter Brouwer's son Matheus Brouwer/Matthew Brewer who lived in the vicinity of Albany, New York and the descendants in this line are found in the Mohawk Valley region of New York, Illinois and finally Wisconsin. John G. Brewer, on the other hand, was born in New Jersey. The lineage for kit #30185, has a better chance of being John G. Brewer's line as well, there is even an ancestor named John G. Brewer (born in 1814) found in this lineage, but still I'm not convinced. This lineage begins with Pieter Brouwer's grandson, Daniel Brouwer, who lived first in Bergen County, New Jersey, then spent a short period of time at the Conewago settlement near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, before settling in Mercer County, Kentucky. In 1795, at the time when our John G. Brewer was born, in New Jersey, Daniel Brouwer's direct descendants were all living in Kentucky. It may be that John G. Brewer is a descendant of Pieter Brouwer through one of his other sons or grandsons, but what gives me hesitation is that the given name, George, which we are assuming is the most likely name of John G. Brewer's father, is just not found among Pieter Brouwer's known descendants.

The 66 out of 67 match with kit #50688 is, in my opinion, more promising. #50688 is a descendant of Adam Brouwer's son Jacob Brouwer and the lineage is online in this chart. If you look at the lineage of the other tested descendant of Jacob Brouwer (kit #32376) you will see an ancestor named George Brewer (b. 1770, d. 1851). I believe that it is this George Brewer who is most likely the father of our John G. Brewer. Unfortunately kit #32376 has only tested at the 25 maker level (he is one of the earliest participants in the Brewer DNA Project) and so an advanced level comparison is not possible. George Brewer, also known as George Brower, was a son of Elazerus Brewer and Frances Morris of Monmouth County, New Jersey. He was married twice and as far as we know lived his life in Monmouth County. There is no known birth or baptism records for the children of George Brewer. He is a grandson of Adam Brewer of Monmouth County, who had joined the Quakers. Adam's children were either Quakers, Baptists, or possibly did not practice any religion, but at any rate, records of baptisms for children are just not found within the Reformed Dutch Congregations in Monmouth County. George Brewer's children are known from his will which was written 1 December 1841 and filed 26 April 1851 in Monmouth County. George Brewer died 23 March 1851. Among his children named in the will is one, John Brower (the Brewer and Brower surnames are both seen in records regarding descendants of Adam Brewer of Monmouth County). I have previously estimated his birth as about 1793, this based simply on how he might fit in with his siblings for whom much more is known. To date, nothing other than the fact he is named in his father's will, is known of George's son, John Brower (or Brewer). He has not been identified as an adult in records in Monmouth County, although we do know he was living in 1841. Taking into consideration all that is known to date regarding the descendants of Adam Brouwer, I think that he most likely scenario is that our John G. Brewer, of Miami, Ohio, is Georger Brewer's son, called John Brower in his will. Although this is not conclusive, and not certain, we could never have gotten at least this far without the participation of a descendant of John G. Brewer in the Brewer DNA Project. And so, I'd like to extend a thank you to that descendant.

We do know more about John G. Brewer. He was married in Greene County, Ohio to Sarah Miller, and apparently lived his entire adult life in Miami Township, Greene County, Ohio. John G. Brewer and Sarah Miller had nine children born between about 1824 and 1847. Their eldest son was named George Brewer. The eldest daughter was named Rebecca, and it should be noted that John Brower/Brewer's mother, the first wife of George Brewer of Monmouth County, was Rebecca Schenk. The participant who took the Y-DNA test is a descendant of John G. Brewer's son, Charles Brewer, born in 1836, and died 30 January 1897 at Xenia, Greene County, Ohio.

We would very much like to hear from other descendants of John G. Brewer who may have more information on his possible ancestry. Perhaps there are Bible records, or family records and memoirs out there that are not a part of the public records, that could add some insight into John G. Brewer's origins. In addition, land records in New Jersey that may involve the sale of land previously belonging to George Brewer, and perhaps sold by his heirs, should be searched for evidence of a family relationship.

Details and sources on all of those mentioned above can be located on the Brouwer Genealogy Database website. A lineage chart on the Adam Brouwer Group DNA Results page, for John G. Brewer, will be added with the next update. And once again, thanks to the participating descendant.

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