Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Will of George Brewer of Brunswick Co., Virginia, 1741

From the start it should be made clear that George Brewer of Brunswick County, Virginia is not related to any of the original Brouwer families of New Netherland and colonial New York and New Jersey. He lived in Brunswick Co., Virginia where he died between 1742 and 1744, and his ancestry is not known. Since the Brewer DNA Project's inception in 2006, participation in the Project has grown considerably. Today, the single largest group of Y-DNA tested participants in the Project belong to the group that has been labeled (on the Y-DNA results page) as "Lanier - Brewer" (although among us, we more often refer to it as Brewer-Lanier).

By my count, as of today, we have 58 participants assigned to the Lanier - Brewer group. Of these 58, we have received pedigrees from 39 of the participants (we would very much like to see pedigrees from the 19 who have not yet submitted one). It has also come to our attention, that of the 39 pedigrees received, none, NOT ONE, can prove an ancestry back to George Brewer, the earliest known, or I should say believed, ancestor (EBA?) for this group. For this reason Brouwer Genealogy will be devoting a handful of posts to problem of finding a verifiable pedigree for at least one of the believed genetic descendants of George Brewer. This process will start with identifying the family of George Brewer. To do that we will use the one and only known verifiable instrument suitable for that purpose - his will.

George Brewer's will is found in Brunswick County, Virginia, Will Book 2, pages 19-20. To my knowledge no copy of the original can be found online. While Family Search has been adding millions of digital images to their collection, they have not yet added probate records from Brunswick County, Virginia (just recently they did add images for Isle of Wight County Records, 1634-1951, so hopefully Brunswick Co. will be coming soon). My copy of the will comes from Diane Daniel who obtained her copy at the Brunswick County Clerk of the Courts Office in Lawrenceville, Virginia. The copy has been scanned to a PDF and is now available online - The Will of George Brewer of Brunswick Co., Virginia. Below you will find JPEG scans of the same.

George Brewer's will has been transcribed or abstracted in a few published accounts of his family and descendants. The published works, all of which contain serious errors but have been relied upon by present day descendants, will be covered in a follow up post. Here, and for now, we will simply provide a transcription of the important points in the will.

George Brewer's will is dated 13 July 1741. The document opens with "I George Brewer in the County of Brunswick Virginia being very sick and weak in body but of perfect mind..." the preamble continues and at line 15 begins the all important legacies.

"I give Devise and bequeath unto my Son William Brewer that parcel of Land whereon he now Dwelleth beginning at the branch on this side of his house and w on the South side thereof to him & his heirs forever."

"I Devise and bequeath unto my son Oliver Brewer all the rest of this Tract of Land where on I now Dwell to him and his heirs forever."

"I give Devise and bequeath unto my son Henry Brewer all that Tract of Land between Fountain Creek and Rattle Snake Creek to him and his heirs forever."

"I give Devise and bequeath unto my son Nathaniel Brewer two hundred and fifty acres of Land lying on both sides of the old Roanoak Road to him and his heirs forever."

"I give Devise and bequeath unto my Daughter Sarah Vick one hundred and fifty acres of Land lying on both sides of the old Roanoak Road aforesaid to her and the heirs of her body forever."

"I give and bequeath unto Alice* my Dearly beloved wife this Estate whereon we now Dwell together with all my household goods and Stock both within Doors and without Doors for the maintainance of all my Younger Children that it hath pleased God to give me by her during her Life or until she marry again."

"I give unto my son Lanier Brewer a young steer." **

"I give unto my son George Brewer a young steer."

"I give unto my son Nicholas Brewer a cow and calf."

"I give unto my son John Brewer a cow and calf."

"I give unto my son Howl Brewer a young horse that we call Snip and Feathers to make him a bed."

"I give unto my son Henry Brewer a young horse that we call Patrick and a gunn."

"I give unto my son Oliver Brewer a gunn."

"I give unto my son Nathaniel Brewer a gunn."

"It is my true will intent and pleasure that when my wife die or marry again that my personal estate together with all my household goods and stock both within Doors and without Doors maybe equally divided among my younger children that hath pleased God to give me by her."

"And Lastly I do hereby Constitute make and ordain my Dearly beloved wife Alice my Exctx and my son Hoel Brewer my Excor of this my Last will and Testament..."

After revoking any and all previous wills, George Brewer signs with his mark, a G. The witnesses are recorded as Duglas Powell, ?? (possibly Wm or Mr) Shaw, John Norwood.

The will was presented to the Court held at Brunswick County on "2d day of Augt 1744," by Alice Brewer and Howell Brewer the Executors.

*It should be noted that the handwriting in the original the letters l and d, when in small case are stunted (for lack of a better word). The letter, l, in particular can be mistaken for the letter, r (ex: Alice has been transcribed as "Arice" by others).

**the last word "steer" is not at all clear but it is what has been transcribed in earlier accounts, so we will continue with until it is demonstrated to have been something else.

A description of George Brewer's family and an analysis of his Will, will be undertaken in a forthcoming post.

George Brewer's Will (image 1)

George Brewer's Will (image 2)

George Brewer's Will (image 3)

George Brewer's Will (image 4)
A great deal of thanks goes out to Diane Daniel for providing the photocopies of the original will. The original pages are large, seventeen inches long and about ten inches wide. There were two original pages. To accommodate scanning such large pages on a scanner with a "normal" bed (11" x 8 1/2") each page was divided into two. From two original pages we have four scanned images and there is a slight overlap between the first and second images and between the third and fourth images.

Correction: Dec. 17, 2014, Third paragraph, sixth line, "Lawrenceville, North Carolina" in original post corrected to Lawrenceville, Virginia.

1 comment:

  1. Chris, thanks for posting but please correct location of Lawrenceville. It is in Brunswick County, Virginia, not North Carolina.

    Diane

    ReplyDelete

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