Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Nathaniel Brewer of Chatham County, North Carolina, Part I

Nathaniel2 Brewer (George1) was named by his father in his will of 13 July 1741. Nathaniel was given two hundred and fifty acres of land lying on both sides of the old Roanoak Road. He also received a gun. Nathaniel Brewer is covered by Martin T. Broyhill in his "working draft", Brewer Families of Colonial Virginia, 1626-1776, (1992), at page 101, number G4. Broyhill assumes that Nathaniel is his father's fourth son and guesses at his birth date as "1710??" He suggests that his wife's surname may have been Davis. He also assigns three sons to Nathaniel, namely Nathaniel, Jr., Daniel and Zion. Broyhill adds some confusion to his account of Nathaniel by including some records that belong to a Nathan Brewer. It is important to remember, Nathan and Nathaniel are two different and distinct names. Foy E. Varner, Jr., Brewer Families of Southeast America, (2003), covers Nathaniel beginning at page 322.

Nathaniel Brewer was not the fourth son of George Brewer as suggested by Broyhill. He most probably was the youngest son, and was a son of George Brewer's second wife, Alice (___). Nathaniel Brewer was most likely born about 1730, give or take a few years on either side. The first record found for Nathaniel is dated 11 Feb 1773, a deed in Chatham County, whereby Nathaniel Brewer of Chatham County, sold 100 acres and some animals and household articles, to satisfy a debt owed to an outfit called Richard Kennon & Co. Nathaniel signed this deed with his mark, "N". To put this into perspective, this first record of Nathaniel appears over ten years after the earliest record belonging to any other son of George Brewer is seen. That record being the 1762 grant in which Oliver Brewer acquired 700 acres in Chatham County. It also appears over twenty years after the last confirmed record for Nathaniel's brother, Lanier Brewer, is seen, that being a 1752 attachment in Brunswick Co., Virginia by Charles Collier against the estate of Lanier Brewer who had left the county. It is difficult to see how Nathaniel can be anything other than the youngest son of George Brewer. He was certainly born after most, if not all, of his older half-brothers had already reached adulthood.

Nathaniel Brewer's sons Daniel (confirmed) and Zion (suspected) are covered first. Nathaniel's son and namesake, Nathaniel3 Brewer (Nathaniel2, George1) will follow. The earlier research conducted by Broyhill (1992), and by Ben R. Brewer (Long Brewer Line, 1993), and commented on by Varner (2003), was incomplete, and was missing a critical piece of information. The Nathaniels will require more explanation, and so will be considered last.

Nathaniel Brewer's son, Daniel, is established by a deed dated 5 August 1774, in which Elnathan Davis of Chatham County sold to Daniel Brewer of the same, fifty acres, in Chatham County, on Dry Creek, whereon "Nathaniel Brewer, father of said Daniel Brewer, now lives." Daniel Brewer was apparently only a year or two old at this time, as indicated by later records. It has been conjectured (Broyhill, p. 101; Varner, p. 323) that Elnathan Davis was a grandfather of Daniel Brewer. If this was the case, then perhaps Nathaniel Brewer was living on his father-in-law's land, and for whatever reason, his father-in-law wished that the land not go to Nathaniel, his son-in-law, but rather to his grandson, Daniel Brewer. This is certainly possible, but research into Elnathan Davis and his family would have to be done before a picture of his relationship to Nathaniel and Daniel Brewer can become clear.* In a deed dated 26 Jan 1788, Nathaniel Brewer of Chatham Co., sold to Henry Lutterlok, merchant of the same place, the fifty acres purchased in the 1774 deed. In this second deed, Daniel Brewer is called "now an infant of fifteen years or thereabouts." Nathaniel Brewer signs with his mark, this time, an "X". It appears that Daniel Brewer was born about 1773. In a deed dated 1 August 1793, Daniel Brewer of Chatham County, planter, conveyed to the same Henry Lutterlok, the same property his father, Nathaniel Brewer, had conveyed in 1788. In 1793, Daniel was apparently now of legal age (over 21) and this deed simply confirms the deed his father made in 1788 when Daniel was still a minor. Nathaniel Brewer was a witness to this deed, signed with an "X" and proved the deed in the August 1793 court session. Daniel Brewer is not found as a head of household on the 1790 U.S. census, and he would not expected to be found as one. In 1800 he is found as a head, in the Hillsborough District, Chatham County, North Carolina with a household of  1 male under 10, 1 male 16-25, 1 female 16-25. Daniel Brewer is not found in Chatham County in a search of the 1810 U.S. census. In fact, in a nationwide search of the 1810 census, there are no heads named Daniel Brewer found in any southern state, although a large number of returns from 1810, especially in the south, are lost. He is not found in a cursory search of the North Carolina Estate Files. To date, no participant in the Brewer DNA Project has claimed a descent from Daniel Brewer, and therefore no further research will be conducted at this time. I suspect, however, that Daniel Brewer left descendants.

 Zion Brewer is suggested as a possible son by Broyhill (1992), page 102 (No. G-43). His birth date is guessed at as "1778??" and it will be shown that this guess by Broyhill was pretty close. Proof that Zion is certainly a son of  Nathaniel2 Brewer (George1) comes up short. Zion Brewer is not found as a head on the 1790 census, and he would not expected to be as he was only about age 16. He is also not found as a head of household on the 1800 census. On 12 January 1801, Zion (Sion) Brewer witnessed a deed whereby Nathan Shugart of Chatham Co. conveyed to Nathaniel Brewer, Jr., of the same place, land in Chatham Co. "Brewers Corner," was mentioned as one of the bounding properties. "Abram Cook's line," is also mentioned. On 2 March 1802, Zion Brewer, of Chatham Co., conveyed to Abraham Cook, for 57 silver dollars, land "in Chatham lying on the North side of Dry Cr waters of Haw River, beginning at Powells corner...Abraham Cooks line...land entered 14 Jan 1797 by Zion Brewer" (Broyhill's abstract in Part II [1996], p. 96). Henry Brewer, signing with an "X", witnessed this deed. In 1805, Zion Brewer is found on the tax roll in Grainger County, Tennessee. Grainger Co. is in northeast Tennessee and was formed in 1796 out of Knox and Hawkins Counties. Zion has not been found on the 1810 census, but much of the returns from Tennessee are lost for that year. He is also not found in 1820, but again, all of eastern Tennessee is lost for that census year. Although not (as of this writing) found in 1830, Zion Brewer is found in 1840, in Greene County, Indiana, with a household of 1 free white male under 5, 2 f.w. males 20-29, 1 f.w. male 50-59, 2 f.w. females 20-29, 1 f.w. female 30-39, 1 f.w. female 60-69, 3 persons employed in agriculture. On 12 October 1850, Zion Brewer, age 77, born in North Carolina, is enumerated in District 40, Greene County, Indiana. In the household is Polly (perhaps Patty) Brewer, age 77, born in North Carolina, presumably his wife. They are enumerated between the households of Sarah Brewer, age 50, born in North Carolina, a widow, with a family, and Harlan Brewer, age 35, born in Kentucky, with a family. In 1860, Zion Brewer, age 87, born in North Carolina, is in Highland, Greene Co., Indiana, with Mary Brewer, age given as 82, born in North Carolina. Zion likely died during the decade of the 1860s, and is buried in Calvertville, Greene Co., Indiana. The gravestone gives Zion's birth date as 12 June 1774. A later Zion Brewer (1842-1927) is also buried in Calvertville, although in a different cemetery. There is a Zion Brewer who died in Christian Co., Kentucky on 24 September 1854, age 36 (b. ca. 1818), his parents are recorded as Phillip and Mariah Brewer. He had married Margaret Long on 16 August 1839 in Christian County. I have also noticed numerous records for men named Phillip Z. Brewer and later, William Z. Brewer in Nelson County, Kentucky records. There is not the time to follow up on them now, but I suspect that a diligent researcher should have no trouble compiling a record of descendants of Zion Brewer. Perhaps a descendant can be found who is interested in joining the Brewer DNA Project.

As stated above, Zion Brewer has not been confirmed as a son of Nathaniel2 Brewer (George1). The two deeds in Chatham Co., North Carolina, in which he appears, indicate that he could be, but are not conclusive. He may have been a son of Nathaniel, but he may also have been a cousin, although not a son of Henry2 or Oliver2 Brewer, both of Chatham County. Zion may also have been a grandson of Nathaniel2 Brewer. In the following post we will consider the Nathaniel Brewers of Chatham County.

*A cursory internet search finds that Elnathan Davis (1739-1821) was a Baptist minister in the Haw River area before establishing a church in Pickens Co., South Carolina. I suspect that those interested in reconstructing the family of Elnathan Davis will, with some effort, be successful.



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