Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey (Part II)

In this post, we will point out the mentions of persons named Brewer, Brower, Brouwer, and Bruere, found in the remaining 33 volumes of Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey. That is, mentions found in the volumes other than the thirteen volumes (23, 30, 32-42) that pertain to wills and administrations, and volume 22, which is dedicated to marriage records. For those volumes, see Part I.

Volume 11, Extracts from American Newspapers..., pages 571-72, from The Boston Weekly Post-Boy, June 11, 1739. "Last Week a young Woman, the Daughter of Adolph Brower, of Hackensuck was bit in three different Places by a Rattle-Snake, as she was gathering Straw berries; the injected Venom operated so speedy that she dies in a few Hours." The editor's footnote tells us that this was "Doubtless Femmetje, daughter of Adolf Brouwer and Jannetie Verdon, baptized in the Hackensack church 1 December 1723." This suggestion is undoubtedly incorrect, as this Femmetje Brouwer was married to John Henry Gesner in 1744 by the Lutheran minister in New York City. This couple had ten children, lived at or near Tappan, New York, where Femmetje died in 1788. William J. Hoffman in his series, "Brouwer Beginnings" (TAG 24 [1945]: 169, assigns this incident to Adolf and Jannetie's youngest daughter, Leah, who was baptized 11 February 1739 at the Schraalenburgh church. The problem here is that Leah would have been about four months old when she was bitten by the rattlesnake, while the newspaper extract describes the victim as a "young Woman," which would imply someone over the age of 14, but not yet married. Adolf and Jannetie's other known daughters, Jannetje (baptized 1719), Maria (1726) and Rachel (1732) all lived into adulthood and married. Either the newspaper report was in error in the description of Adlof's daughter, or Adolf and Jannetie had another daughter, likely born prior to 1725, who has not been identified. It is noted that there is a five year gap between the birth of Adolf's first child Nicholas (born 11 June 1714 as per a Bible record, but no baptism record found) and his second child, Jannetje (baptized 18 May 1719 at the Breuckelen church). It is conceivable that Adolf and Jannetie had a daughter born between 1715 and 1719, at Brooklyn where the couple first lived, but whose baptism record has not survived, and whose name has not survived as she died prior to being married. The Brooklyn church records are notoriously thin between 1700 and 1719, and are lost for the years after 1719.

In volume 12, Extracts from American Newspapers..., page 135 is an account of Adolph Brower (the same as above) being struck by lightning. It is from The Boston Evening-Post, July 19, 1742, dateline New York, July 12. "From Hackensack we hear that the House of Adolph Brower was struck with Lightning, himself and a Negro Man were struck, who died immediately; with much ado his Corps (sic), and some of the Household Goods were saved from the Flames but the negro was consumed." (I'm assuming that "Corps" is an error for crops). So, Adolph lost a daughter to a rattlesnake bite, and he himself was struck by lightning. The Adolph of this newspaper account and the one above, was Adolphus Brouwer, baptized as Adam on 15 October 1693 at Breuckelen, the son of Nicholas Brouwer and Jannetje Caljer. He is a grandson of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, Long Island.

In volume 15, Journal of the Governor and Council, 1738-1748, page 564, is the Affidavit of Isaac Brower, William Ramsay and Conrad Fredericks, "concerning Mrs Valleau and others threatening to Turn Edward Jeffers out of possession at Romopock," dated 20 August 1746. This is no. 22 in a list of "the Papers laid before the House of Assembly by His Excellency in August last and which were sent to this House from the House of Assembly be Entered in the Minutes of this House and that the said Papers be referred to the Committee appointed by this House to Confer with the Committee of the House of Assembly." The Isaac Brower of this affidavit would of had to have been an adult in 1746, and the only Isaac Brower known of who meets that requirement would be the Isaac, baptized 5 April 1703 at Bergen, New Jersey, son of Uldrick Brouwer and his first wife Hester de Voe. Isaac would then be a grandson of Pieter Brouwer, and a great-grandson of Adam Brouwer.

In volume 16, Journal of the Governor and Council, 1748-1755, at pages 120, 125 and 148, is found Peter Bruere, spelled Bruier. Beginning at the bottom of page 119 and continuing on to 120 is a "Bill Entitled, An Act for Naturalizing Peter Schmuck, Philip Marot And Peter Bruier." The date is March 7th 1748. The bill was read and a second reading was ordered. The second reading (March 8th 1748) is found on page 125. On (I believe) March 28th 1749, the "Act for Naturalizing Peter Schmuck, Philip Marot and Peter Bruier," was approved (page 148). Peter Bruere and his descendants are found in Upper Freehold, Monmouth County, New Jersey. Their surname is sometimes rendered in records as Brewer.

In volume 19, Extracts from American Newspapers..., page 428 is a "List of Letters in the Post-Office at Trenton, September 28, 1754." Appearing on this list is "William Brower, Riddentown." The list was published in The Pennsylvania Gazette, October 17, 1754. "Riddentown" would be Readington, New Jersey (see this excerpt from The Geographical and Historical Dictionary of America and the West Indies, Vol. IV (1818), page 313, bottom right). This William Brower is undoubtedly a descendant of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, L. I. He may be the William baptized 25 June 1727 at the Raritan Reformed Church, son of Hendrick Brouwer and Marritje. He may then be the William Brouwer who married Margaret Van Sickle with a license of 30 September 1748 at Hunterdon County. They had two children (Catharine and William) baptized at Readington in 1748 and 1752.

In volume 20, Extracts from American Newspapers..., page 72, "Twenty-five Pounds Reward," for anyone "that takes up and secures" two men, one named John Pattison, and the other Edward Brewer, who is described as, "a house-carpenter by trade, born in Ireland, pock-fretten, well-set, has black eyes, about 5 feet 4 inches high..." The reward is offered by William Kelly. If I am not mistaken, I believe this ran with other solicitations in The New York Mercury, October 11, 1756.
At page 103, "A List of Letters that remain in the Post-Office in Philadelphia." Included here is "Hannah Brewer, Jersey." This in The Pennsylvania Gazette, April 7, 1757. Whether or not this is a single woman, or a married woman named Hannah Brewer, is not certain, which in turn makes identification difficult.
At page 128, "Ten Pounds, Reward," for Jonathan Dudley, who escaped from the Somerset County goal (jail). The reward is offered by Robert Stockton, sheriff, to whoever brings Dudley safely to "Samuel Brewer, goaler, at the court-house" in Somerset County. This ran in The New York Mercury, August 22, 1757. The Samuel Brewer here is very likely the Samuel Brewer who was listed as a Freeholder in the Western Precinct of Somerset County in 1753. It appears that he had a wife named Maregrita (Margaret) and two daughters baptized at Raritan in 1732 and 1735, both named Annetie. While this Samuel Brewer's ancestry is not at all certain, a possibility is that Samuel is the Samuel, baptized 25 August 1706 at Breuckelen, son of William Brouwer and Martha Boulton (and so a grandson of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, L. I.). It is also possible that Samuel is a son of Derck Brouwer and Hannah Daws (therefore a grandson of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, L. I.), but I think this placement is less likely.

For more on those named above, and for source citations, please refer to the Brouwer Genealogy Database website, and use the index to locate individuals.

This set of posts covering Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey, will continue with Part III.

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