Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Dongan Papers, 1683-1688, Part 2

The Dongan Papers, 1683-1688, Part 2, Files of the Provincial Secretary of New York During the Administration of Governor Thomas Dongan, edited by Peter R. Christoph, was published by Syracuse University Press in 1996. There is no digital version of the book available online. Physical copies can be found for sale through the usual online booksellers. The Dongan Papers, 1683-1688 Part I: Admiralty Court and Other Records of the Administration of New York Governor, also edited by Peter R. Christoph was published in 1993. I have not had access to this volume. There is no digital edition. Physical copies can be purchased online.

It is recommended that you read the introduction. It provides background on the structure of the colony and on the political situation during the period of Governor Dongan. For example, with the arrival of Gov. Dongan, New York's jurisdiction over New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware was ended. However, Pemaquid (Maine), Nantucket, Martha's Vinyard and the Elizabeth Isles, were under New York jurisdiction. Also, I was previously unaware that there was a "large Roman Catholic minority, which for the first time would be served openly..." in New York during these years. The Dongan Papers, 1683-1688 covers Volume 35 of O'Callaghan's, New York Historical Manuscripts.

 The first entry, found on page 3, is an "Indictment against Arian Ryersen of Flatbush, and Aras Jansz, Rine Aranse, Joseph Hegemans and Cornelius Barnse for Breaking into the house of Peter Brewer." The indictment states that on 17 September 1687, "by Force and armes att Flatbush in the County aforesaid riotously routously and Unlawfully assembled themselves to the disturbance of the peace of our lord the King and that the said Arian Ryersen together with Aras Janse Rine Aranse Joseph Hegeman Cornelius Barnse a certain house of one Peeter Brewer by Force and armes then and there broake and destroyed to the grievous damage of the said Peeter Brewer against the peace of our said lord the King and to the evill Example of others of the Subjects of our lord the King in the like kind." It is signed Billa vera (the bill is true, i.e. provable evidence has been given) by Koert Stevensen, Witnesses: Peeter Brewer. The Peter Brewer in this record is most likely the son of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands. Although the indictment reads, "att Flatbush," and if this was intended for the location of the break in, it may be an error for Flatlands as Peter Brouwer took the Oath of Allegiance in late September 1687 at Flatlands. However, Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, also had a son named Peter, and he is found taking the same Oath of Allegiance at Breucklin (see below). There are no men named Brouwer or Brewer taking the Oath at Flatbush in September 1687. Court Stevensz Van Voorhuys (the Koert Stevensen who presented the evidence) took the Oath at Flatlands. [A]driaen Reyersz (Arian Ryersen in the indictment), Aris Vanderbilt (Aras Jansz), Reynier Aertsen (Rine Aranse), Cornelis barensz van Wyck (Cornelius Barnse), and Joseph Hegeman took the Oath at Flatbush (see pages 106-107). The fact that it is Koert Stevensen, a resident of Flatlands, who is presenting the evidence, suggests that the incident took place at Flatlands and not at Breuckelen.

All of the other mentions of persons named Brouwer in this volume are found on two lists. The first, a "List of persons taking the Oath of Allegiance in Kings County," spans pages 106 to 114. This list is also found in O'Callaghan's Documentary History of the State of New York, Volume I (1850), beginning at page 659, and titled "The Roll." O'Callaghan's version has also been reproduced in Lists of Inhabitants of Colonial New York, Excerpted from The Documentary History of the State of New York (Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc, 2007). This list, or roll, is particularly valuable in that it states whether each of those taking the oath were "native" meaning born in America, or if not, how long they had lived here. There is a difference in the two versions here in the editions published (first) by O'Callaghan and (later) by Christoph. Looking at the very first entry on the roll as transcribed by O'Callaghan (1850), he writes, "Willem Jacobs Van boerum was in this country 38 Jeare." Christoph (1996) writes this as,"Willem Jacobs Van boerum was in this county 38 Jeare." So, the question is: were the oath takers in the country (meaning America), or just in the county (meaning Kings Co., L. I.) for the period of time stated? I tend to think that country is the correct interpretation, meaning that these persons were born overseas, most probably in Europe, while those labeled "native" were born in America, possibly but not necessarily in Kings County. It should also be noted that only non-English persons were required to take this oath. All of those taking the oath were of Dutch, German, French, Scandinavian, and possibly a few other, non-English ethnicity.

The Oath of Allegiance in Kings County is organized by towns. The towns at that time were Flatbush (Flathbush by Christoph and fflackbush by O'Callaghan), Brooklyn (Breucklin by Christoph and Breucklijn by O'Callaghan), New Utrecht (New Uytrecht by Christoph and New Uijtrecht by O'Callaghan), Bushwick (boswycke by Christoph and Boswijck by O'Callaghan), Flatlands (Flackland by Christoph and fflackland by O'Callaghan), and Gravesend (GravesEnd by Christoph and gravens End by O'Callaghan). Brouwers are found in two towns - Brooklyn and Flatlands.

In Brooklyn (pages 108-9) are Adam Brouwer, 45 Jeare (years in the country); Jacob Brouwer, native; Adam Brouwer Junior, native; Pieter Brouwer (native), Abram Brouwer (native), all sons of Adam Brouwer. Also in Brooklyn are Ephraim Hendrickx (son-in-law of Adam Brouwer), Matthys Cornelissen (future son-in-law of Adam Brouwer) and Josias Dreths (son-in-law of Adam Brouwer).

In Flatlands (pages 112-13) are Jan Brouwer, 30 Jeare (years in the country); Dirck Brouwer, native; Pieter Brouwer, native; Hendrick Brouwer, native, all sons of Jan Brouwer; and Theunis Jansz van Amach (son-in-law of Jan Brouwer).

At pages 160-61 is a list of persons who took the Oath of Allegiance on 26 September 1687 in Orange County (which at that time included present day Rockland County, New York). On this list is Matthis Brower. It has to be assumed that this is Matthys Brouwer, son of Adam Brouwer who was baptized in 1649. A bit later on Matthys Brouwer is associated with the Old Dutch Church at Sleepy Hollow (Tarrytown, Westchester Co., New York), which would be on the opposite side of the Hudson River from Orange County.*

The "Valuation of Breuckelen Taken 26 Sept 1683" begins at page 304. This is a rate list, or tax roll, and it is also found the volumes by O'Callaghan mentioned above. On page 305 is Jacob Brouwer. Mattys Brouwer is on page 306. Both are sons of Adam Brouwer who is found on page 307. From this list and the oath of 1687, we can see that Matthys Brouwer was in Breuckelen in 1683, and had relocated to Orange County by September 1687. Jesies Dregz (Josias Dreths above) and Evert Hendrickse (Ephraim Hendrickx above) are both on page 308. Mattys Cornelissen is not found on this list.

The "Rate List of Amesfort 25 September 1683" begins at page 311. "Amesfort" is Amersfoort, which was another name for Flatlands. Amersfoort and Flatlands are the same town. At page 312 is Jan Brouwer, with "2 men, 2 horses, 4 cows, 1 ox, 1 of 1 year and 2 morg(ens) of land." One morgen (a Dutch unit for measuring area) equals roughly two acres. "Of 1 year," means a one year old cow, which because she will soon be able to breed, is more valuable than a "cow" which is over the age of three, or an "ox" which is cattle, usually a castrated bull trained and used for draft work. Also on this list (page 313) is "Teunis Jansen; 1 man." He most likely Theunis Jansz van Amach, listed above in 1687, the son-in-law of Jan Brouwer. He has no rate-able assets and is listed along with Pieter Nefyes and Pieter Tul, under Willem Gerrits who has "2 men, 5 horses, 2 of 1 year, 9 cows, and 8 of 3 years, and 4 of 2 years, and 5 of 1 year, and 30 morg. land." Willem Gerrits was among the more wealthy (for lack of better word, wealthy being relative to others around him) men in Amersfoort, and it may be that Teunis Jansen, Pieter Nefyes and Pieter Tul were employed by and lived on Willem Gerrits' property. None of Jan Brouwer's sons are identified on this list. Jan Brouwer's son, Dirck, would have had the patronymic "Dirck Jansen," and there are two men by that name, Dirck Jansen, one found in Breuckelen and the other in Amersfoort. However, I doubt either is Jan Brouwer's son, Dirck. The Dirck Jansen in Breuckelen is most probably Dirck Jansen Woertman, who took the oath of allegiance at Breuckelen in 1687. The Dirck Jansen in Amersfoort is most probably Dirck Jansen Ammerman who took the oath of allegiance at Flatlands in 1687. Both of these men were considerably older than Dirck Brouwer, and the assessments for each would be in line with the age difference.

*Tarrytown is on the east side of the Hudson River, opposite Rockland County which is on the west side. Rockland County was formed out of Orange County in 1798.

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