Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

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

Part IV of this series of posts covers the five volumes that make up the Second Series of Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey. See Part I for some background. See Parts II and III for mentions of persons named Brouwer, Brower, Brewer and Bruere in volumes that comprise the First Series. Each of the five volumes in the Second Series covers Extracts from American Newspapers. They were published between 1901 and 1917 under the direction of four different editors. Again, quick links to digital versions of all of the volumes can be found here.

Second Series, Volume 1, 1776-1777, does not contain any mention of any person named Brouwer, Brower, Brewer or Bruere.

Second Series, Volume 2, 1778, page 32 has a story from the Weekly Mercury, February 2, 1778. It is during the period of time of heightened hostilities in the Hackensack Valley region during the American Revolutionary War between Loyalists and Patriots. It tells of Mr. John Richards, of New Barbadoes, who was "taken near Bergen by two armed Men, and on the Road between that and the three Pigeons, was shot dead by one of them." The report goes on to state that "The Names of the Monsters who perpetrated this horrid Tragedy, are Brower and Le Sheair, the former shot him dead." A footnote informs us that "Le Sheair" is Lozier. Then at page 47, dateline New York, February 9, "Brower the Person who last week murdered Mr. John Richards, of New Barbadoes Neck, has, from the admirable Measures concerted for that Purpose, been secured, and was on Thursday Afternoon lodged in the Custody of the Provost Guard." Brower was apprehended by four persons, names not stated, described as "loyal Persons." The report includes an announcement that a collection has been set up to reward the four. This is in the New York Gazette and Weekly Mercury, February 9, 1778. In the following report (pages 47-48) we learn that "Brower," is Abraham Brower, and "Le Sheair" is John Leshier (Lozier). The story of just what transpired between the parties that resulted in the killing of John Richards is elaborated upon. From this, I take it that Abraham Brower and John Leshier were patriots, under the command of Major Goetschius*. They attempted to apprehend John Richards, (presumably) a loyalist, to take him in for examination. With John Richard was his "negro man," and the two attempted an escape in which they secured Leshier's musket and, in the mind of Leshier, "thought to kill him." Brower coming to Leshier's aid, shot Richard when Richard had attempted to seize him.

At page 385, "Whereas Inquisitions were found the 12th day of June, 1778, against the following absconding persons, now with the enemy, viz..." followed by a long list of names, most of whom have "English" names but a few are "non-English" including a Jacob Brower. Other non-English names include John Van Waggoner, Garrabrant Garrabrants, jun., Garret Wonters (sic, probably Wouters), Peter Clopper, Abraham Van Geison and Derick Schuyler. I recognize some Westchester County, New York names among the "English," including a number of Ogdens and a couple of Wards. Those on the list are ordered to appear at the next Court of Quarter Sessions to be held in and for the county of Essex. The signing Commissioners are Joseph Hedden, jun., Samuel Hayse, and Thomas Canfield, dated July 22, 1778. This, along with a couple of other similar announcements were published in the New Jersey Gazette, vol. 1, no. 38, August 26, 1778. Those on the list being asked to appear before the "Commissioners" would have been patriots turned loyalist.

At page 536 is a "Notice" to persons having a claim, interest or demand against a list of men, many of whom appear on the list at page 385 (above) including Jacob Brower. Claimants are to appear in Newark, before the 9th day of January next." It is dated November 9, 1778 and signed by the same Commissioners of Essex County mentioned above. This was published in the New Jersey Gazette, vol. 50 (sic, probably vol. 1, no. 50), November 18, 1778 (see page 545).

At page 587 is a public notice to "all persons who have in their custody or power, any goods or chattels, bonds, bills, mortgages...or who are indebted to the following fugitives and offenders, now with the enemy, viz..." Again, this is largely the same list (although there are other names as well) as found on pages 385 and 536, and includes Jacob Brower. It is signed by the same Commissioners and dated December 9, 1778, Essex County. Published in the New Jersey Gazette, vol. 1, no. 54, December 16, 1778.

Identifying the above men named Abraham Brower and Jacob Brower is rather difficult and would involve some guess work. There are quite a few different men of both names who were alive in the greater New York City area (here I am referring to northern New Jersey, and Westchester, Dutchess and Orange Counties, New York, as well as Kings County on Long Island) during the time of the American Revolutionary War. I have some ideas, but assigning these events to any specific individuals would be speculative at best.

Second Series, Volume 3, 1779. At pages 327-328 is yet another notice to persons having demands against those persons found in the lists above (Vol. 2, pp. 385, 536, 587). Included here is Jacob Brower (page 327) who is joined by a new name, Peter Brower (page 328). Signed by the same Commissioners and dated April 29, 1779, State of New Jersey, Essex County. Published in the New Jersey Gazette, Vol. 2, no. 74, May 5, 1779.

At page 588, "Monday last Peter Brewer, of Allentown, died, being upwards of 100 years of age." This was published in the New Jersey Gazette, Vol. 2, no. 88, September 1, 1779. This "Peter Brewer," is Peter Bruere, who according to another source died July 9, 1779 and is buried at Allentown in Monmouth County. One published genealogy states that Peter Bruere was born 10 August 1697 which if correct would suggest he was closer to 80 years and not at all near 100 years of age when he died. See Burt, Mary Emma and Robert Eugene Burt. Jacque Bruyere, A French Huguenot and Descendants (Baltimore, MD: Gateway Press, Inc., 1997), page 4.

Second Series, Volume 4, Nov. 1, 1779 - Sept. 30, 1780. At page 252, a "List of Prisoners brought to this City last Thursday Night by the Parties that were lately at Paramus and Hackinsack, in New Jersey, under the Command of Col. Howard, of the Guards, and Lieut. Col. M'Pherson, of the 42nd Regiment." The listed prisoners include William Brower and Jacobus Brower. This was published in The New York Gazette and the Weekly Mercury, no. 1484, March 27, 1780.

At page 598, "DEATHS. In Essex county: The Hon. Stephen Crane**, Esq. Member of the Legislative Council for that county. At New York: Mr. Walter Franklin, Mr. Elphinstone, the Hon. Joseph Manton, jun. Esq. Mr. Booth, Mr. Dav. Devoor, and Mr. Peter Brower. We hear that the inhabitants of New York are very sickly." Published in the New Jersey Gazette, Vol. 3, no. 139, August 23, 1780. This is Pieter Brouwer, son of Jacob Brouwer and Annatje Bogardus, who is said to have been born 29 March 1699 at Gowanus (no record of baptism survives). He was married first to Elizabeth Quackenbosch (1721, eleven children), second to Catharina Thong (1750, no children) and third to Sara Kip (1751, no children). He died on 10 August 1780, in New York City. He is a grandson of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, Long Island.

Second Series, Volume 5, October 1780 - July 1782. At page 167, from the New Jersey Gazette, Vol. 4, no. 158, January 3, 1781. At the Courts of Oyer and Terminer and General Goal Delivery held at Freehold, in the county of Monmouth... follows is a list of convictions including two convicted of murder. Hendrick Brewer, was in a list of persons "severally convicted of misdemeanors." I can only suggest that this is Hendrick, son of Jan Brouwer and Helena Van Cleef who was baptized on 25 December 1735 at Freehold-Middletown. He was married to Abigail Hunt (nine children), they lived at Middletown, and he died on 12 February 1802. He was a great-grandson of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, Long Island.

*Major John Mauritius Goetschius, of the New Jersey Militia.

**Hon. Stephen Crane (1709-1780) of New Jersey. The footnote in Vol. 4, p. 598 states that Stephen Crane was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, but apparently he was not.

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