Dutchess County, New York, one of the twelve original counties of New York was formed in 1683. For a time Dutchess County was annexed to Ulster County and some records up to 1713 may be found in Ulster County. In 1812, the southern part of Dutchess County was set off as Putnam County. Prior to 1812 Dutchess County bordered the north boundary of Westchester County. Genealogical research in Dutchess County during the colonial period can be difficult. This is due to a number of reasons including gaps in the records of the then existent churches, a low rate of land ownership among those who lived in the county (most were tenant farmers) and a lack of burial records and surviving grave markers. Wills and other probate records help to fill in some gaps. During the colonial period, most wills written by residents of Dutchess County, were probated and/or filed in either New York County or at Albany, and some may be found in Ulster County. Once the State of New York was formed (after the Independence of the United States) the recording and filing of wills and other probate records were handled by the Surrogate's Court within each county.
An index for Dutchess County Wills can be found at FamilySearch.org in their "New York Probate Records, 1629-1971" collection. This link will take you to the first page of entries that begin with the letter B. The entries are arranged by year and then in the order of how they appear in the will books. Essentially, they are in a chronological order. They are not alphabetized, so one has to scan through each page looking for a name of interest. Here are the BROWERs and BREWERs. The will books for Dutchess County begin in the year 1787. The format used below is Name-Year-Book:Page followed by a brief abstract. Please don't simply rely on the abstract, consult the original. The link takes you to the will. Please note that the first ten pages of this index, beginning with image 6, and ending with image 16, lists the wills of Dutchess County residents that were filed in Albany. These wills pre-date 1787. The pages for this list are not collated alphabetically. Included in this list is the 1780 will of William Brower, which is not included below.
Cornelius Brewer - 1805 - B:575. Dated 8 February 1805. Cornelius Brewer of Poughkeepsie being in good health and perfect memory. Eldest son Nazareth. My sons Nazareth Brewer, John Brewer, Cornelius Brewer, Charles Brewer and Jacob Brewer. The heirs of the body of my daughter Elizabeth, deceased. My daughters Mary, Ann and Sarah. Debts owed by Ferdinand Van Sicklen to be taken out of the share of the heirs of daughter Elizabeth. Mentions his daughter's husbands, Bernardus Swartwout, Andrew Lawson and Samuel Pinkney, Junr. Appoints sons Nazareth and John Brewer as executors. No mention of a wife. Proved 23 October 1805.
Garret Brower - 1812 - D:100. Dated 3 March 1812. Garret Brower of Fishkill, weak in body but of sound mind and memory. Son Henry, three acres of land on the east end of my farm...when he is of lawful age. Property for the use of my wife Mary so that she may educate my children (not named). Mentions "all my children," but not by name and implies that they are under age. Catherine Chatterton "the woman who is living in my family," to be provided for, for life, out of my estate. Appoints as executors his wife Mary Brower, brother William Brower and Theodorus W. Van Wyck. Proved 2 June 1812.
Nazareth Brewer - 1815 - E:347. Also see the post of November 3, 2011. Dated 5 August 1817. Nazareth Brewer of Poughkeepsie. Mentions "my wife Deborah and my children under age." One hundred dollars for Nazareth Taylor son of John Taylor when he comes of age. Remainder of estate to be equally divided among wife Deborah and children viz: John, Charles, Henry, William, Philip Van Cortlandt, Robert, James, Jane, Mary, Elizabeth, Harriet and Sally. Executors: James Dearin, Samuel Luckey, Junr., and Samuel Bogardus. Proved 19 November 1817. [Note: Nazareth Brewer was married three times and had fifteen children].
Susan Brower - 1850 - Q:383. Dated 11 November 1846. Susan Brower of Fishkill, being of sound mind and memory. Household furniture to my two daughters, Letty wife of John L. Tanner, and Susan Eliza wife of William Brewster. Three sons, Abraham, Joseph and Sylvester, the sum of fifty dollars. Three grandchildren, Susan Louisa Brower, Cornelia Brower and William Brower, the children of my son William Brower, deceased, the sum of twenty dollars. Residue to above named daughters Letty and Susan Eliza. Executor: friend William Baxter. Signs with her mark. Witnesses: Anthony Armstrong and William Baxter, both of Fishkill. Proved 23 July 1850 by Anthony Armstrong. Doctor Baxter was in California at the time. [She is Susannah Green, the wife of William Brouwer/Brower (1753-1841). The deceased son William is the William W. Brower named in the will of his brother Abraham Brower, below].
Abraham Brower - 1858 - U:487. Dated 18 April 1851. Abraham Brower of Fishkill, being of sound mind and memory. Leaves to beloved wife Jane Ann and her heirs, all debts due to her in her name. Most of his estate is left to his wife Jane Ann, but legacies are left to the "children of my brother William W. Brower deceased," named as Susan Louisa Brower, Caroline Brower and William Brower. Executor: friend Samuel H. Jones of New Hamburgh. Witnesses: Elias Brower, Charles Griffin, Junr., Joseph L. Jones, all of New Hamburgh. Probate 4 October 1860. The probate records mention Sylvester Brower and Joseph Brower, and identify Jane Ann as Jane Ann Farrington. [see Susan Brower's will above].
Mahala Brewer - 1867 - Y:135. Dated 28 December 1859. Mahala Brewer of East Fishkill, being of sound health to the body and mind. "All of my property having been made by my own earnings and savings..." Leaves legacies to Theodorus Polhemus Van Wyck of Davenport, Iowa; Rev. Polhemus Van Wyck of West Farms, Westchester Co., New York, "in consideration of my attachment to him since childhood..." then to his oldest son should he die. Mentions the children of Theodorus J. Van Wyck of Davenport, Iowa as Jacob B. Van Wyck and Maria B. Van Wyck. Brother William Brewer of Stanford, Dutchess County. Sister Betsey Tuttle, wife of Jessey Tuttle of New Paltz in Ulster County. Property otherwise not disposed of after debts are paid to be given to Hannah Maria Rapalie, wife of Lawrence Rapalie of East Fishkill (no specific relationship stated). Appoints friend T. Van Wyck Brinkinhoff of East Fishkill as sole executor. Witnesses: Abraham Adriance and Isaac C. Adriance, both of East Fishkill. Proved 23 April 1867.
James C. D. Brower - 1872 - 2:33. Dated 1 July 1871. James C. D. Brower of the Town of Fishkill, being of sound mind and memory. Names his wife Rachel Ann Brower. What is left to her is to be given to son Edgar Brower, after her decease. Mentions daughter Emmeline and "my other children" (not by name). Appoints as executors, my said wife Rachel Ann Brower of Wappingers Falls, Dutchess County, and Edmund S. Phillips of Matteawan. Witnesses Edmund S. Phillips and Rebecca Phillips of Matteawan, Dutchess Co., New York. Proved 10 October 1872.
Peter Brower - 1872 - 2:170. Dated 23 Nov 1872. Peter Brower of Poughkeepsie, aware of the uncertainty of life and being of sound mind and memory. Daughter Catharine E. Brower, six hundred dollars. Son George W. Brower, two hundred dollars. Daughter Eliza, widow of Jacob Van Horn, my family Bible to be retained by her and kept in the Brower family "thinking as I do that the older it is the more it will be prized." Son John Brower, one hundred dollars. Executor empowered to sell my house and lot on the main road heading to New Hamburgh from Wappingers Falls, with proceeds to be divided among children Catherine ($600), George ($200) and John ($100). Lawful debts and funeral expenses and the erection of a monument in the memory of my beloved wife to be paid out of estate. Remainder to be divided among my children viz: John Brower, William H. Brower, Richard M. Brower, Martin V. B. Brower, Eliza widow of Jacob Van Horn, Lottie M. wife of Roswell R. McCulla, and Susan wife of Samuel Spudling. Appoints George Delavergne of Fishkill as executor. Signs with his mark. Witnesses: John Rusk and Alonzo DeLaVergne, both of Wappingers Falls. Proved 28 February 1873.
Sarah Brower - 1893 - 12:64. Dated 6 February 1889. Sarah Brower of Wappingers Falls, being of sound mind and memory. All estate real and personal to be divided among my five children viz: Abraham S. Brower, Catharine A. Houseworth, Andrew S. Brower, Charles H. Brower and Susan E. Halstead. Appoints daughter Catharine A. Houseworth as executrix. Witnesses: James A. Redfield, James C. Turner, both of Wappingers Falls. Codicil dated 4 May 1891 regarding a debt due Sarah by her daughter Susie E. Halstead. Witnesses: George Wood, James C. Turner. Recorded 29 May 1893. Proofs recorded in Lib. 3 of "Proofs of Wills." [Note: Sarah is Sarah Lott, wife of Sylvester Brower who is a brother of the above Abraham Brower and son of the above Susan Brower].
Martin V. B. Brower - 1898 - 14:143. Dated 18 January 1898. Martin V. B. Brower of Poughkeepsie, being of sound mind and memory. One hundred dollars to be paid to Frank Gilmore the son of my deceased wife, in case of his death to be equally divided among my children. Three hundred dollars to be deposited in the Wappingers Savings Bank for Ethel Doxy, daughter of my deceased daughter Lillie M. Doxy, to be paid to her with interest when she is 21 years of age. My two sons Albert W. Brower and Henry F. Brower to receive rest and residue of estate. Aforementioned sons are appointed executors. Witnesses: Walter Farrington and John T. Vevine, both of Poughkeepsie. Recorded 21 March 1898. Proofs in Lib. 4 of Proofs of Wills.
James Brower - 1898 - 14:232. Dated May 1875. James Brower of Poughkeepsie. Personal property to wife Cordelia Brower. Empowers executors to mortgage or sell real estate. Wife Cordelia Brower to receive all rents from real estate, etc. After my wife's death all real estate to be devised to my children equally, share and share alike (children's names not recorded). Appoints wife Cordelia Brower and friend James Dearing as executors. Witnesses: Edward Crummy, Joseph P. English, David S. Alverson, all of Poughkeepsie. Recorded 5 July 1898. Proofs in Lib. 4 of Proofs of Wills.
Jeremiah C. Brower - 1899 - 14:415. Dated 23 April 1898. Jeremiah C. Brower of LaGange, being of sound mind and memory. Wife Mary E. Brower to be paid $1000 out of my estate within six months of my decease. She also to have my Singer Sewing Machine and my parlor bed furniture, in lieu of her dower. Remainder to my two sons, William H. Brower and Charles C. Brower. Executors to sell real estate at their discretion. Appoints his two sons executors. Witnesses: Edgar A. Briggs and Charles H. Hopkins, both of Poughkeepsie. Recorded 23 January 1899. Proofs in Lib. 4 of Proofs of Wills.
Caroline S. Brower - 1903 - 16:474. Will Book 16 has not been made available online.
Benjamin W. Brower - 18:282. Will Book 18 has not been made available online.
Some information in the above abstracts is not found on the current edition of the Brouwer Genealogy Database (BGD). Information in these abstracts adds to the profiles of a few of the individuals found on the BGD and in some cases adds new individuals or places previously unplaced individuals in existing families. For example, William W. Brower, named in the wills of Susan Brower and Abraham Brower, is not placed on the current BGD. He can now be added to the family of William Brower (1753-1841) and Susannah Green (1775-1850). Unfortunately, because of changes at RootsWeb Free Pages (which hosts the BGD pages) future updates to the BGD website will no longer be possible.