Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Colonial Period Wills Recorded in New York County, New York

Abstracts of the wills of testators with the surnames BROUWER, BROWER and BREWER as recorded in the books of the Surrogate's Court of New York County, New York. Links are to digital images published online at FamilySearch.org in their collection titled "New York Probate Records, 1629-1971."

Testator, Date (as given in index), Volume: Old Liber Page (New Page), Image No.

Hendrick Brower, 20 May 1711, 7: 491 (618), 366. Also at Albany AB, no. 6 (image 200), with a translation at image 204. In Dutch. Hendrick Brower of Schenectady. "At present in my full senses and understanding but weak in body." Wife Maritje, entire estate real and personal. After her decease to "my children, my wife's son Benjamin by a former marriage to share equally with my children, except my son Johannis shall receive ten pounds in advance for his birthright." No other children are named. Dated 12 Dec. 1706. Does not name an executor. Witnesses: Phillip Schuyler, Marten van Benthuis. Proved 16 Feb 1707/08. [Hendrick is a son of Willem Brouwer & Lysbeth Drinckvelt].

Johannes Brower, 13 Oct. 1712, 8: 127 (NA), 70. This volume is the original Old Liber. Johannes Brouwer of the township of Hempstead in Queens County on the Island of Nassau (as Long Island was called), yeoman, "being very sick and weak in body but of perfect mind and memory." Wife Sarah, all my estate (houses, lands, meadows, etc.) in Hempstead. "My own brothers and sisters" to receive the estate after wife Sarah's decease. Names of brothers and sisters not given. No mention of children. Executor: wife Sarah. Witnesses: Jacob Hicks, Samuel Carmen, Charles Abrams. Dated 1 Sept. 1712. Proved 13 Oct. 1712. [Johannes is a son of Jan Brouwer and Jannetje Jans].

Hendrick Brewer, 12 Sept. 1738, 13: 189 (241), 158. Hendrick Brewer of Hempstead in Queens County. "Being very sick and weak in body but of perfect mind and memory." Wife Cornelia Brewer, all household goods and moveables together with my farm until "my cousin John Brewer son of John Brewer comes to be twenty two years old..." Cousin John Brewer, son of John Brewer is appointed sole executor and receives all lands, messauges and tenements. To Jean Doxey wife of John Doxey, fifty pounds. No mention of children. Dated 12 Sept. 1738. Witnesses: Richard Boomer, Hendrick Barnes, Jane Barnes. Proved 4 Oct. 1738. His name also written as BRUER. Executor John Brewer being under age, administration granted to wife Cornelia Brewer. [Note: "Cousin John Brewer" is, in modern terms, a grand-nephew of Hendrick. He was a son of Hendrick's nephew John Brewer who had died in 1732, who in turn was a son of Hendrick's brother Derck Brouwer who appears to have died in or by 1702. Hendrick is a son of Jan Brouwer and Jannetje Jans].

Abraham Brower, 26 Feb. 1756, 19: 375 (422), 547. Abraham Brower of Gowanus in the township of Brookland in Kings County on Nassau Island, miller. "Very sick and weak in body but of sound mind and memory." Executor to have power and authority to sell and dispose of all houses and lots in the City of New York to satisfy debts and if needed to sell "so many of my Negro men or Negro wenches." Sons Abraham and Jeury all estate real and personal in the township of Brookland to be equally divided. Youngest son Jeury mentioned as under age 21. Wife Sarah to be maintained by my two sons. Two sons (Abraham and Jeury) to pay legacies of fifty pounds (each) to my five daughters at the time of the lawful age of youngest son Jurie. Daughters named as Cornelia, Helena, Jannetie, Elizabeth and Sara. Executors: brother Jeury Brower, Jeury Blau, and Abraham Brower, eldest son of my brother Jeury Brower. Witnesses: Jacob Bennet, William Brower, Simon Boerman. Dated 9 Sept. 1755. Proved 26 Feb. 1756. [Abraham is a son of Abraham Brouwer and Cornelia Caljer, and a grandson of Adam Brouwer and Magdalena Verdon].


Harcklas Brewer, 19 Sept. 1757, 20: 339 (329), 205. Harcklas Brewer of the City of New York, mariner, "being of sound mind and memory and considering the uncertainty of this frail and transitory life." After debts are paid, to Sarah Golden of this City, spinster, one large pair of silver shoe buckles and all my wearing apparel, and all the rest of my estate real and personal. Executors: Sarah Golden and Henry Kelly. Dated 1 Oct. 1756. Witnesses: Henry De Foreest, John Needham, Daniel McLean. Proved 19 Sept. 1757. [No mention of a wife, children or other family. There is nothing to indicate that he may be related to any of the known Brouwer/Brower/Brewer families of New York].


Cornelius Brower, 13 August 1765, 26: 126 (133), 102. Cornelius Brower of the Town of Schenectady, County of Albany. Just debts and funeral charges to be paid. All real and personal estate to beloved wife Cornelia during her life or widowhood. To son Hendrick Brower and his heirs, my large Dutch Bible. After the death or remarriage of my wife, to my grandson Gerrit Van Antwerp and his heirs, the house where in Elias Groot now lives in the town of Schenectady conveyed to me some time ago by a release from under the hand and seal of Dirk Van Patten. To grandson Cornelius Rickey, thirty pounds current money of New York to be paid when he reaches the age of 21 by the above named Gerrit Van Antwerp. To daughter Mary Monro, wife of John Monro of the city of Albany, merchant, and her heirs, one hundred twenty pounds. To the above mentioned John Monro, I give the note of hand I have from him of eighty pounds. To my wife Cornelia Brewer my negro wench named Philis. Son Hendrick Brower to receive all that devised to my wife after her decease or remarriage. Appoints his wife as executrix. Proved 3 December 1767. [Note: This Cornelius Brower is a grandson of Willem Brouwer of Beverwijck. His wife was Cornelia Barheit, daughter of Johannes Barheit and Catharine Gilbert].


Jeremiah Brower, 8 April 1776, proved 16 May 1776, 30: 173 (190), 136. Jeremiah Brower of the City of New York, but at present at New Barbadoes in the Province of East Jersey, merchant, being sick and weak in body but of sound and disposing mind. After payment of just debts and funeral charges. To son Jeremiah, my silver tankard which shall be in full bar of all claims and demands he may have as my eldest son. Beloved wife Elizabeth, residue of wrought plate, household furniture, etc. (includes slaves), to hold until youngest child attains the age of 21. Names children as Jeremiah, Theophilus, Jane (the wife of Peter Kip), William, Henry, John, Elizabeth, Abraham and "such other child or children which my wife is now with." Wife appointed guardian of younger children during their minorities. Long set of instructions regarding the division of his estate among the children. Appoints as executors, friends Henry Kip and Isaac Roosevelt of the City of New York, Henry Roomer of New Barbadoes, and son Theophilus. [Jeremiah Brower, a.k.a. Jeury Brouwer was a son of Jeury Brouwer and Elizabeth Hilton. He was married twice. His first wife, Jane Elsworth, was the mother of three children, while his second wife, Elizabeth Van de Water was the mother of ten children, including the youngest, Mary, who was born posthumously].


The will of Adam Brouwer, in which his name is written as both BREWER BERKHOVEN, and BREWER proved 21 March 1692, is recorded in New York County 4: 278 (422), 261, and is a copy. The original will is found in Albany Wills AB, no. 3. In the original Adam's surname is written as BROWER BERKHOVEN, BROWER and BREWER. See here and here for two transcripts of Adam Brouwer's will.