Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Brouwer Mill Conveyances

The following first appeared on the Brouwer Genealogy website on March 29, 2011.

At sometime during the 1650s, Adam Brouwer established the first tide mill on western Long Island at Gowanus. After his death in 1692, two of his sons, Abraham and Nicholas, acquired full control of the property from their siblings. They added to the property, built a second mill, and negotiated water rights with their nearest neighbors. By 1710, Nicholas and his wife sold their share in the property and operation to his brother Abraham. In 1737, Abraham, conveyed the property and mills to his two sons, Abraham, Jr. and Jurie. The property remained with the two brothers, and their heirs, through the Revolutionary War. On August 27, 1776, during the Battle of Brooklyn, the mills and their stores were destroyed by the retreating patriots on orders of Gen. George Washington, so as not to fall into the hands of the British. The Brouwer families fled across the East River to Manhattan Island and most spent the remaining years of the war in Dutchess County or in Bergen County, New Jersey. In 1785, with the mills still in ruins, Adolphus Brouwer, grandson of Adam, bought the mill property, and all the timbers and material that had been gathered to rebuild the mills, from the remaining heirs of Jeremiah Brouwer. In the deed the selling heirs were careful to include a stipulation that they would still have rights to collecting oysters, from the highly regarded oyster beds of the streams on the property. In 1798, having rebuilt the mills, Adolphus Brouwer sold the property and operation to John C. Freeke. After roughly 150 years of continuous ownership, the mill property at Gowanus no longer was owned by a Brouwer.

The conveyance images are now found at a new web location: Brouwer Mill Conveyances 1737 ; Brouwer Mill Conveyance 1785; Brouwer Mill Conveyance 1798.

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