Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Nazareth Brouwer (1756-1817)

Nazareth Brouwer was born 26 October 1756 in Dutchess County, New York, the son of Cornelius Brouwer and Mary Archer, and a great-great grandson of Adam Brouwer. He lived at Poughkeepsie in Dutchess County, New York and was married three times. His will dated 5 Aug 1817, mentions his wife Deborah, his grandson Nazareth Taylor, and his under age children all by his third wife. Digital images of the will are available online. The images are, unfortunately, a bit blurry, especially when enlarged. There are two pages to the will and there are three copies of the second page (hopefully one is better than the others).
Nazareth's first wife was Ginney Brouwer (they were first cousins) and they had seven children. His second wife was Catharine Halley, a widow. No children by the second marriage. Nazareth married third, Deborah Wiltsie, a daughter of John Wiltsie and Jane Luckey. Nazareth and Deborah had eight children, giving Nazareth a total of fifteen known children. A family group sheet for Nazareth Brouwer and his three wives is available online.
Among the children of Nazareth Brouwer is Col. Henry Brewer (1804-1880). Henry was married to Rebecca DuBois and lived at Enfield in Tompkins County, New York. A chart of his descendants is online. Among this couple's three children is William Henry Brewer (1828-1910) a graduate of Yale College and an accomplished scientist and naturalist of the late nineteenth century. He was a professor of natural science at Washington College in Pennsylvania in 1858, and after the death of his first wife and their only child, he agreed to work on the first geological survey of the State of California. A preview of the journal of William H. Brewer, Up and Down California in 1860-1864 (University of California Press, 2003) can be found at Google books. Mount Brewer, a 13,576 foot peak in California's Sierra Nevada was named for William Henry Brewer.

Mt. Brewer
 A larger image of Mt. Brewer has been saved online and can be viewed here.
Barbara (Johnson) Smith, a descendant of Col. Henry Brewer and Nazareth Brouwer, has aided me in compiling the descendants of Col. Henry Brewer.

William H. Brewer at California Native Plant Society

 November 7, 2011 Update: A PDF copy of the will of Nazareth Brouwer (Brewer) can now be found online among the William B. Bogardus Collection.


  1. Terrific site; a model for how large family web sites should be presented.

    Question/comment on Nazareth Brouwer (1756-1817) - his second wife seems to be Catharina Dolsen, the widow of Pieter A. Lossing/Lawson (1739-1787) based on estate records:
    Dutchess County, NY Probate Records (Kelly/Kinship 1997): Estate of Peter Andrew Lassing - 18 May 1796, Letters of Administration to Nazareth Brouwer, Poughkeepsie farmer, and wife Catherine, late widow of Peter Andrew Lassing, Poughkeepsie.

    Nazareth's sister Anna married Andrew Lawson who I'm trying to identify. This couple baptized another daughter at New Hackensack RC:
    # 936 Child: Cathrine
    Birth Date: 1 Jul 1787
    Bapt. Date: 12 Aug 1787
    Parents: Andries Lasson; Anna Brouwn
    Source: Records of the Reformed Dutch Church of New Hackensack

    Your thoughts appreciated. Thanks.

    Jim Harder - jaharder88 at

    1. Hi Jim, thanks for the input. Looking into the identity of Catherine a bit further, it appears that you are correct. The initial identification of Nazareth Brouwer's second wife came from two secondary sources. First, Hoffman's "Brouwer Beginning's" at TAG 24:25 where he simply identifies her as "Catharine Lawson, widow." The second source was correspondence with William Bogardus who identified her as "Catherine Halley," but without citing a reason or source for that surname. Your bringing to our attention the probate record which identifies Catherine's first husband as Peter Lassing/Lassen/Lawson, together with the baptism records of their daughters Elizabeth in 1765 and Esther in 1780 at New Hackensack in Dutchess County, in which she is recorded as "Catharina Dolsen," corrects her identity.
      Thank you very much for bringing this to my attention. As you are looking to identify Andrew Lawson, the husband of Nazareth's sister, Anna, I am wondering if he is either a son of Peter Andrew Lassing and Catharina Dolsen, or a brother of Peter's. Should I come across any evidence, I will pass it on.


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