Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Estate of Althea Brower, 1839

"Inventory and Appraisal of the Personal Property of the Estate of Altheah Brower, sworn to by Garret Brower on Dec. 30, 1839" is available online. This copy is from the William B. Bogardus Collection (Box 5 WIL WW-101). It was received by Bill Bogardus from a correspondent (134-S), and appears to be a typed transcript. Those interested in conducting more thorough research on this family should seek out the original document which should be found in the records of the Kings County, New York Surrogate's Court (As of this date I have not located the originals myself).

"Altheah Brower" was born Aeltje Hulst, a daughter of Anthony Hulst and Altie Van Duyn of Gowanus, Long Island. There is no surviving record of her birth or baptism (records of the Brooklyn Reformed Dutch Church for the period in which she would have born are lost to the ages). The 1813 will of Anthony Hulst of Gowanus mentions his daughter, "Altje, wife of Adolph Brown" (this taken from an abstract by DeWitt Van Buren, Abstracts of Wills in Kings County Recorded at Brooklyn, N. Y., call number F127.K5 V36, accessed at the website). "Brown" is certainly an error, and Brower is meant.

Aeltje Hulst and Adolph Brower were married at Fishkill, Dutchess County, New York on 6 January 1777 ("Marriages of the Dutch Reformed Church at Fishkill," New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, vol. 83 (1952), page 98. After the "Battle of Long Island" in August 1776, many families from the Gowanus area, sought refuge in Dutchess County and waited out the Revolutionary War there. The couple had ten (possibly eleven) children. The settlement of the estate of Althea Brower (4 October 1841) names as her heirs, six of them: Garret Brower, John A. Brower, Letty Meserole, Maria Lefferts, Cornelia Bennet and the heirs of Elizabeth Bennet.

Althea, or Altje's, husband, Adolph Brower, was a son of Jeury Brouwer and Elizabeth Hilton and a great-grandson of Adam Brouwer. Adolph died 19 July 1827, "aged 87," and is was he who rebuilt the destroyed mills at Gowanus. It is likely that Adolph was considerably older then Aeltje. Their children were born between 1777 and 1790 and I estimate Aeltje's birth as between 1750 and 1760 (her mother was born in 1729).

Additional details and source citation for descendants of Aeltje Hulst and Adolph Brouwer will be included with the next update of the Brouwer Genealogy Database.

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