Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Family of Willem Brouwer (son of Adam Brouwer)

Willem/William Brouwer was the third son of Adam Brouwer and Magdalena Verdon. He was baptized on March 5, 1651 at the New Amsterdam Reformed Dutch Church. The baptism record does not record his mother's name (as was the common practice during that period in the records). He is named in his father's will of 1692. William is covered by William J. Hoffman in "Brouwer Beginings" (The American Genealogist vol. 23 [1947], pp. 204-206). There are some errors in Hoffman's account of William Brouwer's children.

Willem Brouwer was married at least twice and very possibly, three times. He lived at Gowanus, Long Island at least until 1708. He appears to have remained in the area of Kings County and New York City until at least 1713. Back in 1680 (when William would have been aged 29) a suit was brought against William Brewer, by Joseph Boules, in Richmond County (Staten Island), for assault. No other evidence has been found to confirm that William lived there.

Willem's first wife was Elizabeth Simpson. No marriage record has been found. They were married prior to June 1677. Willem and Elizabeth had five children. She is identified as Elizabeth Simpson in baptism records of her children and as "Lijsbet Pietersen, wife of Willem Brouwer," in 1677 when she is recorded as a member of the Brooklyn Reformed Dutch Church. She was a daughter of Pieter Simpson and his wife Grietje.

Willem Brouwer's second wife was Marthe Boulten (Boulton). Again, no record of marriage has been found, but they were married prior to January 1702 when there first child was baptized at Brooklyn. She is called simply, "Marta" in the baptism records of three children at Brooklyn, and as "Marthe Boulten" in the baptism record of her youngest daughter, Susanne, at the French Protestant Church in New York City in 1712. She may have died at about this time, as she is not found in later records and Willem may have remarried.

Willem, possibly, married as his third wife, Neeltje Thomas, a daughter of Urbanus Thomasen and Maria Schouten. Once again, there is no record of this marriage, however, William, child of William Brouwer and Neeltje Thomas was baptized at the New York Reformed Dutch Church on August 26, 1713 (sponsors were Jan Schouten and Maria Schouten, widow). This marriage is placed with Willem Brouwer based on the fact that no other man named William Brouwer, of marriageable age, and single in 1713, is known. The marriage is likely as it involved two Brooklyn families. One observation that does cause some hesitation is the fact that Willem was forty years older than Neeltje. However, assuming that Marthe Boulton did die in 1712, William would have been left with four children under age ten, and aged 61 himself. Finding a new, younger wife, was a necessity. If the William Brouwer who married Neeltje Thomas is someone other than the subject of this post, then he would be someone for whom no other known record has been identified, and someone completely new to Brouwer family research.

William J. Hoffman, in his account of Willem Brouwer's family in "Brouwer Beginnings", makes some errors. It is necessary to review each of the children.
1-The eldest daughter Magdalena, was baptized 14 September 1679, at Brooklyn, daughter of Willem Brouwer and "Betje" (as recorded in the Brooklyn records) or "Elsje" (as recorded in the Flatbush records). "Betje" is probably a version of "Betty" while "Elsje" may be a variation on "Eliza." Either way it is apparent that Elizabeth Simpson was the mother, as she was Willem's wife at this time. Hoffman mentions that it had previously been stated that she married Joost Vredenburgh. This is not the case (and Hoffman later proves this), as the Magdalena Brouwer who did marry Joost Vredenburgh was a daughter of Nicholas Brouwer (younger brother of William). This Magdalena likely died prior to 1692. In his will, Adam Brouwer, mentions each of his living granddaughters named Magdalena (as they would have been named for his wife (their grandmother), Magdalena Verdon). However, he does not mention one who was a daughter of Willem. If living, she certainly who have been given a mention.
2-The second daughter, Lysbeth/Elizabeth was baptized 12 October 1681 at the New York Reformed Dutch Church, daughter of Willem Brouwer and Lysbeth (last name not given). Hoffman, oddly, missed this baptism record despite it having been published and widely available since 1878. Hoffman states, "the year of her birth has been given as 1681, but this cannot be verified." Hoffman correctly discounts previous claims that Lysbeth married Jan Parcell, and correctly states that she instead married Harmen Gerretszen (van Sant). The couple relocated to Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
3-The third child and eldest son was Adolphus Brouwer, baptized 10 August 1684 at Brooklyn. He is recorded as a son of Willem Brouwer and Elisabeth Brouwer, in both the Brooklyn and Flatbush records (the Flatbush records add the word, "Bergen" in parenthesis, but the significance of this is not clear). Hoffman mentions previous claims that Adolphus was married to Jannetje Verdon. As Hoffman makes clear, he was not. Hoffman does not supply any additional info on Adolphus. He was probably unaware of a deed dated 1 August 1704, recorded in Bucks Co., Pennsylvania, between Thomas Stevenson and Thomas Revel that was witnessed by "Adalfas Bruer, A. Wibardlis Vansandt, and Jones Vansandt." I am certain that the witness was this Adolphus Brouwer. I am also of the opinion that it is possible that this Adolphus Brouwer is actually the Adam Brewer who lived at Shrewsbury, Monmouth Co., New Jersey. Conventional accounts have claimed that Adam Brewer of Shrewsbury was a son of Jacob Brouwer (brother to Willem) and Annatje Bogardus. However, there is no solid proof to support that belief. Circumstantial evidence may favor this Adolphus (the names Adolphus and Adam were used interchangeably in the early Brouwer generations) as the Adam Brewer of Shrewsbury. But as this idea bucks more then 100 years of claims and "tradition," more proof may be needed. The issue is not settled as of now.
4- Fourth child and second son was Johannes, baptized 18 September 1687 at Brooklyn, son of Willem Brouwer and Elizabeth Brouwer. Hoffman incorrectly states that he is the Johannes Brouwer who "probably" married Aegje Sprong. He is not. The Johannes Brouwer who married Aegje Sprong is a descendant of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, a completely unrelated, but contemporary, Brouwer family. Further record of Willem's son Johannes have not been identified. To date I have not found records of any Johannes or Jan Brouwers, born prior to 1700, that have not been placed. It may well be that Willem's son Johannes died at an early age.
5-The fifth child and third daughter was Catharina. Here again, Hoffman misses her record of baptism and simply states, "mentioned by several authorities, but no proof has been found." The baptism record of Catharyn, daughter of Willem Brouwer and Elizabeth Simpsons is in the records of the New York Reformed Dutch Church, dated 5 October 1690. Sponsors were Barent Janszen and Marritje Brouwer (Willem's sister and her second husband). Catharina married Joshua Cresson and the couple's first child (Joshua) was baptized at Bensalem, Bucks Co., Pa. Record of their second child is at Maidenhead, Hunterdon Co., New Jersey, while a third child was baptized at Readington, Hunterdon Co., New Jersey. A possible fourth child (Abraham) is later found living at Augusta Co., Virginia, and still later at Surry Co., North Carolina. Catharina was the last child of Willem's first wife, Elizabeth Simpson.
6-The sixth child and fourth daughter, and first child of Willem's second wife, Marthe Boulten, was Jannetje, baptized 8 January 1702 at Brooklyn, daughter of Willem Brouwer and Marta. This event occured 12 years after the baptism of Willem's fifth child and so there was clearly a long period of time between Willem's first two marriages. Hoffman does not follow Jannetje any further and makes no mention of a spouse. It was likely that Jannetje was the wife of Jan Losee (baptized 6 October 1700 at Brooklyn, son of Jacob Losee and Lysbeth ___). The couple first lived in or near Jamaica, Long Island, had children baptized at Raritan and Readington, New Jersey in 1730 and 1732, and children baptized at Morristown, New Jersey in 1745, 1747 and 1750.
7-The seventh child and third son was Samuel, baptized 25 August 1706 at Brooklyn, son of Willem Brouwer and Marta. Hoffman states that according to Our Home, Samuel moved to New Jersey and married Maregrita (___). That is certainly possible. Samuel Brower was on the 1753 list of Freeholders in the Western Precinct, Somerset Co., New Jersey. However, a Samuel Bruer witnessed the will of John Bruer of Somerset County on 29 October 1732. This Jan Bruer (Brower) was clearly a descendant of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, and perhaps the Samuel who "moved to New Jersey" was a member of that unrelated family. Or perhaps there were two, unrelated Samuel Browers who moved to New Jersey, one a descendant of Adam Brouwer, the other of Jan Brouwer. Presently there is just too little surviving records to make a clear call. Samuel and Maregrita did have two daughters, both named Annate, baptized at Raritan in 1732 and 1735. No other children have been identified, but as it appears that Maregrita was living in 1747 and Samuel as late as 1760 (witnesses to wills) it may be that other children existed for whom no identifying baptism or other record survives.
8-The eighth child and fifth daughter was Maria, baptized 1 May 1709 at Brooklyn, daughter of Willem Brouwer and Martha (van der Linde's 1983, Old First Dutch Reformed Church of Brooklyn Records). T. G. Bergen in his early translation of the Brooklyn Dutch Church records records her, apparently in error, as "William" (FHL film #0017529, item 4). The 1983 edition of the Brooklyn Dutch Church records (which is preferred over Bergen's early translation) records her as Maria. Hoffman incorrectly gives the date as 1 May 1708. The correct date is 1 May 1709. Earlier editions of the Brouwer Genealogy Database included T. G. Bergen's, William, along with van der Linde's, Maria. That is now corrected. Willem Brouwer and Marte Boulten did not have a son named William. No further records for Maria have yet been identified, either by Hoffman or by myself.
9-The ninth child, sixth daughter, and final child of Willem's wife, Marthe Boulten was Susanne, baptized on 30 April 1712 at the French Protestant Church in New York City. In this record Martha's surname is given as "Boulten." This is the first and only mention of her surname. However, sposnors at the baptisms of three of her children (Jannetje, Samuel and Susanne) had the surname Bedeuw or Bourdet. Could "Boulten" be an error for either of those names? The marriage banns of Jan Bernie and Antie Koel, dated 25 January 1730, at the First Reformed Church of Tarrytown, Westchester Co., New York, state that Jan Bernie was a widower of Susana Brouwer. No other person named Susana Brouwer, born early enough to have been married and have died prior to 1730 is known (Susanne being a very rare name among the Brouwers). Assuming that it was Willem's daughter Susanne who appears in this record, it is apparent that she married and then died before reaching the age of twenty. Hoffman offers no further info or insight on Susanne.

The above nine children are all mentioned by Hoffman in his "Brouwer Beginnings." Not mentioned is the possibility that Willem was married a third time to Neeltje Thomas. If the William of this marriage is correctly identified as Willem Brouwer then one, and probably two, additional children are to be added.
10-The likely tenth child of Willem Brouwer was William, baptized 26 August 1713 at New York, son of William Brouwer and Neeltje Thomas. The sponsors, Jan Schoute, and Maria Schoute, widow, were Neeltje's brother and mother. It is likely that William was the William Brouwer who married Lea Maas at the New York Reformed Dutch Church on 17 September 1740 (the record calls them "William Brown and Leah Mosch"). Their son, William, was baptized on 3 November 1742 at New York. The record incorrectly records their surname as "Brown" (not the only time this occurs among various Brouwer families). The mother is, however, recorded as Lea Maas, and the sponsors as Thomas Thomassen and Maria Schouten, widow of Urbanus Thomassen (Neeltje's brother and mother, and great-uncle and great-grandmother to the child). William and Lea had a daughter Geertje ("Brouwn") baptized at New York in 1747, and a son Thomas ("Brouwer") baptized there in 1754. Sponsors for Geertje were Thomas "Brouwn" and Johanna Connour, "j.d." (single woman). Sponsors for Thomas Brouwer in 1754 were"Abner" Brouwer (Abner possibly an error for Abram, relationship not determined as there were numerous men named Abraham Brouwer living at this time) and Angenietje Bennet, widow of Jan Schouten Thomas (Neeltje Thomas' sister-in-law, and a great-aunt by marriage to the child).
11-A possible eleventh child would be Thomas Brouwer, for whom no baptism record has been identified but who stood as sponsor at the baptism of the above William Brouwer's daughter, Geertje, in 1747. Thomas is another name that is exceedingly rare among the early families descended from Adam Brouwer. The first confirmed Thomas Brouwer does not appear until 1739 (a son of Everardus Brouwer and Eva Petit). But the given name "Thomas" would fit right along with this family considering that it was a name certainly taken from Neeltje's family. (For more on the Schouten-Thomas-Thomassen family see Eunice H. Young and Ken Styker-Rodda, "Jan Lucaszen Schouten and His Descendants," New York Genealogical and Biographical Record vol. 115 [1984]: pp. 180-181, 215-219).

What became of Willem Brouwer is not known. In 1708, "Willem Brower and Martha, his wife, of Brooklyn," sold to Cornelius Sleght of Newtown (Queens Co.) a house and garden spot in Brooklyn. They both signed with their marks (Kings Co. Deeds, v. 3, p. 144). In 1713 we have the baptism of his possible son, William, and after that event, nothing. His children by his first two wives did leave Kings County. Daughter Lysbeth is found in Bucks Co. Pa., daughter Catharina in Bucks Co. and then in Hunterdon Co., New Jersey, while son Samuel may have gone to Hunterdon Co., and son Adolphus appears in Bucks Co. (and may have landed in Monmouth Co., N. J.). Daughter Jannetje is in the area of Raritan and Readington, N. J. and eventually is found in Morris Co., N. J. The presumed son William, of possible third wife, Neeltje Thomas, remains in the New York City area, and sponsors at the baptisms of his children are primarily from his mother's family. Perhaps Willem Brouwer died soon after the baptism of William. He would have been aged 62 in 1713. Or perhaps he followed one of his older children to New Jersey or Bucks Co., Pennsylvania. It is noted that Neeltje Thomas, herself, does not appear as a sponsor at any of the baptisms of the children of her son, William. Willem Brouwer is not recorded as a sponsor at any baptism for any of his children (although it must be noted that the recording of sponsors in the records of New Jersey churches was not consistently done).

There exists two records in New Jersey for two different men named William Brewer or Brower, for which neither William is identified. In January 1730, administration of the estate of William Brewer of Amwell, Hunterdon Co., New Jersey was granted to James Chambers. Our Willem Brouwer would have been aged 79 in 1730. In 1735, a William Brower of Readington, Hunterdon Co., a debtor, appeared before the Monmouth County Court of Common Pleas. Our Willem Brouwer would be aged 84, and I doubt this record applies to him. The 1730 estate administration, however, is a record that may belong to our Willem Brouwer.

As of yet, no confirmed descendants of Willem Brouwer have participated in the Brewer DNA Project. Finding one would be fortunate, but I don't hold out much hope. Willem had three confirmed sons (Adolphus, Johannes and Samuel) but there are no confirmed sons for any of the three (unless Adolphus is the Adam Brewer of Shrewsbury). Possible son, William Brouwer, did have two known sons, but their descendants have yet to be traced. Among the persons who have participated in the Brewer DNA project, and who are confirmed genetic descendants of Adam Brouwer, but are yet unplaced, is a descendant of William Brewer of Philadelphia. In 1850, William Brewer was aged 73, said to be born in New Jersey (thus born ca. 1777). While definitely a genetic descendant of Adam Brouwer, the Y-DNA profile for the participant has two mutations that are not found in any of the other Adam Brouwer Group participants (see kit #N46637 at the Adam Brouwer Group DNA Analysis page). This could be a line descended from Willem Brouwer, born in 1651, a son of Adam Brouwer. Finding the traditional genealogical records to support this possibility, has thus far been unsuccessful.

A genealogical summery of the family of Willem Brouwer is now online:

The Family of Willem Brouwer and His (possibly) Three Wives

*Please see the post of March 15, 2013, which explains that the idea Willem Brouwer was married to Neeltje Thomas is incorrect.

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