Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fytie Brouwer and Her Two Husbands, Evert Hendricksen and Matys Cornelissen

Fytie Brouwer, daughter of Adam Brouwer and Magdalena Verdon, was probably born between 1655 and 1660 at Gowanus, Long Island. No record of her baptism has been found. She is named as a daughter in Adam Brouwer's will of 1692, which also mentions Fytie's daughter Magdalena. Fytie is covered by William J. Hoffman in "Brouwer Beginnings" at TAG 24 (1948): 28-29. Hoffman's account is very brief. He simply mentions her two marriages, refers the reader to NYGBR 75 (1944):169 for the children from her first marriage, and lists the two children of her second marriage. The Dutch name, Fytie, is the equivalent of the English, Sophia.

Fytie Brouwer was married twice. Her first marriage, for which no record is found, was to Evert Hendricksen. This occurred before February 1677 when their son Adolph was baptized at the New York Reformed Dutch Church. Her second marriage to Matys Cornelissen, with banns dated 20 February 1692, is recorded in the records of the Flatbush Reformed Dutch Church. The record calls her "Fijitie Adams" (using her patronymic) and states that she is the widow of Evert Hendricks, and that she is living in Brooklyn. Her husband, "Matijs Cornelisen," is an unmarried man from Jutland (Denmark).

By her first husband, Evert Hendricksen, Fytie had seven children, with baptism records found for six between the years 1677 and 1690 at New York, Brooklyn and Flatbush. The seventh child, the above mentioned Magdalena, is only known from Adam Brouwer's will. No record of baptism has been found for her, but as she was named for Fytie's mother, Magdalena Verdon, it is likely that she was Fytie's first daughter and probably born in 1675 or 1676. Her children by Evert Hendricksen assumed the surname, Van Gelder, although Evert is never found as being recorded with that name himself. The children of Evert and Fytie would have the patronymic, Evertsen (or Evertse). There exists another distinct, and larger, family named Van Gelder, found in New York at the same time as the descendants of Fytie and Evert are found there that should not be confused with Fytie's Van Gelder descendants. They are two separate and unrelated families.

Very little is known regarding Evert Hendricksen. He is found on the Assessment Roll at Brooklyn in 1675 and 1676 with one poll, and on the roll dated September 26, 1683, with 1 poll, 1 cow, and 1 "do yearling" (meaning a one year old cow). He is rated at twenty-four pounds and ten shillings, and is recorded following his brother-in-law (by marriage to Brouwer sisters) "Jesies Dregz" (Josias Drats). The lack of a marriage record for Fytie and Evert deprives us of the opportunity of learning Evert's place of birth. Although he was living at the time, Evert is not clearly found on the September 1687 Oath of Allegiance taken in Kings County. This list, however, does include the name of "Ephraim Hendricks," who resides in Breucklijn (Brooklyn), has been in the county for 33 years, and is recorded between Matthys Cornelisen (the man who would become the second husband of Evert's wife, and Claes Thomas Van Dyck. Since "Ephraim" is not a given name commonly found among 17th century Dutch men, this record may belong to Evert Hendricksen. If this is correct, then Evert came to New Netherland in 1654, but we still do not know from where. Other then the baptism records of six children, no other records for Evert Hendricksen have been found. No record of probate or settlement of his estate is known. The sponsors at all six baptisms were members of Fytie's family. The absence of any persons who can be identified with certainty as family members of Evert, would lead us to believe that he was likely to have had no family near by at the time of the baptisms. Marretje Hendricks, the later to be wife of Adam Brouwer (the younger) does appear as a sponsor for two children of Evert and Fytie (in 1682 and 1684) prior to her marriage to Adam Brouwer. This Marretje Hendricks may well be a daughter of Hendrick Volckersen (Bries) and Geertien Claes, whose family lived on property adjacent to that of Adam Brouwer's. It may be that Evert and Marretje were brother and sister (who married Brouwer siblings) but thus far, no evidence has been found that would indicate that Hendrick Volckersen had a son named Evert. For now, Evert Hendricksen's origins remain a mystery. We do know that he was deceased by February 20, 1692, when Fytie Brouwer remarried. (A second man named Evert Hendricksen, lived at the same time. He was Evert Hendricksen Bras/Bres/Bresse, baptized in 1644 at New York, son of Hendrick Pietersen (Van Dusenberg/Van Wessel) and Geertie Everts. He married Metje Hardenbroeck in 1685 and had eight children baptized at New York between 1686 and 1703. He should not be confused with the Evert Hendricksen who married Fytie Brouwer. They are different men).

Fytie Brouwer's second husband was Matys Cornelissen. As stated above, they were married with banns dated February 20, 1692, recorded at Flatbush. It was his first marriage. Fytie and Matys had two sons, both baptized in Brooklyn (Cornelis in 1695 and Abraham in 1699). Both sons assumed the surname Van Horne (Van Horn, Vanhorne) and settled in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. According to the September 1687 Oath of Allegiance, "Matthys Cornelisen", residing at Breucklijn (Brooklyn) was in the county for 23 years. He is recorded between Simon Aertsen and Ephraim Hendricks. In 1698, "Matthys Cornelisse," is found on the census of Brooklyn with a household of one man, one woman and five children. The children would have to be his first son, Cornelis, and four step-children from Fytie's first marriage, probably Hendrick, Jannetje, Sarah, and either Jacobus or Aeltje. In 1709, Nicholas Bouwer of Brooklyn (Fytie's brother) signed a bond to Mattyse Corneliusse of Brookland for three hundred and fifty pounds, payable to Cornelius and Abram, "the two and only sons and children of Mattys Corneliusse and Feytie his wife" (Kings Co. Deeds, Lib. 3, pp. 164 and 172). In 1714, the inventory of the estate of John Bowne of Mattawan, Middletown Twp., Monmouth Co., New Jersey, includes among the mortgagors, "Mathias Corneliuson" and "Cornelius Van Horn." An unconfirmed source states that on January 24, 1722, Abraham Van Horn sold land (in New Jersey) to Capt. Richard Salter, land that was originally acquires by Abraham's father, Matthys Cornelisson (I have not yet examined the original deed). No will or accounting of the estate of Matthys Cornelissen has been located, but it does appear that he died between 1714 and 1722, probably in Monmouth or Hunterdon County, New Jersey. The identity of the parents of Mattys Cornelissen is not known. Our Van Horn Kindred by Elsie O. Hallenbeck (1959), states that he came from Hoorn in North Holland. Her idea is probably based upon the fact that Matthys' sons assumed the surname, Van Horne (from Horne). However, Matthys himself is never recorded with this surname and Hallenbeck's statement is probably incorrect. As mentioned above, Matthys' marriage banns state that he was from Jutland, which is now Denmark. Researchers of the Van Horne/Van Horn family need to be aware that there is another, unrelated and distinct, Van Horn family found in New York and New Jersey. This family was prominent in New York City and in Bergen County, New Jersey and the Van Horne descendants of Fytie Brouwer and Matys Cornelissen are not at all related to them. In addition, the given names, Cornelius and Abraham, are repeated often within both Van Horne families.

Genealogical Summary of the families of Fytie Brouwer

Among Fytje Brouwer's descendants is Sophia Johnson (1795-1868) the first wife of "Commodore" Cornelius Vanderbilt, and mother of all of his children. The Vanderbilt descendants of Fytie Brouwer were arguably the wealthiest family in America at the turn of the 20th century.

The Brouwer lineage of Sophia Johnson

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