Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Unplaced: Elias Brower/Brewer and Elizabeth Palmer/Parmer

Elias Brower and Elizabeth Palmer were married in New Jersey by license dated January 27, 1753. The ancestry or parents for neither Elias or Elizabeth are known. If we assume that they were both married when in their 20s then they were both born in the decade of 1723 to 1733.

The names recorded for both Elias and Elizabeth vary depending upon the record consulted. In the above mentioned marriage, Elias is recorded as "Liss" or "Lias" Brewer, while Elizabeth is "Elizabeth Palmer." Both were living in Monmouth County when married. "Lias" was a weaver at Middletown, while Elizabeth was of Shrewsbury. (Lias and Cornelia Winant posted the bond for Lias to obtain his marriage license. See Early NJ Marriages, #156).

The baptism records of two known children are found for Elias and Elizabeth. Marya, child of "Eelias Brower and Elesebeth Parmer," was baptized on April 30, 1764 (Records of the Reformed Dutch Congregations of Freehold and Middletown, New Jersey). On August 9, 1767, Catharina, child of "Elias Brower and Elizabet Parmer," was baptized, also at Freehold-Middletown. Neither baptism record listed sponsors or witnesses. As Elias and Elizabeth were married in 1753, and the earlier of the two baptisms is not found until 1764, an eleven year gap, it is probable that the couple had other children for who baptism records do not exist or cannot be found.

One likely child, is Isaac Brewer, who married prior to November 1794, Styntje (Christina) Van Brunt. Their son, Elias, was baptized on January 27, 1795 at Freehold-Middletown (his date of birth was November 3, 1794). He is likely a son of Elias and Elizabeth based upon the fact that he named his eldest known son, Elias, and named his second daughter Elizabeth (she was baptized on October 9, 1803 at Freehold-Middletown). Isaac and Styntje had seven children born between 1794 and 1809, and based upon this, both were probably born during the decade of the 1760s, which is still seven years after Elias and Elizabeth were married. Although this relationship is not proven, as of this writing, we know of no other family to which Isaac might belong.

An Elias Brewer is found on the tax lists at Shrewsbury in Monmouth County, New Jersey in the years 1780-1782, 1784-1786, 1789, 1794-1797 and 1808. Whether any, or all, of these appearances belong to this Elias Brower/Brewer is not certain. The location, however, does suggest that it may be this Elias Brower, and if not, it may they may pertain to another son.

From his given name, Elias, we have a clue that he most likely is a descendant of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, Long Island, and that he is also a descendant of Jan's son Derck Brouwer who married Hannah Daws, a daughter of Elias Daws. If born in the decade of 1723 to 1733 (give or take a year or two), it is apparent that Elias could be a grandson of Derck Brouwer and a great-grandson of Jan Brouwer. If we then take a moment to consider the sons of Derck Brouwer, we may be able to decide upon a place where Elias Brower belongs.

The eldest known son of Derck Brouwer and Hannah Daws is Jan Brouwer who married Aegje Sprong. Both Jan and Aegje died around 1732, and in his will (October 29, 1732), Jan names four children: sons Jan and Dirck, daughter Antje, and a "last and youngest son," whose name is not given. The three named children (Jan, Dirck, and Antje) are all said to have been raised in Hempstead, Long Island by their great-aunt Cornelia Brewer (widow of their great-uncle Hendrick Brewer). No mention is made of the "last and youngest son," and there may be a reason for that. At the time he wrote his will, Jan was living in Somerset County, New Jersey. At this time the extended Brouwer family had a presence in the area of Raritan (in Somerset County), in Monmouth County, New Jersey and on Long Island where the three named children were raised. If Aegje, the mother of the unnamed youngest child died during childbirth, and if that event occurred around the time Jan wrote is will (Jan was deceased within a month of the writing), then a home would have to be found for that newly born child, and a nursing mother would have to provided for him. A reason why the child did not have a name as of October 29, 1732, may be because he had not yet been baptized. And the reason he may not have gone to Long Island is because Cornelia Brewer was at this time an older woman who was not nursing. The "last and youngest son" probably remained in New Jersey with a family that included a nursing mother (in other words, a mother who had given birth at about that same time). The time frame is right, and assuming that this "last and youngest son" survived infancy and reached adulthood, he may be the Elias Brower that married Elizabeth Palmer in Monmouth County in 1753.

We do have to consider the other sons of Derck Brouwer and Hannah Daws. Son Elias, probably born about 1699, married Helena Willemse and did have a son named Elias who was baptized on December 25, 1740 at Readington, New Jersey. This Elias Brower is known to have married Phebe Lucas, had ten children, and lived in New Jersey, Cambridge, Albany Co., New York and later in Delaware Co., New York. The life of Elias Brower, son of Elias Brouwer and Helena Willemse is well documented and accounted for. As he was married to Phebe Lucas on January 5. 1766, prior to the baptism of Catharina, the daughter of Elias Brower and Elizabeth Palmer (see above) it can be concluded that the two men named Elias Brower cannot be the same person, and we can eliminate Elias Brouwer and Helena Willemse as parents of the Elias Brower who married Elizabeth Palmer.

Derck Brouwer's son Pieter Brouwer married Susanna Titsoort and had children baptized in the Raritan, New Jersey area from August 1732 until July 1747. None of the (seven) children are named Elias, but as we do not have a marriage record for Pieter and Susanna is is conceivable that they had earlier children. The unplaced Elias Brower could belong to the family of Pieter Brouwer and Susanna Titsoort. If not, Susanna would have been a nursing mother late in 1732, and the "last and youngest son" of Jan Brouwer and Aegje Sprong could have been placed with this family.
Derck Brouwer's son Jacob Brouwer was married to Marike (surname not known) and had seven children baptized in the Raritan, New Jersey ares between August 1731 and January 1745. The same reasoning stated above for Pieter Brouwer and Susanna can be re-stated for Jacob and Marike. We have no marriage record, and therefore the couple may have had earlier children and Elias could be one of them. Marike had children in late 1731 and early 1733, and may have also been nursing when Jan Brouwer and Aegje Sprong's youngest son was orphaned. Perhaps Elias was born to or raised in this family.

After this exercise we are left with three possibilities. Elias could be the known but unamed son of Jan Brouwer and Aegje Sprong, or he could be an otherwise unknown and unrecorded son of either Pieter Brouwer and Susanna Titsoort or Jacob Brouwer and Marike. More needs to be discovered with regards to these last two named families. As of now, we have nothing conclusive.

The family of Elizabeth Palmer has also not been discovered. As per her marriage license, she was living at Shrewsbury in Monmouth County in 1753. Also found there is an Isaac Palmer with a wife, Mary. The couple had three children, John, Henry and Hannah, baptized at Christ Church in Shrewsbury in 1746 and 1747. Isaac Palmer is on the tax list at Shrewsbury in January 1779 and in October 1780. In August 1743, Isaac Palmer, with Samuel Dennis and Samuel Pintard, witnessed the will of Anthony Pintard of Shrewsbury. Samuel Pintard was also a witness to the marriage license obtained by Lias Brewer and Elizabeth Palmer. I would suspect that Elizabeth and Isaac are somehow related, either as siblings or as father and daughter, and it is suspected that Elias Brower and Elizabeth Palmer did have a son named Isaac, a name which may then have come from the Palmer side of the family. One other note: On February 9, 1751, Lydia, "bastard daughter of Elizabeth Palmer, age 1 month," was baptized at Christ Church in Shrewsbury. I would suspect, though it has not been proved, that this is the same Elizabeth Palmer who married Elias Brower.

Elias Brower is an extremely important "unplaced" member of the greater BROWER and BREWER families of Monmouth County. He is very much likely a link between the earliest three generations and those who are found later in the 1800s, but who cannot yet determine their complete and correct line back to the earlier generations. Further information regarding the descendants of Elias Brower/Brewer and Elizabeth Palmer is always welcome. Of course if a direct male BREWER descendant of Elias is found, we would very much welcome him in joining the Brewer DNA Project. Y-DNA test results of such a person could help in solving the question of just who Elias Brower is.

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