Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Friday, November 2, 2012

Unplaced: John J. Brewer of Wayne Co., New York

John J. Brewer died at Williamson in Wayne County, New York on March 20, 1848, aged 57 years and 6 months. That, according to his gravestone at Lakeview Cemetery in Pultneyville, Wayne Co., New York. If correct, it would place his birth at September, 1790. A descendant has stated that he was born in New Jersey. This same descendant has participated in the Brewer DNA Project and his Y-DNA test results confirm that he and therefore his direct male Brewer ancestors, including John J. Brewer, are descendants of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, Long Island.

The wife of John J. Brewer was named Elizabeth. Her surname is believed to be WATERS, although the identity of her parents and whether or not this is correct has not been determined with certainty. Elizabeth died on July 1, 1875 and his buried in Lakeview Cemetery. Her date of birth has been given as October 29, 1795. The 1860 U.S. Federal census states that she was born in New York, while the 1870 U.S. Federal census states that she was born in New Jersey.

John J. Brewer and Elizabeth had five known children. The first four are believed to have been born in New Jersey. They are Cornelius (b. 27 March 1816, d. 8 Sept. 1872 at Sanborn, Niagara Co., NY); Alice A. (b. 22 April 1821, d. 13 July 1896 at Williamson, m. Benjamin Waters); Almira (b. ca. 1824, living in 1870 at Williamson, age 46, in the household of her brother Cornelius); and Britton B. (b. ca. 1825, living in 1860 at Williamson, age 35, a sailor, with a wife and son aged four). The fifth child, Aaron (b. 4 Jan 1831 at Williamson, NY, d. 13 Mar 1899 at Pultneyville, NY, m. Sarah Cole and had two sons Frederick and George) is the ancestor of the participant in the Brewer DNA Project. A chart of descendants of John J. Brewer can be found online at the Brouwer Genealogy Database.

Wayne County, New York is found along the southern shore of Lake Ontario. It is the county immediately to the east of Monroe County which is the location of the city of Rochester, New York. Settlement in the area began in the 1790s. Wayne County was formed in 1823. Throughout its history and still today it is a largely rural county. John J. Brewer is found there first on the 1840 census, at Williamson, with a household of 1 male under five, 2 males 10-15, 1 male 20-30, 1 male 50-60, 1 female under 5, 1 female 5-10, 1 female 15-20, 1 female 20-30, 1 female 40-50. The makeup of this household might imply that John and Elizabeth had more children than the five that are known. It may be helpful to look among the land records and deeds for Wayne County to see if John J. Brewer is found in any deeds and if so, if his mention provides any clues to his (or his wife's) origins.

Clues to John J. Brewer's origins are few. We of course know that he must descend from Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, L. I. Born in 1790, he probably was a fifth or sixth generation descendant. His "middle initial" J may not be a name in the way we think of middle names today. In 1790, few children were given middle names. The practice did not become common until later in the 19th century. The "J" in John J. Brewer may well stand for John's father's name (which was more common at the time John was born), and my first guess would be that John's father may have been named John as well. The names of John and Elizabeth's children might also be clues. Cornelius and Aaron (Arie) are both names that are found in numerous New York and New Jersey families of Dutch ancestry during the 1700s. Another son is named Britton, and that name certainly must be a clue. The Britton family was a prominent colonial family of English ancestry that was found at Kings County, Long Island, Staten Island, New York City and New Jersey during the 1600s and 1700s. The Britton family may be a part of either John or Elizabeth's immediate heritage (parents or grandparents).

We would be interested to hear from anyone with additional information and records pertaining to John J. Brewer and his wife, Elizabeth. The participation of additional descendants in the Brewer DNA Project is also welcomed.

1 comment:

  1. I can trace my line directly down from John J. Brewer m. Elizabeth Waters
    Son Aaron Brewer m. Sarah Cole of NYC
    Their Son Fred Johnson Brewer m. Ella Craggs
    Their Son George Fred Brewer m. Lorraine Clark Morrill
    Their Son Peter Brewer m. Carol Janet Feierbacher
    Their Son is me, Michael Jon Brewer, born 1957


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