Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Unplaced: Richard Brouwer of Albany & Delaware Cos., New York

Richard Brouwer is known to have lived at Duanesburgh, Albany Co., New York (1790 census) and at Walton (1800) and Tompkins (1810, 1820) both in Delaware County, New York. He was married to Mary Blann/Blain/Blean sometime prior to 1779. Richard Brouwer was mentioned in an earlier post, Six Derck/Dirck Brouwers.

A descendant of Richard Brouwer has participated in the Brewer DNA Project. The results of his Y-DNA test confirm that he, and therefore all of his direct male Brewer ancestors, are descendants of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, Long Island. Richard Brouwer's direct ancestry back to Jan Brouwer, however, is as yet unknown.

We know of four children of Richard Brouwer and his wife, Mary Blann. They are recorded in baptism records at Schenectady and Guilderland Center, New York. The first two are found in the records of the First Reformed Church at Schenectady. They are for George Washington, son of Richard Brouwer and Mary Blann, with sponsors Johannes Mynderse and Eva C. Yates, dated January 31, 1779; and Petrus, son of Richard Brouwer and Mary Blean, with sponsors Petrus Westvaal and Sophia Westvaal, dated January 16, 1782. Then on November 6, 1787, Helena, daughter of Richard Brower and Margariet (sic) Blaine, was baptized at the Helderbergh Reformed Church at Guilderland Center, Albany County. Sponsors were Evert Van Arnem and Helena Vroman. On April 17, 1795, Derick, son of Derick Brewer and Maria Blain, was baptized at the Helderbergh Reformed Church. No sponsors were recorded and the child's date of birth was given as May 1, 1790. The name Richard, of course, is a derivation of Derick. What relationship if any, of the above mentioned sponsors to either Richard or Mary, is not known. Extended families for each of the named sponsors would have to be compiled before any potential family relationship might be found. The parents of Mary Blann, and her ancestry is also unknown, but discovering her whereabouts prior to her marriage, may be helpful in locating Richard's parents. Richard and Mary were said to have had fourteen children. If this is correct, then we still have ten children who have not yet been discovered.

The descendant who participated in the Brewer DNA Project is descended from the above son Derick, who was known in adulthood as Richard Brewer. In 1817 Richard, and his brother Peter, relocated to what was known as the "Firelands" in northeastern Ohio along the south shore of Lake Erie. The "Firelands" were in a larger area that was originally under the jurisdiction of the State of Connecticut and was known as the Connecticut Western Reserve. Richard Brewer settled near Florence in Huron Co., Ohio. In 1838, Erie County was formed from Huron County and Richard is found on the U.S. Federal census records of 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880 at Florence, Erie Co., Ohio. His wife was Nancy Schaeffer and they had eight children born between 1821 and 1844. In 1889, Howard Tuttle presented a sketch of Richard Brewer before the Firelands Pioneer Society. It was published in The Firelands Pioneer and can be found online at Google Books. Richard Brewer apparently developed a legend, to some extent, as an early pioneer. A number of statements with regards to his age and date and place of birth were exaggerated and/or in error. In 1889, Richard was still alive, and he was stated to be aged 105 years, was given a birth date of May 1, 1783, and stated to have been born at "Greenbush, Delaware Co., New York." Of course we know from his baptism record that Richard was actually born on May 1, 1790, and Greenbush is a town, not in Delaware Co., but in Albany County (now in Rensselaer Co.), New York. Richard would have lived for some years during his childhood in Delaware County, but he was not born there. Richard's brother Peter was also said to have gone to Ohio, however, a family and what became of him, has not yet been found.

The above mentioned account by Howard Tuttle stated that Richard Brewer's father (Richard Brouwer) had fourteen children. Whether or not this too was an exaggeration we do not know. As mentioned, only four have thus far been identified. From the baptism of George Washington Brouwer in January 1779, we can assume that Richard and Mary were married prior to that year. If we then assume that Richard was at least twenty years old we can state that he was born prior to 1759. We do not know whether George Washington Brouwer was the first child of Richard and Mary. They may have been earlier children who have yet to be discovered. As of now, all we can possibly say is that Richard Brouwer was probably born sometime between 1730 and 1759. With this large range for a birth date, there are two known Dirck Brouwers who might be Richard Brouwer. They are Dirck, son of Pieter Brouwer and Susanna Titsoort, baptized on September 1, 1743 at Readington, New Jersey, or Dirck, son of Jacob Brouwer and Marike, baptized on May 29, 1737 at Readington, New Jersey. A third possibility is that Richard is an otherwise unknown son of Dirck Brouwer who himself was baptized August 15, 1732. This last possibility is the least likely as Dirck's believed family is in itself speculative. (This last Dirck Brouwer I am referring to is #4 in Six Derck/Dirck Brouwers).

It should also be noted that the 1830 U.S. census at Tompkins, Delaware Co., New York, records a Jacob Brewer with a household of 1 male aged 50-60, 1 female 5-10 and 1 female 40-50, and a John Brewer with a household of 1 male under 5, 1 male 5-10, 1 male 50-60, 1 female under 5, 1 female 5-10, 1 female 30-40. Richard Brouwer (Brewer) is not found on the 1830 census and is presumed to have died between 1820 and 1830. Jacob Brewer and John Brewer, each of who would have been born in the decade of 1770-1780 (assuming the census record is correct) may have been additional sons of Richard Brouwer and Mary Blann. John Brewer is found on the 1840 census at Tompkins, New York. Jacob is not found in 1840. No persons named Brewer (or Brower) are found at Tompkins, New York in 1850.

We would like to hear from anyone with any additional documented records or information. Any direct male Brewer or Brower descendants of Richard Brouwer are encouraged to participate in the Brewer DNA Project. As usual, source citations can be found at the Brouwer Genealogy Database website. A chart of known descendants, with links, of Richard Brouwer can also be found at the BGD.

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