Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Abraham Brouwer of Gowanus, Long Island

Abraham Brouwer, a son of Adam Brouwer and Magdalena Verdon, was born sometime prior to 1667, probably at Gowanus, Long Island. No record of baptism has been found for Abraham. He is mentioned in his father's will of January 22, 1691/92, and he appears on the September 1687 Oath of Allegiance at Brooklyn as "Abram brouwer, native." It is his appearance on this list, as independent from his father, that leads to the likelihood that Abraham was born prior to 1667.

William J. Hoffman covers Abraham Brouwer in "Brouwer Beginnings" at TAG 24 (1948): 96-101. Hoffman's profile of the family includes children and many grandchildren. There are, however, some errors.

As of this posting, one descendant of Abraham Brouwer has participated in the Brewer DNA Project. The Y-DNA test results confirm the participant's descent from Adam Brouwer. The participant's lineage is a bit unique in that it the only line of Adam Brouwer descendants found (so far) that re-located to eastern Massachusetts during the mid-1800s, a time when most migration from New York was westward. We are always looking for new Brouwer descendants interested in joining the Brewer DNA Project.

Abraham Brouwer was married to Cornelia Caljer, with banns dated 6 February 1692, recorded at the Flatbush Reformed Dutch Church. Cornelia was a daughter of Jurian Caljer and Lysbeth Cornelise van der Hoeven. There is no record of her baptism and she was probably born about 1676 when her family lived in the vicinity of Kinderhook which is in present day Columbia County, New York, along the Hudson River between New York City and Albany. The Caljer family later lived at Bushwick in Kings County. Cornelia's sister, Jannetje, married Abraham's brother, Nicholas Brouwer, and the two families operated the Gowanus Mill, established by Adam Brouwer, until about 1712 when it appears that Nicholas sold his share to his brother Abraham. The marriage of Abraham Brouwer and Cornelia Caljer took place at about the time that Adam Brouwer died, and the Flatbush record records Abraham as "Abraham Adams Berks," a recognition of the "Berckhoven" surname his father seemed to adopt in the later years of his life. In later records Abraham is recorded with the surname, Brouwer. The marriage banns record Cornelia as "Cornelia Halsijen." It is not clear how "Halsijen" is derived from "Caljer" other then human error in the original recording. Abraham and Cornelia are found as sponsors/witnesses at a number baptisms for children of both Brouwer and Caljer siblings. Cornelia is sometimes recorded with her husband's surname, BROUWER.

Abraham Brouwer is found in a number of deeds recorded at Kings County. In many of them his wife, Cornelia, is named as well. From the deeds we can get the general picture that, from the time of Adam Brouwer's death, Abraham and his brother Nicholas, began jointly acquiring property owned by their siblings, and others, in the immediate vicinity of the mill. There are also a handful of recorded agreements, or contracts, between the Brouwers and immediate neighbors regarding water rights. In 1710 the two Brouwer-Caljer couples create two indentures by which all of the accumulated property is legally divided between the two families. Then in 1712, Nicholas and Jannetje sell their Gowanus property to Abraham and Cornelia. Twenty years after the death of Adam Brouwer, his son Abraham was the sole Brouwer in possession of the Gowanus Mill property. In 1737 Abraham, in two separate deeds, conveyed the mill property to his two sons, Jeury and Abraham.

The last mention of Cornelia is on 23 August 1728, when she is recorded as a witness for the baptism of her granddaughter, Cornelia, the daughter of Jannetje Brouwer and Johannes Burger. Cornelia (Caljer) Brouwer was deceased by 1 September 1732, when her widowed husbanded made a pre-marital agreement with his soon to be second wife, Elizabeth (Gerritsen) Britton, widow of Nathaniel Britton, late of Staten Island. Elizabeth was a daughter of Jan Gerritsen and Elisabeth Gysberts. She had six children with her first husband, Nathaniel Britton. Abraham and Elizabeth had no children.

Abraham Brouwer and Cornelia Caljer had six known children. There are baptism records for four, and they were born between the years 1695 and 1706.
1- Lysbeth (Elizabeth) daughter of Abraham Berckhoven and Cornelia Caljers was baptized at the New York Reformed Dutch Church on 19 June 1695. Sponsors were Joris Horn (Joris/George Homs/Holmes) and his wife Annetje Caljers, a sister of Cornelia's. Elizabeth married Jacobus Bennet, a son of Jan Willemsz Bennet and Aeltje Wynants. Elizabeth and Jacobus were 2nd cousins, their common ancestor being Maria Badie. The couple had seven children. Wilson V. Ledley in his long account of the Bennet family (NYGBR 93-95 [1962-1964] at 95:24) mistakenly identifies Elizabeth as a daughter of Nicholas Brouwer and Jannetje Caljer. William J. Hoffman's "Brouwer Beginnings" account, which pre-dated Ledley by sixteen years, had Elizabeth's identification correct.
2- Machdalena (Magdalena), daughter of Abram Brouwer and Cornelia Brouwer, was baptized at Brooklyn on 21 March 1695. Sponsors were Nicklaes Brouwer and Jannetje Brouwer. Here, the sisters Cornelia and Jannetje, are both recorded with their husband's surnames. Magdalena was married twice. The first marriage was to Jan Frederic Reyn (Rein) on 20 April 1717 at the New York Reformed Dutch Church. The couple had three known children, Cornelia, Jan and Helena. Magdalena's second marriage was to John Turner (Tourner), who was deceased by 1749. Magdalena is also recorded as "Lena" and "Helena," and there is certainly more waiting to be discovered regarding both of her husbands and descendants.
3- Marytie, daughter of Abram Brouwer and Cornelia, was baptized at Brooklyn on 12 March 1699. Sponsors were Cornelis Caljer and Margrietie Pieters. Cornelis Caljer was a brother of Cornelia, but Margrietie Pieters is not found among the known spouses of immediate family members, and remains unidentified. Marytje married first, Hendrick Van Leeuwen on 4 August 1718 at the New York Reformed Dutch Church. He is called, "Henry Lyon," in the marriage record. They had four children. Her second marriage was to William Tucker, and a son William, was baptized on 27 August 1731 at New York. Marytje's third marriage was to Jacob van Giesen on 6 January 1734. She is recorded as "Maria Tukker" in the record of the New York Reformed Dutch Church. A likely daughter of the third marriage was Russchen van Giesen, who married Moses Mettes. Baptism sponsorships help to tie this family together.
4- Abraham, son of Abraham Brouwer and Cornelia was baptized on 15 December 1706 at Brooklyn. Sponsors were Isaac Hendrickse and Magdaleentje Blauw. Isaac Hendrickse identification or relationship to the Brouwer or Caljer families is not apparent. Magdaleentje Blauw, is possibly Lena, the wife of Frederick Blauw, and possibly the Magdalena Caljer who was a sister of Cornelia Caljer (this is not certain, but this identification does seem to be very likely). Abraham married Sara Kimber and the couple had eight children. Two children are identified by baptism records and Abraham's will dated 29 September 1755, identifies the others. William J. Hoffman covers Abraham at TAG 24 (1948): 98, but is in error when he states that Abraham's son Abraham, married Maria Losier, and when he states that Abraham's son Jury, "probably married Maria Tideman." These two brothers, Abraham and Jury, were the two who were in ownership of the Gowanus mill property when it was destroyed during the Battle of Brooklyn in August 1776. They did not marry Maria Losier and Maria Tideman, respectively, but instead were married to sisters, Mary Elsworth and Anna Elsworth, daughters of William Elsworth and Rebecca Stillwell.

The remaining two children of Abraham Brouwer and Cornelia Caljer do not have baptism records that have been located. They are Jannetje and Jury, and were both likely born between 1700 and 1705, between the 1699 baptism of Marytje and the 1706 baptism of Abraham.
5- Jannetje Brouwer was married to Johannes Burger by 1725. They had ten children baptized at the New York Reformed Dutch Church, the first (Johannes) on 29 September 1725, and the last (Elizabeth) on 2 March 1746. The couple's eldest daughter was named Cornelia, while the second son was given the name Abraham. Johannes Burger, baptized on 5 December 1701 at New York, was a son of Johannes Burger and Helena Pauluse Turck. Johannes (Jr.) and Jannetje's first son was named Johannes and the second daughter was named Helena, in the classic Dutch naming custom of the time. Abraham Brouwer and Cornelia Caljer were sponsors for three of the Burger children, while Jannetje and her siblings had multiple occasions when they stood as sponsor at the baptisms of their sibling's children. The placement of Jannetje Brouwer, wife of Johannes Burger, in this family is certain.
6- The final child of Abraham Brouwer and Cornelia Caljer is Jeury Brouwer. His placement in the family is confirmed by recorded deeds beginning with the 1737 deed by which his father conveys Jeury half of the mill property. He was probably older then his brother Abraham, and was named for Cornelia's father, Jurian Caljer. Is name Jeury, which is also seen as Jury, Jurian, and Jurge was anglicized to Jeremiah (or Jeremias) in the Brouwer families. The name is found only among the descendants of Adam Brouwer's sons Abraham and Nicholas, and the name owes its origins to Jurian Caljer, the father-in-law of both Abraham and Nicholas Brouwer. Jeury Brouwer (probably born between 1700 and 1705) was married twice. His first marriage, to his first cousin Elizabeth Hilton (daughter of Anna Brouwer and William Hilton) occurred on 15 January 1726 at the New York Dutch Church. They had eleven children, but baptism records have not been found for any of them (the records of the Brooklyn Dutch Church, post 1719, are lost). The children are identified by Jeury's will of 18 September 1754, which was not proved until 4 February 1784. On 24 October 1747, recorded in the Flatbush Reformed Church records, Jeremias Brouwer, widower, married Charitie Stillwell, young woman. There is no record of any children for Jeury and Charity. Charity (Geertje, when written by a Dutch hand) has not been identified in the Stillwell family of the greater New York City area. However, on 2 November 1757, a Thomas Stillwell of New York City, sold land in Flatbush to Jurry Brouwer of Brooklyn, miller. This may be a first clue to Charity's identification.
Charity's own will was written on 9 May 1787 and was proved 8 March 1790. At the time she lived at Goshen in Orange County, New York, and styled herself as "Charity Brouwer, widow of Jeremiah Brouwer, late of Kings County on Nassau Island." She leaves a number of legacies to numerous persons, one of whom is Theophilus Brouwer, grandson of "my said late husband." Among her other beneficiaries are "my sister Mary Sickles" (possibly another clue to the identity of Charity's Stillwell family); to "Charity Tedemun" (Tideman); to Elizabeth Whitney, wife of Abijah Whitney (Elizabeth was a daughter of Charity's step-daughter Sara Brouwer and her husband Christopher Elsworth) and William Elsworth and Jeremiah Elsworth. Hoffman (at TAG 24:100) identifies the "Charity Tedemun" in the will as the Charity Brouwer who married Abraham Tiederman at the Lutheran Church at Loonenburg (Athens), New York, and believes her to be a daughter of Jeremiah Brouwer and Charity Stillwell. On the first point he is correct, but on the second point he is in error. Charity Brouwer was a daughter of Juey Brouwer and Anna Elsworth, and a granddaughter of Abraham Brouwer and Sara Kimber. Charity Tidemon is mentioned as an heir in the 1818 petition to Congress initiated by Mary (Elsworth) Brouwer. Apparently Hoffman was unaware of this document. It is very valuable for understanding this complicated family more correctly.
The multiple Brouwer - Elsworth marriages also cause some confusion. It might be best to list them here.
-Abraham Brouwer (b.1739) son of Abraham Brouwer & Sara Kimber, married (lic. 18 Oct 1758) Mary Elsworth, daughter of William Elsworth & Rebecca Stillwell.
-Jury Brouwer (b. 1738-1748) son of Abraham Brouwer & Sara Kimber, married (lic. 28 Dec 1763) Anna Elsworth, daughter of William Elsworth & Rebecca Stillwell. (Jury did not marry Annatie Bennet as suggested by Ledley at NYGBR 95:159).
-Cornelia Brouwer, daughter of Jeury Brouwer & Elizabeth Hilton, married (lic. 29 Oct 1761) Thomas Elsworth, son of William Elsworth & Rebecca Stillwell.
-Jeury Brouwer (b. 1728) son of Jeury Brouwer & Elizabeth Hilton, married on 15 Feb 1750, Jane Elsworth, daughter of Theophilus Elsworth & Johanna Hardenbroek.
-Sara Brouwer, daughter of Jeury Brouwer & Elizabeth Hilton, married (lic. 16 Feb 1759), Christopher Elsworth, son of Willem Elsworth & Rebecca Stillwell. (Their daughter Elizabeth Elsworth married Abijah Whitney, and is named in Charity (Stillwell) Brouwer's will).
The above mentioned Rebecca Stillwell is a daughter of Thomas Stillwell and Catrina Duryea. It may be that Charity Stillwell was her sister, and a daughter of this couple as well. However, this has not yet been proved.

Of the eleven children of Jeury Brouwer and Elizabeth Hilton, we know of marriages for nine of them. Cornelia, Jeury and Sara are mentioned above. The eldest son Abraham was the Abraham Brouwer who married Mary Losee at Rombout, Dutchess Co., New York in 1757. Hoffman had mistakenly identified this Abraham as the son of Abraham Brouwer & Sara Kimber (see above). At TAG 24:100, Hoffman states that Jeury Brouwer's son, Abraham, married Mary Elsworth. This is incorrect as well, and in essence, Hoffman had the two contemporary Abrahma Brouwers switched with regards to their marriages. Abraham Brouwer (son of Jeury Brouwer & Elizabeth Hilton) was first married to Barbara Stellingwerf, a daughter of Pieter Stellingwerf and Femmetje Bennet. Abraham left a will dated 13 February 1797 and had three children by Barbara Stellingwerf and four by Mary Losee.
Jeury and Elizabeth's son William Brouwer (named for his maternal grandfather William Hilton) married Meclitta van Duyn, a daughter of Gerrit van Duyn and Altie van Nostrand. They had five children. Hoffman has this marriage correct.
Son, Adolph Brouwer (d. 19 July 1827) married Aeltje Hulst, daughter of Anthony Hulst and Altie van Duyn. Hoffman also has this correct. Adolph purchased the ruined mill property from the other heirs in 1785, rebuilt the mill, and sold the property to John Freeke in 1798.
Of Jeury Brouwer and Elizabeth Hilton's daughters, Annatje married Henry Taylor and had two known children, Charity Taylor and Jeremiah Brower Taylor. Daughter Maria Brouwer married Cornelius Bennet and had three known children, Abraham, Cornelius and Jacob. There is a nine year gap between Maria and Cornelius' marriage in 1757 and the baptism of the first known child in 1766, so undoubtedly there were others. This may be a home for some unplaced Bennets of the late 1700s. Marriages have not yet been found for daughters Elizabeth and Lena, both of who were mentioned as unmarried in Jeury Brouwer's will of 1754 (proved in 1784).

Abraham Brouwer, the original subject of this post, was last recorded on 18 February 1739, when he and Elizabeth, his wife, were sponsors for the baptism of his grandson, Abraham, son of Abraham Brouwer and Sara Kimber, at New Utrecht. No record of probate or settlement of estate has been found for Abraham, and one was not necessary as he had previously conveyed his property to his sons Jeury and Abraham by deeds in 1737, and had provided for his second wife, Elizabeth (Gerritsen) Britton, in their agreement of 1732. By 1739, Abraham Brouwer would have been approaching his mid-seventies.

It is believed that Adam Brouwer first began building the mill property at Gowanus sometime in the late 1640s or 1650s. He died in early 1692 and had been overseer of what has been claimed as  Long Island's first grist mill for roughly 45 years. Abraham oversaw the operation from 1692 until 1737, also a period of 45 years.  The mill remained with Brouwer descendants until 1798, another 61 years.

The Children and Grandchildren of Abraham Brouwer and Cornelia Caljer 

Details and source citations can be found at the Brouwer Genealogy Database website. Some corrections and changes found during the course of writing this post will be online with the next BGD website update.

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