Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Jurge Brouwer and Elizabeth Holmes

Jurge Brouwer, a son of Nicholas Brouwer and Jannetje Caljer, was baptized on March 30, 1701. The record as found in the register of the Old First Dutch Reformed Church of Breuckelen lists the witnesses as Jurie Case, which is likely an error for Jurie Caljer, the child's maternal grandfather, for whom he was named, and Lena Nazaret, who would be Helena Brouwer, an aunt of the child and sister of the father, Nicholas Brouwer. At the time of his birth, Jurge's parents were most probably living at Gowanus. As a child, Jurge most likely lived, and grew up, at Fordham Manor, then in Westchester County (now in Bronx County), and in New York City on Manhattan Island. He is one of seven known children of his parents. In later records his name is recorded as Jurrie Brower and Jeremia Brouwer.

"Jeremia Brouwer and Elisabeth Holmes" were married at the New York Reformed Dutch Church on September 25, 1720. The identity of Elizabeth's parents and her ancestry cannot be stated with absolute certainty, however, it is most probable that she is a daughter of George Holmes and Anneken Caljer and a descendant (great-granddaughter) of George Holmes who came to Virginia in the 1630s and had settled on Manhattan Island later in that decade. If this placement is correct, then Jurge and Elizabeth would have been first cousins, their mothers having been sisters. Jurge Brouwer is covered in William J. Hoffman's "Brouwer Beginnings," at TAG 24 (1948): 164, where Hoffman references Stokes, Iconograhy of Manhattan Island, vol. 6, page 172, for a description of Elizabeth's family. Now this referenced work does not mention Elizabeth specifically, however, it does provide a description of George Holmes (known to the Dutch as Joris Homs) and it provides a starting point for constructing the descendants of George Holmes.

George Holmes was in Virginia by August 1635 when Capt. John West, Governor, with consent of Council, conveyed 150 acres in the County of James City to George Holmes, and conveyed an additional 50 acres to his wife Rebecca Homes (sic). He was granted another 200 acres in 1636, and 350 acres more in 1637. All of this apparently on account of George Holmes bringing others (servants) to the colony. In 1635, Gov. West had commissioned George Holmes to lead a group of men to take possession of the fort on the South River (later the Delaware River) that had been abandoned by the Swedes who had first settled there. The Dutch Government at New Amsterdam quickly countered this move and easily captured the English led by Holmes, who were brought back to New Amsterdam. Manhattan Island apparently impressed George Holmes and in Novemeber 1639, he and Thomas Hall, "tobacco-planters in partnership," were granted land at Deutel Bay along the East River. "Deutel" Bay, or Turtle Bay was a cove on the east side of Manhattan Island. The topography has long since been altered since the 1600s, and the area is the present day site of the neighborhood called Turtle Bay between 43rd and 53rd Streets and east from Lexington Ave. to the East River. The United Nations and the Chrysler Building are two landmarks of the area today. Having settled there in 1639, George Holmes and Thomas Hall, are considered to be the first men of English ancestry to have made Manhattan Island their primary residence.

Turtle Bay in 1853, George Hayward. NYPL Digital Gallery

 What became of George Holmes' wife, Rebecca, in Virginia is not clear, but by 1640 his wife was a woman named Jeen, a widow of Jan Jemptingh, whose maiden name is not known. Jeen and her first husband had one son, Jan, born about 1636, location not known, and Jeen had five known children by George Holmes. The eldest, Priscilla, was baptized on May 27, 1640, at the New Amsterdam Reformed Dutch Church. The couple's youngest known child, Jan, or John, was baptized on April 21, 1652 at the New Amsterdam Church. John Holmes (Jan Homs) was married to Magdalena Jans (her family not known) by 1676. Their son George Holmes (Joris Homs) was baptized on March 13, 1676 at the New York Reformed Dutch Church and was married to Anneken Caljer on August 22, 1695 at the same church. They are probably the parents of Elizabeth Holmes, the wife of Jurge Brouwer. Although there are records of baptism for three children of George Holmes and Anneken Caljer (Magdalena in 1696, Jannetje in 1701 and Jan in 1704) none has been found for Elizabeth. She is placed in this family based on the fact that since she was married in 1720, she likely was born around 1700 to 1704, and there is no room for her in the other Holmes families descended from the first George Holmes. In 1721, Elizabeth witnessed the baptism of Maria Forth, daughter of Helena Caljer and James Forth. Helena Caljer was herself baptized in 1699, and a witness for her baptism was George Holmes (recorded as Joris Hoorn) the probable father of Elizabeth. The inter-marriages and relationships between the Brouwer, Caljer and Holmes families, make this placement for Elizabeth the best choice, pending any new information.

Some Descendants of George Holmes, Immigrant to Virginia and Early Settler on Manhattan Island

Jurge Brouwer and Elizabeth Holmes had two children for whom records of baptism have been found. Jannetje was baptized on 20 May 1722 at the Dutch Reformed Church at Hackensack, Bergen County, New Jersey. Sponsors were Nicholas Brouwer and Jannetje, his wife. They were Jurge's parents and the child, Jannetje, was certainly named for her paternal grandmother. A son, Jurrie, was baptized on 7 January 1733 at the Reformed Dutch Church at Readington, Hunterdon Co., New Jersey. No sponsors were recorded. No records for either Jannetje or Jurrie (Jurge/Jeremiah) have been located for them as adults.

Between 1730 and 1737, Jurge (the elder) was living at Rocky Hill in Somerset County, New Jersey. On 15 January 1730/31, as Jurrie Brouwer, he witnessed the will of Abraham Reuters, who lived in the house of the widow Christina Elrington at Rocky Hill. On 17 January 1736/37. Jurrie Brower witnessed the will of Lewis Moore, merchant, of Rocky Hill, and on 24 January 1736/37, he was one of the appraisers of Lewis Moore's estate. This is the last record found for Jurge Brouwer. No record of his estate has been found, and what became of him after 1737, when he was only age 36, has not been uncovered. The last appearance recorded for Elizabeth is the 1733 baptism of her son Jurrie, mentioned above.

In addition to the two children, Jannetje and Jurrie, for whom baptism records are known, two additional children are tentatively placed in the family. They are Jeremiah Brouwer/Brower/Brewer (1738-1822) of Half Moon, New York and Highgate, Vermont, and Nicholas Brouwer/Brower of Newtown, New York in 1786. Reasons for their placement here will be expanded upon in a future post.

The Family of Jurge Brouwer and Elizabeth Holmes

Please consult the Brouwer Genealogy Database for source citations.

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