Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Who is Elias Brewer of Burlington Co.? And Who is Rebecca Wickers?

A license to marry was granted in New Jersey on 25 September 1786, to Elias Brewer of Burlington County, and Rebecca Wickers (Wickars)*. Posting the bond of five hundred pounds was Elias Brewer (presumably the groom) and John Shreve, both of Burlington County. The witness was Herbert McElroy.

Frustratingly, no other record of this couple has been identified. There are numerous men named Elias Brewer (Brower and Brouwer) found in colonial New Jersey and New York, all of whom are most likely descendants of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, Long Island. This particular Elias Brewer, however, has not been placed, or located, among the descendants.

Identifying Rebecca Wickers has proved to be even more difficult as I have been unable to locate even another mention of her surname, whether spelled Wickers or Wickars, in available records of colonial New Jersey. This road block has lead me to consider that perhaps her surname was recorded, or later transcribed, in error. Could Wickers somehow be an error for Vickers? There were Vickers families in the Middletown and Shrewsbury areas of Monmouth County, New Jersey during the 1700s. Researching them has prompted me to place online what little I have been able to gather (see links below). The hope was that Rebecca would appear in a Vickers family, but so far, that has not happened.

What became of Elias and Rebecca after their marriage is also unknown. No hint as to their ages at the time of their marriage is given in the license record. Were they a couple, in their 20s, getting married for the first time? Elias apparently had enough property or was well established enough to have his bond excepted. Was Elias a bit older, maybe in his 30s? Could Elias and Rebecca have been an older couple, perhaps a widower and a widow? Could this marriage have been a second marriage for one or both? With nothing else to grab onto, there are many open questions.
Those who research in post-colonial New Jersey are well aware that the valuable census records (even if they only list heads of households) for the years 1790, 1800, 1810 and 1820, in New Jersey, are lost to the ages. The census records absence really hinders the search for Elias and Rebecca. Neither of the two have been identified in probate records, which for New Jersey, have been abstracted up to 1817. A more tedious search of land records and later probate records will have to be conducted. In the meantime, I would ask anyone reading this post, who knows of additional, verifiable, records or information regarding Elias Brewer and Rebecca Wickers, to please either share them with us through the Comments field below or by directly e-mailing me.

*Nelson, William. Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey. Volume XXII, Marriage Records, 1665-1800. Archives of the State of New Jersey. First Series. Volume XXII. Paterson, N. J.: Press Printing and Publishing Co., 1900, page 32. This published account simply serves as an index. In 1999, Patricia M. Bergener, published online additional information not included in the 1900 Archives' publication. This information included the names of persons posting bonds and acting as witnesses. Her documents were hosted by USGenWeb Archives, and were accessed through the following page: NJ GenWeb Archives, Statewide files-Marriage Records. The links to the actual documents, however, have since been broken.

Vickers of Monmouth County, New Jersey (The family includes ancestors of U. S. President Richard M. Nixon).

Joseph Vickers of Middlesex County, New Jersey

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