Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Monday, March 25, 2013

Children of Peter Brewer and Hannah Sanborn: Jacob Brewer

Peter Brewer and Hannah Sanborn of Highgate, Vermont are believed to have had ten children. From the beginning it should be made clear that there are no records of birth or baptism found for any of them. To date, no "family record" or "Bible record" contemporary to Peter Brewer's time, has been located.

Jacob Brewer appears to have been the oldest child of Peter Brewer and Hannah Sanborn. He appears on the 1850 U. S. census at Highgate, Vermont, age given as 49, and born in Vermont. In 1860, at Milford, Jefferson Co., Wisconsin, Jacob's age is given as 59. It is likely that he was born in 1801 at Highgate, Vermont. A deed of 1827 in which Peter Brewer conveys land to Jacob Brewer, with the provision that the land be returned to Peter Brewer should Jacob die without heirs, seems to be proof enough that Jacob was a son of Peter Brewer.

Jacob Brewer was married to Jerusha Westover on 3 November 1823, and the marriage is recorded in the Highgate Town Records. According to the 1850 U. S. census at Highgate, Jerusha was aged 45, and born in Canada. Like her mother-in-law, Hannah Sanborn, Jerusha possesses a family name that is well known in New England, has been well researched over the past 150 years or so, yet Jerusha's place within the family has not been discovered.

The Westover family in New England traces its origins to Jonas Westover who died at Simsbury, Connecticut in 1709. His wife was Ann Griswold, daughter of Edward Griswold and Margaret. Jonas and Ann (Griswold) Westover appear to have had ten children. Moses Westover (1744-1826), a great-grandson of Jonas and Ann (Griswold) Westover, was born in Sheffield, Berkshire Co., Massachusetts, and made his way to Lower Canada not long after the Revolutionary War. He settled at Sutton, in the Eastern Townships, in 1796. His wife was Elizabeth Holmes and the couple had eleven children born at Sheffield, Massachusetts between the years of 1768 and 1792, prior to the move to Sutton. Jerusha's place would likely be among the grandchildren of Moses Westover, but exactly where, as thus far been elusive.

Just who Jerusha Westover is, is complicated by the strong belief, passed down from the generation of the children of Jacob and Jerusha, that the Brewer family of Highgate had a Native American ancestor. The possibility that Hannah Thomas (Jacob Brewer's grandmother) was that Native American was mentioned in Jeremiah Brower, Part IV (February 13, 2013). Jerusha has also been suspected to be the Native American, and that is certainly possible. The area in which the first settlers of European origin, Jeremiah Brower among them, came to in northern Vermont, was prior to their arrival, a center of Abenaki settlement. There is no doubt that native Abenakis and the new settlers from New York and New England interrelated and intermarried. Perhaps DNA testing of living descendant, especially one who is only four or five generations removed from Jerusha, through the GENO 2.0 project can provide supporting genetic evidence to the belief that descendants of Jacob Brewer and Jerusha Westover have Native American ancestry.

Jacob Brewer and Jerusha Westover's children were all born in Highgate, Vermont. In about 1854 the family left Vermont and headed west, as many Vermonters did, settling first in Wisconsin. Jacob and his family can be found on the 1860 U. S. census at Milford in Jefferson Co., Wisconsin. In 1868 the family relocated to Riverton in Floyd Co., Iowa, and are found there on the 1870 U. S. census. Neither Jacob nor Jersuha can be located on the 1880 census, and it is suspected that both died prior to 1880. Both would have been in their seventies. No record of death, or location of burial has been discovered for either Jacob or Jerusha.

There were ten children in family of Jacob and Jerusha Brewer. The first two died at young ages. Alphonso Brewer died 20 May 1826, age 17 months, while George Brewer died 18 April 1841, age 12 years. Both were buried in the Brewer Cemetery off Rollo Road in Highgate. Mention of them can be found in the "McLellan Cemetery Records for Franklin County," at the Vermont Historical Society in Barre, Vermont.

Norman Brewer was born 12 June 1831 at Highgate, moved with the family to Wisconsin and then Iowa, and finally settled at Highmore, Hyde Co., South Dakota, where he died in 1888. His wife was Elizabeth Nelson and the couple had seven children, four of who are known to have married.

Laura Brewer was born about 1834 at Highgate, and is found with the family there on the 1850 census. She married William Mueller on 23 September 1858 at Milford, Wisconsin. It is probable that her husband is the William Mueller who served during the Civil War with the 20th Wisconsin Infantry. That William Mueller was from Watertown, Wisconsin, was mustered in on 8 Feb 1864, and drowned 28 July 1864 at San Martin Ranche, Texas. Neither Laura or William have been located on the 1860 census and nothing else is known of them at this time.

John, or Joseph, Wesley Brewer died in 1839, age 2, while Stephen B. Brewer, died 13 June 1841, age 4 1/2 years. Both are buried in the Brewer Cemetery in Highgate. (McLellan Cemetery Records).

Jackson M. Brewer was born about 1840 as per the 1850 (age 11), 1860 (age 20) and 1870 (age 30) U. S. census records. He was married twice and had nine children. His first wife, Isabelle McKnight, is identified by the death record of their son, William J. Brewer, who died 22 January 1936 in Rockford, Illinois. Jackson and Isabelle had seven children and are found on the 1870 census at Riverton, Floyd Co., Iowa. Jackson is a widower on the 1880 census at Riverton, and the census mortality schedule for that year places Isabelle's death as occuring in April 1880. Jackson married his second wife on 23 August 1881 in Floyd Co., Iowa. She was called, Mollie Sherman, on the marriage record, but Sherman was apparently the name of her first husband, with whom she had two children, Hattie and Sophia, born ca. 1875 and 1878 in De Moines, Iowa. The birth records of Jackson and Mollie's children, James Jacob Brewer (1884) and Edna Brewer (1886) call her Mattie Ann Gray and Mallie Ann Gray. The 1885 Iowa census at Emmetsburg, Palo Alto Co., Iowa (where the two families are combined) calls her Martha. Of Jackson's children, Albert and Mary Luella (in Beltrami Co., Minnesota), and Andrew O. and William J. (in Rockford, Illinois) can be traced. I have been unable to locate Jackson, his second wife, or their children, after the 1885 census at Emmetsburg, Iowa.

Jacob B. Brewer was born in May 1842 at Highgate, Vermont (1900 census, age 58 and single). He served during the Civil War, enlisting while living at Milford, Jefferson Co., Wisconsin, but has not been located post the 1900 U. S. census, when living at Vermillion, Clay Co., South Dakota.

Leland Brewer, age 2, is found in the household of Jacob and Jerusha on the 1850 U. S. census at Highgate, Vermont. No further records have yet been found. He is not mentioned in the McLellan Cemetery records, so perhaps he died at a young age after the family's move to Iowa.

The youngest child of Jacob and Jerusha Brewer, Seth Wales Brewer, was born 21 January 1851 at Highgate, Vermont. He died 6 July 1934 at Elliott, Sanborn Co., South Dakota. His descendants have probably been the most researched and are the most thoroughly documented of all of Jacob and Jerusha's descendants. A number of descendants have been very active researchers of the family and one descendant has participated in the Brewer DNA Project. Seth is found in his parent's household on the 1860 and 1870 census records at Milford, Jefferson Co., Wisconsin and Riverton, Floyd Co., Iowa respectively. On 1 January 1874 he married Louvica Adeline Shannon at Nashua, Iowa. She was born on 14 February 1856 at Riverton, Iowa, the daughter of William Shannon and Cordelia Bohne. Louvica died on 3 May 1925 at Woonsocket, South Dakota. Seth and Louvica are found on the 1880 census at Riverton, Iowa and moved to Sanborn Co., South Dakota by 1892. They had four children, Casper, Leo, Rudolph and Millie Blanche, the last two marrying Hutton siblings. Descendants are still found in Sanborn Co., South Dakota today. Thanks especially to Karen B. Sims for providing much research and photographs regarding the Seth Wales Brewer family.

Source details and and additional info can be found on the Brouwer Genealogy Database website, but the better source for additional info on descendants can be found at Jacob Brewer at

See also: The Brewer Ancestry of U.S. President Calvin Coolidge

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