Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Mathew Brower of Greene Co., Pennsylvania (Part II): Emery Family

As stated at the end of "Mathew Brower of Greene Co., Pennsylvania (Part I)," in June of 1793, a Mathias Brewer was recorded on the assessment list at Lebanon, New Jersey. It is probable that this was the Mathew Brower/Brewer who is later found in Greene County, Pennsylvania. The reason behind this assumption is that is fits hand in hand with the fact that Mathew Brower's wife's maiden name was Emery.

James A. Brewer, in his diary of 1898, with regards to the name of the wife of his grandfather, "Mattavis Brower," writes: "I do not know for a certainty the name of his wife but believe it was Elizabeth Emery." James A. Brewer also states, "I knew one of her brothers. He was called Jim Emery and for a time he lived near Wheeling, West Virginia." A search for this "Jim Emery" has thus far come up empty. A few issues have to be considered here. First, his name, Jim, would of course be a nickname for James, which in turn could be a variation on Jacob or Jacobus. Secondly, and more critical, we have to ask, if in fact James A. Brewer did know his grandmother's brother, why would he not, at least, know her given name? We also have to recognize that James A. Brewer was born in 1837 and did not become a teenager until 1850. If he did "know" one of his grandmother's brothers, that brother (great-uncle to James A. Brewer) would have been a very old man, likely in his 80s or 90s, at a time when James A. Brewer was a teenager. Perhaps, Jim Emery was actually a nephew of James A. Brewer's grandmother, and an older cousin of James A. Brewer. In any event, we are left here with the possibility that Mathew Brower's wife could have been named, Elizabeth Emery, and she may have had a brother Jim (James, Jacob) but we have nothing conclusive to that fact.

The History of Vigo and Parke Counties account of Jacob H. Brewer (a great-grandson of Mathew Brower) does not mention the name of Mathew Brower's wife. Correspondence with descendants of Mathew Brower through his son Jacob Brewer (who's wife was Cassandra McDonald) are of the belief that Mathew Brower's wife was named Mary Magdalena Emery. However, this too has not been confirmed, and presently, with regards to the identity of Mathew Brower's wife, we have that her surname was Emery, and that she may have been named either Elizabeth, or Mary Magdalena.

The best clue as to the identity of the family of Mathew Brower's wife lies with the name of one of his sons, Conrad Brewer, who was James A. Brewer's father. The given name, Conrad, is extremely rare among the Brouwer, Brower and Brewer families descended from Adam Brouwer of Gowanus. In fact, at the time of his birth in 1798, Mathew Brower's son, Conrad, would have been the first descendant of Adam Brouwer to have been given that name. We have to remember that at the time Conrad Brewer was born, there was still a tendency to name children for family members such as parents and siblings of the parents of the new born child. For example, the second known Conrad Brewer, born in 1838, the son of George Brewer and Charlotte Barr of Highgate, Vermont, was named for his maternal grandfather, Conrad Barr. We know of no other previous Conrad Brower or Brewer who is descended from Adam Brouwer, so in the case of Mathew Brower's son, it is likely that the name Conrad was taken from the family of Mathew Brower's wife. We know that a Mathias Brewer was living at Lebanon, New Jersey in 1793. Also found in the area of Lebanon, New Jersey at that time are descendants of an earlier inhabitant of that town who died in 1756 or 1757, named Conrad Emery. It is very probable that Mathew Brower's wife, assuming the belief that she was at least an Emery is correct, was either a daughter or granddaughter (probably the later) of Conrad Emery, of Lebanon, Hunterdon County, New Jersey.

In 1970, Frederic B. Emery produced "Conrad Emery and His Descendants," a self-published, 306 page (including index) account of the descendants of Conrad Emery and his sons. A copy can be found on the Heritage Quest website (access through a subscribing institution is required). Descendants of Conrad Emery's daughters are not covered, and his youngest son, William, is mentioned only very briefly. There is no mention of a daughter or granddaughter of Conrad Emery who married Mathew Brower in Frederic B. Emery's account. What we do learn from this work is that Conrad Emery lived at Lebanon, Hunterdon Co., New Jersey from 1730 until his death. He was an immigrant from the Palatinate and Emery is apparently an English adaptation of his German name which was recorded variously as Hümmerich, Himmrich, Hennerich and Himry. Other variations found among descendants include Hemry, Henrigh, Henry, Emerich,and Emry.
According to Frederic B. Emery, some baptisms of Conrad's grandchildren are found in the records of the "German Reformed Churches" that "were established at German Valley, Foxhill, New Germantown, Stillwater, Newton and Lebanon." I have found online, "Parish Register of the German Reformed Church of Alexandria, Hunterdon County, New Jersey, 1763-1802," which includes baptism records, and is referred to by Frederic B. Emery as the "Mt. Pleasant Church." A search in this register did find the baptism record of Joh. Adam, son of Jacob Hummerich and Eva Gertraud (page 8). "Joh. Adam," or simply, Adam, would be a grandson of Conrad Emery.
The Early Germans of New Jersey, by Theodore Frelinghuysen Chambers (1895), includes in Appendix VI, a description of the German Churches of this area. In addition, in Appendix VII, "Lists of Names," has on page 633, "Persons Naturalized by Act of Assembly, 1714-1772," in 1730 is found the name of "Koenraet Henerigh (Henry)." This would be our Conrad Emery.
The Family History Library has filmed the Lebanon Reformed Dutch Church records, which begin in 1768. I have not found a published account of the records of this church, but a search of them for not only Emerys, but also Browers (Bruers?) should be undertaken.

In 1800, "Mathew Brewer" is enumerated on the U. S. Federal census at Bethel and Belfast, Bedford County, Pennsylvania. The household includes one male age 26-44, who we would assume to be Mathew Brower, in which case tells us that he was born between 1756 and 1774. Assuming that the claim that Mathew served during the Revolutionary War, which began in 1775, we have to believe that Mathew's year of birth was much closer to 1756 than 1774. For now, I have settled on stating that Mathew Brower was probably born between 1755 and 1760. In this same census, the oldest female is also aged 26-44, so again, born between 1756 and 1774. In the 1810 U. S. census at Morris, Greene County, Pennsylvania, both the oldest male and oldest female are stated as over age 45. This census places their year of birth as before 1765. Therefore, for Mathew's wife, simply known for now as (___) Emery, I would place her birth as probably between 1755 and 1765.

Conrad Emery wrote his will on 1 June 1756. It was proved 13 June 1757, and inventory of his estate had been taken on 4 May 1757, which would lead us to believe that he most likely died shortly before that last date (4 May 1757). In his will his is styled as Conrad Himmrich, or Conrad Himry, of Lebanon, Hunterdon County. His will names his wife, Margreth, and children, Jacob, Petter, John, Henry, Catharina, William, and two married daughters who's given names and names of their husbands, are not stated specifically. [Calendar of New Jersey Wills, 3 (1751-1761), in New Jersey Archives, First Series, 32:158; abstracting Lib. 8, p. 485]. Unfortunately the will does not give us any clues as to the identity of Mathew Brower's wife, but it does set the stage for confirming the makeup of Conrad's family.

Starting with Frederic B. Emery's genealogy of the Emery family, making an effort to confirm his account of at least the first two generations of descendants of Conrad Emery using other records, and adding a bit that Frederic B. Emery overlooked or did not include, I was able to create a chart of Conrad Emery's descendants and it is now online as a reference. As can be seen, Conrad Emery's children are all believed to have been born between 1733 and 1749. We do not have records of their births (with the exception of son John Emery, with the date taken from his gravestone), and we do not have records of baptisms (at least none that have been found as of now). Assuming that (___) Emery, the wife of Mathew Brower, was born between 1755 and 1765, we can see that she cannot be a daughter of Conrad Emery. Mathew Brower's wife has to be a daughter of one of his sons. Conrad's youngest two sons, Henry and William, both left wills, neither of which mentions a daughter who was the wife of Mathew Brower (details and sources for both can be found on the Brouwer Genealogy Database website). Both Henry and William were probably born too late to have been the father of Mathew Brower's wife anyway.
Son, Peter Emery, is estimated to have been born about 1739, and he left a will dated 13 January 1798 (Calendar of New Jersey Wills, 9 (1796-1800), in New Jersey Archives, First Series, 38:178, abstracting Lib. 37, p. 442, File 1840J). He is styled as "Peter Himry of Lebanon, Hunterdon, Co., blacksmith. He does name his married daughters and their husbands, but there is no mention of a daughter married to a Mathew Brower. Peter Emery is not likely to be the father of Mathew Brower's wife.
Son, John Emery was born 1 January 1742 and died 13 May 1814 in Plain Grove, Lawrence Co., Pennsylvania, which is in western Pennsylvania, north of Pittsburgh and bordering Ohio. I have not located a will for John, and none is mentioned by Frederic B. Emery, but he is probably the most extensively covered son of Conrad Emery in Frederic B. Emery's account and no mention is made of a daughter who married Mathew Brower. He does account for the marriages of John's daughters Mary and Catharine, and no daughter named Elizabeth is given. Unless something comes to light that would change the account presented by Frederic B. Emery, we probably have to go with it and work with the assumption that Mathew Brower's wife was not a daughter of John Emery.

This leaves us with only Jacob Emery, the oldest son of Conrad Emery. It is estimated that Jacob Emery was born about 1737 at Lebanon, New Jersey. His wife was named Eva, or Eva Gertruda, and Frederic B. Emery includes nine children with birth dates from 5 March 1759 through 21 July 1782. He states that the last two children were baptized at the "Evangelical Reformed Church of Lebanon." As mentioned above, the baptism of Joh. Adam (or Adam) is found in the records of the German Reformed Church at Alexandria (called Mt. Pleasant). Of Jacob Emery's daughters, a marriage is stated by Frederic B. Emery for only Elizabeth (b. 21 January 1766) who married John Apgar. Daughters, Anna and Sarah, born in 1777 and 1782 respectively, are likely too young to be Mathew Brower's wife. This leaves the two oldest daughters. Mary Emery was born 5 March 1759, and Catharine Emery was born 2 May 1763. One of them is very probably the wife of Mathew Brower. At present I would lean towards Mary Emery as Mathew's wife, simply because some descendants have referred to her as Mary Magdalena Emery, however, we still have to locate evidence to support this. I have not found a will or probate file for Jacob Emery, and so land records at Lebanon and Hunterdon County, should be searched for any deeds regarding Jacob and his children in the hope that some genealogical clues can be found.

In Part III we will take a look at the children of Mathew Brower, expand and correct what was stated in James A. Brewer's diary, and see if there are clues that could link Mathew's wife to the family of Jacob Emery of Lebanon, New Jersey.

February 3, 2017: I have placed online, in seven sections, PDFs of Frederic B. Emery's, "Conrad Emery," 1970, mentioned above. The names BREWER and BROWER are NOT found in the index. The index begins towards the end of part 5 and comprises all of parts 6 and 7.

Conrad Emery, part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7


  1. I recently visited the Hunterdon County Historical Society and reviewed the Emery genealogy records. I met a descendant of Conrad Emery there and we compared family trees. I have now received a notification of a DNA match to a descendant of Mary, Jacob, and Conrad Emery from Ancestry. I believe that we can now confirm this since I would not have any other connection to the Emery line except through the line of Matthew Brewer and his wife Mary through his son Conrad Brewer.

  2. The genealogist at Hunterdon County Historical Society explained the naming pattern commonly used at the time. It was common to name the first son after the father's father and the second son after the mother's father. This pattern would suggest Jacob as the father of Mary. The pattern also includes naming the first daughter after the mother's mother and the second daughter after the father's mother. This would suggest that Charity (Gertrude in German)could be the granddaughter of Eva Gertrude Emery. This pattern also suggests that the parents of Matthew Brewer could be Mathias (Matthew) and Elizabeth.

  3. I have just received another Ancestry DNA match to a 6th cousin related also to Jacob Emery and Eva Gertrude. This is my second DNA match to the Emery family so I am fairly confident that Mary Emery Brewer is from this family.

  4. Are you willing to accept that the wife of Matthew Brewer was Mary Emery, daughter of Jacob Emery and granddaughter of Conrad Emery? This would place them in New Jersey prior to moving to Greene County, PA. I have now received multiple Ancestry DNA matches to the Emery descendants. Conrad Brewer was my 3rd great grandfather. I have no other connection to the Emery family.

    1. I would not accept is as proved. As mentioned above the diary of James A. Brewer (1898) mentions that he believes Matthew's wife was an Emery (he thinks her name may have been Elizabeth). Onomastic evidence, which is in of itself not proof, supplies some circumstantial evidence that Matthew's wife was a daughter or granddaughter of Conrad Emery. Your autosomal DNA testing which has distant matches to persons who are descendants of Conrad Emery adds more circumstantial evidence. I think that this Emery family is the place to look for Matthew's wife, but her identity has not been proved.
      Autosomal DNA matches provide you with names of cousins with whom you can compare ancestries and identify common surnames and families which then point you in a direction to try and find those records that will prove a relationship. Autosomal testing can suggest a family to consider but cannot identify any one specific common ancestor to two people who "match." You may share the same or similar segments of DNA from persons who are known descendants of Jacob Emery, but that does not prove that you are also a descendant of Jacob. That DNA may have come from an ancestor of Jacob, perhaps his father Conrad and so then Conrad Emery would be the common ancestor for you and your matches. Or, it may well have come from an even more distant ancestor of Jacob Emery.
      Your matches are valuable information in that taken with what else is known it provides you with a narrowed down place to look for that conclusive but still elusive piece of evidence that identifies Matthew Brewer's wife.


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