Within just the past few months, a descendant of Mathew Brower has participated in the Brewer DNA Project. The participant's direct ancestry back to Mathew Brower has been confirmed and is not doubted. Results from Family Tree DNA's 67 marker Y-DNA test match the other descendants of Adam Brouwer whose results were previously known. In addition, the participant shows the same mutation at marker no. 9 (allele DYS439) as do other participants who are descendants of Adam Brouwer's youngest son, Nicholas Brouwer. A full table of Y-DNA results is found online at the Brewer DNA Project page. The descendant of Mathew Brower is represented by kit #293571. A results table is also found at the Brouwer Genealogy Database website, and there is a simple chart showing the participant's ancestry. The comparison of results show us that the descendant of Mathew Brower matches the other participants who are descendants of Nicholas Brouwer on either 36 of 37, or 37 of 37 markers (only one other descendant of Nicholas Brouwer has been tested at the 67 marker level. It can be stated with a high degree of confidence that the participant, and therefore his direct ancestor Mathew Brower, are descendants of Adam Brouwer through his son Nicholas Brouwer.
The secondary information used as a basis for reconstructing the family of Mathew Brower begins with a brief published account of one of his great-grandsons Jacob Harrison Brewer, and is found in H. W. Beckwith, History of Vigo and Parke Counties (Chicago: H.H. Hill and N. Iddings, 1880) at page 456. Jacob Harrison Brewer (1841-1927) lived his adult life in both Parke County and Vigo County, Indiana. He was a son of John Harford Brewer (1813-1885), a grandson of Jacob Brewer (1790-1866) and is stated to be a great-grandson of Mathew Brower. What needs to be emphasized regarding the account published in History of Vigo and Parke Counties, is that the statements regarding Mathew Brower's ancestry are terribly incorrect. Mathew Brower is not a son of "Sybrant Brewer, or Brower" and his wife, Sarah Webber. The claim that Sybrant and Sarah returned "again to Holland where they made their wills and died," is completely unfounded and incorrect. Sybrant is most likely the Sybrant Brouwer who died on 3 December 1727 at New York, and if not, then he is the Sybrant Brouwer who died on 28 April 1735, in New York. Sybrant Brouwer never "returned to Holland," and there is no evidence that he ever once visited the place. Also in error is the statement that Sybrant was "one of the first settlers of New Amsterdam." Sybrant was, in fact, born in Brooklyn, New York in 1683, roughly twenty years after New Amsterdam was captured by the English and no longer existed. Sybrant's father, Jacob Brouwer, was likely born at Gowanus, Long Island, and his grandfather, Adam Brouwer, was the immigrant, coming to New Amsterdam around 1642 from service as a soldier with the West India Company in Brazil. The remainder of the profile of Jacob Harrison Brewer found in History of Vigo and Parke Counties appears to be accurate when compared with other records that we can find.
Of greater interest, and what turned out to be very useful, is an account of Mathew Brower's family as written down by his grandson James A. Brewer in 1898. A transcription of the original pages was provided by Charles Brewer, a descendant of a brother of James A. Brewer, and he has granted permission for me to place his transcription online. As with the published account in History of Vigo and Parke Counties, there are problems with James A. Brewer's account regarding the family ancestry. But first some background on the diarist.
James A. Brewer was born in July 1837 in Greene County, Pennsylvania. He was, by his own statement, the son of Conrad Brewer and Rachel Anderson, and a grandson of Mathew (who he refers to as Mattavis) Brower and his wife, whose name he "believes" was Elizabeth Emery. In 1898, when James A. Brewer wrote his account, he was age 61 (assuming his birth date as stated on the 1900 U.S. census is correct). During his adult life James A. Brewer lived in Missouri and in Iowa. He is found on the 1910 census, age 72, in Des Moines, Polk Co., Iowa. He died 31 January 1918 in Polk Co., Iowa.
It is apparent from James A. Brewer's "diary" that he did not personally or directly know is Brewer grandparents. James was born in 1837 and both Mathew Brower and his wife were very likely deceased by then. The brief account that James gives of his grandfather's origins most likely came from some sort of "family history," either verbal or written that was passed down to him. Based upon everything that is known regarding the first few generations of descendants of Adam Brouwer, James' "diary" is also incorrect, at least in part. James states that his grandfather, "called Mattavis Brower," was born in Holland and came to America with a brother prior to the American Revolutionary War. The "born in Holland" statement is certainly wrong. Since we now know that Mathew Brower was a descendent of Adam Brouwer, who came to New Amsterdam in about 1642, it is probable that Mathew Brower was a fourth or fifth generation American. James' account also starts off with a couple of sentences pertaining to "Great Grandmother Weber of the noted Weber family." James is no doubt referring to Sara Webber (b. 1685) the wife of Sybrant Brouwer (b. 1683) who is also mentioned in the History of Vigo and Parke Counties account. As stated above, Sybrant is a son of Jacob Brouwer, and he is a great-grandson of Anneke Jans. What I take from this is that James A. Brewer's account of his ancestor was no doubt influenced by knowledge of, and perhaps participation in, one of the infamous Anneke Jans lawsuits by some member of his immediate or extended family. There is no evidence that Sybrant had a son named Mathew Brower, and indeed other considerations would lead us to believe that Mathew was born roughly 70 to 75 years after Sara Webber was born, and therefore could not possibly be her son.
James A. Brewer states that Mathew, and a brother named William, served during the American Revolutionary War, "enlisting from the state of New Jersey." William is said to have been sent to "Stoney Point," which would likely be the Stony Point located in present day Rockland County, New York. This was an important location during the Revolutionary War and the site of a famous battle (July 16, 1779). At that time this location was within the Town of Haverstraw in Orange County, New York. According to "the understanding of my Grandfather," as related by James, "he (William) was there at the battle, but from that date to this there has never anything been heard of him or any of his lineage. He was not married at the time of the battle." As of this writing, evidence or records collaborating the Revolutionary War service of Mathew and his stated brother, William, have not been located. There is, however, the record of an application for 48 acres of land made by "Mathew Brewer of the Township of Buffalo, Union County, Pennsylvania, dated 7 July 1815. The application does not mention any military service (whether it be during the Revolutionary War or during the War of 1812), but one criteria that states did use when issuing land grants was prior military service. It is noted that this application is attested to by a John Brewer who signed with a mark. Mathew Brewer signed his name, and so we have an example of his signature.
|Mathew Brewer, Application for land, (Ancestry.com, Pennsylvania Land Warrant Applications)|
The three records that I believe we can be very likely certain of as pertaining to Mathew Brower are the U. S. census records of 1800, 1810 and 1820. (This Family Group Sheet should be helpful in understanding what follows). In 1820 we have "Matthew Brewer" as a head of household in Richhill, Greene Co., Pennsylvania (Mathew's son Conrad Brewer, who was James A. Brewer's father, is found here as a head in 1830). The household consists of 1 male 16-25 (likely son Conrad), 1 male over 45 (likely Mathew), 1 female 16-25 (likely daughter Mary), and 1 female over 45 (likely Mathew's wife).
In 1810, we find "Mathew Brewer" at Morris, Greene Co., Pennsylvania, with a household of 1 male 10-15 (likely Conrad), 2 males 16-25 (likely son John and possible son Jacob), 1 male over 45 (likely Mathew), 1 female under 10 (likely Mary), and 1 female over 45 (likely Mathew's wife).
James A. Brewer states that Mathew Brower moved from New Jersey and settled at "Siding Hill" in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Somerset County was created in 1795 from Bedford County, and in 1800 we find "Mathew Brewer" enumerated at Bethel and Belfast, Bedford Co., Pennsylvania, with a household of 3 males under 10 (likely Conrad, John and the possible Jacob), 2 males 10-15 (likely sons Mathew and William), 1 male 26-44 (likely Mathew), 2 females 16-25 (likely daughters Charity and Elizabeth), and 1 female 26-44 (likely Mathew's wife). [The above mentioned children will be described further in a separate post].
The locations mentioned above need some clarification. Belfast in Bedford Co., is now in Fulton Co., which was created in 1850 from Bedford Co. (Mathew's daughter Charity is found there in later records). The location that James calls, "Siding Hill," is not found and he probably was referring to Sideling Hill, which is in present day Washington Co., Maryland, which boarders present day Fulton Co., and the Township of Bethel where Mathew was in 1800 (later census records for Mathew's daughter Mary, state that she was born in Maryland). Somerset Co., which was created out of Bedford Co. in 1795, and lies directly west of Bedford Co., was probably an error on James' account. Sons Conrad and John, and later descendants, are found at Richhill in Greene Co. where Mathew was in 1810 and 1820. [The deed books and land records for these locations should be researched for additional evidence and information regarding the properties and how they may have passed between Mathew and his descendants].
Now moving back in time, in June 1793, a Mathias Brewer is found on the tax list at Lebanon, New Jersey*. This is likely the Mathew Brower being considered in this post, and his presence at Lebanon, New Jersey in 1793 dove-tails with the family who is wife likely is a member of. We will take a look at Mathew's wife and their children, and how they may tie Mathew back to New Jersey, in Part II.
*This list was found on a search at Ancestry.com in the database titled, "New Jersey, Compiled Census and Census Substitute Index, 1643-1890." Mathew is listed as Mathias Brewer, and the place is described as Lebanon, Essex County, New Jersey. This appears to be an error, either on the part of the original source from which the data was taken, or on the part of the transcribers for Ancestry.com. Lebanon is a township in Hunterdon Co., New Jersey. There is no place called Lebanon in Essex Co., New Jersey.
(Part II was posted on September 18, 2013).