Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Shrewsbury, New Jersey Freeholders in 1748 and 1755

A list of freeholders in Shrewsbury, Monmouth County, New Jersey in the years 1748 and 1755, was published in The Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey, volume 17 (1942), beginning at page 38.

Monmouth Co. Freeholders, GMNJ 17 (1942)

The list is arranged alphabetically and in two columns allowing for an easy comparison between the two years. Three men named BREWER can be found on page 39. They are Adam Brewer, Jacob Brewer and William Brewer.

The first of the three can be identified as Adam Brewer, who is generally believed to be the son Adam, baptized in 1696 at Brooklyn, the son of Jacob Brouwer and Annatje Bogardus. Adam Brewer was married three times, moved to the predominantly English town of Shrewsbury at a relatively young age, and joined the Society of Friends, or Quakers. He wrote is will on 22 August 1768 and an inventory of his estate was taken 10 March 1769. Since he joined the Quakers early on, none of his children have baptisms that would have been recorded in any of the Reformed Dutch Churches.

The second, William Brewer, could be one of two men named William Brewer who lived in Shrewsbury. The first candidate is Adam Brewer's son, William who was, according to a claimed Bible record, was born 9 May 1722 at Shrewsbury. He was married to Sarah Allen in 1751, and was named in his father's will of 22 August 1768. The second candidate is William Brewer, son of William Brower/Brewer and Marritje Van Oort. While the father, William Brewer, lived at Middletown, his son, William, was a resident of Shrewsbury in 1742 when he was married to Lydia Herbert. This William Brewer wrote his will on 5 April 1775, calling himself, William Brewer of Shrewsbury, son of William, and naming his wife "Ledia," but not naming any children. He was probably born about 1717 (assuming he was married when about aged 25). I tend to think that the freeholder was the later of the two, who was at least married by 1748 (the date of the first list) and was known to have owned real property.

The third, Jacob Brewer, is a presumed son of William Brower/Brewer, and probably a brother of the second William Brewer mentioned above. There is no record of Jacob's birth or baptism, and no probate file for his supposed father, William Brower/Brewer has been located. On 5 April 1755, Joseph Kinnan and his wife, Ruth, sold to Jacob Brewer "of Squan," land in Shrewsbury. "Squan" would be Manasquan, which is a location within the Township of Shrewsbury. In 1772, Jacob Brewer of Shrewsbury was a bondsman on the estate of William Van Oort, and in 1775, Jacob Brewer of Shrewsbury witnessed the will of the above mentioned, "William Brewer of Shrewsbury, son of William."

A "Freeholder" was a person who owned property and held it free and clear. During the colonial period in New Jersey only Freeholders were permitted to be chosen to fill positions in government.

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