Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Docket of Guisbert Sutfin, J. P., Bedminster Twp., New Jersey

Published in the Genealogical Magazine of New Jersey, vol. 49, no. 2 (May 1974) is an article by Dorothy A. Stratford entitled, "Docket of Guisbert Sutfin, J. P., Bedminster Township, Somerset County." The article consists of abstracted info from Guisbert Sutfin's Docket. The abstracts in the article place a number of Brouwers in Somerset County in the years between 1770 and 1773.

Guisbert Sutfin (or Sutphen) was born 28 August 1720, in Monmouth County, New Jersey, the son of Guisbert Sutphen and Geertruyd Van Pelt (Parsons, Gerald James. "Peter Van Pelt," The American Genealogist Vol. 50-51 [1974-75], at 50:214 citing a Family Bible record). He was one of many who had family roots in Kings County, Long Island and later Monmouth County, New Jersey, who then continued the move inland into Somerset and Hunterdon Counties, New Jersey. For additional background on Guisbert Sutfin I will simply quote the author's introduction here:

"Guisbert Sutfin, son of Guisbert, came to Bedminster Township, Somerset County, from Monmouth County, around 1743. By a series of land purchases, he became one of the large landholders of the area, in 1787 being assessed for 338 acres. He served the county in various civil capacities, as Justice of the Peace prior to 1774, and as Judge in 1778, 1785, 1787 and 1788. His earliest dockets and day books are mentioned in Andrew D. Mellick, Jr., Story of an Old Farm, and in Somerset County Historical Quarterly, Vol. 6, page 35, in an article entitled "Stone House Papers." His first wife was Ariantje Van Pelt, who died in 1788. He married as his second wife, Petronella Voorhees. He died Nov. 16, 1796, and is buried in the Bedminster Dutch Reformed Churchyard."

The information abstracted by Dorothy A. Stratford from the Docket is rather brief, and there appears to be little direct genealogical data in the abstracts. Among the files scanned from the material collected by William B. Bogardus are two note cards of copied entries from this article pertaining to persons named Brouwer, and any variation thereof. This file is now available online.

For more on the Docket itself, here again are the author's own words:

"This docket, which begins early in 1770, was at one time part of a display maintained in the Somerset County Courthouse by the county historical society. It covers three years, 1770-1773. The cases for the most part were for non-payment of small debts, and other minor law infractions. All pertinent data have been abstracted from each entry to include names of parties, cause of suit, and any other information of value. The original spelling has been kept, and all phrases taken out of context, but pertinent to the general understanding of the case, are in quotes."

I did look at the article in full in the hope that there was some additional info not recorded on the note cards in the William B. Bogardus Collection. Unfortunately there is none. What you see here is what is in the original. There are thirteen entries pertaining to Brouwers, specifically listed as:
"John Brouwer"
"Jacob Bruwer"
"John and Jacob Bruwer"
"Jacob Bruwer"
"John Bruwer"
"Elias Bruwer"
"Pieter & Jacob Bruwer" with "Adam Bruwer" surety
"Jacob Bruwer"
"Jacob Bruwer"
"Jacob Brower" settled on "Bruwer son-in-law & "Luwis"
"Jacob Bruwer"
"Jacob Bruwer"
"Margaret Brewar"

The cases all occur within a very short time frame of three years, 1770 to 1773, so I would say that it is likely that all of the Jacob Bruwers are one person, and same for the two cases referring to a John Brouwer and a John Bruwer (there is only one John). Just from this list it is not possible to state exactly who each of these "Bruwar"s are, but a few prime suspects can be suggested.

Derck Jansz Brouwer (son of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, L. I.) is believed to have had five sons, among them a Pieter Brouwer and a Jacob Brouwer, both of who are found with children baptized at the churches at Raritan, Somerset County, and Readington in Hunterdon County. Pieter Brouwer and his wife Susanna Titsoort had children baptized between 1732 and 1747. Jacob Brouwer and his wife, Marike (family name not known) had children baptized between 1731 and 1745. Bedminster Twp. is bounded on the west by Hunterdon County, and persons living in this area would have used either or both the Raritan and Readington Churches. Derck's sons Pieter and Jacob are in the right place, however, the docket dates from 1770 to 1773, which is twenty-five years and more after the baptism dates, and as both Pieter and Jacob are estimated to have been born between 1700 and 1703 (assuming the placement of both as sons of Derck is correct), each would have been around seventy years old when these cases took place.

Confounding the above, is the fact that an Adam Bruwer is named as a surety in a case involving Pieter and Jacob Bruwer in 1772. There are no known descendants named Adam among the families descended from Jan Brouwer. There is an Adam Brouwer, baptized 5 March 1721 at Raritan, a son of Hendrick Brouwer and his wife, Elizabeth, who is a great-grandson of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus. This Adam Bruwer would then have been about 51 years old in 1772, and he did have a brother named Pieter Brouwer who was baptized in 1731 at New Brunswick in Middlesex County. He would have been aged 41 in 1772. There is (so far) no evidence of a son named Jacob in the family of Hendrick and Elizabeth Brouwer.

Also among the sons of Derck Jansz Brouwer is Elias Brouwer who was probably born about 1699. He was living in 1744, but no confirmed record for him, after that date, has been located. His son, Elias Brouwer (married Phebe Lucas) was baptized 25 December 1740 at Readington. He is said to have moved to Cambridge, Albany Co., New York in 1772, the same year a suit was brought against an Elias Bruwer at Bedminster. Neither of the above mentioned sons of Derck Brouwer (Pieter and Jacob) are known to have a son named Elias. The Elias Bruwer in the Docket would have to be either the son Elias, born in 1740, or his father, Elias, who would be in his early 70s in 1772.

There are two mentions of a "John Brouwer" and a "John Bruwer" in the Docket. Derck Jansz Brouwer did have a son named John (Jan) who died in 1732 after making his will in Somerset County. His two known sons, named Jan and Dirck, returned to Long Island as young children and appear to have lived out their lives there. It is not likely that Derck's son John could be the John Brouwer/Bruwer in cases from 1770 and 1772. Neither Pieter Brouwer or Jacob Brouwer (sons of Derck) are confirmed to have had a son named John (although it is possible that one of them did). The above mentioned Hendrick Brouwer is not known to have had a son named John. It does, however, have to be noted that the families of Hendrick's sons have yet to be discovered. Of interest, though, would be John Brewer of Scioto County, Ohio.

John Brewer of Scioto Co., Ohio, is known to be, through Y-DNA testing of a descendant, a descendant himself of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands. John Brewer's first wife was named Elsie Lewis, and John and his wife Elsie are mentioned in the will of Elsie's brother, Barnet Lewis, dated 12 February 1807. Barnet Lewis was a son of Edward Lewis, and the family lived at Bernards Twp. in Somerset County. Bernards Twp. is adjacent to Bedminster Twp. In 1773, a suit against Jacob Brower, was settled "by a note on Bruwer son-in-law & Luwis." The date of birth of John Brewer of Scioto Co. is not known, but is estimated to have been between 1745 and 1755. If closer to the former he could have been old enough to have been involved in a law suit in 1770 and 1772. The appearance of the name "Luwis" (Lewis) makes this case of particular interest, and the somewhat cryptic abstract entry needs to be investigated further.

The best guess for Margaret Brewar, who was sued in 1773, is that she is the Maregrita (family name not known) who was married to Samuel Brewer who was a freeholder in the Western Precinct of Somerset Co. in 1753. They had two daughters, both named Annatje, baptized at Raritan in 1732 and 1735. I suspect that in 1773 she was a widow. In 1760, Samuel Brewer witnessed the will of John Smock of Eastern Precinct, Somerset County. Samuel Brewer is probably the son of Willem Brouwer and Marthe Boulton who was baptized at Brooklyn in 1706. He would be a grandson of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus.

It would be of help if the complete original Docket of Guisbert Sutfin could be consulted to see if any other clues might be found. 
Additional details for all of those mentioned above can be found at the Brouwer Genealogy Database website.

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