Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Descendants of William Brewer (Brower) of Philadelphia

William Brewer of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was covered in the previous post of October 29, 2013. This post will simply make a quick review of his descendants. For reference here is an outline descendant chart. Many of the individuals found on this chart are not yet found on the Brouwer Genealogy Database website. They, along with more details and sources, will be included when the BGD is next updated (probably in a couple of months). In the meantime please feel free to consult the pages created at, which I used as a tool to locate descendants and records.

As stated in the previous post, we know that William Brewer is a genetic descendant of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, Long Island. However, we do not know William's direct line of ancestry back to Adam Brouwer. What we do know now, thanks to the terrific increase in genealogical records now available online, is a good deal about who his descendants were. Starting with the 1850 U.S. census, in which William Brewer is found at the Fifth Ward in Southwark, Philadelphia Co., Pennsylvania, and assuming that the four younger persons enumerated in his household are his children, we find that William had two sons named William and Joseph, and two daughters named Margaret and Hannah.

In 1850, Margaret and Hannah Brewer, were aged 19 and 15 years respectively. Neither of the two has been located on the 1860 census. Based on their age in 1850, it is most likely that both were married during the decade of the 1850s, but no marriage record has been found for either Margaret or Hannah. The marriage records for that period are scarce, and such records may not ever be found. Probate records, and land records in Philadelphia, still need to be searched for William Brewer and his wife, Ann. I would advise anyone wishing to locate the descendants of William Brewer through his two daughters, to begin there. It is also a real possibility that William Brewer had other children, and a search of the probate files and land records may help identify them.

William Brewer's two sons, William and Joseph, can be traced further.

In 1850, the younger William Brewer was age 23, and his occupation was cabinet maker. William Brewer can be found on the U.S. census records in Philadelphia, in 1860, 1870 and 1880. His occupation is stated as "joiner," "cabinet maker," and "H(ouse) carpenter," in 1860, 1870 and 1880 respectively. His age consistently matches that of the William Brewer on the 1850 census, and I have no doubt that all four census records refer to the same man. A record of William's death states that he died 1 July 1892, age 66 years, in Philadelphia. He was married, and his occupation was "cabinet maker." At the time of his death in lived in the 2nd Ward at 411 Wharton St. He was buried at Lafayette Cemetery in Philadelphia. A second record of his death gives his date of birth as 1 May 1826.
William Brewer's wife was Naomi Maxwell. They were probably married about 1851, but no record of the marriage has been found. Naomi was a daughter of David and Lucy Maxwell, and the names, Lucy, and Maxwell, are found among William and Naomi's descendants. David Maxwell was a tin smith, and in 1850 lives in Southwark's 2nd Ward, where Naomi is recorded as age 18. Naomi is found in the census records, with her husband, in 1860, 1870 and 1880. In 1900, she enumerated as "mother-in-law" in the household of George Griffiths in Philadelphia's First Ward. The 1900 census describes her as a widow, and records that she was born in June 1831 in Pennsylvania. It records the place of birth of both of her parents as New Jersey. The census states that Naomi has had eight children, of whom three were still living. Naomi Brewer died on 5 July 1909, in Philadelphia, while living at 1318 Castle Street. The record of her death states that she was aged 77, and was born in Philadelphia. She was a widow, and housewife. The record mistakenly records her father as David "Brower," when Maxwell is meant. Her mother is recorded as "Lucy Maxwell." She was buried at "Greenwood K of P" Cemetery.
The surname in this family is recorded as both BREWER and BROWER, but more often, especially in later records, as BROWER.
The 1900 census states that Naomi Brewer had eight children, and seven of them have been located. The eldest known child, Ida Brewer, died 9 Jan 1857, age 5, so probably born in 1851. She was buried in Lafayette Cemetery. The second child, and eldest known son was William Maxwell Brewer. He died 7 Aug 1856, age 18 months, and is buried in Lafayette Cemetery.
Lucy Brower was, according to the 1900 census, born in May 1857. She was first married to Samuel Irons, who died 7 Dec 1878 in Philadelphia. Their daughter, Ida M. Irons was born posthumously in March 1879 and married William Reading Hortz, Jr. in 1900. They had two children, Mae Lucy Hortz, who married William Cantrell Beck, and William R. Hortz, III, who's wife's names was Hildegard. Lucy Brower's second husband was George Griffiths. They were married in 1897, lived in Philadelphia in 1900, but were living in Collingswood, Camden Co., New Jersey in 1910 and 1930. They have not been located after 1930, but both Lucy and George are buried at West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd, Montgomery Co., Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia. I do not have their dates of death.
Ida Brower (second daughter named Ida) was born in September 1859 and was married to Daniel P. Cassel in 1890. They too lived in Philadelphia in 1900, but then relocated to Collingswood, New Jersey and are found there as late as 1940. They had one child, a son named Norman Wheeler Cassel, born in 1892, was married, died in 1969, but appears to have not had children.
Son, William Maxwell Brewer (second with this name), died 18 Feb 1864 in Philadelphia. No age is stated, but he doed not appear on the 1860 census which was dated 20 July 1860, so I assume he was born after that date, and died at a very young age.
Son, Joseph Brower was born 31 December 1866 and died 1 March 1895 in Philadelphia. At his death he was single, a salesman, and lived at 407 Worth Street. He was buried in the "Bethel Vault."
The last known child, was William Brower, born about 1871 as per the 1880 census, or about 1875 as per the record of his death. He died 2 November 1913, and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Philadelphia. At his death he was single, and employed as an iron worker. He died from tuberculosis. I have not found William on the 1900 or 1910 census records in the Philadelphia area, however, I have noticed a William Brower, about his age, born in Pennsylvania, who was serving in Panama in 1900. It cannot be stated with certainty if this is the same William Brower, but I suspect it is him.
It appears that there may be no living descendants of William  Brower and Naomi Maxwell. There are certainly none who carry the BROWER or BREWER surname.
Regarding Lafayette Cemetery in Philadelphia, where some members of William Brewer's family was buried, this from some very cursory online research - apparently it was the final resting place of many Civil War soldiers. It was neglected and not maintained during the 1900s. In 1947, the land was sold to a developer who was to re-inter the deceased elsewhere, but instead all were placed in a mass grave, with no individual markers, at Evergreen Memorial Park in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. See: Lafayette Cemetery, The Condemned Lafayette Cemetery, Capitolo Playground (photos here), and the cemetery's page at Find A Grave.

The 1850 U. S. census record for William Brewer, at Southwark's Fifth Ward, was taken on 23 August 1850, and lists Joseph Brewer's age as 12, but states is occupation as "Store Keeper." This age appears to be an error, and Joseph is enumerated a second time on a second sheet dated 13 September 1850, as the head of a household in Southwark's Second Ward, age 22, a Clerk, with Elizabeth Brewer, age 19, born in Scotland (and certainly his wife though not stated as such), and John McGregor, age 50. Joseph Brower, died on 3 May 1908 at St. Vincent's Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama. His death certificate, as recorded in Alabama, gives his age as 80, born in Philadelphia, and names his father as William Brower, and his mother as "Mrs. William Brower." A direct male descendant of Joseph Brower participated in the Brewer DNA Project, and his Y-DNA test results are the only evidence we have that placed this family among the descendants of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, Long Island.
Joseph's surname, and that of his descendants, is recorded as both BREWER and BROWER, but more frequently, especially in later records, as BROWER.
Joseph was married to Elizabeth McGregor, possibly in August or September 1850, between the two dates of the census records mentioned above. They lived in Philadelphia in 1860, 1870 and 1880. Elizabeth died on 28 February 1900 in Ocean City, Cape May Co., New Jersey, and is buried in the Odd Fellows Cemetery in Philadelphia. On the 1900 census, Joseph is living as a 71 widower at Ocean City, New Jersey.
Five children have been found for Joseph Brower and Elizabeth McGregor. Three had descendants, and three moved south, relocating in Mississippi and Alabama. The eldest was John McGregor Brower, born 23 July 1852 in Philadelphia, and died 22 February 1926 at Gulfport, Mississippi, where he is buried. It appears that he never married. He lived in 1900 at Ocean City, New Jersey, age 48, single, and in his father's household. By 1922 he was at Gulfport where he is found in the city directory, at the same address as his youngest brother James W. Brower.
James W. Brower, the youngest child of Joseph Brower, was born about 1864 in Philadelphia. In 1900 he was employed as an electrician and living with his father in Ocean City, New Jersey. The census states that he was married for twenty years, but no wife is recorded. In 1910, in Harrison Co., Mississippi, James W. Brower, age 47, born in Pennsylvania, was married to his wife, Ida, for three years. She was aged 46, and was born in Tennessee. James and Ida are both found in the Gulfport, Mississippi City Directory in 1936. A date of death has not yet been found, and there is no evidence of descendants.
Ann Proctor Brower, the only known daughter of Joseph Brower and Elizabeth McGregor, was born about 1854. Her name, "Ann Proctor," may be a clue to the identity of Joseph's mother, who we assume was named, Ann. There were heads of households named Proctor in Philadelphia in the earlier census listings, but none have yet been explored further. Ann, the presumed wife of William Brewer, might be found in an early 19th century, Philadelphia family named Proctor. Ann Proctor Brower was married to George Emory Creager on 24 December 1871, and had one child, a son named Joseph B. Creager, who was married to Leidy Clark. Joseph B. Creager died in 1905 at age 32, and had two children, a son Clark Emory (or Emory Clark) Creager, and a daughter Beatrice Creager. Both married and had children. Leidy Clark outlived her husband by 56 years, dying in 1961, and having never remarried. Ann Proctor Brower died in 1923 and is buried at West Laurel Hill Cemetery in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania. Her husband, George Emory Creager, who was 15 years her senior, died in 1911.
Joseph Brower, Jr., was born in May of 1856 in Philadelphia. He was married to Estella H. Whitechurch in Philadelphia in 1883. In 1900 they were living at Avondale, Jefferson Co., Alabama, where is is called Joe Brower (U. S. census). They had one son, Percy Whitechurch Brower, who was born in 1885 in Philadelphia. His son of the same name, may be the only surviving male descendant of William Brewer of Philadelphia.
Thomas G. Brower was born about 1861 in Philadelphia, was living there in 1930, and is buried in West Laurel Hill Cemetery, although I do not have the date of his death. He was married to Mary E. McIlheney, who was born about 1865 in Philadelphia. They were married about 1885, and she was deceased by 1920, when Thomas was a widower. Nine children have been found for Thomas and Mary. A son, James Brower, died in 1893 at the age of two. The remaining eight reached adulthood. In 1940, five of them, Thomas M. Brower, Ellen Brower, Elizabeth Brower, Matthew O. Brower, and Richard O. Brower, were all single, and lived together in Cheltenham, Montgomery Co., Pennsylvania. Thomas was an accountant, Ellen and Elizabeth were public school teachers, Matthew was a dentist with his own practice, and Richard was a real estate salesman. Elizabeth, died in 1995 at the age of 98, single. Son John M. Brower was born in 1899, was still single in 1930, but had married by 1940. His wife was named Helen, and in 1940 they lived in Philadelphia where he was a bookkeeper, and she was age 37. No evidence of descendants has been found. The remaining child, Joseph Brower, was born 16 April 1889 in Philadelphia. He was married to Margaret H. Wells in 1918 and they lived in Lower Merion, Montgomery Co., Pennsylvania in 1930, 1940, and he was living there in 1942 when he registered for the draft during WWII. In his occupation he is described as a "personal secretary" or "financial secretary" for a private estate. Joseph and Margaret had four children, Robert W., Margaret M., Joseph M., and Thomas W., born between 1920 and 1931. There may be descendants named BROWER, from the three sons, but if so, they have not yet been found.

Details and source citations will appear online with the next update of the Brouwer Genealogy Database. In the meantime, please feel free to consult the information collected for descendants of William Brewer in the "family tree" format at

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