Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Some Unplaced Brewers of Western Pennsylvania and Kentucky

There are a number of unplaced Brewer families found in Western Pennsylvania and Kentucky, specifically in Hardin County and Larue County, Kentucky, who are best presented as a group. Descendants of two of these Brewer family's earliest known ancestors are confirmed, through Y-DNA testing, to be descendants of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, Long Island. The testing was done through the Brewer DNA Project.

The Brewers featured in this post lived during the later half of the 1700s and the first half of the 1800s. They were among the earlier settlers of what was then the western frontier of colonial America and the early United States. This large location, which would encompass western Virginia, including the area that would become West Virginia; southwestern Pennsylvania, especially the counties of Westmoreland, Fayette, Green and Washington; the panhandle of Maryland (Garret, Allegany and Washington Counties); what is now Kentucky, originally a western county of Virginia, and granted separate statehood in 1792; and the surrounding Ohio Valley region which includes the present states of Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. The earliest settlers to this area began to arrive, in small numbers, in the years just prior to the American Revolutionary War. Settlements and the arrival of more families increased tremendously in the years after the Revolution. New settlers came, not only from the northeast states of New York and New Jersey, but also from Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and the Carolinas. This created something of a mixing pot, and many unrelated families named BREWER are found a wide range of origins. The fact that these numerous, and unrelated families, all named BREWER are found in the same counties and even townships, creates a terrific challenge when it comes to trying to sort them all out. Throw into this problem the additional fact that records, especially vital records, from the period of 1790 to 1850 are sparse and often non-existent, and this terrific challenge becomes even more difficult.

There are a handful of BREWER families that we are interested in, and after doing some recent new research, I believe the best way to present them at this time is as a group, with brief descriptions of each family. Recently, and Family Search, have been introducing new collections of records online. Many of these records were not easy to access just a few years ago. But with this new wave of records and data, I've begun to revisit this group of BREWER families with the hope of gaining some new insight and to find and correct any errors or misplaced family members. The link for each head of a family, below, will take you to their page I created at under the title of "Unplaced Brouwer Brower Brewer Bruer." Descendants of those featured below can be followed there. Some, but not all, of the descendants on the site can be found in the Brouwer Genealogy Database. Some will be added with the next update, but others will not be added (it's just too time consuming). This recent research has convinced me that there are errors in what is found in the current edition of the BGD and they will be corrected with the next update. So for now, when a discrepancy is noticed, the rule is, what is found on in "Unplaced Brouwer Brower Brewer Bruer," trumps what is found on the BGD.

- Henry Brewer / Henrich Bruer (or Brauer) is found at Donegal in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania in 1810 (U.S. Census). The first siting is of "Hary Brewer," on the 1783 tax list at North Huntingdon, Westmoreland Co., Pennsylvania. His year of birth is believed to be 1763, although this has not been confirmed, and he may have been born a bit earlier. The location of his birth may be Pennsylvania or New Jersey. A direct descendant has participated in the Brewer DNA Project and it is clear from the results of the descendant's Y-DNA test, that Henry Brewer is a descendant of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, Long Island. Henry Brewer's parents and his ancestry back to Adam Brouwer is still unknown. Since he is first found in western Pennsylvania, I suspect that his immediate family was from New Jersey and probably from the area of Hunterdon, Somerset and Sussex Counties. Presently, a "best guess" for an ancestor would be Hendrick Brouwer, baptized in 1699, a son of Adam Brouwer and Marritje Hendricks. If born in 1763, Henry Brewer would likely be a grandson of Hendrick Brouwer (who is found in Somerset Co., New Jersey as an adult). If correct, this would make Henry Brewer a great-great grandson of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, L. I. Henry Brewer is represented by #32813 at the Brewer DNA Project. Results an also been seen at the DNA Analysis page at the BGD website.

- Peter Brewer was probably born during the decade of 1750 to 1760, and possibly in, or near, Sussex County, New Jersey. He is found on a tax assessment at Huntingdon, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania in 1783, but soon went to Hardin County, Kentucky where he is found in 1810. A descendant has participated in the Brewer DNA Project and the Y-DNA test demonstrates that Peter Brewer is, like Henry Brewer above, a descendant of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, L. I. He is represented by #28193 at the Brewer DNA Project. The results are also found on the DNA Analysis page at the BGD. The descendant of Peter Brewer, and the descendant of Henry Brewer, match on 36 of 37 markers. The one-step difference occurs in marker no. 5 (allele 385a) of Peter's descendant, and this mutation is unique to Peter's line of descendants. No other tested descendant of Adam Brouwer has this mutation. The comparison of Y-DNA test results, coupled with the fact that both are found in Westmoreland Co., Pennsylvania at about the same time, implies that Peter Brewer and Henry Brewer are closely related. They may be brothers, or perhaps first cousins. Peter Brewer died in Hardin County, Kentucky in late 1840 or early 1841. He left a will dated 2 November 1840, proved 19 April 1841, in which he names his wife Margaret, and children, Samuel Brewer, Valentine Brewer, Elizabeth Howell, Michael Brewer, Benjamin Brewer and John Brewer. A PDF of the will can be accessed at the page created for Peter Brewer (Media Gallery). Peter Brewer's wife was Margaret Hobach (Hoback).

- Samuel Brewer was born about 1757 in Sussex County, New Jersey and is a brother of the above Peter Brewer. His age, place of birth, and the fact that Peter Brewer is his brother, come from Samuel's application for a pension for service during the Revolutionary War. The file of Samuel's pension application is available online at Heritage Quest, however, the pages available there do not constitute the entire file. The affidavit of Peter Brewer of Hardin Co., which demonstrates that he and Samuel are brothers, is missing from the Heritage Quest collection. It is, however, now available on, which has complete files for pension applicants. Both can be accessed at the Media Gallery on the page created for Samuel Brewer. Samuel Brewer is found in Westmoreland Co., Pennsylvania on tax lists in 1783. By 1787 he was in Mercer County, Kentucky, at or near Harrodsburg, which is a location at which other descendants of Adam Brouwer are found. These other BREWER families of Mercer Co., were children of Daniel Brouwer/Brewer and Marietje Koning who were at Bergen Co., New Jersey and then Conewago, Pennsylvania, before coming to the Harrodsburg area with a large emigration of "Low Dutch" families from Conewago. Although they ended up in the same location at the same time, Samuel, came by a different route, and is probably at best, a distant cousin of the other Harrodsburg, Kentucky BREWER families. Samuel Brewer's wife was Rebecca Smith, they were married in Mercer Co. in 1787, and there is one confirmed son (William Brewer) and possibly a daughter named Jerusha.

- Benjamin Brewer was, as per his Revolutionary War pension application, born 24 April 1755. He served while living in Fayette Co., Pennsylvania. He died 6 May 1834 in Washington Co., Indiana. His wife was Catharine Mellinger, and they had nine children. The current edition of the Brouwer Genealogy Database places Benjamin as a possible son of Dirck Brouwer (bapt. 15 Aug 1732, son of Elias Brouwer and Helena Willemse, and a great-grandson of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands). Recent research as now prompted me to change my opinion regarding this placement. I do not believe Benjamin Brewer is a descendant of Jan Brouwer, and therefore cannot be a son of Dirck Brouwer. It is more likely that Benjamin is a brother of Peter Brewer and Samuel Brewer mentioned above (and therefore a descendant of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, L. I.). Benjamin and Samuel both are found on tax lists in 1783 at Tyrone, and Springhill, in Westmoreland Co., Pennsylvania. Samuel went to Kentucky by 1785, when Benjamin is taxed at Tyrone, now in Fayette County (which was created late in 1783). Benjamin names sons, Peter and Samuel, and does not name sons Dirck (Richard) or Elias, as would be expected if he were in fact a descendant of Jan Brouwer. Benjamin's Revolutionary War file, and additional work on descendants can be found at his page on It would be very helpful if a direct male descendant of Benjamin can be found who would be interested in participating in the Brewer DNA Project. If the assumption that Benjamin is a brother of Samuel and Peter is correct, then results of a simple 12 or 37 marker Y-DNA test should match those of Peter Brewer's descendant (#28193). [When the BGD is next updated, Benjamin will no longer be found as a possible son of Dirck Brouwer].

- Mark Brewer was probably born between 1760 and 1765, location not certain, but possibly in Maryland. He is not in anyway related to the BREWERs mentioned above. Mark Brewer is found in 1810 at Elizabethtown, Hardin Co., Kentucky. In 1820 he is at Little York, Hardin Co., and in 1830 the U.S. census records him simply in Hardin County, no township stated. I have been told that Mark Brewer and his family was Catholic, and they were part of a immigration of Catholics from Maryland to Kentucky. I don't doubt this. His wife was named Catharine (her maiden name is unknown to me). I know of one son, John Brewer, but there may well have been other children. John Brewer was born in 1788 and died in 1852. He has been confused, by some, with the above Peter Brewer's son who was also named John Brewer. Mark's John Brewer was married to Matilda Wise in 1818 in Hardin County, and they had nine children. John Brewer left a will in 1852 which names all of his children. His sons John Q. Brewer and James Elias Brewer settled in Nelson Co., Kentucky. John Brewer named one son, Francis Xavier Brewer (a given name that would only be found in a Catholic family), and John and his wife are buried at St. Clare Cemetery, a Catholic Cemetery, in Colesburg, Kentucky.

The research on descendants found on the pages is not complete, so I recommend re-checking it periodically. It will be continued until all male lines of Henry, Peter, Samuel and Benjamin are as complete as possible. A follow up post will cover four more BREWERs found in western Pennsylvania: John Brewer of Bullskin, Fayette Co.; Elias Brewer who went from Fayette Co. to Harrison Co., Ohio; David Brewer who went from Fayette Co. to Tyler Co., Virginia and then Jennings Co., Indiana; and Aaron Brewer, who is younger then the previous three and went from Fayette Co. to Van Buren Co., Iowa.

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