Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Peter Brewer and Elizabeth Stone, Dutchess and Greene Counties, New York

There are still a few Brewer families with roots in the American Colonial period, who have had male descendants participate in the Brewer DNA Project, that have yet to be addressed on this website. They are of particular interest because in each case the participant joined the Brewer DNA Project with the belief that their ancestry could be traced to either Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, Long Island, or to Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, Long Island. In each of these cases, the Y-DNA test results of the participant proved that their believed ancestries were not possible.

Peter Brewer and his wife, Elizabeth Stone, lived in Dutchess County, and later in Greene County, New York. Their identity originates with the History of Oakland County, Michigan (Philadelphia: L.H. Everts & Co., 1877), where on page 129 is a biography of Peter Brewer of Addison, Oakland Co., Michigan who is stated to be their son. The source of Peter Brewer's birth, 1 April 1740, and of his wife's maiden name, Stone, is this published account which does not supply supporting documentation or sources. The biography further states that Peter Brewer was born in Holland and came to America at the age of 21, and first landed at New York City, where he remained until 1767 and then married Elizabeth Stone and removed to Westchester County, New York. At the close of the Revolutionary War, they settled in Dutchess County, New York. I have been unable to verify any of what was just summarized with actual records.

What is known, is that in 1771 (prior to the Revolutionary War) a Peter Brewer is found on the tax rolls in the Southern Precinct of Dutchess County (Buck, Clifford M., comp.; Kelly, Arthur and Nancy Kelly editor. Dutchess County, NY Tax Lists. Rhinebeck, NY: Kinship, 1990, page 263). Found on the same list is a John Brewer, and both are followed by the notation, "to Fredericksburgh." In other words, after 1771 both Peter Brewer and John Brewer moved to Fredericksburgh, or Fredericksburg (without the H), Dutchess County, New York. Also on this list is a Nathaniel Stone (page 278) who is found there from 1759 until 1771, and he also went "to Fredericksburgh." Peter Brewer, John Brewer and Nathaniel Stone are found on the tax lists at Fredericksburgh, Dutchess County, from 1772 through 1775 (pages 283, 291). Peter Brewer is found on the 1790 U.S. Census at "Fredericksontown," Dutchess Co., New York, with a household of 2 males over 16, 4 males under 16, and 5 females. In 1820, he is found at Hunter, Greene Co., New York, with a household of 2 males 26-45, 1 male over 45, and 1 female over 45. No will or probate file has been found for Peter Brewer. The names and birth dates of his children all come from secondary accounts of researchers who were apparently getting their information from D.A.R. applications. For what it is worth, here is a family group sheet for Peter Brewer and Elizabeth Stone. It is suggested that any researchers of this family seek out additional records confirming dates and other details found here.

Peter Brewer is stated to have died on 22 March 1804. This date comes from an Application for Membership to the Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.) filed by a Mrs. Carmen Townsend Wallace in 1962. The History of Oakland County, Michigan, simply states Peter's death as "in 1804." The D.A.R. application claims that Peter served during the Revolutionary War with the Albany County Militia. This claim cannot be substantiated and is almost certainly incorrect. Militias are raised locally, and in 1776, a man living in Dutchess County, New York would not enlist to serve with the Albany County Militia. There were at least one or two other men named Peter Brewer, living in Albany County at the time of the Revolutionary War, and this service most certainly belongs to one of them.

Correspondence that was found in the files lent to me by William B. Bogardus, between Bill and a few different correspondents, tended to lean towards the conclusion that Peter Brewer, based on the belief that he was originally from Westchester County, New York, was a descendant of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, L.I., and that he was most likely the Petrus Brouwer, a.k.a. Peter Brewer, baptized on 3 June 1740 at the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow in Tarrytown, a son of Johannes Brouwer and Elizabeth Concklin. Peter Brewer of Dutchess and Greene Counties is not Petrus Brouwer, son of Johannes Brouwer. This Petrus Brouwer (the son of Johannes Brouwer) married Annatie Mabie, and was deceased by 19 October 1778. See the Brouwer Genealogy Database for details and sources.

In 2006 a direct male descendant of Peter Brewer and Elizabeth Stone took a Y-DNA test with the Brewer DNA Project. The test results of the descendant did not match any of the members of the project who were known descendants of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus. The descendant's haplogroup was shown to be R1a1 (R-M198), while descendants of Adam Brouwer belong to Haplogroup E1b1b (E-M35.1). It is apparent from the Y-DNA test results, that the participant, and therefore is earliest known Brewer ancestor, Peter Brewer, cannot be descendants of Adam Brouwer. Ideally we should have at least two descendants of Peter Brewer (preferably descended from different sons of Peter) tested before assuming this one test to be conclusive. In this case, however, the tested descendant knew of no reason to suspect a non-paternity event (NPE), such as an adoption or illegitimate birth, in his own direct lineage back to Peter Brewer. We would, however, look forward to the testing of any other direct male descendants (Y-DNA test) of Peter Brewer. (Interested descendants should contact the administrators of the Brewer DNA Project).

As of now, the ancestry of Peter Brewer remains unknown. It is certainly possible, perhaps likely, that the account in History of Oakland County, Michigan was incorrect and Peter was not "born in Holland." He may have come to the area of Fredericksburg, Dutchess County, New York from New England. Many of the original families who settled at Fredericksburg, New York (which has since fragmented into the towns of Kent and Carmel in Putnam County) were from Connecticut and Massachusetts. They established the West Philippi, or Old Gilead Church (Congregationalist) there just prior to 1745.

Descendants of Peter Brewer and Elizabeth Stone were initially found in Hunter, Greene County, New York (where Peter and Elizabeth apparently died), and also in Yates County in western New York State, as well as Michigan. A simple descendant chart is now online, and info and sources for some descendants can be found at the Brouwer Genealogy Database (look Peter Brewer up on the Unplaced page).

The Brewer DNA Project looks forward to hearing from any other descendants of Peter Brewer and Elizabeth Stone, who would like to participate in the effort to discover the correct ancestry of Peter Brewer.

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