Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Will of William Brower of Monroe Co., New York and Linn Co., Missouri

Family Search just announced the addition of Missouri Probate Records to their growing collection of free online records. This is a browseable collection, no search index has been created, and the probate records are organized by county.

The will of William Brower, of the Town of Parma, Monroe County, New York, dated 21 August 1860, was probated in Linn County, Missouri and is recorded in Will Book A, pages 84-90. It can be viewed online beginning with image 52 of "Missouri, Probate Records, 1750-1998 > Linn > Wills, 1869-1891, Vol A."

William Brower's will is summarized as follows:
William Brower of the Town of Parma, County of Monroe, and State of New York. After payment of all debts and funeral charges, I bequeath the use of all my real and personal property and estate to my beloved wife Loretta Brower for and during her natural life. If the interest or income of said property is not sufficient for her comfortable support and maintanence I give her enough of the principal for that purpose.
After the decease of my wife Loretta, I give and bequeath three eighths parts of all my property there remaining to my son Jonathan L. Brower.
After decease of my wife, I give and bequeath the balance of my said property, that is five eighths parts to my daughter Cynthia L. Wilder, and my granddaughter Rose A. Hall to be divided equally between them share and share alike. Should my said granddaughter die without heirs of her body, I give and bequeath her share to my said son Jonathan L. Brower and daughter Cynthia L., to be divided equally between them.
I give and bequeath to my granddaughter Loretta A. Blanchard two hundred dollars to be paid to her after the death of my said wife, and previous to any division of the said property between my other legaties.
I direct my executrix to procure suitable gravestones for me, and bequeath a sufficient sum for gravestones for my said wife, the gravestones to be paid from my property before any division is made. Appoints his wife, Loretta Brower, as executrix. Signed Wm Brower. Witnesses: J. E. Paterson, N. C. Paterson, both of Parma, New York.

Following the William Brower's will in the Linn County will book is a lengthy proof beginning on 18 September 1873, involving the witness, Mrs. N. C. Paterson who appears before Judge H. R. Brill in Ramsey County, Minnesota. Mrs. Paterson's answers to a set of questions tells us that she is Nancy C. Paterson, age 51, now a resident of St. Paul, Minnesota. On 21 August 1860 she lived in Parma Centre (sic), Monroe County, New York, and her husband was John E. Paterson, an attorney at law who practiced at Parma Center. Her husband, John E. Paterson, died on 17 March 1870 at Parma Centre (sic). Mrs. Paterson testifies that she did witness William Brower sign the will which was drawn up by her husband in his office, and that William Brower appeared to be of sound mind at the time.
On 11 December 1873, Jefferson Wilder appears before the Probate Judge in Linn County, Missouri and testifies that he is familiar with J. E. Paterson's signature, and that he had died some three years earlier in Parma Center, New York, and that William Brower died in Linn County, Missouri in January 1873. Jefferson Wilder states that the will was found among William Brower's papers. Based upon the testimony of Mrs. Paterson and Jefferson Wilder, the Linn County Probate Judge proved the will on 11 December 1873.

William Brower was a son of Matheus Brouwer (a.k.a. Matthew Brewer) and his second wife Sarah West. His birth date of 23 November 1792, and baptism date of 14 April 1793 are recorded at the Dutch Reformed Church at Schaghticoke, in Rensselaer County, New York. William is a great-great grandson of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, Long Island. William's wife, Loretta, has not been identified further. Perhaps her family name was Lyon (or Lyons) as her son Jonathan has been stated to have been named "Jonathan Lyon Olonzo Brower." Two children are identified in the will.

Son, Jonathan L. Brower was born in New York, according to his gravestone, on 6 September 1817. He died on 23 May 1876 at Wellsville, Montgomery County, Missouri. He was married twice, first to Ascenath Wilder, and second, in Michigan on 11 December 1847, to Sarah Mariah Vansise. Jonathan had eleven children between his two wives, the eldest being Loretta Ascenath, born in 1841, who married James Blanchard and is mentioned in William Brower's will. Jonathan and his family apparently lived in Michigan and in Illinois before settling in Missouri. Further, and more accurate research is needed on Jonathan and his descendants.

Daughter, Cynthia L. Brower was born 17 December 1827 in New York, and died 7 June 1880 in Missouri. She was married to Jefferson Wilder in New York. The dates here are from an internet search and require further confirmation. This family has not been researched further. William Brower's will also mentions a granddaughter, Rose A. Hall, who may be a daughter of Cynthia L. (Brower) Wilder. She is not a daughter of Jonathan L. Brower.

The ten year gap in birth dates between Jonathan and Cynthia would lead us to believe that there were additional children of William Brower and his wife Loretta who may have died in childhood. William's household is found on the 1850 U.S. census at Parma, Monroe County, New York, and in the household is one Amy A. Brower, age 32, born in New York. She could be another daughter of William and Loretta. Rose A. Hall, could be a daughter of Amy A. Brower.

William Brower household, 1850 U.S. Census (NARA via
 William Brower was in Parma in 1840 with a household of 1 male 10-15, 1 male 20-30, 1 male 40-50, 1 female 10-15, 1 female 20-30, 1 female 40-50. In 1860 he is also found at Parma, New York, age 67, with his wife Loretta, age 64, and Rosah Hale (no doubt Rose A. Hall) age 5. Family relationship descriptions were not specified on the U.S. census records prior to 1880. In 1870, William Brower, age 77, born in New York, can be found at Parson Creek, Linn County, Missouri, with Loretta, and Rosa Hall, age 15.

No direct male descendants of William Brower have yet participated in the Brewer DNA Project by taking a Y-DNA test. Direct male descendants of two of William Brower's brothers have participated, and their Y-DNA test results match others who are descendants of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, Long Island. They can be found on the Pieter Brouwer Y-DNA Chart at the Brouwer Genealogy Database website. Y-DNA testing of a direct male descendant would help to confirm William's placement as a descendant of Adam Brouwer, and would be of help in the effort to establish genetic relationships between Adam Brouwer's descendants.

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