Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Brower Family of Interest in the Early 17th Century Cologne Church Records

Adam Brouwer and Magdalena Verdon had fourteen children born between the years of 1646 and 1673.* Their children were given the names Pieter, Matthys, Willem, Marretje, Jacob, Fytie, Helena, Adam, Aeltje, Anna, Abraham, Sara, Rachel and Nicholas. The names in bold face have been written in that manner for a reason that will soon be evident.

Onomastics is defined as the study of the origin, history and use of proper names. In the context of genealogical research the term is often used to describe the technique of using proper names as clues to, or even evidence of, a relationship between two families. Those with some experience in researching the families of 17th century New Amsterdam and colonial New York and New Jersey, know that a common naming custom was for a couple to name their first son for the child's paternal grandfather, and to name the second son for the child's maternal grandfather. Likewise, the first daughter was named for her maternal grandmother, and the second daughter for her paternal grandmother. As colonial period families were often large, proper names given to younger children often were taken from the parent's siblings, and from the parents themselves. This naming custom, however, does not always hold hard and fast. There are, as any prudent researcher would recognize, exceptions to every rule or custom. When naming children (using the just described custom) one common exception is that the occurrence of a deceased relation, whether they be a parent or sibling, is often a reason for altering the customary pattern. For example: if at the time of the birth of the first son, the maternal grandfather is deceased but the paternal grandfather is living, the child may be named for the deceased maternal grandfather. The same may happen if a sibling of one of the parents is deceased. The name of that sibling (aunt or uncle to the newborn child) may be used prior the use of the name of the child's grandparent. Often if a child dies at a young age, his or her name will be given to the next child born of the same sex. And occasionally we find cases where a couple simply chooses, for reasons probably known only to themselves, not to follow the custom at all, or only partially.** Even with exceptions, however, proper names found common to different families (who share the same surname) can point towards a relationship between those families, or at the least, provide a reason for additional research into the possibility of a relationship.

We know that Adam Brouwer's wife, Magdalena Verdon, was the daughter of Jacob Verdon and Maria Badie. Of the fourteen children of Adam and Magdalena, one is named Jacob and another Marritje (Maria/Mary). The two where certainly named for Magdalena's parents. It is reasonable to believe, or at least work with the assumption, that among the twelve remaining children there is a likelihood that we will find the names of Adam's parents. We may also find the names of some of his and Magdalena's siblings.***

With all this in mind we now turn back to the Cologne Church records as indexed at FamilySearch, with a focus on the Roman Catholic churches with records from the first half of the 1600s. Using the searchable database, Deutschland Geburten und Taufen 1558-1898 (Germany Births and Baptisms 1558-1898) and searching with BROUWER, BROWER, BREWER, BRUER in the "Last Name" field, results for one particular family stood out. This was the family of Mathias BROWER, whose surname was rendered variously as BROWER, BREWER, BREUWER, BROUNEER and BREMERS (the last two are likely errors in transcribing by Family Search indexers), and his wife Anna Schonckx, whose name was spelled variously as SCHOECKEN, SCHONCK, SCHOUCHS, SCHIMCK, SCHONCH, SCHUNCK, with her proper name sometimes given as Entgen. The couple had ten children baptized between 1606 and 1628, all in Sankt Peter Katholisch Kirche (St. Peter's Catholic Church). The microfilm from which the baptisms was taken was FHL film #187143. Filtering the search with this film number makes it easier to find each record. Their children were named (in chronological order) Joannes (Johannes), Guilhemus (Latin equivalent of Willem), Ayltgen (Aeltie), Henrich, Nicolaes, Margarietha, Johannes (second), Petrus (Pieter), Mathias, and Otto. Unfortunately no child named Adam (of course finding one would make this all too easy). However, the fact that six of the twelve names found in this Cologne family (Mathias, Anna, Guilhemus, Ayltgen, Nicolaes, Petrus) are also found among the fourteen names found in the family of Adam Brouwer and Magdalena Verdon (Matthys, Anna, Willem, Aeltie, Nicholas, Pieter) is reason enough to investigate this Cologne family further. (Here is a summary of the family in PDF format).+

Marriage records for this same church, Sankt Peter, in Cologne are found in FHL film #187144. They are indexed in the FamilySearch database Germany Marriages, 1558-1929. Searching here we find the marriage of Mathyss Brower and Anna Schonckx in the year 1606 (the exact date is not given).

Back to the Germany Birth and Baptism index, a second family now catches my attention. It is the family of Henrich Brower and Magdeleyn Von Bonn. The records of baptism for three children are found. The children are named Mathyss, Daniel and Agnes. As Henrich named a son Matthyss, and Mathias (above) named a son Henrich, both in the same church and within the same time frame, it can be strongly suspected that Henrich and Mathyss are brothers. A record of the marriage of Henrich and Magdeleyn in the Sankt Peter Katholisch Kirche is not found. However, Magdeleyn's surname, Von Bonn, leads to another family of interest in the baptism records for Sankt Peter's church (see below). What became of this relatively small family cannot be ascertained from the baptism records alone. Unfortunately death records for Sankt Peter Katholisch Kirche were not filmed (if they survived) by the Genealogical Society of Utah. Filmed death records (Tote) begin in 1738 (see FHL film #187147). Perhaps both Henrich and Magdalena died soon after the baptism of their last known child. Or perhaps they relocated. Perhaps there were other children, maybe baptized elsewhere, who names we do not yet know. Or, could other children be in the same records, but hidden under a different name?

There is a second Von Bonn family that may be of interest. Here is the baptism record of Adam, son of Henrich Von Bonn and Magdalena Von Bonn with the date 25 May 1615.This couple had eight children baptized in the Sankt Peter Katholisch Kirche between 1608 and 1622. Here is a summary of the family. A marriage record for Henrich and Magdalena is not found in the Germany Marriages (Deutschland Heiraten), 1558-1929 database when filtering for the Sankt Peter records (FHL film #187144). In a couple of the baptism records one or both of the parents is recorded with the surname as Bonnensis. This is the Latin equivalent for "of Bonn," or "Von Bonn" in German. It could be that Von Bonn is Magdalena's maiden name, and the couple may have been cousins. It could have also been a place name. Perhaps both were from, or born in Bonn, and they had different surnames.
Now the names of the children in this family, with the exception of Adam, do not match the names of the children in the family of Adam Brouwer and Magdalena Verdon. I bring attention to this family because the wife of Henrich Brower (above) was also named Magdalena Von Bonn, and here is contemporaneous Von Bonn family with a mother named Magdalena Von Bonn, and a child named Adam. I wonder if there were two women named Magdalena Von Bonn in this congregation, or if the two are one in the same (meaning there was only one Magdalena Von Bonn). Could Magdalena have first married Henrich Von Bonn and then married Henrich Brower? Or, could Henrich Von Bonn and Henrich Brower be one and the same, appearing in the same set of records with different surnames (Von Bonn being a place name, and Brower a surname)? Was Henrich Brower simply from Bonn? For now, it is something to keep in mind, and perhaps something to look into further.

A couple of caveats: The indexes that have been created and placed online by FamilySearch are just that - only indexes. The next step is to examine the complete records. There is likely more information within the full record, including the names of godparents which would be helpful in reconstructing extended families. For example, they might be able to tell us whether Mathias Brower and Henrich Brower were in fact brothers. Perhaps there is more to the marriage record of Mathias Brower and Anna Schonckx, like names of parents, witnesses, their ages. In addition there are other families with parents whose surname is BROWER found in the Sankt Peter Katholische Kirche records. They are not included here because in each case only one record of baptism for a child was found. Finally, baptism records alone often do not have all the answers. Probate and estate, notarial records, even land records in Cologne pertaining to the families mentioned above should be sought out and examined. There may be more answers there.

Adam Brouwer's ancestry and the identity of his parents remains unknown. In the past, some researchers (and I use the term loosely) have ventured guesses at identifying Adam's parents. These were based on nothing but a common surname (see "New Insight Into the Origins of Adam Brouwer" for an expansion on this). Above, and I believe for the first time, we at least have a family found in the city in which Adam Brouwer said he was born, from the time period in which he was born, that includes proper names also found in Adam Brouwer's own family (names HE gave to his children). It is not the final answer, but it is a viable start.

 * Confirmed by baptism records of the Reformed Dutch Churches at New Amsterdam and Breuckelen, by Adam Brouwer's will, and by property conveyances between siblings. The 27 year span between the birth of Magdalena Verdon's first child (Pieter) and her last (Nicholas) is unusually long. It would support the argument that Magdalena was a teenager when she married Adam Brouwer, probably no older than sixteen and perhaps as young as thirteen as suggested by Harry Macy, Jr. in "Some New Light on Aeltje Braconie and Maria Badie," New York Genealogical and Biographical Record Vol. 142, pp. 21-36 (2011).

** Of Adam Brouwer's children, his sons Pieter, Matthys, Adam and Abraham, did NOT give the name Adam to any of their sons. Sons Pieter and Matthys each had for sons, and so had multiple opportunities to give a son the name Adam. Both Pieter and Matthys named their first sons for their wives' fathers, Uldrick and Pieter respectively. Adam Brouwer (Jr.) named is only known son for his wife's father, Hendrick. Abraham named his first son Jeury, for his father-in-law, and named his only other son for himself (Abraham). Of Adam Brouwer's seven daughters, five did not give a son the name Adam. A sixth, Adam's daughter Rachel, had only one known child, a daughter named Engeltje, notably not named for her mother Magdalena.

***Magdalena Verdon had one full sibling, a brother Thomas. That name is not found among the children of Adam and Magdalena. Her mother, Maria Badie, was married three times, and had children by all three husbands. The names of Magdalena's half-siblings are Arien, Willem, Christian (twice), Marritje, who were children of her mother and Willem Adriaensen (Bennet), and Catherine, Coenradt, Aeltje, Paulus, Hester and Isaac, children of her mother and Paulus Van der Beeck. Only the three in bold face are also found in Adam and Magdalena's family. The half-sibling Aeltje, was no doubt named for Maria Badie's mother, Aeltje Braconie (Magdalena Verdon's grandmother).

+Here is an interesting item on the Nationaal Archief, VOC Sea-voyagers website. It is the record of a Pieter Brouwer, from Ceulen (Cologne), employed as a mid-shipman beginning 16 September 1641, with the VOC (Dutch East India Company). He sailed on the Nassau from Amsterdam. The ship arrived in Batavia (now Indonesia) on 3 April 1642. However, Pieter Brouwer's date of termination was 31 March 1642, three days prior to arrival. A mid-shipman, according to the website, was a naval officer under training. Such a person was therefore likely in his late teens or early twenties. Could he have been the Pieter, son of Mathias Brower and Anna Schonckx, baptized on 9 February 1621 at Sankt Peter Katholische Kirche?

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Monday, December 14, 2015

Continuing the Search in Early 17th Century Cologne Church Records

Family History Library film #187151 has the baptism (1602-1721) and marriage (1593-1803) records for the German Reformed Church of Cologne (Hoch-deutsche Reformierte Kirche Cölne). This was the second film I viewed and the results were the same as with the Cologne Dutch Reformed Church records (see the post of December 13, 2015). That is, no baptism record for an Adam Brouwer, and no records pointing to a family to which Adam Brouwer might belong.* Here is an image of one of the pages from this film:

FHL film #187151 Baptisms, 1619-1620, German Reformed Church, Cologne
The above image includes the records from the end of 1619 and most of those of 1620. In total there were 18 baptisms for the year 1620. There were 16 in 1619, and 20 in 1621. It is probable that the German church had a slightly larger congregation than the Dutch church, but would still have to be considered small in context of the overall population of Cologne in 1620.**

This film has been indexed by FamilySearch. It can now be searched online. I did so using the name BROUWER, and restricted the search to film #187151 by using the film number filter provided. The results bring up three records for the family name BRAUWER(S). Two are for a couple Wilhelm and Helena Brauwer who had two children (Johan and Margareta) baptized in May 1608. And a third record is for a couple Herman and Adriana Brauwers, who had a daughter Catrina baptized 26 January 1609. Searching with the name BROWER gives the same results. Searching with BREWER yields a daughter Bieltgen of Christoffel BREWER and Entgen Wiehsweilers baptized on 4 July 1594. Using BRUER, gives this same result. Searching with BERCKHOVEN finds two baptisms for a couple named Johan and Anna BACHOFEN. Son Caspar was baptized on 26 March 1620 and son Abraham Balthasar was baptized on 24 March 1622. All in all, nothing here provides a worthwhile lead in searching for Adam Brouwer.

FHL film #187153 covers the Cologne French Reformed Church records (Französisch Reformierte Kirche Cöln), which include baptisms and marriages (1600-1802), and burials (tote) for 1740-1802. As of this post, this film has not been indexed by FamilySearch. My search of the film back in 2008 came up empty for anything that might resemble a record pertaining to Adam Brouwer. Cor Snabel has transcribed and placed online baptisms for the "Walloon Church in Cologne," which I would assume to be the same church that Genealogical Society of Utah called the French Reformed Church. Again, nothing is found here that would constitute a reasonable lead. While for the earlier years we find some years in which there was between ten and twenty baptisms, after 1618, there is generally ten or fewer baptisms per year. I did not bother to take an image of a page from this film.

The three Reformed Churches of Cologne provided no records or leads that could be associated with Adam Brouwer.

As mentioned the Genealogical Society of Utah has filmed baptism, marriage and in some cases burial records for eighteen Roman Catholic churches in Cologne. I do not know if this is all of them. It is possible that there were others that were not filmed. Renting and viewing eighteen films of records that may or may not have been indexed, was just not practical from the standpoint of both time and money. I did however, look at two films.

FHL film #187108 is baptism and marriage records for the period 1595-1753 for St. Kunibert's Roman Catholic Church (Katholische Kirche. Kunibertkirche Cöln). The handwritten records are in Latin, and so easier (at least for me) to understand. Here is a sample page, the first page for the year 1620:

FHL film #187108 St. Kunibert's Catholic Church, Baptisms, 1620
While for the Reformed Churches we often had less than ten baptisms per year, in comparison, this Catholic church had eight pages of baptisms just for the year 1620. I did not find BROUWER (or variations within the 1600-1625 time range. This film has now been indexed by FamilySearch and using the "Germany Births and Baptisms, 1588-1898," searching with the variations of the Brouwer surname, and restricting to film #187108, I get back nothing in the 1600-1625 period, however, there is an Elffen Bruer, daughter of Hynderich Bruer baptized on 19 November 1595, and there is a group of BREWERs with baptisms dated in the late 1620s and 1630s through 1650s, and a group of BROUWER/BRAUWERs in the late 1620s, 1630s and 1640s. There are some familiar given names in these two groups. Searching with the given names Adam and Adolf/Adolph did not result in any leads.

The second Roman Catholic church film I looked at was FHL film #187139, baptisms, 1591-1750 in St. Mauritus Church (Katholische Kirche. Mauritiuskirche Cöln). This film has also been indexed and is searchable online at FamilySearch. While a search with the name BROUWER comes up empty, a search using BREWER brings up two records - Hermanus. son of Jacobus Brewer and Mergs Von Cappellenn on 6 December 1620; and Jacobus, son of Johan Brewer and Margareta on 31 January 1621. Searching with BRUER adds a couple of additional records but from too late a time period. One is for Adamus, son of Casparus Bruer and Catharina Von Kurten, baptized 14 September 1666 (obviously not our Adam Brouwer).

Of the remaining sixteen Catholic churches, it appears that all but two have been indexed and included in the "Germany Births and Baptisms, 1558-1898" database at FamilySearch. The two that do not appear to have been indexed (at this time) are FHL film #187126, Sankt Lupus Catholic Church, and FHL film #187264, the Deutz Catholic Church.

To be continued.

*Just to cover all bases, I also searched for the name Berckhoven (and various possible spellings of the name) in each search. Although I'm of the belief that this was not the name of a family that Adam Brouwer was born into (see Origins of Adam Brouwer), in the interest of searching thoroughly, I kept an eye out for the name.

**I've seen estimates of a population of 40,000 for Cologne in 1600. Prof. Willem Frijhoff had suggested to me a population of about 30,000 for the time of these records.

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Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Search for Adam Brouwer in Early 17th Century Cologne Church Records

Some background: Although the date on which Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, Long Island was born is not known, we do know that he was born in Cologne. The marriage banns for Adam Brouwer and Magdalena Verdon reads, "Adam Brouwer, j. m. Van Ceulen, en Magdalena Verdon, j. d. Van N. Nederlt."* The minister writing this record in 1645 was writing in Dutch and the preposition Van, as used in the vernacular of this time and place and in the context of these marriage records, referred to the place where the groom and bride were each born (as opposed to a place where each had lived). Adam Brouwer was born in Ceulen (a Dutch spelling of that time for Cologne) while Magdalena Verdon was born in New Netherland.

It is generally accepted that Adam Brouwer was born ca. 1620. This date is in line with his marriage in 1645, as young men during this period generally married in their mid to late twenties. He could have been born later than 1620, as the Reformed Dutch Church of the Netherlands allowed men as young as fourteen to marry**. However, we also know that Adam Brouwer was employed as a soldier with the WIC in 1641 and so likely at least age 16 in that year, so born no later than 1625. Adam Brouwer died during the first three months of 1692. If born in 1620 he would have been aged 72 at his death. There is no report of his age at death and so it is conceivable that Adam was born earlier than 1620, perhaps as early as 1610 (if so then 82 in 1692) or theoretically even as early as 1600 (if so then 92 in 1692). I take the time to run through this exercise for the purpose of finding a range of years in which to search in the Cologne church records for a baptism of a child who may be Adam Brouwer. Choosing a range of 1600 to 1625 should cover it.

Background on Cologne: In 1620, Cologne (Köln in German) was a free imperial city. That is to say, Cologne was self ruling but subject to the Holy Roman Emperor. It was not subject to the over-lordship of a Duchy or a Principality. It was subordinate only to the Holy Roman Emperor himself. It had been that way since before 1475 (in practical terms it was a free city as early as 1288) and would remain so until 1794 when annexed by France. In terms of political boundaries, in 1620 the city of Cologne was surrounded by the Archbishopric of Cologne, but the later had no authority within the city. Economically, Cologne in 1620, situated as it is on the west bank of the Rhine River, was an important city along the North Sea and Baltic Sea trade routes of the Hanseatic League, and at the time was one of the largest cities in northern Europe. In 1600 the city's population has been estimated at 40,000.

Köln und Deutz um 1636 (Cologne is in the background), Wenceslaus Hollar von Prachna (1607-1677) (Public domain, from Wikimedia Commons)

Cologne was in 1620, and for the most part in it's entire history, a predominantly Roman Catholic city. Churches of Protestant denominations, such as the Reformed Church of the Netherlands, were there, but they were the minority both in number of churches and in number of members. For evidence of this one only has to look at a list of Cologne Church records filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah and found in the Family History Library catalog. Just considering the churches on this list that existed in 1620, we can count three Protestant churches (Nederlands Hervormde, Hochdeutsche-Reformierte, Französisch-Reformierte), and eighteen Catholic (Katholische) churches. The Roman Catholic, Cologne Cathedral (the High Cathedral of Saints Peter and Mary), the largest Gothic church in northern Europe and the dominating land mark of the Cologne cityscape is physical evidence of the importance of Cologne as a Roman Catholic city. Construction began in 1248, was halted in 1473 and not resumed until the 1800s. It was completed to the original plans in 1880.

The initial search: As seven of Adam Brouwer's children were baptized in the Reformed Dutch Church in New Amsterdam/New York, which frankly between 1646 and 1672 was his only option, I chose to first search the records of the Protestant churches of Cologne for Adam Brouwer's own baptism.

My search was conducted back in 2008, prior to the creation of the FamilySearch website. Searchable indexes and digitized images of microfilmed record were not available online in 2008. Research consisted of ordering microfilm from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City and then viewing the film on readers at a local FHL center. I began with FHL film #187154, which is the birth (taufen) and marriage (heiraten) records of the Reformed Dutch Church in Cologne (Nederlands Hervormde Kerk Cöln). The film covers the years 1571 to 1739. Here is an example of a page from the film:

A page from FHL film #187154
The above page includes a few entries from 1620. Not familiar with Dutch and having no previous experience with the handwriting of this period, I had the help of Prof. Willem Frijhoff who was introduced to me by William B. Bogardus, in translating and deciphering the format of each entry. Prof. Frijhoff's response was that although the handwriting of this period was often difficult, the records here were actually well written, and were in Dutch (as opposed to German). The minister performing the baptisms was Johannes de Mourcourt, and that the names of both parents, the christian name of the child, and the names of two witnesses were in each record. He also commented on the small number of baptisms as evidence that the Dutch Reformed community was very small. More importantly (to Adam Brouwer researchers anyway) the surname Brouwer, or any variation thereof (Brower, Bruer, Brewer) was completely absent from both the baptism and marriage records I viewed for the years 1600 to 1625. 

In the years since 2008, FamilySearch has created many internet accessible searchable databases and many other image only databases, including one titled, "Germany Births and Baptisms, 1558-1898." This searchable database functions as an index to many of the birth and baptism records found within the modern day political boundaries of Germany. The churches of Cologne, now a city in present day Germany, are included in this database. However, not all of them have yet (as of this post) been indexed and included in the database. Among those not yet included is FHL film #187154 which I searched "the old fashion way" back in 2008. But we are fortunate in that Cor Snabel has transcribed baptisms from the Reformed Dutch Church in Cologne, for the years 1571 to 1650, and has placed them online at the "17th Century Hollanders" website created by Liz Johnson. Cor has also included an introduction. By using your web browser's search or "find" tool as search of Cor's transcriptions can easily be done using variations on the name Brouwer. Doing so confirms that are no baptisms records in which the name appears. Searching with the given names Adam, and Adolph (Adolf) does not provide any viable leads either. If you scroll down to the year 1620, you can count that only eight baptisms took place in that year. There were 12 in 1619, 10 in 1621. In the year 1639 in the New Amsterdam Reformed Dutch Church (the first year for which we have these records and when the colony was still quite small) there were only six baptisms***. In 1639 in Cologne's Dutch Reformed Church, there were only four. So, you can see, the Reformed Dutch congregation at Cologne in the early 1600s was in fact, small.

To honest, back in 2008 I did not expect to find the baptism record of Adam Brouwer in the Cologne Dutch Reformed Church records. That would have been too easy, and certainly someone over the course of the previous 100+ years would have looked there and reported something had it been found. But still, it would have been imprudent not to look myself. There are still two other Reformed Churches in Cologne - a German and a French church. And of course, there are eighteen Catholic churches to search through.

To be continued.

*Purple, Samuel S. Records of the Reformed Dutch Church in New Amsterdam and New York; Marriages from 11 December 1639 to 26 August 1801. Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, reprint 2003, original 1890 NYG&BS, p. 13.
**Purple, Records of the Reformed Dutch Church in New Amsterdam and New York, p. vii, "according to the eminent Dutch historian Van Leuwen, 'that the persons who may contract a marriage must be young men above the age of fourteen years, and young women above the age of twelve years...'" See also, Harry Macy, Jr., "Some New Light on Aeltje Braconie and Maria Badie," New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, vol. 142, no. 1 (Jan 2011), pp. 21-36, who suggests that Magdalena Verdon may have been as young as age 13, when she married Adam Brouwer. If so, and it is possible and would imply that Magdalena was born ca. 1631, then I would suggest that the odds are that Adam Brouwer was born much closer to 1620, than 1600.
*** Evans, Thomas Grier (Ed.). Baptisms from 1639 to 1730 in the Reformed Dutch Church, New York. Collections of the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, Vol. 2. New York: Printed for the Society, 1901, page 10. Of the six baptisms in 1639, three were families of Dutch origin, one belonged to free African-American family, one appears (to me) to have been Portuguese, and the sixth appears to have been either German or English ethnicity.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Samuel Brewer to Benjamin Brewer, Westmoreland Co., PA, Deed

On 20 Feb 1783, Samuel Brewer of Tyrone Twp., Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania sold to Benjamin Brewer of Huntington Twp., Westmoreland County, improvement on waters of Yough River between said river and Jacobs Creek, sw of lands of Samuel Whitsett, and se of lands of Moses Smith, n. of spring claimed by John Haselton. Witnessed by David Perry and Peter Bruin.

This deed is found in Westmoreland Co., Deeds Vol. A, page 328. The images below were taken from FHL film #929165 (see the FHL online catalog). The images are poor, but legible. They were taken with a hand held digital camera off a microfilm reader. has not yet made digital images of this film available online, and until they do so, the images here are the best I have. Please note that both images are of the same page. Perhaps one is better than the other.

Westmoreland Co. Deeds A:328

Westmoreland Co. Deeds A:328
In addition here are links to images of the same placed online, but off this website:

Samuel Brewer, the grantor in this deed, is a brother of Peter Brewer who was born between 1750 and 1760 probably in Sussex County, New Jersey. He died between 2 November 1840 and 19 April 1841 in Hardin County, Kentucky. Y-DNA testing of a descendant demonstrates that Peter Brewer is a genetic descendant of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, Long Island. However, Peter Brewer's ancestry back to Adam Brouwer has still not been determined. The grantee in this deed, Benjamin Brewer, is strongly believed to be a brother of Samuel and Peter. Documentation supporting the belief that Benjamin is a brother of Samuel and Peter has not been found. Y-DNA testing of a direct male descendant of Benjamin Brewer would enable us to see is this belief is correct. We would ask interested descendants of Benjamin Brewer to contact us at the Brewer DNA Project. For more please see the post of November 16, 2013.

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Documenting the Brouwer Mill at Gowanus, Long Island

It is established that Adam Brouwer operated a grist mill at Gowanus Bay on Long Island. His mill has been stated to have been the first mill erected on the western end of Long Island. There is no surviving deed or conveyance showing the purchase of the property by Adam Brouwer, and according to William J. Hoffman in "Brouwer Beginnings" (TAG 23 [1944]: 195), Adam Brouwer together with Isaac de Forest (de Foreest) built and operated the mill on land that was patented on 8 July 1645 to Jan Evertsen Bout. He adds that there was a confirmatory patent in February 1667. Hoffman states, "They were as early as 1661 tenants of Bout, but the latter gave in 1667 'the corn and meadows and place whereon the mill is grounded' to the children of Adam Brouwer. This gift appears to have been given verbally and was probably considered void, for by a recital in the deeds of October 10, 1700, and April 30, 1707, of respectively Pieter Brouwer and Sybrandt Brouwer to Abraham Brouwer and Nicholas Brouwer, it appears that a conveyance had been executed by the heirs of Jan Evertsen Bout and Tunis Nuyse to Adam Brouwer, their ancestor, for the neck of land on which the mill was located." Hoffman also informs us that Adam Brouwer became the sole owner of the mill when he "bought out de Forest's interest for 2,400 glds. payable in grain (i.e. wheat, rye, buckwheat and maize) - the wheat and rye at 4 glds., buckwheat and maize at 2 glds. per skepel. The remaining 400 glds. in wampum." Hoffman adds that in "May 1664, together with other inhabitants of Gowanus, Adam Brouwer petitioned the Governor and Council to have the canal between Red Hook Island and the mainland dredged, which petition was granted." Unfortunately, Hoffman does not provide source citations for some of these statements. Let's see if they can be found.

The patent granted to Jan Eversz Bout can be found in New York Historical Manuscripts: Dutch, Vols. GG, HH & II, Land Papers, pages 31-32. The date here is given as 6 July 1645 (Hoffman wrote 8 July 1645). The patent granted by Willem Kieft, etc. to Jan Eversz Bout is for "a piece of land located at Marchkawick on the kil of Gowanus, maizeland as well as woodland, bordering on the easternmost end of Huych Aertsz and the westernmost end of Gerrit Wolphersz; it extends along the aforesaid Gerrit Wolpfersz' land until in the woods, north east a little northerly 165 rods; in breadth in the woods south east until the land of Huych Aertsz 96 rods; also the aforesaid Huych Aersz' land until the maizeland 55 rods south west and south west by west; further to the marsh south west a little southerly 137 rods; further to the point of beginning laid down along the marsh (with some indentations) in a parallel line; both places, Jan Eversz and Jacob Stoffelsz, amounting to 28 morgens, 271 rods, with the express conditions etc..."

I have not located the confirmatory patent of February 1667. If O'Callaghan had found it in his examination of the manuscripts in the Office of the Secretary of State in Albany, it would have been recorded in volume 2 of his Calendar. It is not there. It is, however, mentioned in Henry R. Stiles, A History of the City of Brooklyn, Volume 1 (1867) at pages 98-99. He gives the date as February 14th, 1667, but does not provide a source. Stiles also states that "Bout gave the neck to the children of Adam Brouwer, the common ancestor of the Brouwers of this vicinity."

Hoffman (TAG 23:195) states that Adam Brouwer bought out Isaac de Foreest's share of the mill in 1667. Hoffman does not site a specific source. A History of the City of Brooklyn, Vol. 1 (Henry R. Stiles, 1867), page 100, states that Isaac de Foreest and Adam Brouwer jointly owned the mill in 1661 and the later (Adam) bought the interest of the former. Stiles cites "Dr. O'Callaghan's note in Hist. Mag. for Aug., 1862." A record of this transaction, if it survives, has not been found. It is certain that Hoffman used Stiles A History of the City of Brooklyn for his "Brouwer Beginnings" article, for at TAG 23 (1944):196, Hoffman writes, "Adam Brouwer, although a respectable citizen in good circumstances, seems to have been rather fractious and troublesome at times, if we may judge from some items recorded concerning him." These exact words, to a letter, were first written 80 years earlier in 1867 by Henry R. Stiles in A History of the City of Brooklyn, Vol. 1, on page 157, footnote 1.

The May 29, 1664 petition by which inhabitants of Gowanus and Manhattans asked for permission "to clean out the kill at the end of Frederick Lubbertsen's land, and near Red Hook, so as to render it navigable to Gowanis and the mill," is cataloged in O'Callaghan's Calendar of New York Historical Manuscripts, volume 1, page 265. O'Callaghan does not list the petitioners, but a transcript of the petition can be found in Stiles, A History of the City of Brooklyn, Vol. 1, page 68. Adam Brouwer, signing with his mark, is among the petitioners.

In "Brouwer Beginnings" (TAG 24:161), Hoffman mentions a deed dated 12 August 1698 by which Nicholas Brouwer and Abraham Brouwer bought, for £270, from "Pieter Brouwer, Matthys Brouwer, William Brouwer, Jacob Brouwer, Adam Brouwer, Barent Van Tilburg (Maria Brouwer), Matthys Cornelisse (Fytie Brouwer), Jesaias Dreax (Aeltje Brouwer), William Nazareth (Helena Brouwer), William Hilton (Anna Brouwer), Thomas Knight (Sara Brouwer) and Pieter Hendricks (Rachel Brouwer), all sons and sons-in-law of Adam Brouwer, Sr., of Gowanus, then deceased...the plot on which the mill stands, also the neck and meadows." Hoffman only cites "N. Y. Record, 9:128" for the source of this deed. This refers to the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, vol. 9, no. 3 (1878), page 128 which is T. G. Bergen's account of Adam Brouwer in his series, "Contributions to the History of the Early Settlers of Kings County, N. Y." Here, Bergen states that this deed, "not recorded, (is) in possession of the heirs of Garret Brower, of Gowanus." I guess it has to be assumed that Bergen actually examined this deed back in 1878. It does not appear to have ever been recorded in either the New York or Kings County records. I would also guess that the Garret Brouwer referred to was the son of Adolph Brouwer (below) who had purchased the mill property from other heirs of his father in 1785. This Garret Brouwer was born ca. 1787 and died in 1865, and Bergen, writing only thirteen years after his death may well have known the family personally. In the same article Bergen mentions a second deed of the same date (12 August 1698) in which Magdalena, the widow of Adam Brouwer, conveyed to her sons Abraham and Nicholas her right on the dwelling house, mill and creeks. Hoffman mentioned this deed in "Brouwer Beginnings" at TAG 23:197 and ambiguously cites "Records of Brooklyn." I have not located a copy of this deed.

The conveyances below can be found online at Digital images are found in their collection titled "New York Land Records, 1630-1975," under Kings (County). It should be noted that what is found here are not images of the original records. What is seen in this collection are copies of the originals made by hand around 1900.

October 10, 1700: Pieter Brower of the Province of East New Jersey conveys to Abram Brower and Nicholas Brower of Broockland in Kings County a certaine neck or hooke of land and meadowes with a certaine corne mill thereon standing...commonly known by the name of the Gowanus Mill Neck. Kings County Conveyances, Lib. 2, pp. 349-350. In this conveyance Pieter is described as the eldest son and heir of Adam Brower, late of Broockland, deceased, the true owner thereof by certaine conveyances from Tunis Nuysen, deceased, and the heirs of Jan Evertse Bout, deceased. It is this mentioned conveyance, Tunis Nuysen and heirs of Jan Evertse Bout to Adam Brouwer, that Hoffman concludes was verbal. I would also imagine that it is the sole source of Stiles statement in A History of the City of Brooklyn, Vol. 1, page 99 (above). If this conveyance had been written down, that copy does not survive. Or, at least it has not yet been found. Pieter Brower signs the deed of October 10, 1700, with his mark.

October 30, 1701: Gerardus Beeckman of Flatbush, and Magdalina his wife, convey to Abram Brower and Nicholas Brower, both of Gowanus, land and buildings in Gowanus. Kings County Conveyances, Lib. 2, pp. 348-349. This conveyance, although dated after the above conveyance, is recorded in the Kings County conveyance records on the pages just before the above conveyance. The property is described as being bounded by (among others) on the east by the land formerly Adam Brower junior's. In the previous recorded conveyance, dated 20 October 1701 (Lib. 2, pp. 346-348) Gerardus Beeckman had purchased this property from Volkert Bries and his wife, Elisabeth.

April 30, 1707: Sybrant Brower of Broockland in Kings County conveys to Abram Brower and Nicholas Brower of the same township. Kings County Comveyances, Lib. 3, pp. 100-101. Sybrant Brower is described as the eldest son and heir of Jacob Brower, deceased. Sybrant is conveying his 14th part share, which belonged to his father during his lifetime, in a certain hook or neck of land and meadow with a certain corn mill thereon standing, called by the name of Gowanus Mill neck. Sybrant Brower signs with his mark.

April 30, 1709: Articles of Agreement between John Blaw of Gowanus of the first part and Abram Brower and Nicholas Brower of Gowanus of the second part. Kings County Conveyances, Lib. 3, pp. 161-162. In the terms of the agreement, Abram and Nicholas Brower state that they will be building a water mill on their land on the mill neck at Gowanus. But to do so they need use of the kill (creek) running between the lands of John Blaw and their own, and the privilege to join a dam to the meadow of John Blaw. The agreement also describes water rights granted to John Blaw. John Blaw and Abram Brower sign with their marks. Nicholas Brower signs his name.

October 12, 1710: Indenture between Abraham Brower of Gowanus, and Cornelia his wife of one part, and Nicholas Brower of the same place of the second part. Kings County Conveyances, Lib. 3, pp. 199-201. The indenture acknowledges that of late the two, Abram Brower and Nicholas Brower, had bought in partnership, sundry lands, meadows, houses, mills, within Brooklyn on a "certain hook or neck of land called Gowanus mill." It mentions the land bought of Col. Gerardus Beeckman formerly possessed by Volkert Bries. The agreement's purpose is to "part the premises aforesaid between them as just and equal as may convey to each other by deed their rights to the aforesaid premises to avoid all controversies and quarrels for the future..." This indenture describes the properties that Nicholas Brower is to have and Abraham Brower and Cornelia Brower sign with their marks. And it is followed by:

October 12, 1710: Indenture between Nicholas Brower of Gowanus and Jonica, his wife of the first part, and Abraham Brower of the same place of the second part. Kings County Conveyances, Lib. 3, pp. 202-204. The preamble to the conveyance is the same as above, and the remainder describes the properties that Abraham Brower is to have. Nicholas Brower signs his name, and Jonica Brower signs with her mark (Jonica is a phonetic spelling of Janneke). In short, the two indentures leave Nicholas Brower with the property known as the "Old Mill," and Abraham Brower with the property known as the "New Mill."

June 20, 1712: Nicholas Brower of Gowanus, and Jonica, his wife, convey to Abraham Brower of the same place, for twelve hundred pounds, the half of the mill property that had been conveyed to Nicholas Brower by the indentures of October 12, 1710. Kings County Conveyances, Lib. 4, pp. 12-14. With this conveyance Abraham Brouwer becomes the sole owner of the mills. This is the last conveyance regarding the Gowanus mill property that involved Nicholas Brouwer. Nicholas was Adam Brouwer's youngest son, and the only son who signs contracts with his signature rather than a mark. Nicholas relocated to Westchester County, apparently to Fordham Manor in the area of that county which is now known as the Bronx. Conveyances in Westchester County involving Nicholas begin in 1714. He also owned property on Manhattan Island, and in 1719 he and his wife, Jannetje Coljer, were members of the New York Reformed Dutch Church. After June 20, 1712, Nicholas Brouwer, and any descendants, no longer have title to the Gowanus mill property.

There is now a 25 year break until the next conveyance involving the Gowanus mill property. During this period it is evident that Abraham Brouwer, now sole owner of the Gowanus property, also owned property on Staten Island. According to Hoffman, the "corner of Abraham Brouwer's land," is mentioned in a Richmond County deed in 1723 (TAG 24:96-97). The property had previously belonged to Daniel Shotwell. About 1732, Abraham married his second wife, Elizabeth Gerritsen, the widow of Nathaniel Britton of Staten Island. And on 5 May 1734 Abraham Brouwer sold his 135 acre farm at "Graniteville" (on Staten Island) to Peter Hagewaut (TAG 24:97). Also in the interim is an agreement dated 20 June 1734 between Abraham Bruwer/Brouwer and Nicholas Van Veghte, written in Dutch, and found in Kings County Conveyances, Lib. 5, p. 78. I do not have a translation of this agreement, but it appears to have something to do with a dam on the creek. (Note: I have not had the opportunity to search for the Staten Island deeds mentioned by Hoffman. I would suggest those interested do so. Staten Island is Richmond County, New York).

September 3, 1737: Abraham Brower of Brooklyn, yeoman, to his son Jurian Brower, miller, of the same place. Kings County Conveyances, Lib. 5, pp. 138-139. Abraham conveys part of his mill property to his son Jurian Brower.

September 3, 1737: Abraham Brower of Brooklyn, yeoman, to his son Abraham Brower, Junr., of the same place, miller. Kings County Conveyances, Lib. 5, pp. 140-141. Abraham conveys part of his mill property to his son Abraham Brower. Abraham Brouwer (senior) did not leave a will. This conveyance, along with the one above, executed on the same day, is evidence of Abraham dividing his property between his two sons during his lifetime. In addition to the two sons, Abraham Brouwer had four daughters (Elizabeth, Magdalena, Marytje and Jannetje). There is no surviving record of Abraham Brouwer's death. On 18 February 1739, Abraham Brouwer and Elizabeth his wife, were witnesses for the baptism of Abraham, son of Abraham Brouwer, Jr. and Sara (Kimber) at New Utrecht. This is the last mention of the senior Abraham Brouwer.

There is now a 48 year break until the next conveyance involving the Gowanus mill property. During this period the property is owned by brothers Abraham and Jeury (Jurian or Jeremiah) Brouwer. Both are married. Abraham to Sarah Kimber, and Jeury twice, first to Elizabeth Hilton (a cousin) and second to Charity Stillwell. Both had large families. Abraham had eight children and Jeury had eleven children. Abraham and Jeury are grandsons of the progenitor, Adam Brouwer. During this period there are agreements made between the Brouwers and their immediate neighbors at Gowanus involving water rights. According to Hoffman, on 24 August 1751 Isaac Sebring and Catharina his wife made an agreement to dig a ditch from Gowanus Bay to the East River, under certain restrictions, with, among others, Jury Brower and Abraham Brower, witnessed by William Brower (TAG 24:99, Hoffman does not state the source but we do find mention of this in Stiles, History of the City of Brooklyn, Vol. 1, p. 69). There is an agreement dated 20 September 1754 between Jury Blauw and Abram Brower (of one part) and Nicholas Veghte (of the other part) involving use of the "ditch or creek" at Gowanus (Kings Co. Lib. 6, pp. 13 and page 16) and a second between Nicholas Veghte and Abram Brower dated 14 May 1757 (Lib. 6, pp. 13-14). At Lib. 6, page 17, is a deed unrelated to the Gowanus mill property in which Thomas Stillwell of New York City, sells to Jurry Brower of Brookland, a woodlot in Flatbush. Another deed unrelated to the mill property is dated 29 March 1760, and is found in Lib. 6, page 311. In this conveyance, Jurrey Brower of Gowanus sells to Abraham Brower and William Brower, "sons of said Jurrey Brower," some land in the Township of Brooklyn.

As stated, in the years between 1737 and 1755/56, the Gowanus mill property was owned by the brothers Abraham Brouwer and Jeury Brouwer. On 29 September 1755, Abraham Brouwer wrote his will. It was proved on 26 February 1756 [New York Co. Wills, Lib. 19, pp. 423-425 (old 375)]. Abraham's two sons, Abraham and Jury, the later underage, were left "my whole estate in Brookland or elsewhere." Jeury Brouwer (brother of the elder Abraham) wrote his will on 18 September 1754, but it was not proved until 4 February 1784 [New York Co. Wills, Lib. 36, pp. 272-274 (old 228)]. Jeury Brouwer had four sons, Abraham, Jeury (Jeremiah), Willem and Adolph (Adolphus), but only three (Abraham, Willem and Adolph) are left property in Gowanus. The son Jeury (Jeremiah) was left two hundred pounds. The son Jeury/Jeremiah Brouwer was a shipping merchant of New York City but wrote his will at New Barbadoes, Bergen County, New Jersey on 28 April 1776. It was proved 16 May 1776. With the death of Abraham Brouwer in late 1755 or early 1756, ownership of the Gowanus mill properties was in the hands of Abraham's brother Jeury Brouwer, and Abraham's two sons, Abraham and Jeury Brouwer. It is not certain when the elder Jeury Brouwer died, but I imagine that it was closer to the date is will was proved (4 Feb. 1784) than to the date it was written (18 Sept. 1754). The fact that New York City/County and Kings County were both under British occupation from August 1776 and for the duration of the Revolutionary War, which ended by treaty of 3 Sept. 1783 (ratified 14 Jan 1784) might account for a delay in probating estates for persons who died during those years. Perhaps Jeury Brouwer died sometime during the Revolutionary War years.

On August 22, 1776 British troops landed at Gravesend, just south of Gowanus. On August 27, 1776 the Battle of Brooklyn, more often referred to as the Battle of Long Island, began. During the battle it was ordered that the Brouwer's mill and stores were to be burned so as not to fall into the hands of the British. Brouwer family members evacuated Long Island and spent the years of the Revolutionary War in various locations including Bergen County, New Jersey and Dutchess County, New York. For example, Jeury Brouwer's son William Brouwer (next deed below) wrote his will at Rumbout in Dutchess County on 4 September 1782. It was proved in New York on 12 June 1786 (It can be found in Albany Wills, AB 139, and in New York County Wills, Lib. 39, pp. 140-141 [old 123]).

British Map from 1776 showing routes and battle sites (Wikimedia commons)

November 10, 1785: Adolphus Brower, of Brooklyn, one of the sons of Jeremiah Brower of the same place yeoman deceased and Altie his wife of the first part and Abraham Brower, Jeremiah Brower and Antie his wife William Brower and Mattya Brower widow and relict of William Brower deceassed of the second part and the said Mattya Brower and William Brower Garret Brower and Abraham Hogeland executors of the last will and Testament of William Brower formerly of Brooklyn aforesaid and there after of Rumbout Precinct in Dutchess County yeoman and now deceased of the third part.  Kings County Conveyances, Lib. 6, pp. 343-352. [Note: the conveyance is interrupted after page 344, by pages 344A-344F which are abstracts of sales of forfeited estates unrelated to the Brower property. The Brower conveyance resumes after page 344F at page 345]. In this deed, Adolphus Brower is purchasing from his brother Abraham, and from the widow and children of his brother Willem, the right to the property formerly owned by Jeremiah (Jeury) Brower, and in accordance with his will (of 18 Sept. 1754). Adolph also acquired all the mill work and mill stones, and timbers that had been collected for the construction of a new mill, as well as other property that had been owned by his father. The selling heirs retained water rights including the right to harvest oysters. Adolph Brouwer then re-built, or built a new mill. And that mill he sold in 1798.

March 4, 1798: Adolph Brower of Brooklyn, miller, and his wife Altie convey to John C. Freeke of the city and county of New York. Kings County Conveyances, Lib. 7, pp. 188-190. Adolph received £4800 for the mill property called "Mill Hook," formerly part of the estate of Jeremiah Brower. The heirs of Jeremiah Brower retained some water rights including the right to harvest oysters. Adolph signed as "Dolphus Brower." I would note that in many modern day accounts about the Battle of Brooklyn, the mill at Gowanus is often called "Freeke's Mill." John Freeke did not own the property until 1798, and the mill he purchased was one that had been built by Adolph Brower. The mill that was burned on August 27, 1776 should correctly be called, "Brouwer's Mill."

In 1818, the widow of Abraham Brouwer and the children of Jeury Brouwer (Abraham and Jeury being the two sons of Abraham Brouwer mentioned in his 1755 will who now were themselves both deceased), petitioned United States Congress asking for compensation for losses incurred during the Battle of Brooklyn in 1776. I have not procured a copy of the petition and testimony myself, however, Lilly Martin did so back in 2007 and she provided me with a transcript which has been made available online. The petitioners here are described as "Mary Brower, widow of Abraham Brower, deceased, and Lawrence Brower, George Brower, Sarah Vechter (Vechten is meant), Charity Tidemon, Benjamin Van Cleve and Anna his wife, John Shannon and Rebecca his wife, heirs of Jeremiah Brower, deceased." Among those testifying on behalf of the petitioners was Adolph Brower (above). The request for compensation was denied.

Conveyances regarding that part of the Gowanus mill property that later belonged to the widow and children of the Abraham Brouwer, deceased, in the 1818 petition have not been found. If they exist they may well be found in Kings County conveyance books post 1800. I have not had the opportunity to search these.

The combination of large families and the repetition of given names, specifically Abraham and Jeury (Jurian, Jeremiah) can cause some confusion when it comes to identifying just who is who in all of the above. As an aid here is a descendant chart of the descendants of the first Abraham Brouwer (Adam's son). The individuals who are variously highlighted on the chart are those mentioned above.

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Will of John Drake of Essex County, New Jersey, 1740

The will of John Drake of Essex County, New Jersey, dated April 7, 1740, was proved September 29, 1741. It is found in New Jersey Wills, Lib. C, pages 442-444. An abstract can be found in Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey, First Series, Vol. XXX, Calender of New Jersey Wills, Administrations, Etc., Vol. II, 1730-1750, page 151. This will is found at Trenton, New Jersey, and is not found in the Essex County Probate Records. As of this writing FamilySearch has not yet placed digital images of the New Jersey wills found at Trenton online. The images below were made from FHL film #0522736 (found here in the FHL online catalog).

John Drake, NJ Wills Lib. C, p. 442

John Drake, NJ Wills Lib. C, p. 443

John Drake, NJ Wills Lib. C, p. 444

A second set of the same images can be found online with the following links: Lib. C, p. 442; Lib. C, p. 443; Lib. C, p. 444.

There were numerous men named John Drake living simultaneously in America during the colonial period. This John Drake, said to have been born in 1655, was a son of Captain Francis Drake whose estate was administered in Middlesex County, New Jersey on 28 October 1687 (New Jersey Wills, Vol. 1, 1670-1730, p. 142). Francis Drake, whose ancestry is unknown, came to Piscataway, New Jersey from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It must be stated clearly that this John Drake is in no way related to the descendants of Josias Jansen Drats and Aeltje Brouwer, who probably adopted the surname Drake as an anglicized version of Josias' surname. Josias Drats and Aeltje Brouwer's son, John Drake, was a much younger man, born in 1687 and died in 1779 in Orange County, New York. However, it should also be noted that John Drake of Essex County, New Jersey, had a son Benjamin Drake (1683-1763) whose second wife, Hannah Seabrook (1706-1788) had been married first to Cornelis Matthysen, a.k.a. Cornelis Van Horne, a son of Matthys Cornelissen and Fytie Brouwer, and a grandson of Adam Brouwer. I offer this as an example of the complicated reality of researching the many unrelated Drake families found in colonial New Jersey and New York.

John Drake of Essex County, New Jersey is believed to have been married twice and had fourteen children. Some of the fourteen, along with a number of grandchildren are named in the will. What info I had collected on John Drake can be found on the Drake Genealogy Database website. Please use the index or search feature to locate him there. I am not researching this family so please do not contact me with questions or corrections. The images above were taken a few years back and were in my files which I am in the process of clearing out. Since they are not otherwise (to my knowledge) available online I thought I would make them available to anyone researching this family.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey (Part IV)

Part IV of this series of posts covers the five volumes that make up the Second Series of Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey. See Part I for some background. See Parts II and III for mentions of persons named Brouwer, Brower, Brewer and Bruere in volumes that comprise the First Series. Each of the five volumes in the Second Series covers Extracts from American Newspapers. They were published between 1901 and 1917 under the direction of four different editors. Again, quick links to digital versions of all of the volumes can be found here.

Second Series, Volume 1, 1776-1777, does not contain any mention of any person named Brouwer, Brower, Brewer or Bruere.

Second Series, Volume 2, 1778, page 32 has a story from the Weekly Mercury, February 2, 1778. It is during the period of time of heightened hostilities in the Hackensack Valley region during the American Revolutionary War between Loyalists and Patriots. It tells of Mr. John Richards, of New Barbadoes, who was "taken near Bergen by two armed Men, and on the Road between that and the three Pigeons, was shot dead by one of them." The report goes on to state that "The Names of the Monsters who perpetrated this horrid Tragedy, are Brower and Le Sheair, the former shot him dead." A footnote informs us that "Le Sheair" is Lozier. Then at page 47, dateline New York, February 9, "Brower the Person who last week murdered Mr. John Richards, of New Barbadoes Neck, has, from the admirable Measures concerted for that Purpose, been secured, and was on Thursday Afternoon lodged in the Custody of the Provost Guard." Brower was apprehended by four persons, names not stated, described as "loyal Persons." The report includes an announcement that a collection has been set up to reward the four. This is in the New York Gazette and Weekly Mercury, February 9, 1778. In the following report (pages 47-48) we learn that "Brower," is Abraham Brower, and "Le Sheair" is John Leshier (Lozier). The story of just what transpired between the parties that resulted in the killing of John Richards is elaborated upon. From this, I take it that Abraham Brower and John Leshier were patriots, under the command of Major Goetschius*. They attempted to apprehend John Richards, (presumably) a loyalist, to take him in for examination. With John Richard was his "negro man," and the two attempted an escape in which they secured Leshier's musket and, in the mind of Leshier, "thought to kill him." Brower coming to Leshier's aid, shot Richard when Richard had attempted to seize him.

At page 385, "Whereas Inquisitions were found the 12th day of June, 1778, against the following absconding persons, now with the enemy, viz..." followed by a long list of names, most of whom have "English" names but a few are "non-English" including a Jacob Brower. Other non-English names include John Van Waggoner, Garrabrant Garrabrants, jun., Garret Wonters (sic, probably Wouters), Peter Clopper, Abraham Van Geison and Derick Schuyler. I recognize some Westchester County, New York names among the "English," including a number of Ogdens and a couple of Wards. Those on the list are ordered to appear at the next Court of Quarter Sessions to be held in and for the county of Essex. The signing Commissioners are Joseph Hedden, jun., Samuel Hayse, and Thomas Canfield, dated July 22, 1778. This, along with a couple of other similar announcements were published in the New Jersey Gazette, vol. 1, no. 38, August 26, 1778. Those on the list being asked to appear before the "Commissioners" would have been patriots turned loyalist.

At page 536 is a "Notice" to persons having a claim, interest or demand against a list of men, many of whom appear on the list at page 385 (above) including Jacob Brower. Claimants are to appear in Newark, before the 9th day of January next." It is dated November 9, 1778 and signed by the same Commissioners of Essex County mentioned above. This was published in the New Jersey Gazette, vol. 50 (sic, probably vol. 1, no. 50), November 18, 1778 (see page 545).

At page 587 is a public notice to "all persons who have in their custody or power, any goods or chattels, bonds, bills, mortgages...or who are indebted to the following fugitives and offenders, now with the enemy, viz..." Again, this is largely the same list (although there are other names as well) as found on pages 385 and 536, and includes Jacob Brower. It is signed by the same Commissioners and dated December 9, 1778, Essex County. Published in the New Jersey Gazette, vol. 1, no. 54, December 16, 1778.

Identifying the above men named Abraham Brower and Jacob Brower is rather difficult and would involve some guess work. There are quite a few different men of both names who were alive in the greater New York City area (here I am referring to northern New Jersey, and Westchester, Dutchess and Orange Counties, New York, as well as Kings County on Long Island) during the time of the American Revolutionary War. I have some ideas, but assigning these events to any specific individuals would be speculative at best.

Second Series, Volume 3, 1779. At pages 327-328 is yet another notice to persons having demands against those persons found in the lists above (Vol. 2, pp. 385, 536, 587). Included here is Jacob Brower (page 327) who is joined by a new name, Peter Brower (page 328). Signed by the same Commissioners and dated April 29, 1779, State of New Jersey, Essex County. Published in the New Jersey Gazette, Vol. 2, no. 74, May 5, 1779.

At page 588, "Monday last Peter Brewer, of Allentown, died, being upwards of 100 years of age." This was published in the New Jersey Gazette, Vol. 2, no. 88, September 1, 1779. This "Peter Brewer," is Peter Bruere, who according to another source died July 9, 1779 and is buried at Allentown in Monmouth County. One published genealogy states that Peter Bruere was born 10 August 1697 which if correct would suggest he was closer to 80 years and not at all near 100 years of age when he died. See Burt, Mary Emma and Robert Eugene Burt. Jacque Bruyere, A French Huguenot and Descendants (Baltimore, MD: Gateway Press, Inc., 1997), page 4.

Second Series, Volume 4, Nov. 1, 1779 - Sept. 30, 1780. At page 252, a "List of Prisoners brought to this City last Thursday Night by the Parties that were lately at Paramus and Hackinsack, in New Jersey, under the Command of Col. Howard, of the Guards, and Lieut. Col. M'Pherson, of the 42nd Regiment." The listed prisoners include William Brower and Jacobus Brower. This was published in The New York Gazette and the Weekly Mercury, no. 1484, March 27, 1780.

At page 598, "DEATHS. In Essex county: The Hon. Stephen Crane**, Esq. Member of the Legislative Council for that county. At New York: Mr. Walter Franklin, Mr. Elphinstone, the Hon. Joseph Manton, jun. Esq. Mr. Booth, Mr. Dav. Devoor, and Mr. Peter Brower. We hear that the inhabitants of New York are very sickly." Published in the New Jersey Gazette, Vol. 3, no. 139, August 23, 1780. This is Pieter Brouwer, son of Jacob Brouwer and Annatje Bogardus, who is said to have been born 29 March 1699 at Gowanus (no record of baptism survives). He was married first to Elizabeth Quackenbosch (1721, eleven children), second to Catharina Thong (1750, no children) and third to Sara Kip (1751, no children). He died on 10 August 1780, in New York City. He is a grandson of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, Long Island.

Second Series, Volume 5, October 1780 - July 1782. At page 167, from the New Jersey Gazette, Vol. 4, no. 158, January 3, 1781. At the Courts of Oyer and Terminer and General Goal Delivery held at Freehold, in the county of Monmouth... follows is a list of convictions including two convicted of murder. Hendrick Brewer, was in a list of persons "severally convicted of misdemeanors." I can only suggest that this is Hendrick, son of Jan Brouwer and Helena Van Cleef who was baptized on 25 December 1735 at Freehold-Middletown. He was married to Abigail Hunt (nine children), they lived at Middletown, and he died on 12 February 1802. He was a great-grandson of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, Long Island.

*Major John Mauritius Goetschius, of the New Jersey Militia.

**Hon. Stephen Crane (1709-1780) of New Jersey. The footnote in Vol. 4, p. 598 states that Stephen Crane was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, but apparently he was not.

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Friday, October 30, 2015

Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey (Part III)

Part I of this set was posted on October 27, 2015. Part II was posted on October 28, 2015. Part III continues with more Brouwer, Brower, Brewer and Bruere entries found in the series of 47 volumes. An attempt is being made to identify each of those who appear in the series.

In volume 24, Extracts from American Newspapers..., page 571, published in The New York Gazette or Weekly Post Boy, July 18, 1765 is the notice for the sale at "Public Vendue, at the Court-House in Sussex County, on Tuesday the 26th of November next." The property is described as a tract of land in the Township of New-Town, Sussex County, on the head Branch of Palins Kill, "and divided into the following Lots or Farms," The owners of ten lots or farms are listed (numbered 1 to 11, with no. 4 not included). On lot No. 9, of 144 acres, is Benjamin Brewer. The land for sale is being "shewn by Elisha Robbins, living on the Premses (he owns lots 7 and 8), or Robert Allen; Living at Pepack, in Somerset County." Robert Allen has the power to accept a private sale. James Parker placed the notice (perhaps he owns the entire 10 or 11 lot property). Benjamin Brewer had to have been an adult by 1765, and so born in or prior to 1744. The name Benjamin is not all that common among the earlier generations of Brewers and Browers in New Jersey (and New York).
We know of Benjamin, baptized 19 February 1738 at Freehold-Middletown, son of Jan Brouwer and Helena Van Cleef. He would be a descendant of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, L. I. He married Maria Lane in 1767 (two years after this date) and five known children baptized at Freehold-Middletown between 1768 and 1785 (there may have been others as there are multi-year gaps between baptisms of some of his known children).
We also know of Benjamin, baptized 11 February 1728 at the New York Reformed Dutch Church, son of Pieter Brouwer and Elizabeth Quackenbosch. He is a descendant of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus. Pieter Brouwer, bricklayer of New York City, made his will on 15 May 1767 (not proved until 22 January 1788). The only son mentioned in the will is Jacob (baptized in 1725) who received six shillings, wearing apparel and residue of the estate (sounds as if Jacob was the oldest son, who by 1767 was already established and had already received his share). Pieter's real and personal estate went to his daughters Ann and Elizabeth, both of whom were married. Pieter's son Benjamin is not mentioned, and when this occurs the assumption is often that the unnamed child is deceased. But that is not always the case. Every child is not named in every will. Pieter and Elizabeth also had sons Everardus (baptized 1739) and Petrus (baptized 1740) who are not named in the will. Although further record of Everardus has not yet been found, Petrus was living in 1767 (in fact he died in 1842 at age 102 in Claremont County, Ohio). Petrus Brouwer, a.k.a. Peter Brewer  married Margaret Mellow, of Somerset County, New Jersey in 1780, and had two sons, Peter and Adam, born in Gloucester County in 1788 and 1802 (no doubt there are other children yet to be accounted for). The New Jersey marriage license states that Peter Brewer was of Somerset County, New Jersey in 1780 (volume 22, p. 32). Could Pieter and Elizabeth's son Benjamin have also been alive in 1767, perhaps living in New Jersey, and not named in his father's will?
I know of no other Benjamin Brouwers, Browers or Brewers born early enough to have been living (he was probably leasing) on his own lot or farm. Is Benjamin Brewer of Newtown (now Newton Twp.), Sussex County, New Jersey in 1765, one of the above two men? If so, which one? Or is he someone yet to be discovered? Another note; in the late 1700s and into the 1800s the name Benjamin Brewer begins to appear in western Pennsylvania (and then in places west, like Indiana). Could Benjamin Brewer of Newtown be a connection? The western counties of New Jersey (Hunterdon, Somerset, and Sussex (from which Warren County was created in 1824), were jumping off points for settlers of the western areas of Pennsylvania near the borders with Virginia and Maryland. Did Benjamin Brewer of Newtown, or perhaps his sons, move westward in the late 1700s? We know of many Brewer families that "suddenly" appear in the region of western Pennsylvania in the late 1700s. Y-DNA testing of some descendants (through the Brewer DNA Project at Family Tree DNA) has shown that some are descendants of Adam Brouwer, while others are descendants of Jan Brouwer. Few have been able to prove their connection to either Adam or Jan. Benjamin Brewer of Newtown, may be a link.

Volume 25, Extracts from American Newspapers..., has mentions of two men named Brewer. At pages 142-143 is the publication of an order dated 17 June 1766. The order comes from Benjamin Thompson and Philip Van Horne, two of the Judges of the Court of Common Pleas for Somerset County. Gerrit Brewer is an insolvent debtor and his creditors are ordered to show cause before the said Judges at Milstone (Millstone, Somerset County) on 14 July. This was published in The New York Gazette or Weekly Post Boy, June 19, 1766. Gerrit, baptized 10 January 1742 at Hackensack (Bergen County, New Jersey), son of Abraham Brouwer and Elizabeth Ackerman (and a descendant of Adam Brouwer), would have been 24 (maybe 25) years old in June 1766. To my knowledge, further records regarding this Gerrit Brouwer have yet to be found.
Another mention of a Gerrit Brouwer, old enough to be an insolvent adult in 1766, is found in this same baptism record. The witnesses for the baptism of Gerrit, child of Abraham Brouwer and Elizabeth Ackerman, were Gerrit Brouwer and Jenneke Brouwer. Abraham Brouwer was a son of Uldrick Brouwer and his first wife Hester de Voe. Uldrick's second wife was Adriantje Pieters (daughter of Pieter Hessels and Lysbeth Gerrits) who he married in 1711. While there are baptism records for two children of Uldrick and Adriantje (Metje 1723, Esther 1726 both at Hackensack) it is apparent that the couple may have had as many as nine other children. Gerrit and Janneke, witnesses at this baptism in 1742 could be two of them. Other records for either Gerrit or Janneke have yet to be identified, however, Janneke may be the otherwise unplaced Jannetje Brouwer (a.k.a. Tannica, Yannica, and Jane) who married Cornelius Tunisen in New Jersey in 1749. They had children named Cornelius, Garret and Arietta.
The name Gerrit is not common among the descendants of either Adam Brouwer or Jan Brouwer, and the only other mention of one who could be an adult in 1766, is Gerrit Brouwer, who with Jannetje Stymets, witnessed the baptism of Pieter, son of Johannes Van Rypen and Hester Stymets at the New York Reformed Dutch Church on 28 Oct 1767. Both the Van Rypen and Stymets families have roots in Bergen County, New Jersey, and it is likely that this Gerrit is one of the above two. More research is needed here. All other known men named Gerrit (Garret) Brouwer, Brower or Brewer were born post 1750, and thereby could not have been the insolvent Gerrit Brewer, Somerset County, New Jersey in 1766.

Also in volume 25, at page 138, Samuel Brewer, Goaler (jailer) posts a reward for the capture of Robert Mouston, "a Taylor by Trade, born in Scotland," from the "Goal of Somerset County" (The Pennsylvania Gazette, June 19, 1766). At page 433, dateline New York, August 20, "We hear from the county of Somerset, and province of New Jersey, that on the 20th ultimo Samuel Brewer, Esq., was elected a representative for that county, in the room of John Hooglandt, Esq., deceased" (The Pennsylvania Chronicle, August 17-24, 1767). But then at page 441 is a correction, "New York, August 31. It was Abraham Vanness, Esq., and not Samuel Brewer, that was elected a Representative for the County of Somerset..." (The New York Mercury, August 31, 1767). This is obviously the same Samuel Brewer mentioned in Part II, found in volume 20. As mentioned in Part II, Samuel Brewer, the jailer, is possibly, or even probably the son of Willem Brouwer and Martha Boulton who was baptized on 25 August 1706 at Breuckelen. A contemporary Samuel Brouwer was baptized on 18 February 1705 at Hackensack, New Jersey, a son of Abraham Brouwer and Lea Demarest, and a great-grandson of Adam Brouwer. However, that Samuel Brouwer's adult life is accounted for. He married Maria Hartje in 1728, and had ten children between 1729 and 1755. The first four were baptized at either Tappan, New York or Schraalenburg, New Jersey (two at each location), and the youngest six were baptized in New York City. He cannot be the Samuel Brewer, jailer of Somerset County.

In volume 26, Extracts from American Newspapers..., pages 131-132, is the announcement of a public sale to take place on 25 April 1768. Up for sale is a "Fulling Mill, with a fine Stream of Water, situate in Allen-Town, East Jersey..." A dwelling house, meadow, wood land, tools and household goods, even a young milk cow are available. It is the estate of Isaac Price, and the sale is conducted by the executors of the estate, Peter Brewer and Nathan Robins. This Peter Brewer is Peter Bruere who came from the Palatinate to New York as a teenager in 1709 and then settled, and became a rather large landholder, in Upper Freehold, Monmouth County. His wife was Elinor Price, a sister of this Isaac Price. The announcement appeared in The Pennsylvania Gazette, April 7, 1768.
At page 581, published in The New York Gazette or Weekly Post Boy, December 11, 1769, "Whereas the General Assembly of the Province of New Jersey, have passed an Act for the Relief of Debtors, at their last Session: We the Debtors in the Goal of the County of Essex, intending to take the Benefit of said Act, do hereby desire all our Creditors to take Notice accordingly. Dated Essex County Goal, December 11, 1769. It is "signed" by six men, one of whom is Garret Brewer (see above). I guess Garret and the others were all "too big to fail."

In volume 27, Extracts from American Newspapers..., page 320 is another announcement of the sale of the property of Isaac Price (although his name is not stated this time) by Peter Brewer and Nathan Robins, executors. It was published in The Pennsylvania Gazette, December 13, 1770. The date of the sale, in Allen-Town, is December 27, 1770. This is more than two and a half years after the first attempt of a sale (above) was made.

In volume 28, Extracts from American Newspapers..., page 243. This is an announcement dated New York, September 2, 1772, published in The New York Gazette; and the Weekly Mercury, September 14, 1772. It is signed by a very long list of individuals, including one woman (Elizabeth Breese) and a few partnerships. They appear to be merchants of New York City. One of the signers is Jeremiah Brower. Their announcement mentions that the New York City Chamber of Commerce resolved that after September 3rd, they will no longer be accepting "Jersey Money in Payment on any other Terms than at Six and Two Thirds, which is just One Shilling (New York Currency) Loss on every Three Pound Jersey Bill." The signing subscribers are notifying their "New Jersey, New York and Connecticut Friends, and all others," that they will continue to receive Jersey Money in all payments. There are a number of men named Jeremiah Brower living during the 18th century in the greater New York City area. This Jeremiah Brower, a.k.a. Jeury Brouwer, was the son of Jeury Brouwer and Elizabeth Hilton and a great grandson of Adam Brouwer. He died 28 April 1776 at Hackensack, New Jersey in his 48th year. He married Jane Elsworth on 15 February 1750 (New York Reformed Dutch Church) and they had twelve children between 1751 and 1776, the last child (Mary) born posthumously. His will was dated 8 April 1776 and proved 16 May 1776 in New York. Jeremiah was a successful merchant with shipping interests. I have seen his name in published accounts of the records of Sir William Johnson, the principal figure in the English settlement of New York State's Mohawk Valley region and westward. His shipping interests extended to the southern states and certainly to the West Indies. His eldest son, also named Jeremiah, settled in Charlestown, South Carolina where he married in 1774. He remained there after the Revolutionary War. Another son, Dr. Abraham Brower went west to Ohio and then Indiana. Sons Theophilus, Hendrick and Johannes remained in New York City. Son, William died in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1832. His daughter Jane married Peter Kip, and daughter Mary married Solomon Jackson. A daughter Elizabeth, named in his will, has not yet been further accounted for. Three other children died during childhood.

In volume 29, Extracts from American Newspapers..., pages 557-558 has a curious story about a man named James Parsons who was committed to the goal at Perth Amboy. Parsons' travels on horseback beginning at New Milford, Connecticut, through Massachusetts, Connecticut, Westchester County, New York to Woodbridge, New Jersey are recounted. At Rye, New York, "he swapped with Joseph Brewer, for a large black horse." This was published in Rivington's New York Gazetteer, December 29, 1774. I do not have another record of a Joseph Brewer of Rye, New York from this period. This story is repeated in volume 31, Extracts from American Newspapers..., page 20, in the January 5, 1775 edition of Rivington's New York Gazetteer.

Part IV, to follow, will cover entries found in the 2nd Series of volumes. Please consult the Brouwer Genealogy Database website for additional information and sources regarding those mentioned above. As a reminder, a full list of all the volumes that make up Documents Relating to the Colonial History of the State of New Jersey, with links to digital editions, is online here.

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