Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Sunday, January 4, 2015

George Brewer, Jr., of Brunswick County, Virginia

George2 Brewer (George1), of Brunswick County, Virginia, was identified as a son in his father's will dated 13 July 1741. George2 Brewer in turn left a will of his own dated 16 August 1760 which named eight children including three sons. It is hoped that through one of these three sons a direct male descendant can be found who has already taken a Y-DNA test with the Brewer DNA Project, or who will be willing to join the Project and take a Y-DNA test. Finding such a person will be a significant step in identifying an accurate Y-Chromosome DNA profile for George1 Brewer. It is suggested that anyone reading this post also have on hand a copy of Marvin T. Broyhill's, Brewer Families of Colonial Virginia, 1626-1776, 1992, which can be found online through the FamilySearch catalog.

Marvin T. Broyhill in his "working draft" or "first draft" titled Brewer Families of Colonial Virginia (1992) covers George2 Brewer beginning at page 103. He refers to George as "George Brewer II" and assigns him the number G7. We will not use either of these designations, but instead will use the superscript number 2, to identify George as the one of the second generation. Referring to him as "George, Jr." might also be confusing as George2 had a son named George as well, and this son might also be referred to as "George, Jr." Broyhill, himself, seemed to have been confused by the "Jr." designation when writing about the inventories left by each of them. Broyhill's "working draft" of  George2 Brewer's family has numerous errors and cannot be used as a source for constructing an accurate pedigree, or lineage, from George2 Brewer. Two errors to quickly mention, are the inclusions of a son Jesse Brewer and a daughter Rebecca Brewer. Jesse (numbered G78 by Broyhill) is in fact a son of a William Brewer (probably the son of George1 but not yet proved), while Rebecca is a daughter of George3 Brewer (George2, George1). Foy E. Varner, Jr., Brewer Families of Southeast America (2003) begins his review of George2 Brewer at page 341. This work should be consulted when considering the numerous abstracted records accumulated by Broyhill in his two supplements, that involve men named George Brewer (of which there were more than a few).

The document that we will be using to identify the children of George2 Brewer will be his will dated 16 August 1760, and proved in Brunswick County, Virginia on 27 October 1760. The original will is found in the Brunswick County, Virginia, Clerk of the Court's Office, in Book 3,  at page 344. A photocopy of the original was provided to me by Diane Daniel, and it has been placed online. The original was on three large (17 inch long) pages which had to be split so they could be scanned on a 11 x 8.5 scanner bed, creating five pages. There is overlap between pages 2 and 3, and between pages 4 and 5, so use care when reading this document. We will not transcribe this will in it's entirety, but will instead just highlight the mentions of George's children.

It is first noticed that George Brewer does not mention or provide for his wife in his will. From this we can assume that she was deceased prior to 27 October 1760 when the will was written. She has been identified as Abigail Wyche, a daughter of Henry and Frances Wyche. "My daughter Abigail Brewer," is named in Henry Wyche's will dated 4 March 1735/36. Abigail was left "all the land belonging to me on the north side of Beaver Pond Creek in Brunswick County." For a transcription of Henry Wyche's will see "Brunswick County, Virginia, Deeds, Wills, Etc., No. 1, 1732-1740," The Virginia Genealogist Vol. 2 (1958), pp. 126-127.

In his own will, George Brewer first leaves to his son John, "my tract of land scituate on the North side of the Beaver Pond Creek containing two hundred twenty acres, also two hundred forty five acres the lower part of a nother tract on the said Creek containing four hundred and ninety five acres beginning at the mouth of the Ready branch and thence to the back line to include the aforesaid quantities to him and his heirs forever." John also was given a negro girl named Patt and five sheep. Marvin T. Broyhill in his 1992 "working draft," at pages 104-105, incorrectly assigns John3 Brewer (George2, George1) a wife named Mary and is of the belief that he did not leave children. Both are incorrect. John3 Brewer (George2, George1) married Bethia Morris, a daughter of Thomas Morris, and relocated to Hancock County, Georgia in the late 1780s. John Brewer left descendants and will be considered in a future post.

The testator, George Brewer, next leaves "unto my son George Brewer two hundred and forty five acres of land on the Beaver Pond Creek the part of my tract containing four hundred and ninety beginning at the mouth of Ready Branch then to the back line." The son George Brewer also was left a negro boy named Will, a cow and a calf, and five sheep. Broyhill's 1992 "working draft," mentions George3 Brewer (George2, George1) at page 107. The account is brief, no wife or children are mentioned, and the suggestion is made that he is the George Brewer "who shows up in Wilkes County, North Carolina," and states that he had an uncle Burwell Brewer. These suggestions are incorrect. George3 Brewer (George2, George1) outlived his father by only two years (an inventory of his estate was presented in Brunswick Co. Court on 26 July 1762), never left Brunswick County, and had a daughter, Rebecca, who was incorrectly assigned to George2 by Broyhill.

"I give and bequeath unto my son Wm Brewer all that part of the tract of land where I now live, on the north side of the falling Run granted in my patent Bearing Date the eighth day of September one Thousand Seven Hundred and Twenty Eight also one Hundred and fifty acres adjoining the lower part of said tract of Land beginning at the mouth of a small branch on the north side of the Falling Run at the upper end of the great Meadow thence to my back line to include the aforesaid quantity." William also received his father's "negro man Peter, my horse Ball and one young man and one feather bed and furniture." William Brewer is covered in Broyhill's 1992 "working draft" at pages 105-106, where his wife is stated to be Ann. While this claim appears to be correct, the remainder of Broyhill's account must be questioned. The suggestion is made that he may have moved to Wilkes Co., North Carolina, which is followed by a suggestion that he may have moved to Georgia. Two sons are listed, "William Brewer, Jr." and "James Brewer," but no evidence is provided for either.  William3 Brewer (George2, George1) needs further research. We would be interested to see if the claim made in the pedigrees for kit #s 50104 and 136385, found on the Brewer-Lanier Pedigree page, that William is the William Brewer found in Lancaster Co., South Carolina, can be proved. If so, we would then have a viable pedigree for two claimed descendants of George Brewer who have taken a Y-Chromosome DNA test.

George Brewer next leaves "unto my son Henry Brewer all that part of that tract of Land whereon I live which lie on the South side of the Falling Run, also one Hundred and Thirty acres of Land in the lower part of a tract adjoining the land I live on , also my negro boy Jacob and one feather bed and furniture." Broyhill's 1992 "working draft," covers Henry Brewer at page 108. Henry is assigned a wife named Cinthia, which appears to be correct. However, the claim is made that Henry3 Brewer (George2, George1) was the testator of the will dated 24 April 1802 and proved 25 January 1804 in Brunswick Co., Virginia. He is not. The Henry Brewer who was the testator of this will was a son of William Brewer and had brothers Jesse, James and John (this group to be covered in a future post). Henry3 Brewer (George2, George1) and his wife Cinthia are last found in Brunswick Co., Virginia in 1774, and it has been suggested to me that they then went to Orange County, North Carolina. Further research is needed on Henry, and whether or not he left descendants has yet to be determined.

George Brewer named four daughters in his will. Daughter Sarah Vincent received a negro girl named Lucy, a cow and her calf and two sheep. Daughter Frances Wyche received a negro girl named Nan, three cows and calves, and pewter plates. Daughter Elizabeth Brewer received "my negro wench Hannah." And daughter Abigail Brewer, "my negro wench Milly." The remainder of his estate was to be "equally divided amongst my four youngest children William, Henry, Elizabeth and Abigail," if any "of my last mentioned children should die before they arrive to the age of twenty one or are married," the remainder is to be divided among the surviving children "their age not to be regarded."

It is suggested by Broyhill (1992 "working draft," p. 107) that the daughter Sarah's husband was John Vincent as a John Vincent is named along with Sarah's father George Brewer in some Brunswick Co. Court Orders. A George Wyche is also found in some court orders, but another source suggests that the daughter Frances' husband was a Henry Wyche. Further research is required for both, and further research on both the Vincent and Wyche families as whole might shed more light on the Brewers of Brunswick County as well.

The children William, Henry, Elizabeth and Abigail, were all under age 21 on the day George Brewer wrote his will (16 August 1760). Entries found in the Brunswick County Court Order books show that John Brewer, undoubtedly their older brother, served as guardian for Henry, Elizabeth and Abigail. No appointment of a guardian is found for William and therefore he was likely at least age 18 when his father's estate was settled (the will was proved 27 October 1760). John Brewer was still guardian of Henry and Abigail in September 1767. He was also guardian of a Rebecca Brewer who was incorrectly placed as another daughter of  George2. She was not. A correct reading of the court orders shows that Rebecca was a daughter of George3 Brewer (George2, George1). Rebecca's guardian was her uncle, John Brewer, and her mother has not been identified.

In addition to the above eight children mentioned in his will, George Brewer and Abigail Wyche had a ninth child named James Brewer. On 22 July 1757, George Brewer of Brunswick County conveyed to "James Brewer, son of the said George Brewer of same county, out of the Natural Love and Affection which he beareth unto the said James Brewer his son" and for 5 shillings, 270 acres in Brunswick on the south side of the Falling Run, land formerly granted to John Linch and by him conveyed to said George Brewer on Feb. 21, 1743. This deed was witnessed by George Wyche, Thomas Stagg and George Brewer, no doubt George3 Brewer (George2, George1). This son, James Brewer, is not mentioned in his father's will, and he may well have died between the dates of the deed (22 July 1757) and the date of his father's will (16 August 1760). Broyhill (1992 "working draft," p. 104) suggests otherwise, claiming that James Brewer was married to Ann and was the testator of a will dated 27 July 1815 in Brunswick Co., naming his wife, Ann, and ten children. He was not. The James Brewer who left the 27 July 1815 will was a son of William Brewer, and a brother of Jesse, John and Henry.

On 6 December 1771, John Brewer (being John3 Brewer (George2, George1) conveyed to Henry Brewer, "for 5 shillings and natural love and affection," Henry being John's brother, "270 acres on southside of the Falling Run and bounded by the most Ancient, and respected Bounds thereof which said Tract of Land was formerly granted to John Linch by Letters Patent and by said Linch conveyed to George Brewer." This was the same land that John and Henry's father, George Brewer, had conveyed to James Brewer (their brother) in 1757. Clearly something happened to James in the years between 1757 and 1771 for this property to then fall to John Brewer. Perhaps James conveyed the land to John, and then left the Brunswick Co., Virginia area, and that deed went unrecorded (as they sometimes do), or more probably, James died (prior to his father's will) without heirs, and the land reverted back to his father and then went to his oldest surviving son, who in 1771 was John (recall that the son George died in 1762 and the sons William and Henry were under age 21 in 1760).
James3 Brewer (George2, George1) appears to have died early and left no descendants.

Of the nine confirmed children of George2 Brewer (George1), of Brunswick County, Virginia, we are left with three sons, John, William, and Henry, who are possible links for living descendants of George1 Brewer to connect to. We ask that any current participants who have taken a Y-DNA test with the Brewer DNA Project, and who believe that they are descendants of one of George Brewer's sons, to please contact us with proof for their pedigree so that we can begin to confirm the genetic identity of George1 Brewer.

Thanks to Diane Daniel who supplied photocopies of the will of George Brewer, as well as copies of the inventory of his estate and of the inventory of the estate of his son George3 Brewer (George2, George1). Also thanks to Diane for helping to clarify and correct the identification of some of the descendants of George2 Brewer (George1). It is quite apparent that her work on the Brunswick County, Virginia branch of this family far exceeds, and is much more accurate and thorough than any published work on this family.

Additional details and source citations will be available online once the Brewer-Lanier Database in launched.

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