Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Younger Sons of Oliver Brewer of Chatham County, North Carolina

The post of January 15, 2015, covered the three (believed to be) older sons of Oliver2 Brewer (George1), of Chatham County, North Carolina. This post will cover Oliver Brewer's three (believed to be) younger sons, Henry, Christopher, and George.

Henry3 Brewer (Oliver2, George1) is named in his father's will dated 14 October 1791. He is one of the sons, along with William and Christopher, who are to divide the land "of the North side of Wards branch," between themselves. On 9 July 1823, "Henry Brewer, son of Oliver Brewer dec'd, of Randolph Co., North Carolina, to Thomas Farrar of Chatham for $300. All my distribution share of Father Oliver Brewer dec'd that is in my mothers hands at this time and at the death of my mother, consisting of negros and also all my distributive share of my mother Rebecca Brewer at her death, consisting of negros, cattle, horses and hogs, household and kitchen furniture, money, monies or whatever it may consist in."* The mention in his father's will and the deed of 1823, clearly establish that Henry was a son of Oliver Brewer, and that Henry's mother was Rebecca. It also establishes that Henry was living in Randolph Co., North Carolina in 1823.

Marvin T. Broyhill in his 1992 "working draft," covers Henry Brewer at page 97, and assigns him the number G23. Foy E. Varner, Jr., in his 2003, Brewer Families of Southeast America, begins his discussion of Henry Brewer at page 276. As Broyhill points out, in addition to Oliver's son Henry, George1 Brewer, named a son Henry, who in turn named one of his son's, Henry. Broyhill also suggests that John2 Brewer (George1) also had a son Henry, and although this claim is not so certain, we do have evidence that there were more than a few men named Henry Brewer living in North Carolina, and in Tennessee and Kentucky during the time that Henry3 Brewer (Oliver2, George1) was alive. Some, but certainly not all, are descendants of George1 Brewer, of Brunswick Co., Virginia. Sorting out the numerous records in which there appears a Henry Brewer, will not be easy, and has to be done carefully.

The Henry Brewer that we are interested in has been established as residing in Randolph Co., North Carolina in 1823. Randolph County was created in 1779 out of Guilford County, and is directly west of Chatham County which was created in 1771. A move from Chatham to Randolph County was not that great of a move in terms of distance, yet there were not many BREWERs found there on the census records from 1790 to 1850. In 1790 there are two, Howell Brewer and John Brewer. In 1800 there are two, Henry Brewer and Edward Brewer, in addition to six BROWER households including Jacob Brower (see the post of June 4, 2012). In 1810 there is Henry Brewer and William Brewer. The 1820 U.S. census records for Randolph County do not survive (they were destroyed or lost). In 1830 we have two Edwards (Sr. & Jr.) and a Betsey Brewer, age 30-39, with two males age 5-9. In 1840 there is one Edward Brewer, and Elizabeth Brewer, still age 30-39, with two males 15-19, and one female age 5-9. In 1850 there are households headed by O. C. Brewer and Edward C. Brewer (grandsons of Edward Brewer from the post of January 15th), Alfred Brewer (age 29), as well as a number of households named BROWER.**

Starting with the 1800 U.S. census there are two records of interest. A Henry Brewer is enumerated in the Hillsborough District, Chatham Co., North Carolina, with a household of one male 16-25, and two slaves. Gideon Kirksey and William Kirksey are enumerated on the same sheet. In the same year, in Hillsboro District, Randolph Co., North Carolina, is a Henry Brewer with a household of  2  free white males under 10, 1 free white male 16-25, 1 free white female under 10, 1 free white female 16-25.*** In 1810 a Henry Brewer is enumerated in Randolph County with a household of 1 free white male under 10, 2 f.w. males 10-15, 1 f.w. male 26-44, 3 f.w. females under 10, 1 f.w. female 10-15, 1 f.w. female 16-25, 1 f.w. female over 45. The 1820 U.S. census for Randolph County does not survive, and so cannot be consulted, and in 1830, no man named Henry Brewer is found in Randolph County.

Henry Brewer, 1800 U.S. census, Hillsboro, Randolph Co., NC (NARA via

On 17 November 1796, Henry Brewer of Chatham Co., sold to Wm. Kirksey of the same, 50 acres on the north side of the Haw River. Back in 1780, Gideon Kirksey had purchased land from North Carolina that was described as adjoining land of Oliver Brewer, on Wilkinsons Creek, and in a second transaction on the same day (April 1) purchased land adjoining Henry Brewer on the north side of the Haw River. The Henry Brewer of this 1796 deed is more likely Henry3 Brewer (Henry2, George1).

On 12 December 1795, Nathaniel David of Pendleton, South Carolina, sold to Henry Brewer of Randolph County, North Carolina, 50 acres in Randolph County, on the Uwarie (sic) River.**** This was the first of a series of five deeds in which Henry Brewer of Randolph Co. was acquiring land on the Uwharrie River. The grantors in these deeds were James Patterson (13 Dec 1796, 200 acres), John Sheets (4 Mar 1806, 179 1/2 acres) and Edward Carrell (two deeds of 3 Oct 1811, 93 acres and 96 acres). In addition, there is a North Carolina land grant of 200 acres in Randolph Co., on the waters of Big Creek. According to Broyhill's abstract in his Part II supplement (page 131), this grant was entered 3 Nov 1796, although the abstract is not clear and the original record should be consulted. Henry Brewer appears on the tax roll in Randolph Co. in 1813, in "Rushes District," with 388 (sic) acres and one poll. He appears on the tax list in 1818 in "Capt. Michael Rushes district" with 368 acres on Uhary, and one poll. On 18 January 1820, Henry Brewer of Randolph Co., sold three tracts of land on the Uwharrie River to Ezra Beckerdite. The first tract was 179 1/2 acres acquired from John Sheets. The second tract was 96 acres from Edward Carroll adjoining John Sheets. The third tract was 93 acres on the south side of the Uharie (sic), near a large branch, bounded by John and Frederick Sheet's corner, and John Sheet's line. Total of 368.5 acres. Assuming all of the deeds belong to only one man named Henry Brewer, it appears that he still owned the 200 acres he was granted (likely the 200 bought of Patterson), and the original 50 bought of Nathaniel David (his first two purchases). Then in 1823, we have the above mentioned deed, whereby Henry Brewer, of Randolph Co., son of Oliver Brewer, dec'd, sold to Thomas Farrer, of Chatham Co., for $300, all his share of his father's estate now in the hands of his mother, Rebecca Brewer.

Although the period that the above records covers, spans about 28 years, there is no evidence that would lead one to believe that there were two different men named Henry Brewer. Only one man of the name appears on the two surviving census records of 1800 and 1810, and only one man of the name appears on the tax rolls of 1813 and 1818. We have to conclude that the Henry Brewer of Randolph County was the son of Oliver2 Brewer (George1). From the 1810 census it appears that he did have children, one son and two daughters, born between 1795 and 1810. They have not been identified. Henry is not found on the 1830 census in Randolph County. He may have left the area, although there is a Betsey Brewer, age 30-39 (b.1790-1800). In 1840, and Elizabeth Brewer (also age 30-39) is found in Randolph County. Although too young to be the mother of Henry's presumed children of 1810, she may have been a second wife who was widowed by 1830. Needless to say, more accurate records, possibly later deeds, need to be located. No record of probate or estate settlement has yet been found for Henry Brewer in Randolph County.

From the above, it appears that Henry could have been born around 1775 (first deed in 1796). He may have been close in age to his brother William who was covered in the post of January 15, 2015. If this estimate of his birth is correct, then we must assume that his mother, Rebecca, was older than the age 26-44 she is said to be in 1810. Rebecca may have been born in the decade of the 1750s, and it is still likely that she was a second, younger wife of Oliver Brewer.

 Christopher3 Brewer (Oliver2, George1) is named in his father's will of 14 October 1791. With his brothers William and Henry he was to divide all "the land of the North side of Wards Branch." During the May 1796 term of the Chatham Court, Christopher Brewer, chose as his guardian, John Croe (Crow) who posted a bond with John Ferrington. Unless things were different in North Carolina, my understanding and experience with guardianship rules from other locations, was that upon reaching the age of 14, a minor could chose his or her own guardian. Prior to 14, a guardian was assigned by the court. Christopher Brewer would have turned 14 by May 1796, so he was born sometime between June 1781 and May 1782. Christopher Brewer is not found as a head of household on the 1800 U.S. census. On 14 March 1807, Christopher Brewer of Chatham Co., sold to Wm. Kirksey for £50, a tract in Chatham Co. "belonging to the orphans of Oliver Brewer that is part of the tract of land where sd Brewer lived last, beginning on east side of Wilkersons Cr on waters of Haw River." This was Christopher's share of the land he inherited from his father. In 1810, Christopher Brewer is found on the U.S. census in Chatham Co., North Carolina with a household of 4 free white males under 10, 1 male free white 26-44, 1 free white female 16-25. He is enumerated next to Rebecca Brewer, who is most likely his widowed mother. Although Rebecca can be found on the 1820 census in Chatham County, Christopher has not been found as a head of household. But at the November 1822 term of the Court of Common Pleas and Quarter Sessions, $90 worth of goods and chattels of Christopher Brewer were sold by the Sheriff to cover a debt owed by Christopher to Vincent May. Christopher Brewer is found on the 1830 U.S. census in Pittsboro, Chatham Co., North Carolina with a household of 1 male 5-9, 1 male 15-19, 2 males 20-29, 1 male 40-49, 1 female under 5, 2 females 10-14, 1 female 40-49. A Henry Brewer (likely Henry3 Brewer (Henry2, George1) is enumerated on the same census sheet. Christopher Brewer is on the 1840 U.S. census in Chatham Co., with a household of 1 free white male 15-19, 1 f.w. male 30-39, 1 f.w. male 60-69, 1 f.w. female 10-14, 1 f.w. female 50-59, 1 f.w. female 80-89, 1 person employed in agriculture, 3 persons over age 20 who cannot read and write. His age in this census is overstated. He is one household away from Jemima Brewer, with Nancy Williams between them.

Christopher Brewer has not been found post 1840. The date and place of his death has not been discovered. He was clearly married and had children, including sons, but their identities and that of any descendants have not yet been found. As of this writing no probate record or estate file has been found in Chatham County for Christopher Brewer. Broyhill in his 1992 "working draft," Brewer Families of Colonial Virginia, 1626-1776, covered Christopher Brewer at page 98 and assigned him No. G24. There is little here. Varner, in Brewer Families of Southeast America (2003) covers Christopher Brewer on page 284. The account here is short, and there is no mention of the census records stated above.

George3 Brewer (Oliver2, George1). Marvin T. Broyhill (1992) covers George Brewer at page 95 and assigns him No. G21. He guesses his age at "1760??" and places him as Oliver Brewer's oldest son. This is very much incorrect. George Brewer was obviously Oliver Brewer's youngest son and was not born until about 1783 or 1784. Foy E. Varner, Jr. (2003) covers George Brewer beginning at page 257, and picks up right away on Broyhill's error.

Of Oliver Brewer's children, his son George is mentioned first among children in his 1791 will. Oliver devised his plantation and land to his wife, Rebecca, and it was then left to George upon Rebecca's death. When it came time to list his children for the purpose of equally dividing the residue of his estate, George was listed last among the sons. In May 1797, the court at Chatham County, appointed John Crow as George Brewer's guardian. George Brewer was under age 14 in May 1797. In February 1798 and again in February 1800, John Crow was required to return his account regarding his guardianship of George Brewer, which tells us that George was still likely under age 18 in 1800.

George Brewer is not found as a head of household on any U.S. census record. He died in 1806, in his early twenties leaving a widow, Jemima, and two children, John and Rebecca. Administration on George Brewer's estate was granted to his widow, Jemima, and John Sparrow, in November 1806. James Smith and Joseph Brantly were sureties for the bond. On 13 November 1806, Thomas Farrer posted his bond as guardian of John Brewer. Also, James Smith, William Edwards and John Ferrington were ordered to lay off and allot one years provisions to the widow, Jemima Brewer. On 10 December 1806 Jemima Brewer and John Sparrow submitted an account of the sale of the goods and chattels of George Brewer, deceased.

Broyhill suggests that Jemima's family name may have been Sparrow, and he may well be correct but further evidence needs to be located. In addition to the fact that John Sparrow was a co-administrator of George Brewer's estate, on 20 January 1822, in the accounting of John Sparrow's own estate, $10.67 was paid out to Jemima Brewer. Jemimia outlived her husband by at least 54 years and there is no evidence that she remarried. On the 1860 U.S. census she is found in the Eastern Division of Chatham County, as Jemimie Brewer, age 73, in the household of Hamilton Williams. Her real estate is valued at $1000 and her personal estate at $5000. Hamilton Williams was the husband of George and Jemima's daughter, Rebecca Brewer. He was born about 1808 and inventory on his estate was filed in 1863. Hamilton and Rebecca had at least seven children, the youngest known born about 1832, as found on the 1850 and 1860 census records. Rebecca is age 45 on the 1850 U.S. census, so born about 1805. She is not found in the household on the 1860 census and so is presumed to have died prior to it's taking (7 July 1860). Proof of Rebecca as a child of George and Jemima is found in a deed dated 13 December 1829, in which, "Hamelton Williams & Rebecah his wife of Chatham Co. (convey) to John Brewer of same for $100, 1/3 of an undivided tract of land willed to George Brewer dec'd by his father Oliver Brewer in Chatham Co. on the West side of ___ Branch, 58 acres." Jemima was also found on the 1850 U.S. census, in the household of Hamilton and Rebecca Brewer, as "Mimay Brewer," age given as 60. In 1830 she was found as the head of a household of 1 female under 5, 1 female 10-14, 1 female 30-39, 1 female 40-49, 1 female slave under 10.

George and Jemima Brewer's son, John Brewer, was probably born about 1804. As mentioned above, Thomas Farrer was appointed his guardian in November 1806. In 1829, he bought his sister's 1/3 of their inherited estate. He is probably the male under age five, found on the 1810 U.S. census in the household of his grandmother, Rebecca Brewer. It is probable, but not yet proved, that he is the John Brewer found on the 1850 U.S. census in Lower Regiment, Chatham County, age 46, a farmer with real estate valued at $2100. His (presumed) wife's name on this census is Aisley, and she is age 50. They (presumably) have four daughters, Mary (age 26), Rebecca (24), Sarah (18) and Permelia (16). He is enumerated next to the household of Abel Brewer who is age 68. The 1860 U.S. census gives us the household of John S. Brewer, in the Eastern Division, Chatham Co., with an age too difficult to decipher although the second digit is a 4. His wife is called "Aley" and she is age 60. They are followed by Mary (age 27), Rebecca (26), Sarah (23) and Permelia (21). Same names as the 1850 census, but clearly a large error in their recorded ages. The middle initial "S" in John S. Brewer, could certainly stand for Sparrow. In 1870, John Brewer, age 67 (b. ca. 1803) is found at "Pittsboro Road North Side," Chatham County. In the household are "Ailsey" Brewer, age 70, Mary Brewer, age given as 38, Permelia Brewer, now age 27, Sarah Brewer, with age as 26, plus Fanne Brewer (23) and Charles Brewer (18). As of this writing the family has not been located in 1880, and additional research is needed to confirm the connecting of George and Jemima's son, John, to the John Brewer of the 1850, 1860 and 1870 census records.

Additional data and source citations will be found online in the Brewer-Lanier Database when it is launched. Those interested in a timeline of Randolph County might wish to look at "Notes on the History of Randolph County."

*Broyhill, Marvin T. The Brewer Families of Colonial Virginia, 1626-1776: Supporting Documentation Part II. (Estill Springs, TN: Brewer Researcher, 1996), page 103. Chatham Co., NC Deed Abstracts 1772-1840. Z-110.

**The Brower families of Randolph County, North Carolina were descendants of Hubert Brower, who arrived at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1726 from "Nenwild in the Palentine. Two of his grandsons, Christian Brower and Adam Brower, sons of Hubert's son John Brower, migrated to Randolph Co., from Chester Co., Pennsylvania in roughly 1783 and 1788 respectively. The BROWERs were more numerous in Randolph Co., than were the BREWERs.

***The Hillsborough/Hillsboro District was a census district that in 1800 covered Chatham, Randolph and Orange Counties. The present day town of Hillsborough is in Orange County, and neither Chatham nor Randolph have a town by that name. In 1800 you will find Brewers enumerated in all three locations: Hillsborough District, Orange Co., Hillsborough District, Chatham Co., and Hillsboro District, Randolph Co.

****The Uwharrie River runs north to south along the western edge of Randolph County, adjacent to present dayDavidson County which had been created out of Rowan County in 1822. It flows into the Pee Dee River. (See this map).

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