Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Will of John I. Brower of New York City, 1876

The will of John I. Brower of New York City, dated 19 February 1876, is found in New York, Wills, Vol. 261, pages 181 to 184. Digital images are online at the Family Search website under the collection, "New York, Probate Records, 1629-1971."

John I. Brower, New York, Wills, Vol. 261, p. 181

John I. Brower, New York, Wills, Vol. 261, pp. 182-183

John I. Brower, New York, Wills, Vol. 261, p. 184

John I. Brower was a son of John Brouwer (1773-1804) and Magdalena Duryea (1775- ). He was a grandson of John Brouwer (ca.1750-1823) and Catharine Duryea ( -1812). He is a great-great-great-great grandson of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, L. I. John I. Brower lived in New York City where he was a hardware merchant.

Abstract of the will: John I. Brower of the City of New York, Hardware Merchant. Directs that funeral expenses and debts be paid. "I give devise and bequeath unto my Executors hereafter named all my estate and property real and personal of which I may die seized in Trust, to be by them converted into money and divided and distributed as follows: One third to my wife if she should survive me and the remaining two thirds to my five children share and share alike, and if my wife should not survive me then the whole shall be divided and distributed to my said children share and share alike." The executors are also empowered to sell any real estate and distribute the money as above. Appoints as executors his three sons John, Henry W. and William L. Witnesses: Geo. S. Still, John H. Still, Wm. H. Brown.

While the will only provides the names of his three sons, the court appearance on 23 October 1878 provides the names of the other heirs. From that court hearing, "... the application the Surrogate did ascertain by satisfactory evidence that John Brower, Henry W. Brower, William L. Brower, Catharine Brower McCreery, Charles H. McCreery, John Brower McCreery, Charles Reuben McCreery and William Barker McCreery were the only heirs and next of kin of said deceased..."

Although her name is not recorded, John I. Brower's wife is mentioned in his will. However, she is not listed among the heirs on 23 October 1878. She has not been located on a search of the 1880 U. S. census. It appears likely that she died prior to John I. Brower, but after the date he wrote is will, 19 February 1876. John I. Brower's wife was Sophia Wyckoff Olcott, a daughter of Nathaniel Olcott and Anna Wyckoff. John and Sophia were married at the Reformed Dutch Church, New York City, on 20 May 1835. They had five children, four of whom (sons John, Henry W., and William L., and daughter Catharine Brower) are named at the probate hearing. The fifth child, daughter Cornelia Leverich Brower, apparently died prior to that hearing. She was married to Charles H. McCreery and had three sons, John Brower McCreery, Charles Reuben McCreery, and William Barker McCreery.

Charles H. McCreery was a minister. He can be found on the 1880 U. S. census at Chetopa, Labette Co., Kansas, age 42, born in Michigan. His three sons, John B (age 7)., Charles R. (age 5) and William B. (age 5) are recorded with him. The three were born in Kansas. Also in the household is Charles' wife, recorded as "Magart" (presumably Margaret), age 26, born in Canada. This second wife confirms Cornelia's death. Charles H. McCreery died on 8 Feb 1929, age 90, in Tacoma, Washington.

Charles and Cornelia's son John Brower McCreery was also a clergyman. According to his World War I Draft Registration Card (image at, he was born 3 January 1873, and was living in Erie County, New York. He is found in the 1897 Yearbook of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and in the 1903 Yearbook of Princeton University. Their son Charles Reuben McCreery was a doctor and was born 14 November 1874. He died in 1944, and is buried in Tacoma, Washington. William Barker McCreery, Charles' twin, born 14 November 1874 (WWI Draft Registration Card), was also a physician, and in 1917 was living in Tacoma, Washington. He died in 1947.

Other sources:
Goodwin, Nathaniel. The Descendants of Thomas Olcott: One of the First Settlers of Hartford, Connecticut. Albany, N.Y.: J. Munsell, 1874, page 100.

Wyckoff House & Association. The Wyckoff Family in America Fourth Edition. CD-ROM. Brooklyn, N.Y.: Wyckoff House & Association

1880 U. S. Federal Census. Chas H. McCrery household. Census Place: Chetopa, Labette, Kansas; Roll: 384; Family History Film: 1254384; Page: 259A; Enumeration District: 105; Image: 0727 (,"Washington Deaths, 1883-1960." Online Chas. H. McCreery, d. 8 Feb 1929, age 90; father: Reuben McCreery; mother: Susan Barker. Washington State Death Records U.S. School Yearbooks, 1880-2012 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. John Brower McCreery.

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