Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Friday, September 25, 2015

Calendar of Historical Manuscripts, Part II, English Manuscripts, 1664-1776

Calendar of Historical Manuscripts, in the Office of the Secretary of State, Albany, N. Y., Part II, English Manuscripts, 1664-1776, edited by E. B. (Edmund Bailey) O'Callaghan, was published in 1866. As the title implies it covers the colonial period of New York during the period under English rule. This volume is approximately twice the length as Part I, which covered the much shorter Dutch period. Digital versions are available online.

Please refer to the post of September 20, 2015, for references to background on E. B. O'Callaghan and his efforts to catalog and archive the early records of New York. I would also suggest reading the preface to this volume which begins on page vii. 
The surnames Brewer, Brouwer and Brower can be found in the index. Found here are: Peter Brower (p. 80), Peter Brewer (161, 542), Richard Brewer (268, 328, 346, 347, 353, 357, 359, 400), Nicholas Brouwer (364, 748), Jacob Brewer (542), Jurian Brewer (542), Corn's. Brower (693), David Brewer (823), Abraham Brower (833).

At page 80 we find, "Evidence on which Peter Brower was bound over to answer at the Gravesend sessions for an assault on Gerrit Croesen." The date is 1 September 1679, and no doubt this is connected to the confrontations between Adam Brouwer and Gerrit Croosen found in Books of General Entries of the Colony of New York, 1664-1673. The complete account would be found in O'Callaghan's Volume 28, Governor Andros. 

At page 161, under the date of 17 September 1687 is, "Indictment against Arian Ryerse of Flatbush, Kings county, and Aras Janse, Rine Aranse, Joseph Hegeman and Cornelius Barnse, for breaking into the house of Peter Brewer." This is found in Volume 35, Governors Dongan and Andros. This record pertains to Pieter Jansz Brouwer, the son of Jan Brouwer of Flatlands, L. I.

A Richard Brewer is found with eight entries. At page 268 (referring to Volume 42, Earl of Bellomont, p. 174) date of 19 Apr 1699 is "Petition. Charles Ashfield, Richard Brewer and Henry Holland, lieutenants, relative to their pay."
At page 328 (Vol. 49, Governor Cornbury, p. 132), 8 July 1704, "Petition. Richard Brewer, lieut. of one of the companies posted at Albany, for the payment of the rent of a house hired by him."
At page 346 (Vol. 51, Governor Cornbury, p. 87), 19 March 1706, "Order. Johannes Schuyler, mayor of Albany, to provide quarters for lieut. Richard Brewer, of H. M. independent company."
At page 347 (ibid, p. 100), 9 April 1706, "Letter. John Schuyler to lieut. Richard Brewer, relative to a house he had hired for him."
At page 353 (Vol. 52, Governor Cornbury, p. 42), 1 May 1707. "Account. Lieuts. Henry Holland and Richard Brewer, for house rent."
At page 357 (ibid, p. 136), 1 May 1708, "Petition. Lieut. Richard Brewer, of the garrison at Albany, in relation to his house rent."
At page 359 (Vol. 53, Governors Cornbury, Lovelace, etc., p. 181), 11 October 1708, "Petition. Lieut. Richard Brewer, one of the executors of the will of Thomas Sharpe, late gunner to the fort at Albany, for the pay due said Sharpe."
And at page 400 (Vol. 57, Governor Hunter, p. 15), 5 December 1711, "Letter. Richard Brewer to secretary Clarke, requesting a captain's commission in the next expedition to Canada."
It is clear from that the eight references above all belong to one man named Richard Brewer. It is apparent that he was a professional soldier, and served as a Lieutenant in the colony for at least 12 years from 1699 through 1711. Whether or not he was married, whether or not he had descendants, or what became of him is cannot be learned from these accounts alone. The records here tell us nothing of his ancestry and link him to no family relations. There is nothing in these accounts that would lead us to suspect that he is in any way related to any of the early Brouwer families of New Netherland.

At page 364, in Volume 53, President Schuyler and Lieutenant-Governor Ingoldesby, p. 87, dated 28 May 1709, "Petirion. Nicholas Brouwer of Kings County, for permission to use the waters of Gouwanes for a mill he is about to erect there." This would be Nicholas Brouwer, son of Adam Brouwer, who with his brother Abraham, had ownership and operation of the property and mills at Gowanus after their father's death.

At page 542, in Volume 73, Lieutenant-Governor Clarke, date of 12 Jan 1741 is, "Receipt. Henry Dow, for the original bond in the case of Jacob and Peter Brewer, to Jurian Brewer." It is not possible to give an exact identification of the three mentioned based on this abstract alone. The full record would have to be consulted, however, this volume was lost in the 1911 New York State Capitol fire (see below). No doubt the three, Jacob, Peter and Jurian, are descendants of Adam Brouwer, of Gowanus, L. I.

At page 693, from Volume 86, Lieutenant-Governor De Lancey, p. 84, under the date of 6 October 1758, "Petition. Cornelius Brower, of New York, for the appointment of a judge to try a suit for land brought by him against the rector, etc., of Trinty church, New York." This could be the first suit brought by descendants and supposed descendants of Anneke Jans Bogardus, in their attempts to claim the property she once owned in lower Manhattan. This Cornelius Brouwer was baptized on 14 October 1713, and was a son of Sybrandt Brouwer and Sara Webber, and a grandson of Jacob Brouwer and Annatje Bogardus. He was a great-grandson of Adam Brouwer, and was a great-great-grandson of Anneke Jans.

At page 748, from Volume 92, Lieutenant-Governor Colden, p. 130, dated 8 November 1764. Nicholas Brower, along with more than twenty others, gave a deposition "in relation to the charge of maladministration against Mathew Dubois." A bit more research would be needed to be certain, but I would suspect that this deposition was made by Nicholas Brouwer (1714-1777), who primarily lived at Wappingers Falls in Dutchess County. He was a son of Adolphus Brouwer and Jannetje Verdon, and a great-grandson of Adam Brouwer, of Gowanus, L. I.

At page 823, from Volume 100, Governor Tryon, p. 64, dated 28 January 1774, with the note "Westchester Co.," "Letter. William Sutton, coroner, to gov. Tryon, informing him of the death of David Brewer, who fell from his horse; that the deodand (the horse) may be given to the widow." Without knowledge of the widow's name, it is difficult to determine just who this David Brewer is, and to whom this entry belongs as long been a mystery. Candidates could be 1) David Brouwer, bapt. 16 January 1707 at Hackensack (son of Abraham Brouwer and Lea Demarest), but this is not certain as this David may have been alive and living at Gravesend, L. I. as late as 1783; 2) David Brouwer, bapt. 14 May 1738 at Readington (son of Elias Brouwer and Helena Willemse) for whom we have no other identifiable records; or 3) some yet undiscovered or identified man named David Brewer.

At page 833, from Volume 101, Governor Tryon, pp. 100-101, dated 29 August 1775, "Will. Abraham Brower, of the city of New York, blacksmith." I have checked my database and searched a bit online, and have not been able to locate a complete copy of this will. It is not on file with the New York Surrogate's Office as one would expect it to be. Why it is found in the papers of Gov. William Tryon (Governor of New York from 1771 to 1780) is not apparent. Identifying who this "Abraham Brower, of the city of New York, blacksmith" is, is difficult without first examining a copy of the will. That, however, may not be possible. O'Callaghan's Calendar tells us that it is found in his Volume 101 of New York Historical Manuscripts. On March 29, 1911, the New York State Capitol Building was destroyed by fire, and many original documents and records were lost with it. An accounting of the damage can be found in the 94th Annual Report on the New York State Library, published in 1913. Digital versions are available online at Internet Archives. We can find what damage was done to O'Callaghan's New York Historical Manuscripts on page 19. We are told here that volume 101 was among the 22 volumes that are "fragmentary or in very poor condition." I'm afraid that finding and examining this will may not be possible. As for a guess as to which Abraham Brower this will may belong - one possibility is that it may be that of Abraham Brouwer, bapt. 21 October 1733 at Schraalenburgh, son of David Brouwer (mentioned in the above paragraph) and Jannetje Hartje. This Abraham Brouwer married Antje Nix by 1759 and had eight children baptized in Bergen County, New Jersey, the last seven at the Paramus Reformed Church, between 1759 and 1776. The baptism record of the last child, Jacobus, 16 June 1776, tells us that Antje was a widow*. The date given by O'Callaghan for the document is 29 August 1775, but we do not know if this is the date of the will, the date it was proved or probated, or the date it was recorded. The sticking point with this suggestion is that the testator was "of the city of New York," while Abraham and Antje clearly lived at or near Paramus, New Jersey, about ten miles from most points on Manhattan Island. Other men named Abraham Brouwer should still be considered.

Regarding the 94th Annual Report on the New York State Library - I would also recommend this post at "Steven WarRan Research" from February 11, 2012. For more on the fire see this page at the New York State Library website.

*Randolph, Howard S.F. and Russell Bruce Rankin. Paramus, Bergen County, New Jersey, Reformed Dutch Church Baptisms, 1740-1850. Rhinebeck, NY: Kinship, 1935, reprint 1992, p.65. Brower, Widow Antje; Jacobus; Wit.: Abram J. and Santje Vanderbeeck.

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