Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

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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  1. FYI Peter Brewer of NJ married Margaret McClow (McLow) not Margaret Mellow. Margaret is the sister to my 5th gr grandmother Abigail McClow Cock, Peter Brewer served with my 5th gr grandfather Jacob Cock in NJ militia Rev. War

    Somerset County, New Jersey
    Marriages 1665-1799

    Source: NJ State Archives
    Copies of a marriage record can be obtained from The NJ State Archives

    Brewer, Peter


    McLow, Margaret


    23 Mar 1780

    B (Part 2 : 1766-1795) : 712

    1. Thanks for the correction. The published NJ State Archives, Vol. 22 (Marriage Records), p. 277, does transcribe her name as MELOW, Margaret. I believe that many out there do think that this is her name. But I certainly can see how a letter c can be confused for an e. Can you tell us the names of her parents?


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