Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Finding Rebekah Maglaney Brower (1822-1852)

Susan Stessin-Cohn, New Paltz, New York Town Historian (see this article from a few years back), has contacted me with some previously unknown information and a link to a very interesting webpage. "Finding Rebekah" tells the story of Rebekah Maglaney Brower. This webpage is hosted by the Ulster County Government website and is nested under the "Poorhouse Project," which is headed by Susan. In her words, "Rebekah Brower is an incredibly important person to our County. Out of the more than 2000 burials at the Ulster County Poorhouse, Rebekah's is the only person that has a tombstone." The webpage describes the finding of the Poorhouse's lost cemetery and of Rebekah's tombstone with a transcription of the engraving which included a poem.

Susan and others are currently working at raising funds for the erection of a memorial to those who lived in the Poorhouse. Should that happen she would very much like to have a descendant of Rebekah Brower's family attend the unveiling. The effort was just highlighted on the local Time Warner Cable News site.

Rebekah is a great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, L. I. Her parents were Cornelius C. Brower (b. 1792, d. by 1870) and Phebe Simpson (1797-1872). I first became aware of the family of Cornelius C. Brower and his wife Phebe Simpson, through copies of the work of Chester A. Brower (1922-2005) that I received from William B. Bogardus in 2008. The post of July 10, 2012, describes this and provides links to PDFs of the files I received from Bill. There are eighteen PDFs and the first (Part I) opens with digital images of a Bible record of Cornelius and Phebe Brower's family. Rebekah Maglangney Brower, born 26 of January 1822 is found in the right hand column. The image is difficult to read. It is a scanned copy of a photocopy of (I assume) the original Bible record page. Rebekah's middle name is difficult to discern. "Maglangney" is my best guess. Perhaps it was a family name from Rebecca's maternal side ancestry, of which little is known. Also, nothing is yet known of the ancestry of her paternal grandmother, whose name appears variously in records as Cathalyntje McManny, McManus, and Jemima and Ghemini McMannis, and Jacomyntje Meck. Perhaps the name relates to Rebekah's paternal grandmother's ancestry. Or, her middle name might be a phonetic rendering or variation of Magdalena, a name common among the descendants of Adam Brouwer. Although the pages recording deaths include large sections that are unreadable, Chester A. Brower, in his own notes on the Bible record, writes Rebekah's date of death as 3 May 1852, age 30 years 3 months 5 days (see page 9 of the same PDF). [Note that the webpage presently has her year of death incorrectly transcribed as 1862]. Rebekah's grave marker confirms the date while her middle name is engraved as "Maclanc" (or Maclang) perhaps lending a bit more evidence to the idea that her middle name was the family name of an ancestor.

According to admission records researched by Susan, Rebekah was admitted to the Poorhouse in 1849. And she can be found enumerated there on the 1850 U. S. census at New Paltz, but under the name of Rebecca M. Brown. Those who have spent some time researching Browers in the census records are familiar with the fact that the name Brower, is sometimes mistakenly written in the original census as Brown. And in some cases, while Brower was written as such in the original, a later day indexer or transcriber saw, and then wrote the name as Brown. Whenever I have trouble finding a Brower when conducting an index search of a census record, I try again using the name Brown. More often than not I will then find who I am looking for. A search of the 1850 U.S. census (conducted on using "Rebecca M. Brown" finds our Rebeckah, in the Poorhouse at New Paltz. Her age is given as 25. She is found on the second page of those enumerated in the Poorhouse.

1850 U.S. census, New Paltz, NY (NARA, via
Rebekah is on line 26. The previous census page gives us the name of the "Keeper of the Poorhouse" in 1850, Hiram Dakin, age 48, followed by the members of his family, and then those living at the Poorhouse, all described under occupation as "paupers."

1850 U.S. census, New Paltz, NY (NARA, via
A search of the 1860 census found the poorhouse under the keeper, Moses Constable, age 58. As was expected, Rebekah is not found among those living there, thus confirming her earlier date of death.

Rebekah M. Brower's grave marker can be seen on the site of the former Ulster County Poorhouse cemetery grounds. The site is adjacent to the Ulster County Pool and Fairgrounds. Thanks to Susan Stessin-Cohn for all her work in this cause and for bringing it to my attention. Hopefully the effort to raise funds for the memorial will be successful.

Some links: A post by Susan from 2012 at "The Diaries of Julia Lawrence Hasbrouck". The Poorhouse Project's main page with links. Ulster County Poorhouse page at The Poorhouse Story main page.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

David R. Brewer (1847-1935)

David R. Brewer, born 13 February 1847 in Greene County, Ohio, was a son of John G. Brewer (1795-1886) who was featured in the post of July 10, 2014. Travis Waddle sent me a link to George F. Robinson's, History of Greene County, Ohio... (Chicago: S. J. Clark Pub., 1902), which is online at the Internet Archive website. A profile of David R. Brewer is found on pages 860 to 862.

Books on the histories of individual counties had their hay-day in the late 1800s and early 1900s. They often included large sections devoted to profiles of various "leading" citizens. Anyone who has spent some time researching their family histories, particularly in the mid-western states, has no doubt come across volumes similar to Robinson's History of Green County. They were often written at a time contemporaneous to the subjects found in the profiles, and the information given on the subjects immediate family is usually a very reliable. Often though, the profiles offer a "family history" of the subject stretching back some generations that is entirely inaccurate. From that standpoint, these "Histories" need to be used with critical eye, and cannot be taken as a source or proof of an ancestry. All ancestral claims beyond the parents of the subject, made in these various "Histories," need to be confirmed with actual records. In themselves, they are not acceptable as proof.

In the case of David R. Brewer, the History of Greene County only names his parents John G. Brewer and Sarah Miller. Since the information for this profile likely came from David R. Brewer himself, it most certainly a credible account of his parents. The profile also provides some basic information on David R. Brewer's siblings, which again because of the source, is certainly accurate.

On the subject of David R. Brewer's father's ancestry, the profile is vague. It only mentions that David's grandfather was a native of New Jersey who died at the age of ninety-eight. Although it's a bit of a let down that more information or clues to David's ancestry was not given, it is at least refreshing to see that in this case the author did not reach for or concoct some ancestry for David that would be misleading or completely incorrect. The location, New Jersey, of David's family origins is consistent with David's death record found in Ohio.

A descendant of David R. Brewer's brother, Charles Brewer (1836-1897) has participated in the Brewer DNA Project, and we know from his Y-DNA test results that he, and therefore his direct male ancestors, and all of their direct descendants, are descendants of Adam Brouwer of Gowanus, L. I. That same descendant has taken Family Tree DNA's Big-Y test and is one of those whose results have enabled us to more precisely define Adam Brouwer's haplogroup and place him (and his descendants) on the larger YTree. However, we still have not made any new headway on identifying the father of John G. Brewer. While the theory, or lead if you will, presented in the July 10, 2014 post is still valid, it has not been proved. We are open to hearing from anyone who may have evidence of the identity of the parents, and the ancestry, of John G. Brewer.

Thank you to Travis Waddle for the link.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Thomas Brewer, Chatham Co., North Carolina, Estate File, 1802

As a follow up to the posts of the past three days (July 12, 13 and 14), it could be helpful to bring up to the estate file of Thomas Brewer of Chatham County, North Carolina. The file is online at and is found in their searchable "North Carolina Estate Files" database. Here is a direct link.

The file contains 14 images, the first being the folder containing the pages. Image 2 tells us that administration on the estate of Thomas Brewer was granted to Henshaw Brewer. The date is 11 February 1802. Henshaw Brewer, Thomas Harrington and William Tulls put up the bond.

Image 4 is dated 11 November 1802. It grants administration on the estate of Thomas Brewer to William Brewer and James Powell. Putting up bond are William Brewer, James Powell, P. E. West, and Oliver Owen.

Images 6 through 8 is an account of the settlement of the estate with Hinsha (sic) Brewer, dated 27 July 1803.

Image 9, which appears to be dated 13 August 1806 is an accounting of payments made by the administrator of Thomas Brewer's estate.

Image 11, dated 2 February 1803, "Hinchia Brewer, son of Thomas Brewer, deceased," claims that William Warden and William Pinnukes are indebted to him. Also see image 12.

I don't doubt that this is the same Thomas Brewer who is mentioned in page 12 of the suit involving the heirs of Nathaniel Brewer (see the post of July 14). From that suit we learn that Thomas was a brother of Daniel Brewer, William Brewer, George Brewer, James Brewer, Patience Vickers, Lucy Maban, Milly Morgan, Francis Brewer, Susannah Powell and Nancy Powell. In turn, all are children of Nathaniel Brewer. And from this file we learn that Thomas Brewer had a son named Henshaw (Hinchia) Brewer.

A search of the 1800 U.S. census at (subscription required) gives us two heads of households named Thomas Brewer. Both are enumerated at Hillsborough. One as a household of two males age 10-15, one male 16-25, one male over 45, two females 16-25 and one female over age 45.

Thomas Brewer (1) Hillsborough, NC, 1800
The second Thomas Brewer has a household of one male under 10, one male 10-15, one male 26-44, two females 10-15, one female 26-44.*

Thomas Brewer (2) Hillsborough NC, 1800
There appears to be a total of eighteen men named Brewer enumerated at Hillsborough in 1800. This includes two William Brewers, a Daniel Brewer and a Nathaniel Brewer. No Thomas Brewer is found in Chatham County in a search of the 1810 U. S. census. Hinchan (sic) Brewer is found there in 1810 with a household of one male age 26-44, one female age 26-44, and one slave. Henchia Brewer is still found in Chatham County in 1820 and 1830, in the later his age is given as 50-59, so then born between 1770 and 1780. Henchia is not found in Chatham County in a search of the 1840 or 1850 census. An estate file is not found for Henchia in the searchable database at used to find Thomas Brewer's file. But that is not to say that one does not exist. It is possible that there is one to be found elsewhere.

Going with the indication that Henchia Brewer was born between 1770 and 1780, it appears more likely that he is the son of the older Thomas Brewer who is found in the first census record above, and described as over age 45 (I'm assuming that the eldest male enumerated is also the head of household). That would place Thomas Brewer's birth as before 1755. This in turn would point to the Nathaniel Brewer of the law suit file, being the elder Nathaniel Brewer, son of George Brewer and probably his second wife, Alice.

My suggestion to those wishing to research this problem further is to look further into other estate and probate records in Chatham County, as well as land records (deeds) in Chatham County. This looks to require research in the Chatham County Courthouse as many of these records are not available online. Research beyond Chatham County may also be required. I would also suggest looking into the records left by the other sons and the daughters of Nathaniel Brewer and their husbands. I have no doubt that a dedicated researcher would be able to produce a reliable reconstruction of the Nathaniel Brewer family. But it will take some effort.

*'s "Family Data Collection" includes a Thomas Brewer, b. 1771 in Chatham County, died January 1831 in Wayne County, Indiana, son of a William Brewer and Lucretia. Use this as a lead, as the "Family Data Collection" consists of data submitted by users and has many errors. The S.A.R. application of Warren Harold Brewer (1948) lists among his ancestors, Thomas Brewer (b. 1760-1770, d. 1831, wife Lucretia) a son of William Brewer (b. ca. 1752 in Brunswick Co., Virginia, d. after Aug 1832 in Tennesee or Randolph Co., Indiana, no wife named) with William being the Revolutionary War soldier who served while residing in Chatham County (the birth date range given for Thomas is probably too early if William was born ca. 1752). The applicant, William H. Brewer was aged 58 in 1948, born 4 January 1890 in Toledo, Illinois. This S.A.R. application can be found on Information found in S.A.R. (and D.A.R.) applications should always be confirmed by other records.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Nathaniel Brewer, Chatham Co., North Carolina, Law Suit, Part III

Links to Part 1 and Part II. Please read the two for background on this post.

Page 10 is another cover page. It appears that the year is 1808.

Nathaniel Brewer Case, p. 10
 Page 11. State of North Carolina Supreme Court, July Term 1808. Littlejohn and Ashton v. Daniel Brewer & Others.

Nathaniel Brewer Case, p. 11

Page 12. The case continues and in this document the plaintiffs claim that Nathaniel Brewer fraudulently conveyed property to his son Thomas Brewer, and that said Thomas Brewer died intestate, leaving Daniel Brewer, Nathaniel Brewer, William Brewer, George Brewer, James Brewer, Patience Vickers the wife of Charles Vickers, Lucy Maban the wife of John Maban, Milly Morgan the wife of William Morgan, Francis Brewer, Susannah Powell the wife of Charles Powell and Nancy Powell the wife of Levi Powell, his brothers and sisters and heirs at law.

Nathaniel Brewer Case, p. 12

 Page 13 is simply a continuation of page 12, with some overlapping. Probably the original pages were legal size pages (8 1/2" x 14"), and had to be scanned in two segments as they would not fit on a letter size (8 1/2" x 11") scanner bed.

Nathaniel Brewer Case, p. 13
Page 14 picks up where 13 leaves off.

Nathaniel Brewer Case, p. 14
Page 14 is the final page in the file. Evidence and/or ideas on who this family is, where they lived, who their descendants are, is welcomed. Please use the Comments field on any of the three posts.

See the follow up post of July 15, 2016.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Nathaniel Brewer, Chatham Co., North Carolina, Law Suit, Part II

For a background explanation of this post, please see Part I.

Page 5 is a summons for Thomas Snipes, Esquire, James Powell, Isaac Petty, Philip ? and George Brewer to appear at the Courthouse in Hillsborough, the sixth day of April next, to testify on behalf of William Littlejohn and George Ashton (plaintiffs) in the matter against "The Heirs of Thomas Brewer" defendants. Dated 6 October 1804.

Nathaniel Brewer Case, p. 5
Page 6 lists the plaintiffs vs. the heirs of Thos. Brewer, to the April 1805 court.

Nathaniel Brewer Case, p. 6

Pages 7 and 8 are again a statement of the plaintiff's case and lists the defendants. Here it is noted that on page 7 the name "Thomas Brewer" is crossed through and "Nathl Brewer" written above.

Nathaniel Brewer Case, p. 7

Nathaniel Brewer Case, p. 8
Page 9 is difficult to read, but my best with it is "The defendants plea that the property was not fraudulently conveyed - Jury at April Term 1805 find that the said ? Nathl Brewer to Thomas of the ? File 1800..."

Nathaniel Brewer Case, p. 9
To be continued...

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Nathaniel Brewer, Chatham Co., North Carolina, Law Suit, Part I

What is known (to date) of Nathaniel Brewer, son of George Brewer of Brunswick Co., Virginia, and most likely his second wife, Alice (___), can be found in the posts of January 20, 2015, and January 21, 2015. I have received some new documents courtesy of Patty Smith who sent me digital images of the pages of a law suit involving the estate of Nathaniel Brewer of Chatham Co., North Carolina. This case tells us the names of Nathaniel Brewer's heirs. CAVEAT: I cannot say with any degree of certainty as to which Nathaniel Brewer this case refers to. It may be the elder Nathaniel Brewer (the son of George Brewer) or it may refer to his presumed son also named Nathaniel. I welcome anyone with more insight to use the Comments option below to add whatever clarification they can provide.

The images were taken from FHL film #1906925, item 2: Wills and Estate Papers (Hillsborough District), 1772-1806. According to the individual who had given the pages to Patty, they were filed under "Thomas Brewer." There are fourteen pages and therefore we will make them available over three posts. I will try to give a brief description of each, but will offer no conclusions. We'll leave that to those who have more of a vested interest in Nathaniel Brewer. The pages will be presented in order of how they were numbered when given to me. FamilySearch has placed images of a many probate records from North Carolina online, and if this record is among them, I have not yet been able to locate it.

Page 1 appears to be a cover page of sorts. Wm. Littlejohn & George Ashton... Partners of ?, vs. Daniel Brewer, Nathl Brewer, Junr(?), Wm. Brewer, George Brewer, ?s? Brewer, then followed by additional names of couples, men and their wives, Francis? Brewer. Dated April 1904. Listed in the right hand column are William Norwood, Thomas Snipes, James Powell, George Brewer and Isaac Petty.

Nathaniel Brewer Case, p. 1

Pages 2 and 3 describe the case. William Littlejohn and George Ashton surviving partners of Ralph McNair Company seek to recover a judgement against Nathaniel Brewer, Senior for 58 pounds 12 shillings 11 pence and the cost of the suit. Nathaniel Brewer is accused of defrauding the plaintiffs by conveying property to his son Francis Brewer. Nathaniel Brewer then died intestate leaving Daniel Brewer, Nathaniel Brewer, William Brewer, George Brewer, James Brewer, Patience Vickers wife of Charles Vickers, Lucy Maban wife of John Maban, Milly Morgan wife of William Morgan, Francis Brewer, Susannah Powell wife of Charles Powell, Nancy Powell wife of Levi Powell, brothers and sisters and heirs at law. Dated 6 April 1804.

Nathaniel Brewer Case p. 2

Nathaniel Brewer Case, p. 3

Page 4 once again lists the plaintiffs and defendants and moves the case to the October term 1804.

Nathaniel Brewer Case p. 4
To be continued...

July 16, 2016: Marie, writing in the comments section below, points us to the online images for the documents in this series of posts, found at Here is a direct link to image 971. Use the forward arrow to move through the file. The images here are far better than the ones posted here. Although not found online in the same order as presented here, all fourteen images are there. Thanks Marie. And thanks again to Patti Smith, there is the possibility of a breakthrough here for some George Brewer descendants.

PDF version of this post