Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

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.

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