Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Will of John Brower of Randolph County, North Carolina, 1814

The will of John Brower, who is also referred to as Col. John Brower, of Randolph County, North Carolina, is found in Randolph County Wills, vol. 4, pp. 79-80. Digital images of the will can be found online at in "North Carolina Probate Records, 1735-1970", under Randolph County. Here is a direct link to page 79.

The will is dated 15 April 1814 and begins, "I John Brower of the County of Randolph and State of North Carolina being of sound and perfect mind and memory..." He leaves to his wife Catharine, one third of his land including his dwelling and out houses. Also "one waggon, two horses, four milch cows four caves (calves), all the kitchen furniture with the kitchen, all the household furniture, also my negro fellow Jep (during her widowhood in my name)." To his daughter Sarah he leaves one negro girl named Hannah, one horse saddle and bridle. His son Daniel receives his negro boy Lewis, one horse saddle and bridle. Daughter Elizabeth receives a negro girl named Willy, and a horse saddle and bridle. The children are to receive the residue of his land to be equally divided among them. He also leaves to Lucy Onlly(?) one hundred dollars and a bed and furniture. He appoints his "worthy friends," Danl. Albright, Danl. C. Clap and John Long, Jun. as executors. The witnesses are Nicholas Brower and Eli Brower.

The will was proven by Nicholas Brower and Eli Brower at the August 1814 term of the Randolph County Superior Court.

John Brower is most likely a son of John Brower, who with his wife Hannah Echelbaur had five sons baptized at the Trinity Reformed Church in York County, Pennsylvania between 1762 and 1765. The five sons of John Brower and Hannah Echelbaur were Christian (b. 17 May 1756), Abraham (b. 10 June 1758) and David (b. 18 Oct 1760) who were baptized together on 24 June 1762, followed by Adam (b. 4 Feb 1763) baptized as Johan Adam on 20 March 1763, and Jacob (b. 14 October 1765) baptized on 3 November 1765*. A baptism record for the younger John Brower, testator of this will, has not been found, but he is likely the son of John Brower, Snr. named in the will of Abraham Wanger of Union Twp., Berks County, Pennsylvania, dated 2 September 1792 (Berks Co., PA Wills vol. B2, p. 373). In his will, Abraham Wanger (also spelled Wenger) devises property to his "friends" Abraham Brower of Berks Co., Pennsylvania and John Brower, Jnr., living in Carolina, both described as sons of "John Brower, Snr. in Carolina." The elder John Brower's sons Christian, Adam, David and Jacob also settled in Randolph County, North Carolina which saw a migration of English Quaker and German Baptist families from eastern Pennsylvania in the early 1770s. Randolph County was created out of Guilford County in 1779. The elder John Brower's son, Abraham Brower, remained in Berks County, Pennsylvania.

The estate file for Col. John Brower can also be located online at in their searchable North Carolina Estate Files 1663-1979 collection. See the post of October 29, 2016 for a page by page synopsis of this file. In the file we find instructions regarding the widow Catharine's legacy, and petitions from John Brower's three children, Sarah (Sally), Daniel and Elizabeth signed by their guardian Jacob Brower. Although a family relationship between the children and Jacob Brower is not stated, there is no reason not to believe that Jacob was John's brother and an uncle of the children. In 1816 the children were all under the age of 21.

*Lineages, Inc., comp.. York County, Pennsylvania, 1745-1800: First Reformed (Trinity) Church [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2000.
Original data: Records transcribed from Family History Library microfilm copies of church records for this locality. For more information, see the Family History Library Catalog (FHLC) for FHL #20356. Online at (subscription required). The elder John Brower is recorded as Johannes Brauer in the records. His wife Hannah is recorded as Hanna (nee Echelbaur) in the 1762 record (three baptisms), as Hanna (nee Eychelpeyer) in the record of son Johan Adam, and as Hanna in the record of son Jacob.

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