Sunset at Gowanus Bay

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

Friday, August 24, 2018

Isaac Brewer's Revolutionary War Pension File

The post of January 15, 2015, "The Older Sons of Oliver Brewer of Chatham County, North Carolina," makes brief mention of Isaac Brewer who lived in Talladega County, Alabama when he filed a claim for a Revolutionary War pension on, what appears to be 18 March 1845 (see the paragraph on Oliver's son William Brewer). This date being my best interpretation of what I see in the first line of this first page in Isaac's file.

Isaac Brewer RWPF (NARA M804, image downloaded from
The post states that Isaac would be covered in a future post, but that is now beyond the scope of my own interests, and will not happen, and there are other sources for those interested to consult. However, Isaac's file was quite extensive and large, about 115 or so images. Back in the day when HeritageQuest was accessible for free from home (with a library subscription) they had available a condensed version, a.k.a. "Selected Records." However, this only included ten or so pages and the bulk of Isaac's file is found in the "Nonselected Records." I do have images (.jpg) of all the pages and I've made them available online with this link. A PDF of the "Selected Records" is available here, however, you will find that the first four pages are unreadable, and you will need to consult the images.

Isaac Brewer's pension application was given the number R1185. It has been transcribed by Will Graves and that transcription is online at Southern Campaigns Revolutionary War Pension Statements and Rosters. Here is the link to the transcription of Isaac's file in PDF. In his file, Isaac states that he was born in May 1763 in Georgia, in what is now Wilkes County. He states that at the age of four, "his father carried him to Bedford County, Virginia where he resided for about two years." He then moved to Chatham County, North Carolina (which at that time would have still been part of Orange County). He lived there until age 24 or 25. Based upon his stated birth date, this would be 1786 or 1787. Isaac afterwards lived in Hancock Co., Georgia, Blount Co., Tennessee and McGinn County, Tennessee. Isaac mentions a younger brother, George, who is said to reside in Wayne County, Tennessee, and who is in possession of a Family Bible register (if only that could be found!). Isaac also mentions an uncle John Brewer and an uncle John Howell. On page 5 of Will Graves' PDF we see mention of Isaac's father, Howell Brewer, Uncle Bill Brewer, Uncle John, along with Henry Bagly, Bill Buckhannon, Nat Powell, Jacob and Andy White, and Joe (or Jas.) Kirk, all of whom he served with. In these pages you will also find Isaac mentioning that he has had two wives and raised seven children of his own, and "two orphan children not kin to him." Isaac also mentions that his father Howell had a family record, "but that he married a second wife, had children by her and lived at the time of his death in West Tennessee, somewhere. In 1853, Isaac's brother, Simon Brewer of Coosa County, Alabama, gave a deposition supporting his brother's statements.

You can find much more on Isaac Brewer here on Mary Andersen's website, "The Brewer Family, Our Southern Roots." Although the site appears to not have been updated in more than two years, it is a very well done website and I'd encourage any one interested in publishing online their own family history website, to explore Mary's site to get a feel for how to do it well. Here is a link to the home page. Mary states that Isaac's father was "Howell Brewer, Jr." who in turn is placed as a son of Howell Brewer, and a grandson of George Brewer of Brunswick Co., Virginia. Please refer to Mary's "Brewer Family File" pages for her reconstruction of the descendants of George Brewer. Isaac Brewer would then appear to be a great-grandson of George Brewer.

I also had in my files, a image of the 1850 U. S. census at Hardeman County, Tennessee, on which appears, Isaac Brewer, Sen. (line 15), age 87, born in North Carolina, with Elizabeth, age 74 (presumably his wife), followed by Isaac Brewer, Jr., age 30.

1850 U.S. Census, Hardeman Co., TN (NARA, image from
I caution here, I am not certain if the Isaac Brewer found in this census record is the same as the Isaac Brewer of Talladega County, Georgia who applied for a pension. It is certainly possible, and it may well be that there are two (or more) men named Isaac Brewer, who were born about the same time and lived, at some point in their lives, in Tennessee.

Anyone who would care to add to what is known of Isaac Brewer is welcomed to do so by using the Comments field for this post.

BGB 603

Saturday, August 18, 2018

The Will of Solomon Fowler of Yorktown, Westchester Co., New York, 1822

The will of Solomon Fowler of Yorktown, Westchester County, New York, dated 5 December 1822, is found in Westchester County Wills, Vol. K, pp. 72-73, and is online at in the collection, "New York Probate Records, 1629-1971 - Westchester County." A record of the granting of the execution of Solomon Fowler's estate, dated 9 January 1823, is found at page 19 of Volume K.

The images provided below were provided to me by Robert Stidolph.

Westchester Co., NY Wills, vol. K, pp. 70-71

Westchester Co., NY Wills, vol. K, pp. 72-73

Westchester Co., NY Wills, vol. K, pp. 74-74
Obviously this is not the original, but a typed transcript probably from the early 1900s.

Solomon Fowler can be found on the Drake Genealogy Database on page 35. Most of what is known of Solomon Fowler is taken from a published account, Theresa Hall Bristol and Abraham Hatfield, "Descendants of Henry Fowler of Roxbury, Mass, Providence, R.I., Eastchester and Mamaroneck, N.Y.", New York Genealogical & Biographical RECORD vols. 58-71 (1927-1940): 68:332. As you can see this compiled genealogy of the descendants of Henry Fowler ran in the New York Genealogical & Biographical RECORD for a period of 13 years and ended only in 1940 with the death of Mrs. Theresa Hall Bristol which was reported in the volume 73, no. 2 (1942), p. 144, of the RECORD. In volume 68, no. 4 (1937), p. 332, you will find Mrs. Bristol's account of Solomon Fowler, which reads: "Solomon, b. abt. 1755 at Eastchester; d. Dec 12, 1822, at Yorktown; buried at Shrub Oak, Cortlandt Manor, m. ___, Abigail Ward, and settled in Yorktown in Cortlandt Manor in 1776. Served in the Revolution from Yorktown." Mrs. Bristol's numbering system for the genealogy indicates that she had more info regarding Solomon and it would be published in a future issue with the account of the next generation of Henry Fowler's descendants. However, it appears that Mrs. Bristol died before this could happen and a continuation of the genealogy was not picked up by any one else.  Mrs. Bristol cites Josephine Frost, "Westchester County Inscriptions" Shrub Oak, p. 75 (manuscript in N. Y. Gen. and Bio. Soc. Library) for the source of the burial and presumably date of death of Solomon. She cites the Journal of Rev. Silas Constant, p. 245, for his marriage to Abigail Ward.

In his will, Solomon Fowler, of Yorktown in Westchester County, farmer, leaves to his "beloved wife Mary, one share and a half as her right of Dower to her and to her heirs and assigns forever." The remaining seven and half shares are left to his children and grandchildren. They are named as son James Fowler; daughter Mary Seaman; grandchildren Hester Fowler, Caleb Ward Fowler and Thaddeus Fowler (children of John Fowler) "to each a half a share and to Solomon Fowler son of Elijah Fowler three quarters of a share, and to Burret Fowler the other son of Elijah Fowler half a share; to Mary Elizabeth Austin daughter of James Austin three quarters of a share..." The executors are also ordered to pay interest on the remaining half share "to my son John Fowler annually until his death after which they are hereby ordered to divide the said half share equally between my two grandchildren Solomon Fowler and Burrit Fowler." It appears, from the wording in the will, that the grandchildren are all under the age of 21. Friends, John Roake, James Hart and Benjamin Curry are appointed executors. Witnesses are James Fountain, Esther Hammond and Nicholas Summerbell. The will was proved 21 December 1822 by Nicholas Summerbell. Administration of the estate was granted to the executors on this same day, this date being nine days after the date of death reported by Mrs. Bristol (See vol. K, p. 19).

Solomon is a son of Elijah Fowler (d. 1757) and Charity (___) (d. 1795) who, after Elijah's death, married Joseph Drake (b. 1717 or 1718, d. 1785) a son of Joseph Drake and Sarah (___). Elijah Fowler was a son of Moses Fowler (d. Dec 1744 or Jan 1745) whose wife has not been identified. Here is a chart of Moses Fowler's children and grandchildren compiled largely from what is available in Mrs. Bristol's published account.

It first has to be noted that in his will, Solomon names his wife as Mary, while Mrs. Bristol states that he married Abigail Ward. Now, it may be that Mary was a second wife of Solomon, and perhaps Mrs. Bristol knew that, but if so, that info was never published in her account of the Fowlers of Westchester County. I would like to find confirmation of this.  Secondly, the wording in the will (to me) is a little vague, but my best take on this is that Solomon certainly had children named James Fowler, Mary (Fowler) Seaman, and John Fowler. It also appears, although the will does not say so as specifically as we might like, that Solomon had a son named Elijah Fowler. This Elijah in turn had sons named Solomon and Burret/Burrit Fowler. The will does call the later two, "grandsons." It also may be that Solomon had another daughter, unnamed in the will, who had married James Austin and who had a daughter named Mary Elizabeth Austin. But again, the will is too vague on this.

Assuming then that Solomon did have two wives (Abigail Ward first, and Mary second), the question comes up as to who was the mother of each of his children. The grandson Caleb Ward Fowler, son of son John Fowler, would suggest that Abigail was John's mother, as her surname was Ward. However, we do not yet know Mary's family name, and we can't assume that she wasn't a Ward herself. So, we seek further identification of Solomon's wife named Mary.

Once we find additional evidence that will support, or refute, or at least clarify the above suggestions taken from Solomon Fowler's will, we'll update the little chart of Moses Fowler's descendants. For now, Solomon's will provides a good start. Suggestions and evidence are welcome. Please use the Comments field to add them to this post. And thanks to Robert Stidolph for bringing Solomon's will to my attention.

BGB 602

Thursday, August 16, 2018

The Patrick Family and Burwell Brewer

In his will, George Brewer, leaves his son Henry, "a young horse that we call Patrick." Some months ago, and again very recently, some of us had an e-mail exchange regarding the horse's name, which is generally associated with those who are Irish, although the name's origins and historical use is more complicated than that (I'll leave it to the reader to research the name). Recently, David V. Brewer, a co-administrator of the Brewer DNA Project and focused in the "Lanier-Brewer" sub-group, brought up what follows. I thought there might be some valuable leads in his comments for those looking to place Burwell Brewer among the descendants of George Brewer, and so asked Dave for permission to to post what follows. And so, in Dave's words:

     I'll just add a couple of comments about the name "Patrick," given to the horse in George Brewer's will. That name, as a surname, was known in Southern Virginia in the 18th century and may have been connected to relatives of George Brewer. In particular, a couple named Lewis and Sarah Patrick appear to have lived in Bristol Parish, Prince George (later Dinwiddie) County, Virginia in the 1720s. I am told (but have not seen) that there are vestry records in Bristol Parish showing the birth of their children in that decade, apparently including a man named Paul Patrick, who later lived and died in Oglethorpe County, Georgia.
     Perhaps relatedly, a man named Burwell Brewer appears to be the progenitor of one of our group's Big-Y members. This member is positive for haplogroup I-Y15031 and has a pretty solid record connection back to a man named John Brewer, who probably was Burwell's son. Some researchers list Burwell as a son of George Brewer by his second wife, Alice, but (consistent with your discussion) there is no record proof of this to my knowledge.
     As early as 1778, land entries were found for Burwell Brewer in Wilkes County, North Carolina. He, a William Brewer, and a George Brewer were in the 1782 tax list in that county. In about 1784, Burwell Brewer and George Brewer are believed to have immigrated to Georgia, settling on Long Creek, then in Wilkes County, but now in Oglethorpe County. According to a compilation of Georgia probate records by (Jeannette Holland Austin), a guardian was appointed for his minor son, John, in 1800:
     "John Brewer, minor son of Burwell, deceased, 6/18/1800, William Stone guardian - sureties, Joshua Grass, George Phillips, Oglethorpe (Northeast Georgia)."
     The maiden name of Burwell's wife (at the time of his death) is reputed to have been Elizabeth Patrick. Burwell and Elizabeth may have had a son named Patrick Brewer, who died in Oglethorpe County around 1801. There is much speculation about the dates of birth of Burwell and Elizabeth. Burwell frequently is shown as having been born around 1730, but other sources suggest that he and Elizabeth (or at least Elizabeth) may have been at least a decade or more younger that that. I suspect, without hard proof to date, that Elizabeth Brewer may have been the granddaughter of Lewis and Sarah Patrick of Bristol Parish, perhaps through their probable son Paul. Remember that in the early 1720s, George Brewer acquired land in the part of Prince George that later became Dinwiddie County.
     Whether the Patrick family had anything to do with the naming of George's horse is purely speculative, but your discussion of the name reminded me of the reputed Brewer connection to that family name, for what it's worth. Obviously, there's much more work to be done in this corner of the garden, and it's ironic that the name of a hrose has provoked this discussion about a possible connection.
     [End of Dave's comments]

Mention of Burwell Brewer can be found in Marvin T. Broyhill's, The Brewer Families of Colonial Virginia, 1626-1776, at page 90 where Burwell is suggested as a son of George Brewer and his second wife, who Broyhill claims is Alice Burwell. Here it needs to be pointed out that while we do know that George Brewer's second wife was named Alice, her maiden (or family name) is not known. Broyhill's claim that Alice's maiden name was Burwell is not supported by evidence (at least none that I've been able to find) and the suggested placement of Burwell Brewer in George Brewer's family is also unsupported. Having said that, the likelihood that a descendant of Burwell Brewer (as mentioned by Dave, above) is a Y-DNA match with other descendants of George Brewer, does tell us that Burwell is a descendant of George. If not a son, perhaps he is a grandson. The point here being that more needs to be learned regarding Burwell Brewer before he can be placed, with any confidence, within the family or descendants of George Brewer.

In our e-mail exchanges I suggested that a good deal more can be learned about George Brewer's family if only the correct identity of Alice could be learned. And to that, I offer the following questions that should be explored: Was Alice previously married? Did she bring children from a prior marriage into George's household who then took the Brewer name (and may not have been named in George's will)? Did Alice give birth to a posthumous child of George's after his death, who would not have been named in his will? Did Alice remarry after George died? Did she have a child by someone else after George died, did not marry that man, and gave the child the Brewer surname? Did Alice (perhaps remarried) leave a will that mentions her children, both with George or with some other father? And, very importantly, what was Alice's correct family name?

The Burwell Family of colonial period Virginia is relatively well known, and for what it's worth there is even a Wikipedia page about them, which does include a list of references with links (those interested in pursuing this should start with these references). No doubt, Burwell Brewer's given name originated with this family, but whether there was a direct family connection, or whether he was simply named for a family friend, or just a family that was generally admired, is not certain. But still, his given name, and any possible connection with George Brewer, or one of George's sons, and the Burwell family, should be expolored by those researching George Brewer's descendants. I've said this before to those who I have had correspondence with regarding the early generations of this family, and so I'll throw it out here for public consideration as well: one of the bug hurdles that has yet to be cleared with regards to George Brewer's sons and grandsons, is the fact that most of their wives have yet to be adequately identified. Whoever can clear that hurdle will gain a better understanding of the composition of the early generations of George Brewer's family than is currently known.
BGB 601

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Brewer in Robertson County, Tennessee

Robertson County, Tennessee was organized in 1796. It is located in middle Tennessee, along the northern border of the state with Logan County, Kentucky to the north. While briefly researching some descendants of George Brewer, I accumulated a few records regarding Brewers found in Robertson County, Tennessee, and I simply want to pass them on to those who may be researching this group. So, in no particular order:

The will of Edmond Brewer. This found in Robertson, County Inventories and Wills, Book 17, p. 740 (image at

Robertson County, 1812 Tax Roll. Listed here in District no. 2 are Addison Brewer, Jones Brewer, John Brewer, and perhaps Edmond Brewer. I say perhaps, because the name as written is not clear.

Robertson County, 1837 Tax Roll. District no. 2, includes Edmund Brewer, Jones Brewer, John Brewer and Addison Brewer.

Jones Brewer on the 1850 U.S. Census at District no. 2, Robertson County. Jones is found on line 22, age is 84, born in Virginia. That would place is year of birth as about 1766. (At the top of the page is a Narcissa Brewer, age 32, born in Kentucky. Sorry, I do not have an image of the previous page which may include more of Narcissa's family).

Index page (B) for Robertson Co. Inventories and Wills, Book 16. The Bs are on the page on the right. A Sally Brewer is found in the column on the right. There is also a John Burwell in the left column.

Index page (B) for Robertson Co. Inventories and Wills, Book 17. You will find a few Brewers listed here. The books have been placed online at FamilySearch in the collection titled Tennessee Probate Court Books, 1795-1927

This next image is an Index page from Robertson Co. Inventories and Wills, 1796-1825, also online at You can find Edmond Brewer, a John Brewer and a Matthew Brewer here. 

Grant of land to William Brewer, assignee of Oliver Edwards, for 15 acres in the West Township, Robertson County, 1819.

The will of William Edwards, of Robertson Co., Tennessee, dated 6 August 1836. The will mentions Henry Brewer. William Edwards was married to Rebecca Brewer, a daughter of Oliver Brewer. Among the sons mentioned is Oliver Edwards (see above). "Daughter, Rebecah Edwards," is mentioned in her father, Oliver Brewer's will of 1791. William Edwards' will is found in Robertson Co. Wills and Inventories, vol. 9, pp. 414-415.

The will of John Payne of Robertson Co., Tennessee, dated 9 October 1805. Found in Robertson Co. Inventories, Wills, 1796-1825. I include this because it appears that one of the witnesses to the will was an Edmond Brewer who signed by his mark.

And here are some links to images of probate records at, Tennessee Probate Court Books collection:
Inventory and account of the sale of the property of Jones Brewer, vol. 15, p. 331-
Jones Brewer, Estate File, Robertson County Court, Estate Settlements, 23 pages
Sarah Brewer, Estate File, Robertson County Court, Estate Settlements, 12 pages (Sarah was the wife of Jones Brewer).

Tennessee was admitted as a state on June 1, 1796. Fortunately the Probate Court records dating back to this time have survived and has made them available online. There are two collections, Tennessee Probate Court Books, 1795-1927, and Tennessee Probate Court Files, 1795-1955. In addition there are a few collections covering birth, marriage and death records, some dating back to the early 1800s, most of which are searchable. See the Indexed Historical Records on the page for Tennessee.

BGB 600

Sunday, August 12, 2018

New Bruere Links

The post of December 29, 2016 included links to images and reports regarding the Bruere Family of Monmouth County, New Jersey. Some of the links no longer work and so here are some new links.

Five Generations of Descendants of Jacque Bruyere (a Journal Report from 2014).

The will of John Bruere, 1875, Monmouth Co. Wills, vol. O, p. 41

The will of John Bruere, 1875, Monmouth Co. Wills, vol. O, p. 42

The will of John H. Bruere, 1862, Monmouth Co. Wills, vol. H, p. 204

The will of John H. Bruere, 1862, Monmouth Co. Wills, vol. H, p. 205

The above images of the wills of John Bruere and John H. Bruere were originally downloaded from and are found in the New Jersey Probate Records, 1678-1980 collection under Monmouth County.

BGB 410 - Brewere Deed

BGB 414 - James Bruere Estate

BGB 473 - Brouwer, Brower, Brewer, Bruere in Monmouth County Wills 

Please use the Bruere Label to locate posts on this website that are related to the Bruere Family of Monmouth County, New Jersey

Unfortunately the digital version of Jacque Bruyere, A French Huguenot and His Descendants, by Mary Emma Burt and Robert Eugene Burt, is no longer available online at Back in 2014 it was. Here is the page for it at Google Books.

This post is BGB 599

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Comments On The Analysis of George Brewer's Will

Back in late 2014 a post was published on the will of George Brewer of Brunswick County, Virginia. That was followed by a post titled "The Family of George Brewer of Brunswick County, Virginia," in which I used the contents of George Brewer's will to reconstruct what I believe was the composition of his family. Just recently, Foy Varner, one of the co-administrators of the Brewer DNA Project, and the author of Brewer Families of Southeast America, contacted me via e-mail and offered his comments on my analysis of George Brewer's will. My suggestion was that his comments, which include some cautions, should be published online so that others might consider them when doing their own analysis of George Brewer's will. And so, with Foy's permission, what follows are his comments.

     "I re-read your 2015 discussion about the children of George Brewer (ca 1685-1744) of Brunswick County, VA, and I have re-studied his will and read part of your blogspot.
    The following comments are given with my best intentions, and I mean no disrespect or antagonism.
      I appreciate your thoughtful analysis, and I think I understand most of your reasoning.  However, I disagree with some of the wording of your conclusions.  I think you have fallen into the trap of theorizing something in one place and then stating that theory as fact in another place.
     One statement says, “All of George Brewer’s living children were named in his will.”  I know that you believe that, and I understand your reasons why, but your line of reasoning does not constitute proof.  I still think it is possible that George had one or more young children by his second wife Alice who might not have been named in the will for various possible reasons.
      Parts of the will are somewhat confusing.  In one place, George gave his son Oliver “all the rest of this tract of land whereon I now dwell to him and his heirs forever.”  Then, he bequeathed to his wife Alice “that estate whereon we now dwell, (the comma is inserted by me) together with all my household goods and stock .... for the maintenance of all my younger children that hath please God to give me by her, (again the comma is mine) during her life or until she marry again.”  It sounds as if George gave the land to both Oliver and Alice, but gave the stock to Alice.  Perhaps he meant to give Alice the house and livestock and not the land, but the will does not say that.  The phrase “during her life or until she marry again” is also confusing.  Who was to get the stock if she died or remarried?  Who was to maintain the “younger children” if she died or remarried?  In that regard, the will is ambiguous, and some of his children were obviously half-siblings or perhaps even step-siblings, so I can understand why there were reportedly some squabbles about the bequests after George died.
     We have no way of knowing George’s real mental status at the time of the will or how he felt about each child.
       You stated, “Oliver, Henry, and Nathaniel were the younger children George referred to.”  While those three might have been the “younger children”, I do not think that is certain.
       You reasoned that the fact that those three received property implied that they were younger than the five who did not.  I can not accept that argument.  A younger son might have married and received or acquired land, while older sons remained single and at home with their parents.  The fact that some of the sons appear to have been independent does not prove their ages, land ownership, marital status, mental status, physical status, or financial status.
       You reasoned that the son George, Jr. must have been the eldest because of his name.  The fact that he was named George, Jr. does not prove his position in the family.  In my experience, most men named their eldest son after a father, father-in-law, or brother and did not use their own name(s) until a later son.  While I, also, believe that George, Jr. was one of the older children, I do not think the fact that he was “George, Jr.” proves that he was the eldest.  In one place, you stated that George, Jr. was “likely” the eldest, but, when you listed the children, you implied that it is certain that he was the first son.
      Lastly, I think it might be a mistake to theorize that George, Sr. was Irish based on the name of a horse. [In his will George gave his son Henry, "a young horse we call Patrick." He gave son Howl (sic) "a young horse that we call Snip."]    
      Inexperienced and naive genealogists might repeat such an idea as fact
    Likewise, some might read only parts of your discussion and quote theories as facts without reading your explanations and reasons.  The Brewer literature already has too many confusions and too much misinformation."

As a supplement to Foy's comments I would also strongly suggest that those researching the beginnings of the George Brewer family consult Foy's e-book mentioned above, Brewer Families of Southeast America. Article 14, "George Brewer of Brunswick County" begins at page 193, and Foy's begins with the second paragraph on page 209. I would also recommend backing up to page 186, where Article 13 "George Brewer of Charles City County" begins, and where a possible father and grandfather are suggested. Researchers should also consult copies of Marvin T. Broyhill's, The Brewer Families of Colonial Virginia, 1626-1776, and it's two supplements, published in 1992 by Brewer Researcher, which was previously available online through the Family History Library's Catalog, but no longer appears to be so. Although it cannot be ignored if you are researching the Brewer families originating in Virginia, I do caution that many of Broyhill's conclusions are off the mark. The value of his publications lie in the sources provided. He pretty much tells you where you can find things, in which case, my advise is to locate those sources yourself and do your own analysis. That's what genealogy research is really all about.

BGB 598