Week 2 – 2015: Adam Brouwer – Ancestor of a future “king”

So this week’s theme for the 52 Ancestor’s challenge is “King.” Of course, my husband likes to think he’s the king around here, but I don’t think I’ll write about him. Instead, I looked into his family tree, to see if he had any “real” kings to write about.

This led me to go way back to someone I believe to be his 10th great grandfather, Adam Brouwer. He was born around 1620 and I found that he is the subject of many articles and books by other genealogists. However, no one seems to agree on his exact place of birth or heritage. Some believe he was born in Cologne, Germany or Berckoven, Netherlands.

Adam was employed as a soldier for the Dutch West India Company, a chartered company formed by Dutch merchants with the purpose of setting up trading posts in the West Indies. Their ships would hire 40-50 soldiers in order to defend themselves against enemy ships or hijack them. Adam was first sent to Brazil in 1641, then came to America to settle in the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam (now New York) possibly in 1642.

On March 21, 1645, Adam married Magdalena Verdon. The marriage was recorded in the records of the Reformed Dutch Church of New Amsterdam. Adam and his wife relocated to the Dutch settlement of Gowanus (now Brooklyn). He and a partner, Issac de Foreest, built the first grist mill on Long Island. Adam bought out his partner in February of 1661. On May 26, 1664, Adam, along with other residents, petitioned Director-General, Peter Stuyvesant, to dredge a canal so they could get water to supply their mill. The mill remained in the Brouwer family for 3 generations. The mill was destroyed during the very bloody, Battle of Long Island during the Revolutionary War.

But where does the “king” fit in? Adam and Magdalena had at least 14 children. My husband is a descendent through their daughter Fytie Brouwer (born in 1656). Another one of Adam’s daughters, Sarah, had a descendent who was born on July 14, 1913 in Omaha, Nebraska as Leslie Lynch King, Jr. He eventually changed his name to Gerald R. Ford and became the 38th President of the United States.

I know, it was a stretch to find a connection to a king. However, it motivated me to take a closer look at someone who was just sitting way back in my husband’s family tree.

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