The Story of James Bruere (Part 1 of 2)

A recent genealogy of James Bruere, a local patriot, by Robert E. Burt of Kansas City, MO retells his connection to heroine Molly Pitcher. Prominent at the Battle of Monmouth, his sword was given to Monmouth County Historical Association for safekeeping, although its present whereabouts is unknown.


The family of James Bruere (Bruyere) has been traced back to Chevre in Champagne, France. His grandparents, Jacques and Louise (Douslot) Bruyere where French Protestants, who found refuge in Daubhausen, between Cologne and Wetzlar (now West Germany) under the protection of Count Maurice de Solms-Greifenstein in 1685. There has been a plaque unveiled there, carrying under the Huguenot Cross, the names of 59 refugees whose families represented about 230 individuals on which the name of Jacques Bruyere is recorded. The records of the family were translated from the French Bible of Pierre Bruyere by a French teacher at Princeton University in 1844 and are preserved at the Monmouth County Historical Society [Association]. Pierre was the youngest son of Jacques and Louise. Other children were Jean, Jeanne, Jacque and Susanne. The records of Jacques and Louise’s marriage and all the births of the children from the Church in Daubhausen, along with a letter testifying to their good character, were carried with them when they left and have also been preserved.


There are eight coats of arms for Bruyere families shown in Riestap’s Armorial General-Heraldic Book Co-1967. One of the coats of arms is from Champagne, France. No claim is made to this, but it will be interesting to research it at some later date and see if it does tie in.


Records from the “Documentary History of the State of New York” by E.B. O’Callaghan, M.D., Volume III, p.129 (1850), show that Jeanne Bruiere orph, 18, Jacque 15, Suannah 6 are on the List of Palatins Remaining at New York, 1710. These are the children of Jacques and Louise and would account for all but Jean who would be 19 by then and either somewhere on his own or perhaps dead, and Pierre. There is a James Bruere listed on a list of names of the Palatinate Children Apprenticed by Gov. Hunter 1710-14. Perhaps this is Pierre? The children were apprenticed until they where 17 years of age. James was apprenticed 21 March 1711 and was 14 years of age, orphan, apprenticed to Rip Van Dam in New York.


In 1714 Pierre is listed as a first settler of Woodbridge and Piscataway, New Jersey. In 1722 he is witness to a will of Jacob Large of Monmouth Co. The family name was Americanized and became Bruere, occasionally found Brewer in records, and Pierre was known as Peter. According to the “Chesterfield Township Heritage” pub. by the Chesterfield Township Tercentenary Committee, 1964, Peter built a home for his bride Eleanor Price, daughter of Edward and Mary Price, in Burlington County in 1744. It is now marked as a Historic Landmark. I believe this is in error. This house was built by his grandson, Peter. Land deeds in possession John T. Probasco, Sykesville Rd., Wrightstown NJ, show that Peter 3, James 2, Peter1, purchased the first of his land from Samuel Ivins on 01 March 1802 (Burl. Co. Deeds, Bk K p.289). The Peter 1 that is credited with building this house died in 1779 in Allentown, Monmouth Co.


In New Jersey Historical Society in Newark, in the [Charles R.] Hutchinson Mss. Reel 946267, are included the following old records from Allentown, Monmouth Co.: p.188-Peter Bruere house in 1748 (1003, 1189) a map showing Peter Bruere’s lot as surveyed by John Lawrence, 01 May 1742 (See Map A-14 ref.-21 ¾ acres; without the orchard); p.76. In 1742, Peter 4 Bruere owned a lot containing perhaps fifty acres, which was bounded northerly by the York Road, easterly by the Saw Mill Road, southerly by the Parsonage Farm and westerly by the above described lot of 17 acres including within its limits the Idell lot that part of John P. Nelson’s farm which fronts on the Saw Mill or Cream Ridge Road. A map made by John Lawrence in that year shows that the land from the northerly line of the Nelson farm to Main Street and from High Street to the westerly line of the Idell lot was then occupied by an orchard, the only building on it being a barn which stood about where the church sheds now stand. This orchard was doubtless the same that which Isaac Stelle mentioned in the advertisement. This land was inherited by Peter’s son, James of Allentown who mentions in his will in 1828 “the meadow inherited from my father.” Peter Bruere, John Rove and Isaac Stelle (mentioned above) were witnesses to a will of Jacob Large of Freehold, Monmouth County 04 May 1772. All the fore mentioned were Huguenots.


Peter was naturalized by an Act of Provincial Council on 08 March 1748. Their children were Mary, Susanne and James. James was born 09 February 1751. He married Sarah Horsfull, daughter of John and Ruth (Rogers) Horsfull, Ruth Rogers was a descendant of Ruth Buckman who came on the ship Welcome with William Penn. They resided near Allentown, in Upper Freehold Township. Their children were Mary, Peter, John Horsfull, Price, James, Ruth, Richard, and Jonathan.


James was a trustee in the Allentown Presbyterian Church in 1789 when it was chartered. He occupied pew no. 2 in the church and was one of the active leaders in the church until his death. “The History of Allentown Presbyterian Church, Allentown NJ” by F. Dean Storms, p.54 says “Dr. George Swain in his Centennial Address delivered in our church on 20 June 1876, spoke thus: “Moreover, from among us it is said was the famous Molly Pitcher; she who, at the Battle of Monmouth, acted the role of cannonier in the place of her husband or some other brave soldier who had fallen. She is reputed to have been the daughter of John Hanna, of Allentown, was of North of Ireland extraction, and had been for some time a servant in the family of the father of Captain James Bruere. She was, perhaps, the wife of a soldier named John Mahan.” (The Bruere farm was located about two-and-one half miles from the church on the left hand side of the Allentown-Davis Station Road High Street.)  


The Story of James Bruere (Part 2 of 2)

A recent genealogy of James Bruere, a local patriot, by Robert E. Burt of Kansas City, MO traces his lineage through generations to its author. It is said that James’s wife died of a broken heart shortly after his own death. Their slab marble grave markers, presently illegible, are closest the street on the Church’s westerly pathway.  


James appears as Bruere, James-Ensign on a list of officers from Upper Freehold, Monmouth Co. Militia, dated 29 August 1775. He was commissioned as a First Lieutenant, 21 February 1777; Captain, Colonel Samuel Forman’s Second Regiment, Monmouth County New Jersey Militia, 14 February 1778; Commissioned 17 February 1778; served as Captain, Major James H. Imlay’s Battalion, Colonel Elisha Lawrence’s Regiment, Three Month’s Men, called to guard the coast of Monmouth County, between 1778 and 1780; appointed President of Regimental Court-Martial (Second Regiment, Monmouth County Militia), 19 August 1780, served at Toms River, January 1782; received certificate 324, amounting to L4:10:0, for the depreciation of his Continental pay in Monmouth County New Jersey Militia, during the Revolutionary War.


The Second Regiment participated in the Battle of Monmouth, the last major encounter in the north between British and American forces during the Revolutionary War. The sword used by Captain James Bruere was donated to the Museum of the Historical Association of Monmouth County in Freehold, New Jersey. He was discharged 20 November 1781.


[According to the statement which accompanied this gift: “Born in 1751, at a crucial time in the early history of American Colonies, and the acute agitation with England over colonial policies, it is certain James Bruere as a young man became deeply interested in independence for America. His later attachment for military service attests to that inference, as the record of his military service indicates. The Album and the sword worn by Captain James Bruere during the Revolutionary War is now presented to the Monmouth County Historical Association, of Freehold, New Jersey, for exhibition and preservation, so that all may pay their respects, not only to the Captain, but also to those who contributed in various ways to the establishment of these United States of America, July 4, 1776. May it also stimulate the desires and activities of our citizens to preserve at all costs those ideals.Signed by Albert Leming White and Albert Bruere White on November 25, 1973.]


James and Sarah both died in Allentown and are buried there in the “Colonial Section” of the Allentown Presbyterian Church Cemetery. Their graves are surmounted by long marble slabs. The inscription on the captain’s gravestone reads:


“Tired He Sleeps and Life’s Poor Play is O’er / In Memory of Captain James Bruere /  Who Died on the 7th of July 1807 Aged 57 Years /  He Feared God, Did Justice, Loved Mercy, and Loved His Friends and Forgave His Enemies / As Small Tribute of Veneration and Respect This Monument is Erected by His Affectionate Wife and His Children.”


John Horsfull Bruere was born 8 April 1778, son of James and Sarah (Horsfull) Bruere. By his first marriage to Mary Blackwell was born a son, John H. After her death he married her sister, Elizabeth Blackwell, and they had a daughter, Ann. Married (3) Lydia Ely, no children. On 17 December 1818, in Monmouth County, he married, Anna Scoby, daughter of Timothy Scobey. To them were born: Susan, Elizabeth, Sarah Ann, Stephen Hunt, Napolean Bonapart, Ruth H., Joseph Bonapart, George Washington, Helen and Price. John Horsfull died 24 January 1840 and Anna 24 July 1871, he is buried in the “Old Cemetery” and she is buried in the Allentown Presbyterian Church Cemetery.


Stephen Hunt Bruere was born 21 July 1824, Upper Freehold, Monmouth County, New Jersey. He married Abigail Hankins Fowler, daughter of Benjamin and Abigail Fowler, on 8 January 1846. Their children Sarah Ann, Benjamin Fowler, Joseph Lippencott, Asa Hunt, John Willard and Minnie Fowler were born in Monmouth County. In 1958 they removed to Hillsborough, Ohio, where they resided for one year, then removing near Greensburg, Decatur County, Indiana. Samuel Fowler and George Washington were born there. In 1870 they removed to the community of Bethel, Marion County, Iowa, where they remained until Abigail’s death 3 November 1886. After her death Stephen resided with his children, dividing his time among them. He died 8 June 1912 at the age of 87 years, 10 months and 17 days. Stephen and Abigail are buried at Bethel Cemetery.


Benjamin Fowler Bruere was born 19 1849 in Monmouth County New Jersey, moving from there with his parents to Ohio, Indiana and Iowa. On 21 December 1873 he was united in marriage with Miss Telitha Marsh, daughter of Noah and Orpha (Clark) Hunter Marsh, born in Milford, Decatur Co., IN, 1849. Children were Luther, Carl, Lela, and Jennie. Benjamin died 16 May 1927 in Oskaloosa, Mahaska County, Iowa; Telitha, 9 January 1937 in Bussey, Iowa. They are buried in Bethel Cemetery, near Tracy, Marion County, Iowa.


Lela Bruere was born 23 February 1874, Bethel, Marion County, Iowa. She was married to Jacob F. Hauenstein son of John and Harriet (Sell) Hauenstein, 14 March 1894 in Marion County, Iowa. Children were Glenn, Grace, Ward and June. Jacob died 5 April 1924 and Lela 25 November 1945, burial Bethel Cemetery.


Grace Hauenstein, 5 April 1901, Leighton, Mahaska County Iowa, married 1 May 1918 to Francis Earl Burt, son of John and Mary (Webster) Burt of Attica, Marion County Iowa. Children: Isabel, Vera, Lawrence, Dorothy, Robert Eugene, William Arthur, Paul Delano and Patricia Ann.


Robert Eugene Burt, born 5 June 1926, Bussey, Iowa, married 5 May 1946, Merced, California, Castle Air Force Base to Mary Emma Bates, daughter of Clyde Olney and Hattie Viola (Sloggett) Bates. Was graduated 1953 from the Missouri Valley College, Marshall, Missouri, with a BA in Human Relations degree, employed since that time by the Boy Scouts of America. Positions held included District Scout Executive, Director of Camping, Scout Executive Regional Deputy, Field Representative, Associate Area Director, Director of Membership/Relationship, and Director of Program for the North Central Region. Retired 1 January 1987, after 34 years of service. Residing at Weatherby Lake, Missouri. Children: Kenneth Alison, married, two daughters, resident of Oswego, IL; Roberta Jean (Bobbie) married, two sons, residence Excelsior, MN; Carl Eugene, married, one son and daughter, residence Eveleth, MN; Rodney Francis, married, one daughter and two sons, residence Gautier, MS; Lori Grace, married no children, residence in Sherwood near Little Rock, AK.