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UPDATE

 
This new genealogy for Susannah has now been accepted by the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society who have published my findings in the Jan 2018 issue of it's journal "The Record". As such you should amend your tree and remove Luke as Susannah's father and replace him with Abraham Brasher & Elizabeth Dally. Read on below.


Erroneous Genealogy of Susannah BRASIER / BRASHER, wife of John STITES  

For the past decade I had thought that my ancestor Susannah Brasier, wife of John Stites, was the daughter of Luke Brasher and Judith Gasherie who was baptised on the 31 Jan 1731. This has been the accepted genealogy for many years and replicated by researchers and placed into their tree (myself included). This pedigree appeared very early on in the 1896 issue, V.27 pg40, of the New York Genealogical & Biographical Society Record and has been widely copied since.

However I am sorry to say that this branch of our tree has broken off, that Susannah, the wife of John Stites, is not the daughter of Luke Brasher & Judith Gasherie. And the evidence is irrefutable.  

Recently I obtained copies of some papers from the Colgate family collection held by the Yale University Library, Manuscripts and Archives section [ref - MS#144] which show our thinking to be in error.  

The two relevant folders that interested me and which I subsequently obtained copies of were :-  

·                 Judith (Gasherie) Brasher: diary, 1766, Box 2 , Folder 29. See transcript further below.

·                 "Brasher Family Records," containing: Genealogical information, 1663-1775 (part in Dutch), no date, Box 4 . See copy below.

The first document was the “diary” of 1766. This turned out to be a short narrative of her life. A lot of the narrative was taken up with her religious feelings and beliefs. However it did contain some important information, some of which had me doubting my decadency from the Brasher / Gasherie lines through Susannah Brasier / Stites. An abridgement of the diary follows :-


Translation from Dutch of a Narrative of Judith Brasher / Brasier, nee Gasherie

Widow of Luck Brasher / Brasier

Born April 25th, 1700

Written in the 66th Year of her Age

[Abridged version of the original, as a large part of the text from 1724 onwards was taken up by Judith’s religious life and convictions and I have removed that which is irrelevant to this paper.]

This is a short narrative of God's forbearance over me a poor sinner born in the year 1700, on the 25th of April, named Judith, and baptised in the Reformed Church.

My Father's name was Stephanus Gashrie [Gasherie], a Resident of Kingston or Esopus. My Mother the Lord took from me when I was a child of two years and nine months of age with a little brother nine months old. Thus fell to the bringing up of our exceedingly loved and dear grandmother Judith Gashrie [Gasherie].

My Father left me wholly in her hands she being a widow of over seventy years of age who had abandoned her lands and authority at the time of the great persecution in France in the days of King Louis XIV, on account of her faith in the Lord Jesus.

Hence she with many people left her fatherland, travelling from one kingdom to another arriving alone to the shores of this part of the world where my grandmother took up her residence with another family located there, where these two families alone could converse together, the people of the locality speaking the Dutch language. My father learned the Dutch language and being quali­fied took the position of precenter, chorister and schoolmaster in the Reformed Church, and served the Dutch congregation in that place. ­The above mentioned man, his wife and children with whom my grand­mother, my father and his family resided, were taught by him prayers and singing in the French language.

In the year 1707 my father married a second wife, which made my beloved grandmother very sorry and caused her to leave us after giving me her blessing. She removed to New York and took up her residence with a niece who she had brought out of France . 0h how wretched were my days; in all my mis­ery, and sufferings I could not inform my father of my need, of which he saw little. My father had a large school and a very wicked wife who on all occasions vexed him very much : he had brought upon himself and his children these troubles. The full time of my sufferings under my very exacting step-mother were ten years.

In the year 1717 I left my father and he gave me his blessing. I started on my travels and came here to New York , trav­elling with the Captain and his negro, and no women with us, the expectation of my heart being great.

In the year 1723, after I had resided six years in New York led me to the marriage state and gave me as husband Luck [sic. Luke or Lucas] Brasher. My husband brought me to his mother's dwelling who re­ceived me as a child, and she has been the first cause of my hus­band's giving his heart to me. In 1736 the Lord took away my husband, my best friend, who I believe has entered into the heavenly rest, after a consumptive sickness of five years and a half's suf­fering in body and soul. He departed on the 26th day of April aged 39 years, after our living together thirteen and a half years in the marriage state and after providing for me and his two minor children, they being minors, the one a daughter seven years of age, and the youngest a son sixteen months old, who were very near to my heart.

I am now in the 66th year of my life, and in the evening of my days: my natural strength is departing

The 8th day of May is my birthday. ------ 1700.

Married with my husband ----------------- 1723.

[Summary of Judith’s religious life and beliefs]

In the year 1724 I began to attend the customary catechising with the congregation of the Reformed Church, and scripture texts to answer which I failed to do. In the year 1741 I became a scholar of the United Breth­ren. In the year 1750 I was received as a member of the community of United Brethren, and in the same year the Saviour gave me the grace to become a member of the Brotherhood by the will of God under the ministry of Brother Rice.  


Some pertinent points from the diary are :-  

·             Re. Judith's grandmother, also Judith Gasherie, the mother of Stephen (Etienne / Estienne) and John (Jan). No-one previously knew what happened to her. The three took out letters of denization in England in 1687. Stephen & John then turned up in New York in the Kingston area. Nothing was known of what happened to their mother, did she stay and die in England or did she accompany her sons to the New World ? Judith's narrative answers this question :-

"My Mother the Lord took from me when I was a child of two years and nine months of age with a little brother nine months old. Thus fell to the bringing up of our exceedingly loved and dear grandmother Judith Gashrie. My Father left me wholly in her hands she being a widow of over seventy years of age who had abandoned her lands and authority at the time of the great persecution in France”

·           As above it also revealed when Judith’s mother Engletje (Schoonmaker) died. From the children's ages she would have died in early 1703. It also turns out that Stephen re-married, a fact I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere before. Judith wrote :-  

“In the year 1707 my father married a second wife”.  

N.B. There is no record of a 2nd marriage in the records of The Dutch Reformed Church, or elsewhere that anyone has found previously.  

·                 And most importantly for those who are not descended from either of Judith & Luke’s children Elizabeth & Abraham, but think they descend from one of the other children is the following. In 1736 Luke died, Judith describing this event as :-  

“He departed on the 26th day of April aged 39 years, after our living together thirteen and a half years in the marriage state and after providing for me and his two minor children, they being minors, the one a daughter seven years of age, and the youngest a son sixteen months old”  

Given the ages of her two surviving minor children they must have been Elizabeth born 1729, and Abraham born 1734. Thus I was left with the question of what happened to the other children, including my supposed ancestor Susannah. Did they in fact die as infants?  

This was revealed in the 2nd item from Yale, the folder of Brasher genealogical information. It was these documents that conclusively show that all Luke & Judith’s other children died in infancy. The relevant document appears to have been written at the time by either Luke or Judith or by someone at their behest as the entries say “my son / my daughter”.

The list of their children reads as per the following table where the children’s deaths can be quite clearly seen, together with the children’s baptisms from The Dutch Reformed Church of New York which I have included for comparison of the names :-

Name in document

Born

Baptised as

Baptised

Died

Abraham

6 Sep 1724

Abraham

13 Sep 1724

25 Dec 1728

Angells

26 Mar 1726

Engeltje

3 Apr 1726

5 Apr 1729

Elebet

4 Aug 1727

Elizabeth

9 Aug 1727

25 Aug 1728

Elebet

25 Apr 1729

Elizabeth

4 May 1729

  

Susanna

20 Jan 1730/1

Susanna

31 Jan 1730/1

4 July 1731

Judey

10 May 1732

Judith

14 May 1732

15 Apr 1734

Abraham

2 Dec 1734

Abraham

4 Dec 1734 

 

Thus the only two surviving children were Elisabeth & Abraham, but not Susannah.
Further comment on their children is made as follows:-
"Old Luke Brasher was born December, 1697. He married Judith Gasherie, in November 1723, and Abraham was their only child surviving out of seven. He was born December 1734." [The Old Merchants of New York V.III by Walter Barrett - see a copy of the page.]
Again it shows that Susannah did not survive childhood. Also it seems that Elizabeth no.2 may also have died young.

This means that anyone who has used any of the deceased children in their trees must now remove that branch from their tree and look for an alternative parentage for their ancestor. In my case I had thought that I was descended from the above Susannah born in 1731 as per NYG&BS Record. Obviously not the case. However on reflection and knowing this new evidence there are some other questions marks over the previous genealogy :-  

·                 If she was born in 1731 then she was getting rather old to have the children attributed to the marriage of John Stites & Susannah Brasier / Brasher. She would have been 51 when the last child was born which would be very unusual especially in those times.

·                 See also the bible of Johannes Stites.  

In this Susannah's birth date is given as 8 July 1739, which makes much more sense considering the last comment. It is almost certainly the true date of birth of Susannah.

Thus it can now be seen quite conclusively that Susannah BRASIER / STITES was not the Susannah born in 1731, the daughter of Luke. So who was she? My recent research has turned up the answer. See my paper.


©  Simon Parker-Galbreath




 

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