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Brower family papers


Held at: Tri-County Heritage Society [Contact Us]P.O. Box 352, Morgantown, PA, 19543

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Tri-County Heritage Society. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

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Mennonites Hubert and Anna Brower left Germany and emigrated to Chester County, Pennsylvania in 1726. They settled in Coventry (now, East Coventry Township). Hubert and Anna's son, Henry Brower (1720-1784) purchased land and established a family farm in the Parker Ford area of Coventry. His descendents, many of who were farmers, doctors, and ministers, resided in this area of Chester County for several generations. Many Browers were buried in the family cemetery, which is now considered part of Oak Grove Cemetery, formerly Union Church cemetery, in Parker Ford, East Coventry Township.

Brower family

Hubert and Anna Brower (or Brauer/Brouer) were Mennonites from either Holland or Switzerland who had moved to Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany to avoid persecution. In 1726 they and their children left Germany and emigrated to Chester County, Pennsylvania. They settled in Coventry (now, East Coventry Township). Hubert and Anna had three sons and at least one daughter. Their sons, John (circa 1715-1777), Christian (circa 1718-1771), and Henry (1720-1784), married within the Mennonite community in Chester County. Christian's descendants became Brethren, John's children became Lutheran-Episcopal, and Henry's descendants remained Mennonite. Hubert died not too long after settling in Chester County and his widow, Anna Brower (1695-1780), married Johannes Roth. Anna was widowed again when Roth died in 1740.

Henry Brower (1720-1784) was born in Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany in 1720 to Hubert and Anna Brower. He came to Chester County, Pennsylvania with his parents and siblings in 1726. When he was older, Henry purchased land and established a family home in the Parker Ford area of Coventry (now, East Coventry Township). Henry and his first wife, Eve Salome DeFraine (c. 1726-c. 1750), had three children: Abraham D. (1745-1805), Salome, and Elizabeth. Eve died around 1750 and Henry married his second wife, Barbara Longenecker Hoch/High (1732-1797) shortly after. Barbara was the daughter of Jacob and Elizabeth (Longenecker) High. (Longenecker is sometimes spelled Longaker or Longacre.) Henry and Barbara had four sons: John (circa 1750-1777), Daniel (1757-1809), Jacob (1759?-1797), and Isaac (1766-1796).

Abraham DeFraine Brower (1745-1805) was born in 1745 to Henry Brower and his first wife, Eve DeFraine, at the Brower family homestead in Parker Ford, Chester County. Abraham married Magdalena Buckwalter (1745-1831) of Charlestown, Chester County in 1769 and had ten children with her: Magdalene, Catharine (1772-1850), Barbara, Sarah, Hannah (1776-1855), Elizabeth, Hester, Henry B. (1785-1833), Polly, and Abraham (1792-1823). Catharine married Reverend Abraham Reinhart (1770-1842).

Henry Buckwalter Brower (1785-1833) was born in 1785 to Abraham and Magdalena Brower at the Brower family homestead in Parker Ford, Chester County. Henry inherited half of his father's estate in 1806. He married and had seven children: Abraham (1810-1846), Amos (1812-1897), Sarah, Gilbert (1815-1890), Nathan, Solomon (1819-1848), and Daniel. In her 1830 will, Henry's mother Magdalena Brower, appointed her grandson, Henry's son Abraham (1810-1846), as the guardian in trust for Henry and his children.

Gilbert Brower (1815-1890) married Lydia Urner (1818-1881), the daughter of John and Elizabeth (Grubb) Urner. Lydia Urner was descended from the Urners of Canton Uri in Switzerland. Gilbert and Lydia had five children: Harrison (1840-1877), William (1842-1919), Isaac U. (1844-1921), Elizabeth (1845-1848), and Sarah H. "Sallie" (1850-1888). Sarah "Sallie" Hunsperger Brower never married.

Harrison Brower (1840-1877), the son of Gilbert and Lydia Brower, married Ann M. Kendall (1842-1926), daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth (Miller) Kendall of Limerick Township, Montgomery County. They had three children: Milton (1869-1878), Elizabeth (1871-1957), and Grace (1876-1878).

William Brower (1842-1919), the son of Gilbert and Lydia Brower, attended the Pennsylvania State Normal School at Millersville (now Millersville University) from 1861 to 1863 and taught in public school for six terms. He graduated from Jefferson Medical College (now Jefferson University) in 1867. Dr. Brower was a longtime supporter of education and served for twenty-five years on the Spring City school board. In addition, he was very active in other community activities, serving as director of the National Bank of Spring City and as president of the Spring City Foundry Association, Oak Grove Cemetery Association, and Spring City Building and Loan Association. In 1869, William married Sarah M. Kendall (1840-1925), whose sister, Ann Kendall, had married William's brother, Harrison. Dr. and Mrs. Brower lived in Spring City, Chester County, where William practiced medicine, serving eastern Chester and western Montgomery counties. Dr. Brower was very interested in family history and genealogical research. He and Sarah had four children: Newton (1870-1870), Blanche (1872-1951), Ida (1875-1876), and an unnamed infant son (1878-1878).

Isaac Urner Brower (1844-1921), the son of Gilbert and Lydia Brower, attended the Pennsylvania State Normal School at Millersville (now Millersville University) and taught for twelve terms in Chester County public schools, as well as those in adjoining counties. He was ordained as a minister of the Brethren Church in 1875 and served as a pastor at the Brethren church near his farm in Parker Ford, Chester County. In 1868, Isaac married Mary Ann Johnson (1848-1930). Mary Ann was the daughter of Abraham H. Johnson (1808-1848) and Elizabeth Weikel (1819-1898) of Upper Providence, Montgomery County. Reverend Isaac and Mary Ann Brower had one son, Charles Johnson Brower (1871-1955).

Charles Johnson Brower (1871-1955), the son of Isaac and Mary Brower, graduated from Spring City High School in 1890 and began studying medicine with his uncle, Dr. William Brower. Charles graduated from Jefferson Medical College (now Jefferson University) in 1894. In 1899, Dr. Charles Brower married Ada Grace Taylor (1867-1959). Ada more commonly went by her middle name, Grace, and was the daughter of David Stiteler Taylor (1832-1925) and his first wife, Mary Ann Finkbiner (1837-1873). Dr. Charles and Grace (Taylor) Brower lived in Spring City, Chester County, where Charles practiced medicine. They had two children: Mary Bertha (1900-2000) and Robert T. (1905-1994).

Robert Taylor Brower (1905-1994) was born in Chester County to Charles and Grace (Taylor) Brower. He had one sister, Mary Bertha Brower (1900-2000). He began working at the Spring City post office in Chester County around 1930 and served in the United States Army from 1943 to 1945 during World War II. He married Evelyn W. Schumacher (1912-1960) sometime after 1940. Evelyn's parents, Robert A. Schumacher (1888-1957) and Elizabeth Weber (1886-1931), were married in Spring City in 1911, but moved to Philadelphia, where Evelyn and her two sisters Ruth and Thelma were raised. Evelyn passed away in 1960. Sometime after Evelyn passed away, Robert married Mary Landis (Troutman) Youngblood (1905-1991), whose first husband Willard Youngblood (1898-1959) had passed away in 1959. After working at the post office for 40 years, Robert retired in 1971. Robert passed away in 1994. He was the last surviving male member of the class of 1923 of the former Spring City High School. He was a member of the Spring City United Methodist Church, where he sang in the church choir for several years. He was also a member of Vincent Lodge 762, I.O.O.F. for over fifty years and a member of the Royal Letter Carriers Association. Robert is buried in Zion Lutheran Church Cemetery in Spring City, PA with both of his wives.

Mary Bertha Brower (1900-2000) was born in Spring City, Chester County to Charles and Grace (Taylor) Brower, and used Bertha as her first name. Bertha had one brother, Robert Taylor Brower (1905-1994). She attended Spring City High School and graduated from Juniata College in 1922 with a degree in English. After graduating, she worked as a school teacher for a few years. In 1934, she earned a library science degree from Drexel Institute of Technology (now Drexel University). In 1946 Bertha returned to Spring City and worked at the Spring City Free Library, retiring in 1980. She was a lifetime member of the Spring City United Methodist Church and a member of the American Library Association, the Business and Professional Women's Association of Pottstown, and the Spring City Women's Library Club. She is buried in Zion Lutheran Church Cemetery in Spring City, PA.

Taylor family

William G. Taylor (1801-1865), the son of Elisha Taylor, was a blacksmith and longtime resident of Phoenixville, Chester County, Pennsylvania. William married Sarah Ann Stiteler (1806-1866), the daughter of David Elwood Stiteler (1785-1878) and Hannah Still (1784-1863). William and Sarah Taylor had eight children: Samuel D., David S., Thomas G., William C., Hannah, Sarah, Morris, and Emma.

David Stiteler Taylor (1832-1925) was born in Upper Uwchlan Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania to William and Sarah (Stiteler) Taylor in 1832. At 19, David worked as a clerk for Samuel Kreamer in his general store in Phoenixville. Later, he started to clerk for Olmstead Wells at a store in Pottstown. In 1857, David moved to Springville, Chester County (now Spring City) and opened a store called S & D Taylor with his brother Samuel. One year later David closed the store he had with his brother and opened another store in Spring City called Wells & Taylor. Taylor remained in business at this location, although the store's name changed several times. In 1864, he became the sole owner of the store. Around 1865, David was appointed Spring City's post master. He also served as a school director and belonged to Spring City Lodge No. 553 AYM (Ancient York Masons). In 1861, David Stiteler Taylor married Mary Ann Finkbiner (1837-1873), daughter of Jesse and Hannah Finkbiner. David and Mary Taylor had nine children: Hannah (1861-1956), Bertha Alice (1863-1943), Mary Laura, Jesse F., Ada Grace (1867-1959), John Krause (1869-1876), and David Sechler (1871-1872). Mary (Finkbiner) Taylor died in 1873 and David married Rebecca B. Towers (1838-1926), daughter of Michael and Rebecca (Brook) Towers in 1877. David Taylor's daughter Ada Grace (1867-1959) married Dr. Charles Johnson Brower.

The Brower family papers, circa 1750-1950s, consist of financial, legal, and property documents; letters; family records and genealogy research; school records and teacher certificates; photographs and scrapbooks; newspaper clippings, printed matter, and ephemera; and other materials. There are small amounts of materials from other families that are connected to the Brower family. Individuals well-represented in the collection include M. Bertha Brower (1900-2000), Dr. William Brower (1842-1919), Abraham Brower, and David Stiteler Taylor (1832-1925) and his second wife, Rebecca B. Towers (1838-1926). Materials from the collection have been photocopied and placed into three binders as access copies.

Materials from M. Bertha Brower (1900-2000) include a memorial scrapbook with cards detailing specific book donations and the name of the person in whose name they were donated to the Spring City Free Public Library, 1950s; a personal diary, 1922-1923; letters, circa 1918-1950s; photographs; programs from church services, theater productions, concerts at various Philadelphia and Chester County colleges and universities, commencement ceremonies, and other events, as well as brochures from various organizations and advertisements for various local businesses, 1890s-1940s; over one hundred greeting cards and some postcards, 1930s-1950s; and ephemera such as business cards, membership cards, and funeral cards.

Materials from Dr. William Brower (1842-1919), include letters, late 19th century-early 20th century; genealogical materials; a patent letter, 1882; and other documents.

Abraham Brower papers, late 18th and early 19th century, include lists and receipts related to his farm, as well as other materials. It is unknown which Abraham Brower these materials are from, but given the dates of the materials, it is likely that they are from Abraham D. Brower (1745-1805).

Materials from the Taylor and Towers families, 19th century-20th century, include bonds, warrants, mortgages, and other financial and legal papers. There are stocks and bonds from Bertha A. Taylor (1863-1943), David S. Taylor's daughter; the will of Rebecca B. (Towers) Taylor (1838-1926), circa 1920s; David S. Taylor (1832-1925) wills and estate materials, circa 1920s; and an oversized marriage certificate for David Taylor and Rebecca B. Towers, 1877.

There is also an account book and ledger, late 19th century, from Gilbert Brower (1815-1890).

Scrapbooks in the collection include a travel photograph album with some images labeled, circa 1940s. Photographic materials in the collection include several hundred 35mm slides, many of which are labeled; various photographs, including group portraits of school classes and communion groups, individual portraits of students, portraits of adults and of children (non-school related); a small number of negatives; a daguerreotype; and other photographs. The images depict people, scenery, events, travel, and other topics.

Other materials in the collection include: a school record book with attendance and student reports for high school number 9 in the Spring City School District (Chester County), 1896-1902; 18th-century receipts, road tax collections, bonds, property documents, letters, indentured servant and marriage contracts, and wills and estate papers; 19th century teacher certificates, letters, and financial records; genealogical research and notes; a high school diploma; newspaper clippings with obituaries and announcements related to various family members; and other materials.

Summary descriptive information on this collection was compiled in 2014-2016 as part of a project conducted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania to make better known and more accessible the largely hidden collections of small, primarily volunteer run repositories in the Philadelphia area. The Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories (HCI-PSAR) was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This is a preliminary finding aid. No physical processing, rehousing, reorganizing, or folder listing was accomplished during the HCI-PSAR project.

In some cases, more detailed inventories or finding aids may be available on-site at the repository where this collection is held; please contact Tri-County Heritage Society directly for more information.

Tri-County Heritage Society
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Finding aid prepared by Sarah Leu and Anastasia Matijkiw through the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories
This preliminary finding aid was created as part of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania's Hidden Collections Initiative for Pennsylvania Small Archival Repositories. The HCI-PSAR project was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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