Sunday, December 26, 2010

Three Hours

Fannie Duryea and Abraham Lent Brewer were married in the 1840s and had no known children.  They lived in New York City and then Rockland County, New York.  They both died in 1901.  Fannie left her estate to Abraham, but he died before she wrote a new will, so her estate passed intestate to her surviving sister and nieces and nephews.  The disposition of her estate solidified many of these suspected family lines.

I recently discovered that Abraham founded a fire department in Monsey, New York.  (You can read the post here.)  In spite of his local fame because of his contributions, I have yet to find an obituary for Abraham.  I decided to widen my search and found a notice of the deaths of Abraham and Fannie- in Georgia of all places.  They have no connection to Georgia, so I never thought to look there for information.

The Augusta Chronicle, Augusta, Georgia, 1 May 1901, page 4.
Retrieved from

Fannie died at 3 a.m. on 28 April 1901.  If Abraham died before her, but on the same day, he had only a three hour time span.  This quirk enabled me, one hundred years later, to map out her family lines.  Had Abraham died just a few hours later, I may still not have such a clear mapping of Fannie's lines.

Certificate and Record of Death for Fannie M. Brewer,
died 28 April 1901 in Ramapo, Rockland County, New York.

Even on Fannie's death certificate, she is listed as widowed.  I never suspected she was a widow for only a few hours.


  1. I am perplexed. If Abraham had not died before her, what would have changed?

  2. If Fanny died first, Abraham would inherit everything. When he died, his siblings and nieces and nephews would inherit his estate, providing a list of his relatives. I am fairly secure in Abraham's family. An official listing of his relatives as of 1901 would have been nice, but Fanny's was nicer. She seemed related to Stephen Duryea and George Duryea (all three married Brewers), but was not sure of the relation. The distribution of her estate articulated that she was a sister of Stephen and George, plus a few other siblings. Curiously, the children of two deceased brothers were omitted, so the list was incomplete, yet still so helpful.