JOHN DISBROW While we do not know the exact date of John's birth, it is easy to approximate for he was the oldest of three children born earlier than Benjamin who first saw the light of day in 1707. On July 11th 1723 he witnessed the Will of Stephen Warne so at that time he was at least twenty-one. Neither do we know just when he left the Gravally Ridge Farm, but, as we shall see in a moment, by 1735 both he and his two brothers were definitely living in Perth Amboy, John established in his father's profession of Cordwainer and, what with one thing and another, well on his way to affluence. But to all the early colonists land was the real wealth and measure of worldly success and the records reveal that our John was not idle in this department. A deed of 22nd March 1737, in the 4th Yr of the Reign of George II - "John Disbrow of County Middlesex, Cordwain- er, for 100 Pounds Sterling is granted all that tract on Amboy Bay in County Middlesex containing 150 acres English measure....Beginning by the Bay at High Water mark at S.E. of Gabriell Stolles land at Amboy Ferry to a mulberry tree etc., etc." Witness - Mary Disbrow & Griffen Disbrow. In 1738, the year before his wife Susanna's death, we find another deed dated August 15th "between John Dis- brow of the City of Perth Amboy, County Middlesex, Pro- vince of New Jersey, Yeoman, and Susanna his wife, and Griffen Disbrow of City, Province and County aforesaid. Whereas Geo. Soster and Elizabeth his wife, by Deed of August 18th 1730 did sell to Benj. Disbrow Jr., late of the City aforesaid, deceased, all that tract upon the west side of the Raritan River opposite Sandy Point.... Beginning at the meeting of two brooks...etc...and where- as afterwards the said Benj. Disbrow died intestate and without issue, whereby his estate in said lands and pre- mises descended unto the aforesaid John Disbrow, his eld- 40
JOHN DISBROW est brother and heir-at-law...Witnesseth that said John Disbrow and Susanna his wife, for & in consideration of the natural love and affection which they have unto the aforesaid Griffen Disbrow, and for the consideration of 40 pounds lawful monies of the Realm, do convey, sell etc." One of the lonely little stones over which Cousin Eloise dropt a quiet tear was that of Benjamin, Jr. who died in 1735 at the age of 28. Beside him lies Susanna, John's first wife, who died in 1739. Benjamin obviously was fond of his sister-in-law for although, as we know, he died intestate, he did make just one request orally as he lay dying. He asked that Susanna be given, among oth- er things, his Bible, a slave girl with her little boy, and his mare - all personal things that must have meant something to her. We are further told that not only did Benjamin's widow not dispute this bequest but, under date of 23rd March 1735/6 the New Jersey Archives (Vol. XXX, pp. 144-5) reveal that Margaret, Benjamin's widow who had bore him no children, declines to administer the es- tate, makes out a quit-claim to John, and releases all rights, property etc. to John Disbrow of Middlesex County, Cordwainer. The Archives further reveal that on May 15th 1736 a 500 Pound bond was given by John Disbrow, Joseph Johnson, and Griffen Disbrow of the City of Perth Amboy to administer the estate of the late Benjamin Disbrow, Jr. In it John Disbrow, Brother, is made administrator of Benj. Disbrow, late of Perth Amboy, who died intestate. The inventory of the estate runs to nearly 400 pounds, no mean sum in those days. Why did Margaret waive all her rights to so consid- erable an estate? Moral indignation, injured pride? I can think of no other reasons. Not that this concerns us - we are descended from John's second marriage. But it 41
JOHN DISBROW does give one to wonder - to use a Gallicism. Meanwhile John continues to increase his land hold- ings. "May 12th 1739 between John Robinson of Middle- town, County Monmouth, Yeoman, and John Disbrow of County Middlesex, Shoemaker, for 50 Pounds, 150 acres etc.... Beginning at N.E. cor. of Crawford's Farm along Crawford's line to his Westernmost corner, thence etc. etc. to Cheesequake Bay...thence along said Bay to where it first began." Tracing further through the records as my friend Major Bamford so tirelessly did, we find that on January 23rd 1742 was recorded from Jos. Johnson & Wfe to John Disbrow for land upon Amboy Bay in County Middlesex containing 150 acres. Again, the following year, appears another deed dated 19th May from [James?] Buckman to John Disbrow for 90 Pounds for 124 acres, being part of a tract on westerly side of Cheesequake Bay etc. etc.... This is a lot of land. Family legend has it that it comprised much of the land now known as Sayerville and stretched to the eastward till it was close to, if it didn't actually touch the large holdings of the Morgan family which we know as Morgan and Morganville. However, the really important event of this period in John's life, from the point of view of this chronicle, was his second marriage on October 6th 1743 to Sarah Sharpe of Perth Amboy, South Ward (South Amboy today), for it was from this union that our line was carried for- ward another step. John Disbrow and Sarah Sharpe had two sons, John D. and Elijah. No one seems to know for what the "D" stood. Elijah eventually moved to New York but that was, of course, after the War and not before he had served in the Militia and as a Minute Man. We shall hear of him briefly a little later. 42
JOHN DISBROW John Disbrow died in 1771. In his will, dated 21st July 1770 and probated on July 27th 1771, he states - "I, John Disbrow of South Ward of Perth Amboy, Mid- dlesex County do grant and bequeath to my son John D. Disbrow, my Plantation in Amboy bounding on the Bay, the Ferry and where he lives....To my wife Sarah during her life, the Plantation where I live....To my son Elijah, after my wife's death, the Plantation where I live at Roundabout on Raritan Bay....To my daughter, Mary Disbrow, if she lives to be married, the land at Spots- wood and all movable property after her mother's death." Executors - Wife Sarah & son John. Note the term "Round- about" which appears nearly a century later in Nicholas Morgan Disbrow's letter of May 3rd 1842. John was buried, not under the apple trees on Grav- ally Ridge but, beside Sarah, in the graveyard of old St. Peter's Church where let us leave him while we follow, as best we may, the life of his eldest son, of County Monmouth, Province of New Jersey, my great-great-great- grandfather and the grandson of Benjamin of Gravally Ridge Farm, JOHN D. DISBROW. 43
Todd L. Sherman (genealogy at alachuaskywarn dot org)
© Copyright 1995/1996/1997 by Todd L. Sherman. All Rights Reserved.