This page conforms to the XHTML standard and uses style sheets. If your browser doesn't support these, you may not see the page as designed, but all the text is still accessible to you.


Bringing the heritage of Schenectady County, New York to the world since 1996

You are here: Home » Resources » MVGW Home » Biographies » Abram Giles Brower, M. D.

History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Abram Giles Brower, M. D.

Index to All Biographies | Index to Biographies by County: Fulton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Schenectady, Schoharie | Search by keyword

Go to previous biography: Nicholas Francis Vedder | next biography: Egmont Giles Brower

[This information is from Vol. IV, pp. 19-23 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

Contents | Portraits | Illustrations | Maps

Portrait of Abram Giles Brower, M. D.

Portrait: Abram Giles Brower, M. D.

[View enlarged]

The ancestry of Dr. Abram Giles Brower, father of Abram Vedder and Egmont Giles Brower, is traced in the Hudson and Mohawk valleys of New York state from New Amsterdam to Schenectady. The line of descent is from the Brouwers of Zeeland, Holland, a family of distinction, whose armorial bearings are thus described: "De gu. a deux fourches de brasseur, d'or, passees en saut., acc. en chef d'une etoile du meme; au chef cousu d'azur, ch. de trois colombes volantes malordonnees d'arg."

Wilem Hendrickse Brouwer, the founder of the family in America, was a property owner of New Amsterdam, (New York), in 1655, and a resident of Beverwyck (Albany) in 1657, his brother, Philip Hendrickse, settling in Schenectady in 1664, one of the original patentees of that town. Wilem Hendrickse Brouwer died in Albany and was buried there on August 3, 1668. His son, Hendrick Brouwer, married, March 26, 1692, in Albany, Maria Peterse Borsboom, widow of Teunis Carstensen, and soon thereafter settled in Schenectady.

The line from Hendrick and Maria P. (Borsboom) Brouwer continues through their son, Peter Brouwer, who was baptized November 10, 1697, a soldier in the Indian wars, serving in the Second Military Company of Foot of the township of Schenectady in 1715, and his wife, Helena (Fonda) Brouwer. Their son, Giles Brouwer (who changed the spelling of his name to its present form), born August 1, 1747, died August 14, 1800, and his wife, Maria (Bradt) Brower. Their son, Peter Brower, born March 3, 1780, died October 8, 1852, and his wife, Ann Catherine (Stevens) Brower. Their son, Giles Brower, born November 5, 1815, died April 23, 1861, and his wife, Helena (Vrooman) Brower, to whom he was married in Schenectady, New York, November 5, 1833. Giles and Helena (Vrooman) Brower were the parents of Dr. Abram Giles Brower of further mention.

Dr. Brower was educated for the profession of medicine, but early entered business life, and for nearly half a century was a prominent business man of the city of Utica. It is said of him that few men more quickly recognized a business opportunity or utilized it to better advantage; of sound judgment, that he was not afraid to trust, and with the courage of his convictions, his life was marked by successful achievement in every field which he entered.

Abram Giles Brower was born in Schenectady, New York, May 18, 1840, and died at Saranac Lake, New York, November 8, 1907. He attended Schenectady schools, was a student at the Lyceum, and finished college preparation at boarding school. He then entered Union College (now University), Schenectady, where he was graduated A. B., class of 1859. Choosing a profession, he began the study of medicine under Dr. Alexander Vedder of Schenectady, soon, however, entering Albany Medical College, (now Union University), where he received his M. D., class of 1861. He pursued postgraduate courses at the College of Physicans and Surgeons, (Columbia University), and later, in 1861, volunteered his services to the government as an army surgeon and passed the required examinations, but was not called upon for active duty. From 1861 until 1863 he practiced his profession in Utica, whence he had settled after his marriage in 1861, his father-in-law, Nicholas Francis Vedder, a sketch of whom follows, having been one of Utica's leading business men, being largely interested in railroads, telegraph lines and public utilities. In 1863 he prevailed upon his son-in-law, Dr. Brower, to abandon his profession and become manager of the Vedder interests, notably the Utica & Black River Railroad, and the Utica Gas Company.

In 1863 Dr. Brower was made a director of the Utica & Black River Railroad, and was at once elected vice president, connections which remained unbroken for many years. He was also elected a director and an official of the Utica Gas Company, also a long time association. From the Vedder interests he extended his activities to personal business enterprises, and in the course of time these became numerous and exceedingly weighty. For twenty years he was a director of the Oneida National Bank of Utica, but in 1905 his health caused him to resign. He became deeply interested in the Utica Water Works Company, and succeeded Thomas Hopper in the presidency. Three reservoirs lying south of Utica were built by the company during President Brower's administration, which only ended with the sale of the Utica Water Works Company to the West Canada Water Company, at which time the Consolidated Water Company was formed. Dr. Brower did not sever his connection at the time of the sale, but remained on the advisory board for some time and rendered effective service in securing for Utica an abundant and pure water supply. He also became president of the Utica Steam Cotton Mills; was one of the organizers of the United States Transportation Company in 1899, and vice president of that company until his death. One of the first boats which the company included in its fleet was named the "A. G. Brower", and was long in the service. He was president of the Brower & Love Brothers Company, owning cotton mills in Indianapolis, Indiana, and the owner of a great deal of land in both the south and west. One of his properties was the Brower plantation, a tract of ten thousand acres in Grenada and Carroll counties, Mississippi. These were the chief activities of his useful and busy life, which covered a period of sixty-seven years. From reaching years of discretion until its ending, his life was honorable and upright, and no man was more highly esteemed in the city in which his adult years were largely spent.

In politics Dr. Brower was a republican, but office-holding had no part in his scheme of life. He was a devout member of the Dutch Reformed church, first as a young man in Schenectady and later in Utica. He took an active, helpful part in church work, and when the present church edifice was erected he was chairman of the building committee and for years was a trustee of the Utica church. He was a member of Utica Lodge, No. 47, Free and Accepted Masons; the St. Nicholas Society of New York city; the Holland Society of New York; Fort Schuyler Chapter, Sons of the Revolution; New York Yacht Club; Atlantic Yacht Club; Adirondack League Club, and was a charter member of both the Fort Schuyler Club and the Yahnundasis Golf Club of Utica. Yachting was his favorite recreation, but he enjoyed all forms of open air sport and his vacation periods were always spent in the open.

Dr. Brower was married, in Utica, New York, on October 30, 1861, to Jennie Helen Vedder, daughter of Nicholas Francis and Cornelia Blandina (Veeder) Vedder, a sketch of whom follows. Five children were born to Dr. and Mrs. Abram G. Brower: Jennie Cornelia, who died November 11, 1871; Helena Vedder, who died August 7, 1872; Jennie Florence, who was married on September 14, 1916, to Dr. James Pendleton Erskine, and died July 27, 1917; Abram Vedder, and Egmont Giles, sketches of whom appear elsewhere.

Such was the life of Dr. Abram G. Brower, a man of high ideals and advanced standards of business integrity. He had a scrupulous regard for the rights of others, and gave to every man his just due. He left behind the record of a lifetime of usefulness, and Utica is richer for the life of Dr. Abram Giles Brower.

Go to top of page | previous biography: Nicholas Francis Vedder | next biography: Egmont Giles Brower

You are here: Home » Resources » MVGW Home » Biographies » Abram Giles Brower, M. D. updated March 30, 2015

Copyright 2015 Schenectady Digital History Archive — a service of the Schenectady County Public Library