Saturday, July 23, 2011

Duers/Dewers Family

I am currently working on a genealogy and family history of the David Dewers Family. If you have any information or pictures of this family, I'd love to hear from you.

On the 9th of December 1770 DAVID DEWERS was married in Dartmouth, Bristol County, Massachusetts to DEBORAH SHERMAN. The event is notable because this is the first known historical record of this Dewers family. It is also notable because this marriage to Deborah is essentially all we know about David. No mention is made of him before this marriage in Dartmouth even though the vital records indicate that he was a resident there. No mention is made of him after the marriage in Dartmouth, or elsewhere, at least as far as we have been able to ascertain. No deeds, tax records, or other records have been found to indicate how long or how permanent a resident of Dartmouth he was, nor to indicate anything about him after the family moved to New York.

The Dewers/Duers family name is not a common name and very little published information is available on the family. A search of the US Social Security Death Index for the name Duers gives 27 entries. Of these, 18 had social security numbers issued in New York, 4 in New Jersey, and two in Pennsylvania. The name Dewers appears only 12 times in this same death index, but the numbers were issued in a wider variety of states, including Pennsylvania (2), Indiana (3), Maryland (2), and California (2). Even in this modern age of readily available information, it is still difficult to find anything written about the Dewers/Duers family. One of the problems in tracing the family name is that it is variously spelled as Dewers, Duers, Duerz, Deuers, Deurs, Duerst, Dewees, Dewars, and perhaps in other ways in historical records. Dewers is the commonly used form in Pennsylvania and in Massachusetts, while Duers is usually the form used by the family in New York, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois. The one common factor among all the variants, which is nearly universal, is that the name is spelled with an “s” (Duers or Dewers); individuals and families who spell the name Duer, Dewar, or Dewer are in almost all cases not part of this family.

David Dewers’ wife, Deborah, was the daughter of Henry Sherman and Ruth (Akin) Sherman. Her ancestry, unlike David’s, is well-known and can be traced back through several generations to the Sherman’s of Yaxley, England. Deborah was born about 1752 probably in Dartmouth, Bristol, Massachusetts. Her ancestors include John Howland and Elizabeth Tilley (4th great-grandparents) who were passengers on the Mayflower.

It appears that between 1774 and 1776, Deborah’s father Henry Sherman, along with most of his children, moved from Dartmouth, Massachusetts to Washington County, New York. David and Deborah (Sherman) Dewers must have moved later, since their son David was born in Massachusetts. At the present time, no records have been found for the elder David Dewers in Washington County, New York, but he must have been in New York with the family for a few years because his two youngest sons John and William were born in New York in about 1779 and 1784, respectively, according to later census records.


1. The first two generations for the Dewers family have previously been published by the author in the New York Genealogical and Biographical Record, v. 137, p. 93-102 and 201-210.


Vital Records of Dartmouth, Massachusetts (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical Society., 1930) vol. 2, p. 164, 424, and 427.

3.Roy V. Sherman, Some Descendants of Philip Sherman, the First Secretary of Rhode Island (privately published, 1968), p. 494.

4.1850 US Census of Kingsbury, Washington, New York, p. 233, and of Rose, Oakland, Michigan, p. 380A. Henry Sherman (also known as Shairman) is listed in the Mar 2nd and Oct 23rd 1779 Saratoga (New York) District Tax lists. His tax valuation assesment was small ($10) consistent with having just moved recently to the county. Henry was also a member of the 13th regiment of the Albany County Militia according to New York in the Revolution as Colony and State (Albany, 1904), 1:124. He was one of the original members of the Masonic Lodge established in 1787 at Fort Edward and Kingsbury (Crisfield Johnson, History of Washington County [Philadelphia: Everts & Ensign, 1878], p. 317). He was apparently still in Massachusetts when his father, Jabez Sherman, willed him property there (Jabez Sherman’s will is dated 15 Jun 1774, two weeks before his death and is found in the probate records of Bristol County, Massachusetts in Salt Lake City on Family History Library microilm 579,724). Our Henry probably was the Henry Sherman mentioned as being chosen to be a “pathmaster” at a district meeting in Cambridge, Washington County in May 1776 (Johnson, History of Washington County, 255). If this is the case, his daughter Deborah and her husband David Dewers must have moved some time later to New York, because in 1776 they were still in Dartmouth, Mass. where their son David was born in November of 1776. 

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