The Breakers Bio Page
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Welcome to the Breaker Bio Page. Here, I'll give all the information I have about the various Breakers in my family, all the way back to those who came over from Europe. As a Breaker, I'm mostly interested in my direct descendents. That's why I'll give a more detailed history of my paternal fathers. However, info about other Breakers, the Juhans, Canteys, Bourdeauxs, Hornbys and other families connected with the Breakers can also be found here. You can begin by reading the following brief history of the first Breakers to come to America, and then clicking below for the descendents. Or, you can click on specific Breakers in my family line on the left.
THE FIRST BREAKERS IN AMERICA
From stories by other family members, genealogical sources, and census records, it is appears the first breakers to come to the United States were Conrad and George Breaker, brothers from Germany, in the late 1700's. (I come from the lineage of George). Family stories claim Conrad either moved back to Germany, or returned to the U.S. and changed his surname to Pritchard or Pritchett. I'm unable to confirm any of this about Conrad or find any documentation to prove it, (although I have my guesses, as you'll soon see).
However, historical records of land grants prove there were Breakers in the U.S. a quarter of a century before George and Conrad, in the mid 1700's. Below are the names and dates I found from the South Carolina Department of Archives index on microfilm:
04/14/1753 John Jurgen Brak, plat for 50 acres on eighteen mile branch.
06/20/1754 John Jurgen Brak, land grant for 50 acres on eighteen mile branch.
08/24/1765 John Jurgen Brak, memorial for 50 acres near eighteen mile branch.
Even though the records show his last name as BRAK, there is no doubt this man is really a BREAKER. We know this by the connection of the eighteen mile branch. Later, we'll see George Breaker lived in a home called the Eighteen Mile House.
Could John Jurgen Breaker be the father of George and Conrad? It appears he is according to an internet family research record I found online, which tells of a Joerg [or George] Braecker in Nappis, Wattwil, St. Gallen, Switzerland being christened on May 31st, 1741. The same record records George marrying twice, once to Katharina Klaeger on March 12, 1766 in Wattwil, St. Gallen, Switzerland, and again to Eliza Carlton, on March 19, 1802 in SOUTH CAROLINA. (This George is without a doubt my fifth-great-grandfather). The same document further gives the father as one JOHANNES BRAECKER (the German way of spelling JOHN), born about 1710 in Wattwill, Switzerland, who married a Anna Zuber in June 1735 in the same place. Whether Johannes Braecker is the father of George and Conrad, we may never know for sure, but he sure appears that he is, as the dates match perfectly.
George Breaker's tombstone in South Carolina, confirms the above mentioned dates, but gives several conflicting facts. It states he was born in 1742 (instead of 1741) in Germany (instead of Switzerland), and died Feb. 22, 1804 in St. James Goose Creek.
Germany and Switzerland are very close, so this discrepancy can be easily explained. And 1742 is only one year after 1741, so one year's difference can easily be chalked up to one's forgetting exactly their date of birth.
George and his brother Conrad got off on a rocky start in the new world, and ended up being sued in court for not paying off a debt of 300 pounds to a Mr. Richard Corker. On August 31st, 1767, the majesty's court in Charleston, S.C., dispatched a sheriff to apprehend George. Charges were filed against both him and Conrad on Oct. 19, 1767, and a court's judgment condemned him on the 30th of the same month, although neither George nor Conrad appeared in court. They both were then arrested and put in the custody of one Roger Pinckney. Records show there was a disagreement on how much they really owed. George and Conrad said they owed only 60 pounds, while Mr. Corker asserted he was due the full 300 pounds. The judgment roll told George and Conrad to pay the full amount, but no record exists if they ever did. (Maybe Conrad did change his name to Pritchard, or a derivative thereof, in order to avoid paying).
Little else is known about Conrad, but much information can be found of George and his political views of the time. Documents show George was a Loyalist, during the Revolutionary war, and his name is listed in the records of the Granville County Militia in 1781 as a Private.
Some say George came to America by way of Barbados. But no records I've ever found show any George Breaker in Barbados. The closest is a Sarah Brea___ (last few letters unintelligble) born in Barbados on March 20th 1728, the daughter of Timothy and _____ Break___. There is also an Edward Branker.
No documents have been produced showing George was ever in Barbados, but it's highly likely he spent time in the Bahamas. For the book "The Early Settlers of the Bahamas and Colonists of North America," by A. Talbot Bethell, gives a list of names of loyalists who moved to the Bahamas in 1783, after the U.S. government mandated their evacuation. On the list is one George BEAKER. Could this be our George?
If George did move to the Bahamas, he didn't stay too long, for in the 1790 U.S. census, we find a George BRAKER in St. James Goose Creek Parish, South Carolina. He is listed as having three boys, a wife, and one daughter.
George Breaker lived in the parish of St. James Goose Creek at the 18 mile house, exactly 18 miles North of Charleston, South Carolina. A map shows he had an Inn and a Tavern. As 18 miles was about one day's journey in those times, most who traveled inland from Charleston would spend their first night at George's hotel. It's been said George's wife even entertained George Washington once, as he toured those parts.
Click below for the actual historical documents pertaining to George and John J. Breaker and others