Petition of Catharine, widow of Loyalist Robert Carlisle

Technology just keeps getting better and better. For many years, all I knew about Robert and Catharine Carlisle was that he was served with the British during the American Revolution, although I am not sure he was an official “Loyalist” since that implies he lived within the thirteen colonies during the war. I don’t think he moved into the territorial borders of the United States until the 1820’s.

However, Robert Carlisle disappears after the 1830 census of Charlotte, Washington County, Maine. I assumed that he and wife Catharine had both died. Their children were grown and scattered with their own young families.

Not all that long ago, I was browsing through the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, one of my favorite Canadian websites. I found a database called Records of Old Revolutionary Soldiers and Their Widows and decided to browse through it. In the “C” list, I found Robert and Catharine “Carlile” of Charlotte County, New Brunswick, which is where the application was filed.

There are two documents pertaining to Robert and Catharine that have been digitized. The first is an 1840 list of those eligible to petition:

1840 Pension Petition List

The sixth name is that of Catharine Carlile, who filed her petition in St. Andrews, Charlotte County, New Brunswick, Canada.

The second document is priceless, as it gives her age and the death year and place for husband, Robert Carlisle, who left no will or probate.

Here is the transcription of the page, minus a few illegible words:

I Catherine Carlile of the Parish of
Sussex in the County of Kings widow aged eighty
years do swear that in the year one thou
sand eight hundred and thirty-four or
thereabouts I was lawfully married to Robert
Carlile who served as a soldier in the revo-
lutionary war in America That he was at
tached to the Royal Fencibles that
he died at the Town of Charlotte in the
United States of America in the year 1834
That I now reside in Kings County – that
I did actually reside in the Province
at the time of passing an act ( ) in
the second year of the Reign of her
Majesty Queen Victoria ( ) an
Act for the relief of old soldiers of the
Revolutionary War and ( ) Widows D(o)
Atest? I was married to the said Robert Carlile
before the passing of the said act and that
I am ( ) have been for the last
twelve months a widow and in indigent
circumstances having no sufficient
property ( ) from which I can support
or maintain myself and that I have not
(that of my hands?) possess or disposal
Any property in ( ) to receive or provide
( ) by support or maintenance.
Catharine X Carlile
Signed at ( )
The 18th day of August
1840 Before me William Ker J.P.

I knew that Robert served with the Royal Fencible Americans, but further research showed that they were located almost exclusively in Nova Scotia. This fact led me to the premise that while Robert was a loyal subject of the king, he wasn’t technically an American Loyalist.

I now have an 1834 death date for Robert and I know that Catharine didn’t die between 1830 and 1840. She returned to Sussex, the village from which they left to settle in Charlotte, sometime between Robert’s death and 18 August 1840.

I wish her statement about her marriage date was the actual date of her wedding instead of saying that she was married to Robert by the time he died. I also wish she provided a list of her children because I can prove six of her children, but there are seven other Carlisles of the right age to possibly be her children.

Nevertheless, this was a fabulous discovery which wouldn’t have happened if the file hadn’t been digitized.

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