I have previously written about Loyalist James Astle and I have also written about how I was able to prove that my 3x great grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Astle, was a grandchild of James. As I look back at old posts, I noticed, though, that I have never written directly about Mary Elizabeth’s parents and her mother’s maiden name is one of my brick walls.
The Astle surname is quite unique in colonial America. James was living in Schenectady, New York at the time of the American Revolution and, as the war ended, he and his young family left for a new life in Canada.
I had one early clue about Mary Elizabeth’s parents’ places of birth (Quebec and New Brunswick) in the 1880 U.S. census of Calais, Maine:
I had no reason to doubt this information since the rest of the family information in this census was correct. Since I’ve already shared the story of the herculean effort needed to prove Mary’s parentage, I will jump right to her family.
Daniel Astle’s father, James “Astles” appears on a list of those Loyalists who drew lots in Paspebiac (later New Carlisle) on 17 August 1784. James is listed as a “taylor” with a wife, sons aged 5 and 1 and daughters aged 11 and 8. Those Loyalists had been at Sorel in 1783 before landing at Chaleur Bay.
James Astles & Family – 6th on list
This supports the information on the 1880 Calais census which says that Mary’s father was born in Quebec.
James Astle filed a declaration in 1801 stating that from 1789 until August 1800, he lived continuously at Restigouche and then settler permanently on the Miramichi River in the parish of Ludlow.
These four moves covered about 800 miles, so this was not an inconsequential move and that isn’t even considering travel from Schenectady, which is another 250 miles due south of Sorel.
Daniel Astle married a young lady named Jane about 1807 or 1808. No marriage record has been found for them and, for many years, it was presumed that Daniel, who died at a young age, died unmarried and without descendants. However, among the land deeds of Northumberland County is one for a sale of land by the heirs of Daniel Astle, filed in 1848, thirty-one years after his death!
This deed clearly states that Jane Ripplee, wife of George Ripplee, is the widow of Daniel Astle and that the remaining people named within are the children of Daniel and their spouses.
Although Daniel died a young man, his name appears in numerous records. He received a land grant in 1809 of Lot 41, south side of the Miramichi,11 which was directly across the water from James Astle’s land and one lot away from that of Angelica Davis, his sister.
He was a constable in 1805, Overseer of the Fisheries in 1807, and Overseer of Roads in 1810. In his 1809 memorial, he named his brother, Joseph, who had helped with the improvements to the land.
Daniel died by November 1817, when John Astle published notice of administration of his estate.
Death often came unexpectedly in those times, but it is interesting to note that before he died, Daniel appeared two more times in the land deeds, apparently having financial problems. First, on 6 Feb 1815, Daniel bound himself to John Clark and Co. for the sum of £120, with £60 due with interest on 1 June 1816. Collateral apparently was land not identified by lot number, but bordered by that of Benjamin Davis and John Mitchell and contained about 200 acres. What became of that debt is not known, but on 24 Apr 1817, the sheriff of Northumberland County was ordered to hold a sale to satisfy a court judgment against Daniel Astle. He owed £38.19s.8p. to Alexander Fraser and Alexander Davidson, plus £1 in court costs in York County and did not pay the debt before the date set at Fredericton.
He was found not to own anything of value in York County, so the court requested the Northumberland County sheriff to seize Daniel’s goods and chattels and to sell them to obtain the judgment money. The sheriff then sold Daniel’s Lot 41 by public auction to John McAllister and James Ogilvie for £41.51. Within seven months of that sale, Daniel had died.
Although Jane Astle’s maiden name is unknown, circumstantial clues point to her being a Parker. When she married (2) George “Rapplee” on 26 Jan 1819, the witnesses were Christopher Parker and William Barclay. Margaret Parker was one of the witnesses at the wedding of Jane’s daughter, Hannah, in 1839. When Jane’s son, John, married Elizabeth Parker on 19 Feb 1846, witnesses were Rowland Crocker and William Parker.
There also seem to be a lot of Parker business dealings with the Astles, but only with those Astles who belong to Daniel’s family. Daniel’s sons, James and John, both had land dealings with Parkers and George and Jane Ripplee were jointly bound with Christopher Parker in 1819 for a total sum of £620.
On 20 Apr 1824, Richard Simonds won a judgment against George Ripplee and Christopher Parker for £392.13s.8p (reason not stated) and on 6 Nov 1825, John A. Street won £79.1s. for trespass against George Ripplee and Christopher Parker.
In addition, in 1829, one Christopher Parker sold seven lots of land in St. Mary’s on the Nashwaak, some land in Nelson and a lot in St. John to George, Hugh and William Parker of Nelson for £1150. The witnesses were George Ripplee and W. Sterling. The land had originally been granted to members of the disbanded 42nd Regiment. If the parents of James and Elizabeth Astle were soldiers in that unit, perhaps Daniel’s wife was also a child of a soldier in that same unit.
The widow of Christopher Parker, Ann, died 8 Dec 1870, aged 78, at Derby. In her will, she named William Parker as executor along with son-in-law William Wilson. Bequests were left to daughter Ann and sons Christopher, Thomas and James.
The last mention of Jane in any record is a newspaper announcement stating that Jane Ripplee died on 2 Oct 1854 at the home of his (sic) son, J.T. Astle.
Children of Daniel and Jane (Parker?) Astle:
i. George (N.? or Hiram?), born c1809; married (1) Margaret Russell, 27 Nov 1833, St. John. Both were of Portland, St. John. Witnesses were R. Payne and A. Robertson (2) Elizabeth F. Lyons, 28 Mar 1839.
ii. Mary Elizabeth, born c1811; died 26 Dec 1889, Calais, Washington, ME; married Thomas Coleman, 22 June 1830, Nelson, Northumberland, New Brunswick.
iii. John T(homas?), born c1812; married (1) Elizabeth Parker, 19 Feb 1846 (2) Eliza Weston, 11 Oct 1855. John was listed as an insolvent lumberer in 1858-9.
iv. James Daniel, born c1815; married Rebecca Vanderbeck, 27 Mar 1851.
v. Hannah, born c181742; married Abram Clarke, 22 Jan 1839. Witnesses were John Astels and Margaret Parker.
I know there are many descendants of Daniel and Jane Astle, particularly in New Brunswick, Canada. If you are descended from this family, please contact me.