52 Documents in 52 Weeks #27: Loyalist Pension Records

We are half way through our 52 weeks already so it’s a good time for a bit of a recap. A friend of mine mentioned this 52 Documents topic late in 2016. I loved the idea because it gave me a chance to both point out less obvious places where vital ancestral information might be found and to highlight some lesser known, but excellent resources. I hope you’ve gotten some ideas for your own research based on the documents I’ve shared so far.

Today, I want to share a database for those who have Loyalist ancestors who settled in New Brunswick, Canada. It’s a digitized pension file for old soldiers and their widows. I have never heard of Loyalist pensions, although I was very aware of the claims for losses that displaced British subjects could file in Canada, hoping for some reimbursement of all they forfeited while loyal to their king.

The Provincial Archives of New Brunswick does a fabulous job with their website. They are continually adding to the digital collections and they have a “Federated Database Search” that will search the current (36) databases online. As with any other site, though, I like to sometimes browse to see exactly what is being searched.

I hit the Search link at the top left of their home screen and this page came up:

Search List on PANB

What caught my eye was “Records of Old Revolutionary Soldiers and Their Widows.” These declarations and petitions were apparently taken in the early 1840s so either your Loyalist or his wife would have had to have survived until that time. I clicked to find out what these records contain.

What I love about this page is that searches can be performed two ways – by surname or by county. That is great because if no one is found in the county where they resided, the surname alone can also be searched.

The database isn’t all that big, so I went through the alphabet. I found records for William Segee and Gould Crouse, both of whom are collateral lines of two of my Loyalists. I also found records for Catherine Stewart, born c1760, widow of James Stewart, who served in the Loyal American Regiment, formed in Westchester and Dutchess Counties, New York. My Walter Stewart was from Dutchess County and he mentioned “my brothers.” It is possible that James Stewart was one of those brothers, so I have a new avenue in York County, New Brunswick to travel.

The piece de resistance, though, had to be Catherine “Carlile,” widow of Robert Carlisle, whose statement gave the year (1834) and place (Charlotte, Maine, where they had been living ) of Robert’s death. There are old gravestones in Charlotte, but none for Robert and there is no death record there for him either.

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.

Finding this record was an unexpected fun surprise!

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