Update: Loyalist Robert Carlisle

UPDATE on the UPDATE,  30 August 2020: See comments added about land deeds of Robert Carlisle and Catherine Glasser.

Some brick walls refuse to break open. that’s been the story for years now, as I’ve researched Loyalist Robert Carlisle and his wife Catherine (MNU).

Right now, I feel like I’m a dog with a bone that I can’t give up and have kept at this puzzle.

To help illustrate how rare the Carlisle surname was in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in the 1700s, here are the handful of facts that I have uncovered in my many years of research.

  1. Robert Carlisle, born 1750-1760, served as a corporal in the Royal Fencible Americans stationed at Fort Cumberland, Canada from 1775-1777. He was in Parrtown by 1783, married Catherine (MNU), in late 1784 or early 1785, and moved to Kings County, New Brunswick, Canada by 1790.
  2. William Carlisle, born no later than 1759 and perhaps years before if he was a second husband; married Rachel Wickwire as her second husband, on 29 May 1780, Kings County, Nova Scotia. They had at least four children: William, born 1781; James, born 1783; Peter, born 1785 and died before 1803; Joseph, born 1788. Their grandfather Peter Wickwire gifted land to his “beloved grandchildren William, James and Joseph” in 1803. William Sr. was one of the witnesses.
  3. Dennis Heffernan married “Mrs. Jane Carlisle, ” December 1761, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. He died in Halifax in 1789.
  4. Benjamin Carlisle married Rebecca Moren, 28 November 1793, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

From this, several assumptions can be drawn, if all were of legal age (21) when they married.

  1. Robert Carlisle‘s birth year range is known from the 1830 census of Charlotte, Washington, Maine – born 1750-1760 – and probably closer to 1750, as he was a corporal in the RFA in 1775.
  2. William Carlisle, born by 1759 and maybe a decade earlier since it was a second marriage for Rachel Wickwire, born c1748.
  3. Mrs. Jane Carlisle, likely a widow, would have been born by 1740 and probably no later than the 1730s to remarry in 1761.
  4. Benjamin Carlisle would have been born no later than 1772.

No evidence has been found linking Benjamin Carlisle to Robert and his family or to William Carlisle or to Mrs. Jane Carlisle.

No evidence has been found connecting Robert, William and Mrs. Jane Carlisle. However, it is possible that Jane Carlisle, a widow, was the mother of several Carlisle children, including William and/or Robert.

There are no further family histories, land deeds or wills to be found that shed further light on any of these couples in terms of family relationships.

Recently, while listening to a webinar, the speaker commented that everyone should ALWAYS google their ancestor’s name to see what might pop up.

I’ve done that many times before, but this time, I decided to add a word and searched for “Robert Carlisle Parrtown.”

Parrtown is the original name for St. John, the town where many Loyalists disembarked from their ships and began new lives in Canada at the close of the American Revolution.

Much to my surprise, a digitized 2 volume family history published in 1954 came up:

Here we have The Ancestry of Herbert Ervin Gustin and that of his wife Julia Livingston Carlisle and their Descendants together with some account of the Gustin Family in America by Lester Carlisle Gustin. Volume 2 covers the Carlisle family.

I eagerly browsed the book, looking for information about Loyalist Robert Carlisle, who is the 2X great grandfather of author Lester Gustin, who passed away in 1965.

I have two long standing research questions related to this family:

1. Who are the parents and siblings of Robert Carlisle?
2. What is the maiden name of his wife, Catherine? (which would hopefully then lead to her parents and siblings)

I was quickly disappointed to read that Lester had no more information about either the origins of Robert Carlisle or the maiden name of Catherine. This, in spite of the fact that this family was well aware of their genealogical history. Kind of a surprise to me, given that Lester Gustin’s mother, Julia Livingston Carlisle, was born c1854, her father John, c1824 and her grandfather John (son of the Loyalist) died in 1859. Their lifetimes all overlapped, yet Julia apparently knew little personal information about her grandfather and his siblings.

I have documented more facts that several earlier generations were unable to provide.

In spite of that disappointment, I did glean several more tidbits of information that might be clues.

Gustin presented several scenarios for the origins of Robert Carlisle, one being that the family settled early in Nova Scotia. That is the theory to which I subscribe, at least as of now with no evidence that Robert ever lived in the colonies before the American Revolution.

Next, Gustin mentioned that Robert Carlisle sold at least part of Lot 809, the land that he was granted in Parrtown, on 24 March 1789. What interests me the most about this sale is that Gustin states the witness to this sale was one Abraham Carlisle, house carpenter.

Given the scarcity of the Carlisle surname in both Nova Scotia and early New Brunswick, I’d say it is extremely likely that Abraham Carlisle was closely related to Robert.

I have a request in to the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick (PANB) to see if they can locate this deed. I have two others, from 1784 and 1785, but never found any reference to a sale in 1789. However, I was aware that Robert was granted Lot 809. This deed would document the existence of Abraham Carlisle, who I have never come across.

UPDATE: I now have a copy of the 24 March 1789 deed. There is NO witness named Abraham Carlisle, NOR is any Carlisle except “Robert Carlile” mentioned in this deed. Always, always look for the records. Just because it is in a published book doesn’t mean it is correct!

Gustin was aware of Robert Carlisle’s military service and life in Sussex, Kings County, Canada, and had obviously researched at the Canadian archives, yet he was unaware of the Carlisle marriage records created in Sussex by his children.

Gustin names Robert and Catherine’s children as:

  1. John, born 1783, New Brunswick
  2. William, who married Elizabeth and lived in Hillsborough, Westmoreland County, New Brunswick, Canada by 1815
  3. Daniel, who married Alison and had land adjoining that of Robert Carlisle by 1810
  4. Robert, who identified himself as living in Upper Canada in 1831 in a Kings County land deed. No wife released dower at that time.
  5. James, born c1790; land granted to him in 1816 and it bordered family land.

Robert (born c1785), James (born c1787), John (born c1789) and Daniel (born c1795) are all children of Robert and Catherine.

However, Gustin erred by including William who married Elizabeth (MNU). He was the son of William who married Rachel Wickwire.

Gustin’s reasoning seems to be this statement, found in his book:

“names of James, John and William Kerlile” appear in the ledger”

Both James and John had sons named William, but it is likely William (married to Rachel) who is listed in the business ledger. It would help knowing the exact dates the names appear, but I have no access to this book. Whether this gives additional support to the idea that Robert and William might be brothers – maybe.

While leaving no stone unturned, I discovered four widows named Catherine on the list of people who were granted lots in Parrtown. The first, Catherine Cleveland, about whom I’ve already blogged, was actually Ketura Cleveland, not a Catherine at all. She is also a generation too old, but it is intriguing that Isaac Cleveland, her grandson, also lived in the village of Sussex Vale, where the Carlisles lived.

Next, we have Catherine (Manee) Gould, widow of John Gould of Essex County, New Jersey. She had adult sons Abraham and John Jr., who also appear on the Loyalist lists, so she is a generation too old to be my Catherine.

Third is Catherine Kautzman, who received two lots in Parrtown, #97 and #561. I’m not sure why she got two, but she was still appearing in land records in 1786 and 1812. Therefore, I can strike her off my list of possible Catherines.

That leaves but one lady – Catherine Glasser, identified as a widow. There are no other Glassers who I’ve come across in Loyalist records, so she may have been a very young widow.

In 1790, the Glasser surname mainly appears in Pennsylvania and is of German origin. That gives me pause, but it doesn’t mean that she couldn’t be my Catherine.

She received Lot #1245 and I’ve been unable to find any other information about her. I have a second request in at PANB for any land deeds in her name, particularly for the sale of Lot #1245.

UPDATE: I now have a copy of Catherine Glasser’s deed for Lot #1245. Unfortunately, there are couple of other deeds in her name, the last dated 1786, where she is still the widow Catherine “Gasser.” Since my Catherine and Robert were married by 1785, I can cross this lady off my list of possibilities.

So the hunt goes on!

On the plus side, I have much more information about the descendants of Robert and Catherine’s son, John, as that is Lester Gustin’s line.