Maternal Branches on the Family Tree: Abigail Carlisle (1793-1871)

Today’s life sketch will look at Abigail Carlisle, sister of Catherine, who was featured earlier this month.

Although I have a number of cousin intermarriages in the 1600s and early 1700s, Abigail and Catherine are the only relatively recent examples of pedigree collapse in my family tree, which occurred when Catherine’s son married Abigail’s daughter.

I mentioned in Catherine’s post that the two sisters led very different lives after marriage. Catherine moved three times while married to John Stewart for 55 years. Abigail’s life turned out much differently.

Abigail Carlisle was born in 1793, most likely in Sussex, Kings, New Brunswick, Canada, the daughter of Robert and Catherine (MNU) Carlisle. She was the fifth born child, but the first daughter.

Exactly how Abigail met her future husband is something of a mystery. Israel Hicks was born c1785 in New Brunswick, Canada. The Hicks family were pre-Loyalists, having left Rhode Island for a new life in what was at the time Nova Scotia.

Israel Hicks married (1) Mary Elizabeth Wry, 29 January 1807 in Sackville, Westmorland, New Brunswick, Canada, but Mary died c1817/1818, possibly in childbirth. She was survived by her four young children, aged about 7 years and younger.

Israel needed a wife to care for these children and he married Abigail, who would have been about 25 years old. That is a bit older than the typical age for young women to have a first marriage, but not terribly unusual.

Given her age, it’s possible that Abigail traveled with her brother James, who purportedly had children born in Westmorland County or her brother John, who also lived in several counties in New Brunswick and Maine.

Regardless of how Israel and Abigail met, they married and settled down in Wellington, Kent, New Brunswick, Canada. In addition to Mariner, Silas, Pamelia and Israel, children born to first wife Mary Wry, Abigail gave birth to eight children of her own, all of whom were named in their father’s will.

Israel was a farmer by occupation, but the cause of his body being “sick and weak” on 15 May 1835, the day he wrote his will, isn’t known.

Israel’s will was proved on 9 December 1835, not only leaving Abigail a relatively young widow at the age of about 42 years, but with twelve children.

Surprisingly, Abigail never remarried. Perhaps she had enough help with her children and nearby family to maintain the farm.

Despite repeated attempts, Abigail (Carlisle) Hicks has not been found in the 1851 0r 1861 censuses of Canada nor in the 1850 or 1860 U.S. census.

By 1870, Abigail is living with daughter Elida (Hicks) Stewart’s family in Meddybemps, Washington, Maine, where she died on 27 March 1871. She is buried in Meddybemps Cemetery with Elida’s family and her son, David Harris Hicks, who died there on 27 September 1853.


1. Ira, born 3 September 1821; died 11 September 1980, McKees Mills, Kent, New Brunswick, Canada; married Matilda Abrams, 25 November 1844, Kent, New Brunswick, Canada
2. Polly, born c1823; died after May 1835, when she is named in her father’s will
3. Ephraim, born c1825; died after May 1835, when he is named in his father’s will
4. William, born c1827; died after May 1835, when he is named in his father’s will
5. David Harris, born December 1829; died 27 September 1853, Meddybemps, Washington, Maine; unmarried
6. Charles, born c1831; died after May 1835, when he is named in his father’s will
7. Elida Ann, born 1833; died 20 February 1914, Calais, Washington, Maine; married Charles Stewart, about 6 July 1850, Calais, Washington, Maine
8. Valentine, born December 1834; died 20 March 1912, Bangor, Penobscot, Maine; married Mary Ellen Nodding, c1862

What became of children Polly, Ephraim, William and Charles is unknown. The males don’t appear in the deeds index. It is possible they removed to another Canadian province or died before the 1851 census. None has been located in U.S. records either.

There are no known photographs of Abigail (Hicks) Carlisle.

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