Maternal Branches on the Family Tree: Catherine Carlisle (1793-1870+)

This month, the two posts telling the stories of my 3X great grandmothers covers sisters Catherine and Abigail Carlisle, daughter of Robert Carlisle, who lived in Canada during the American Revolution and defended Fort Cumberland, New Brunswick in the 1770s.

Although sisters who grew up together, Catherine’s and Abigail’s married lives and homes were quite different. Today’s life sketch shares Catherine’s story.

Catherine Carlisle was born c1793 in New Brunswick, Canada per American census records. Yes, American!

She married John Stewart on 28 December 1814 in the little village of Susses, Kings, New Brunswick, Canada. John and Catherine likely remained in Sussex for the first few years of their marriage, as both had families living there.

The first two sons of thirteen known children were born in Canada. However, not long after the 1820 Maine census, the young Stewart family moved to Charlotte, Washington, Maine.

The reason for the family’s move from New Brunswick to Maine is not known as John worked solely as a small farmer. Perhaps land was difficult to obtain around Sussex. It is known that several Sprague family members plus John and James Carlisle also settled in Charlotte in the same time period. John and James were brothers of Catherine (Carlisle) Stewart). I’ve also wondered, but have never been able to prove a theory that Catherine’s mother might be a Sprague, as they definitely were part of the same FAN club.

The family lived happily in the new town of Charlotte with Catherine’s remaining eleven children all being recorded in the town vital records.

Children (All born in Charlotte unless noted otherwise):

1. Son, born c1816; died after 1830
2. William, born 7 July 1817, Sussex Vale, Kings, New Brunswick, Canada; died 15 January 1899, Topsfield, Washington, Maine; married (1) Eunice P. (MNU), before 1850 (2) Sarah L. Crabtree, 7 August 1864, Princeton, Washington, Maine
3. Charles Augustus, born 1 July 1822; died 24 November 1894, Meddybemps, Washington, Maine; married Elida Ann Hicks, 6 July 1850 (intentions), Calais, Washington, Maine
4. Walter, born 15 August 1824; died 13 August 1853, Bridgewater, Aroostook, Maine; unmarried
5. Robert Nelson, born 31 August 1826; died between July 1869-7 December 1875, probably New Brunswick, Canada; married Eliza Augusta Grass, 16 March 1860, Charlotte, Washington, Maine
6. Nancy Ann, born 19 July 1827; died 7 April 1909, Easton, Aroostook, Maine; married Thomas Jenkins, c1848, probably Aroostook County, Maine
7. Mary, born 20 July 1829; died 2 October 1907, Oakfield, Aroostook, Maine; married Joel Hamilton Howard, c1860
8. Abigail, born 25 August 1831; died 13 April 1910, Mars Hill, Aroostook, Maine; married Elijah Lincoln Sprague, c1849
9. Polly, born 10 October 1833; died 10 November 1833, Charlotte, Washington, Maine
10. Myrta, born 21 January 1835; died before 1850
11. George A., born 6 February 1838; died 6 July 1892, Mars Hill, Aroostook, Maine; unmarried
12. Daughter, born c1839; died after 1840
13. Eunice, born 31 August 1841; died after 1850

Catherine would have been a very busy housewife, raising her children and helping John with farm chores. There weren’t any amenities to be had and the “big city” of Calais was 13 miles away. That was a rigorous trip in 1821 and I don’t imagine the family spent much time there.

I think it’s more likely that perhaps John and several other men might have traveled to Calais to obtain needed supplies and that they were gone for 2 or 3 days. those trips, however, would have been few and far between.

John decided to relocate his family once again in the 1840s. It seems that when John was able to see smoke from his neighbors’ chimneys, it was time to move. The Stewarts’ new home was in Portland Academy Grant, Aroostook, Maine, created in 1844. Aroostook County has a small population even today, but in the 1840s, there were only a handful of fledgling towns. Today, the town is known as Bridgewater.

By 1850, when John and Catherine are enumerated in the census, only George and Eunice were still at home. In 1860, John and Catherine were at home with a twelve year old boy, Charles Rankins, born in New Brunswick, Canada, living with him. Luckily, Charles was enumerated twice, once with the Stewarts and once with his family. He was the son of John Rankins, who also lived in Bridgewater, and I suspect that Charles helped the Stewarts with farm chores. By 1860, John was 75 and Catherine was about 60 years old.

John Stewart died on 28 November 1869 in nearby Mars Hill, Aroostook, Maine, where his brother was living. He and Catherine had been married for 55 years when he died.

Catherine lived with son, George, in 1870, and likely died in Bridgewater sometime before the 1880 census.

To summarize, Catherine lived in three towns during her lifetime – Sussex in Canada, and then Charlotte and Bridgewater in Maine. She and husband John had thirteen children, but as many as six might have died in their youth. They preferred life in rural areas which were very much state frontier lands at the time they settled.

Note, too, that I have no evidence that Catherine and her sister, Abigail, ever saw each other again after the Stewarts left Canada. It’s not impossible, but no records indicate otherwise.

Later this month, the life story of Catherine’s sister, Abigail, will be shared. There were marked differences in their lifestyles.

There are no known photographs of John and Catherine Stewart or their children, at least that I’ve been able to find.





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