Category Archives: Carlisle

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.

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.





ThruLines – Practice Due Diligence!

Ancestry’s ThruLines can be an excellent tool to provide clues about our ancestors. However, it is far from infallible and should be viewed much like any online family tree – AS A CLUE.

Here is an excellent example from my own tree. Regular readers have seen many posts about my Loyalist Robert Carlisle and his wife, Catherine (MNU) and my quest to find both her maiden name and the origins of each of their families.

In this case, DNA testing has not proven to be very useful. I was curious to see what matches, if any, ThruLines might provide for this couple.

First, I am descended twice from this couple from two daughters, Abigail and Catherine. Although Robert and Catherine are duly represented twice each in ThruLines matches, the first time they appear, there are ZERO matches to them. Why? I haven’t a clue.

The second time they appear, nine matches are attached.

Seven of these matches are directly to me and I recognize all the people as distant cousins, all connected to Abigail and Catherine’s lines.

However, and this is a HUGE however, Catherine’s purported father is shown as Lt. John STARKEY of New Hampshire.

Where do I begin with the problems posed here? Well, let’s start with the fact that there was no such person as Lt. General John R. Starkey. Someone has made this up, misrepresenting MAJOR GENERAL JOHN (no middle initial) STARK of New Hampshire, born 28 August 1728 and died 8 May 1822, in New Hampshire.

More problems will become evident in a moment.

My two other DNA matches are through descendants of Reuben and Sarah STARK.

The middle column represents Reuben; the far right, Sarah.

Next, I found that John STARK of NEW JERSEY is well represented in the DAR Patriot Index, with service verified. Many descendants of John, through son Reuben and daughter Sarah, have joined NSDAR. This John Stark was born 1 April 1733 and died 8 May 1825 in New Jersey.

This non-existent Lt. General John R. Starkey has been given the birth year of John Stark of New Jersey, but the death year of John Stark of New Hampshire.

ThruLines has gathered this information from its online trees. Tree owners have MERGED these two men into one man WHO NEVER EXISTED.

I can state with 1000% confidence that Catherine is NOT the daughter of Lt. General John R. Starkey.

What about the STARK connection?

Well, I’m not so sure about that connection, either, at least not to Catherine (MNU) Carlisle.

I clearly share a small amount of DNA with two descendants of John Stark of New Jersey, but there are a couple of curve balls here.

First, I have other ancestral lines that trace back to the area of New Jersey in which the Stark family lived – ancestral lines with quite a few people named Unknown and women (MNU). My DNA Stark connection could just as easily be through one of those other families, and I actually think that is a much more likely scenario.

Second, I have built out family trees for Reuben and Sarah Stark and cannot find a single common location or person in either tree that matches a location or person in my Carlisle family tree. Nor can I find any pre-Revolutionary War people or places in common.

Third, John Stark had a daughter, Catherine, about the same age as my Catherine (MNU) Carlisle, who married one ROBERT CARLISLE. This couple REMAINED in New Jersey and are clearly NOT my Robert and Catherine. Question – Did ThruLines find Catherine Stark and Robert Carlisle and use that discovery to link my tree to the bogus Lt. General John Starkey tree?

Fourth – and this is very concerning – Descendants of both Reuben and Sarah have online family trees, but when I clicked on EVALUATE the connections, this is what appears:

There are ZERO trees linked to DNA matches for both Reuben and Sarah Stark. How can that be when their descendants have online trees and I show up as a DNA match to them????

Notice that the evaluation boxes say Reuben and Sarah MAY BE the daughter of Lt. Gen. John R. Starkey.

MAY BE is the “buyer beware” warning in ThruLines. Unfortunately, the same people who blindly copy and paste have also accepted a bogus person (who never lived), possibly because of ThruLines matches.

I currently believe that Catherine (MNU) Carlisle has no familial ties whatsoever to this Stark family of New Jersey and that my DNA matches are likely through an as-yet-undiscovered line in my family tree.

Moral of the story: I repeat my opening mantra: Ancestry’s ThruLines can be an excellent tool to provide clues about our ancestors. However, it is far from infallible and should be viewed much like any online family tree –  AS A CLUE.