Category Archives: Charlotte ME

Robert Nelson Stewart, Where Did You Go?

My biggest Stewart mystery is Robert Nelson Stewart, son of John Stewart and his wife, Catherine Carlisle.

Robert was most likely named to honor Catherine’s father, Robert Carlisle. He was born in Charlotte, Washington, Maine on 31 August 1826. He appears in no other records until 16 March 1860. On that date, in Charlotte, Maine where he was born, he married Eliza Augusta Grass, who was about sixteen years old.

Eliza is very likely the Eliza “Grasse” in the household of Israel and Eliza Grasse of Charlotte, Maine enumerated in the 1860 census. This Eliza was 16, so born about 1844, in New Brunswick, Canada. What is most odd, though, is that the 1860 census was taken on 27 June 1860 and Eliza is at home in her father’s household. There is no indication that Eliza was married and Robert Stewart is nowhere to be found. This is the only Grass family in the area.

Eliza’s father, Israel, was born about 1802 in New Brunswick. The family was enumerated in the Maine 1850 and 1860 censuses. By 1871, “Iseral” Grass, wife Eliza, and youngest child, Isaac, are living in Dumfries, York, New Brunswick, Canada.

Robert Nelson Stewart has not been found in the 1850 census. By then, he was 24 years old and out of his father’s household.  He might have crossed back into Canada, but he has not been identified in the 1851 census of New Brunswick, either. Nor has he been found in the 1860 census, which is even odder because he married in the census year.

No death or burial record has been found for Robert. Is it possible that Robert tried to marry Eliza without her father’s permission and the marriage was stopped? Or, did they marry and Robert died very suddenly, perhaps in an accident?

Robert Nelson Stewart, where did you go???



New GeneaGem: U.S. Petitions for Naturalization Index 1791-1906

FamilySearch has done it again! I love looking through their collections. Do you have a New England ancestor who acquired citizenship somewhere in the six state area in 1906 or earlier? Then this collection – United States, New England Petitions for Naturalization (1791-1906) is for you. It is searchable by name.

Always on the hunt for more Carlisle family information, I entered just the surname in the search box. Only eighteen hits came up, which surprised me since that is not a particularly unusual surname and this database covers all of New England.

Five possibilities caught my eye: Abraham, Charles and Robert Carlisle and John and William Carlile, all born in Canada and naturalized in Maine. A look at the index card showed papers filed in Washington County, Maine for Abraham and Robert, Waldo County for John and William and Aroostook County for Charles. Washington County is my main area of interest, but Charles in Aroostook County is likely related because his record says he was born in Sussex, New Brunswick, the exact village where my Carlisles lived for many years.

This is just an index to the petitions. Next, I checked Maine, Washington County for naturalization records and found a link to more digitized records. There I found the record for Abraham Carlisle, who is a nephew of my two Carlisle 3x great grandmothers, Abigail and Catherine Carlisle.

AbrahamCarlisleNaturalization1847Image832 AbrahamCarlisleNaturalization1847Image833
Two Page Petition of Abraham Carlisle, 1847

Although the petition is handwritten, it is very readable so I won’t include a transcription. From it, I’ve gleaned some good information about the time the Carlisles came into Maine from New Brunswick, Canada. The family patriarch, Robert Carlisle, fought in the Royal Fencible Americans, based in Nova Scotia, during the Revolution. No Carlisles are in Washington County, Maine in 1820, but they are there in 1830. Robert died in 1834 in Charlotte, Maine and his widow returned to Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada, likely to live with relatives.

Abraham states in his petition that he was born in New Brunswick on 3 January 1814, so I now have his exact date of birth. He further states that he first lived in Baring, Maine (a town just north of Charlotte) for five years from the fall of 1822 and then removed to Charlotte, where he has since lived.

Abraham was only eight years old when he moved to Maine, so he was likely part of a family migration. I also didn’t know that the Carlisles had first lived in Baring because that happened in between censuses.

This search took me about five minutes and I know a bit more about the Carlisle family than I did before. It was well worth five minutes. Now, I need to go back to that index and look up the other Carlisle men!

Petition of Catharine, widow of Loyalist Robert Carlisle

Technology just keeps getting better and better. For many years, all I knew about Robert and Catharine Carlisle was that he was served with the British during the American Revolution, although I am not sure he was an official “Loyalist” since that implies he lived within the thirteen colonies during the war. I don’t think he moved into the territorial borders of the United States until the 1820’s.

However, Robert Carlisle disappears after the 1830 census of Charlotte, Washington County, Maine. I assumed that he and wife Catharine had both died. Their children were grown and scattered with their own young families.

Not all that long ago, I was browsing through the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, one of my favorite Canadian websites. I found a database called Records of Old Revolutionary Soldiers and Their Widows and decided to browse through it. In the “C” list, I found Robert and Catharine “Carlile” of Charlotte County, New Brunswick, which is where the application was filed.

There are two documents pertaining to Robert and Catharine that have been digitized. The first is an 1840 list of those eligible to petition:

1840 Pension Petition List

The sixth name is that of Catharine Carlile, who filed her petition in St. Andrews, Charlotte County, New Brunswick, Canada.

The second document is priceless, as it gives her age and the death year and place for husband, Robert Carlisle, who left no will or probate.

Here is the transcription of the page, minus a few illegible words:

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.

I knew that Robert served with the Royal Fencible Americans, but further research showed that they were located almost exclusively in Nova Scotia. This fact led me to the premise that while Robert was a loyal subject of the king, he wasn’t technically an American Loyalist.

I now have an 1834 death date for Robert and I know that Catharine didn’t die between 1830 and 1840. She returned to Sussex, the village from which they left to settle in Charlotte, sometime between Robert’s death and 18 August 1840.

I wish her statement about her marriage date was the actual date of her wedding instead of saying that she was married to Robert by the time he died. I also wish she provided a list of her children because I can prove six of her children, but there are seven other Carlisles of the right age to possibly be her children.

Nevertheless, this was a fabulous discovery which wouldn’t have happened if the file hadn’t been digitized.