Tag Archives: Robert Carlisle

Descendants of Loyalists Robert & Catherine Carlisle, Part 5: Great Grandchildren Through Robert Jr.

Documenting the great grandchildren of Loyalists Robert and Catherine Carlisle is important because so many pieces of their family story are scattered across both Canada and the United States.

Through the years, many distant cousins have contacted me and I hope that some of the Carlisle clan will do the same. 🙂

Anna Carlisle3 (Robert2, Robert1) was born 14 August 1804, Kings County, New Brunswick, Canada; died 21 January 1891, Lapeer, Lapeer, Michigan: married Martin Finesy/ Fennacy, 20 April 1823, Sussex, Kings County, New Brunswick, Canada. Martin was likely born c1800; died before 1861, probably Harwich, Kent, Ontario, Canada, where Anna was living with her two daughters.

Children: (Finesy/Fennacy/Fennessey/Finnacy):

  1. Edward, born c1824, New Brunswick, Canada; died 5 March 1900, Blenhiem, Kent, Ontario, Canada; married Caroline Stover, 25 November 1845, Ontario, Canada. She was born c1826, Ireland; died 15 January 1901, Ontario, Canada.
  2. Eliza Ann, born c1826, Canada; died 1876; married Lauchlan A. McDougall, 18 November 1847, Lambton County, Ontario, Canada. She was likely a second wife, as he is found in Ontario land records in the 1830s and 1840s. Lauchlan was born 26 December 1814, Dover, Chatham, Ontario, Canada; died 6 May 1912, Wallaceburg, Kent, Ontario, Canada.
  3. Mary, born 18 May 1827, Harwich, Kent, Ontario. Canada; died 21 December 1912, Dryden, Lapeer, Michigan; married William Tyler, c1845, probably Ontario, Canada. He was born c1822, Quebec, Canada; died 12 June 1902, Deford, Tuscola, Michigan. This family moved to Lapeer County, Michigan
  4. ?Robert, born c1830; died young?
  5. James, born c1834, Ontario, Canada; died 23 January 1901, Kent, Ontario, Canada; married Amelia Stover, c1855, probably Ontario, Canada. She was born 29 May 1831, Chatham, Kent, Ontario, Canada; died 11 May 1923, Blenheim, Kent, Ontario, Canada.
  6. William, born c1837, Ontario, Canada; died 26 January 1890, Wallaceburg, Kent, Ontario, Canada; married Mary Abigail Thorne, c1861, probably Ontario, Canada. She was born September 1842, Ontario, Canada; died 2 December 1919, Chatham, Kent, Ontario, Canada.
  7. Ellen, born 4 June 1839, Kent, Ontario, Canada; died 21 October 1921, Kent, Ontario, Canada; married William Harris, c1856, probably Ontario, Canada. He was born c1832, Canada. Neither has been found, though, in the 1901 or 1911 Canadian censuses.
  8. ?Catherine, born c1841; died c1841
  9. ?Jane, born c1842; died c1852
  10. Margaret Abigail; born November 1846, Ontario, Canada; died 19 December 1920, Minnehaha County, South Dakota; married Albert Collins, 2 November 1864, Ontario, Canada. He was born c1843, England; died 25 May 1921, Sioux Falls, Minnehaha, South Dakota.
  11. Isabelle, born 1850, Ontario, Canada; died 18 October 1928, Lapeer County, Michigan; married Robert L. Harsen, 1 July 1873, St. Clair County, Michigan. He was born 12 November 1849, St. Clair County, Michigan; died 24 August 1946, Jackson county, Michigan.

 Catherine Carlisle3 (Robert2, Robert1) was born c1807, probably Kings County, New Brunswick, Canada; died 1890, Queens County, New Brunswick, Canada; married James Starkey, 6 February 1832, Queens County, New Brunswick, Canada. He was born c1801; died c1869, Queens County, New Brunswick, Canada.

Children (Starkey)

  1. Amy Susannah, born 6 November 1832, Queens County, New Brunswick, Canada; died 4 February 1928; married Jacob Clarke Corey, c1830, probably Queens County, New Brunswick, Canada. He was born c1822; died 1897, Queens County, New Brunswick, Canada.
  2. William, born c1836, New Brunswick, Canada; died 1871-1881, Kent, Queens, New Brunswick, Canada; married Emily E. Little. She was born 1843; died 1932.
  3. Samuel Morton, born 4 September or 10 October 1837, Queens County, New Brunswick, Canada; died 20 November 1921, Seattle, King, Washington; married Annie Tregoning Brent, before 1871. She was born 9 February 1837, Devon, England; died 30 April 1923, Seattle, King, Washington. Both are buried in Coles Island Cemetery, Queens, New Brunswick, Canada.

Hugh Carlisle3 (Robert2, Robert1) was born c1813, Nova Scotia, Canada; died 1851-1855, Kent, Ontario, Canada; married Johannah Shanahan, c1844, probably Ontario Canada, as her second husband. Johannah was born 1823/1829, Ireland and was Catholic. Hugh was Episcopalian. She married (1) Richard Fuller, 31 October 1843, Detroit, Wayne, Michigan and (3) Daniel Richmond, c1855, probably Ontario, Canada. She had one child, Mary Matilda, born c1844, Michigan, three children – John, Elizabeth and Martin – with Hugh and then seven children with Daniel Richmond.


1. John, born 1845/47, Ontario, Canada; died 1922, Ontario, Canada; married Susan Hyghman, 1 December 1870. She was born c1848, Ontario, Canada; died 1939. Martin Carlisle, who lived in Dover, was a witness.

2. Elizabeth Ann, born c1849, Ontario, Canada; married William John Loney. He was born 1864; died 1921.

3. Martin, born 19 June 1851/52, Wallaceburg, Kent, Ontario, Canada; married (1) Mary M. Toulouse, 4 December 1888, Kent, Ontario, Canada. (2) Anna Mack, 31 January 1917, Santa Ana, Orange, California. She was born c1852. Martin moved often. In June 1906, he lived in Detroit, Wayne, Michigan. He was naturalized on 10 August 1922 in Wayne County, Michigan and stated he was unmarried.

Next up will be the great grandchildren through son Daniel.


Descendants of Loyalists Robert & Catherine Carlisle, Part 1: Children

I have spent many weeks over the last few months diligently updating and documenting descendants of Loyalist Robert Carlisle and his wife, Catherine (MNU). Although I have written about both of my 4X great grandparents a number of times through the years, I suddenly realized that I haven’t ever written about their many descendants as one family.

Therefore, today, I will remedy that, beginning with all the current background clues I have amassed through the decades (yes, decades!) and information about their children.

NOTE: PANB = Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Robert Carlisle was born between 1750-1760; he died in 1834 in Charlotte, Washington, Maine and married Catherine (MNU) between July 1784, when he was listed as a single man in Parrtown, New Brunswick, Canada and July 1785, when Catherine released dower rights in a land deed.

While family lore says that he came from Ireland, the call to organize his military unit, the Royal Fencible Americans, came about in 1775 in Nova Scotia and Boston, Massachusetts. There was “Mrs. Jane Carlisle,” who married Dennis Heffernan in Halifax, Nova Scotia in December 1761 and I also had an unsourced note from years ago that a James Carlisle had died in 1761 and had a wife Jane. However, Halifax probate records don’t seem to be easily accessible. There is also a William Carlisle, who married Rachel Wickwire by 1780 and who lived in Cornwallis, Nova Scotia.

Robert’s name first appears on the Royal Fencible Americans’ list on 13 March 1776 when he was enumerated as a lance corporal. The regiment disbanded on 1 Oct 1783. Therefore, it is possible that Robert may have been born in Canada or even in the colonies if his parents were pre-Loyalists. Of course, he might well have been born in Britain. So far, no proof has emerged.

As the war ended with American independence, Robert settled for a short time in St. John, New Brunswick, appearing on the Register of Voters and City Freemen of City of St. John for 1785 (compiled from list at the New Brunswick Museum, St. John, published by the New Brunswick Genealogical Society, Newsletter #12, June 1982.) Robert was identified as a barber. Some future family members by marriage also on the list include James and John Stewart, yeomen, John Stewart, shopkeeper and Walter Stewart, yeoman. He most likely married Catherine there, but no record has been found.

Life was not easy for many of the settlers and Robert moved frequently with his young family in the early years after the war. On 17 June 1785, Robert petitioned for 100 acres of land at Quaco, New Brunswick, Canada on which he wanted to immediately settle. He must not have received that land, as on 28 July 1785, he made a new petition with John Shaw, George Cairnes and Edward Pendergrast for lands near those of Mr. Grant, again for immediate settlement.

Five years later, there was a new petition dated 2 Nov 1790 petitioning for a tract of land on the Salmon River, Kings, New Brunswick, Canada (PANB RS108, Microfilm #1037). Robert must have received that land as five years later, Robert petitioned with Capt. William Hutchinson and others for a grist mill on the Salmon River, Kings, New Brunswick, Canada (PANB RS108, Microfilm F1039).

In 1795, he was listed on a land petition with William Hutchinson in Kings County, New Brunswick. By 1806, he was on yet another land petition in Queens County, New Brunswick.

In between these petitions, Robert Carlisle and James Stewart were part of a group in Sussex petitioning for higher land, as the original granted land was flooded. (PANB RS108, Microfilm #1037) This same area is later identified as part of the parish of Sussex, where Robert and his family did, indeed, live. Lastly, on 14 Feb 1806, Robert petitioned for confirmation of land to build a house, stating that he has resided there for eight years on land on the portage of the Cumberland Road, adjoining land appointed by the government for the purpose of keeping a tavern for the accommodation of travelers. Robert, perhaps still a barber, was now also a tavern keeper. (PANB RS108, Microfilm #4171).

It appears that Robert Carlisle and his family left Sussex between 1819, which is the last time Robert or John recorded land transactions and about 1828, when John Carlisle last appears in the Anglican Church records. The Stewarts, my other ancestral line closely allied with the Carlisles,  likely removed to Maine about the same time.

In September 1840, the Schedule of Old Soldiers Certificates and Their Widows Who Served in the Revolutionary War in America was compiled. On 18 Aug 1840, Catherine Carlisle, widow of Robert, was approved to receive L10. She stated that she lived in Kings County, New Brunswick, Canada, that Robert died in 1834 in Charlotte, Washington, Maine and that she was 80 years old, so born c1760. She signed with an “X,” as she had done in 1785 when releasing her dower rights, so it appears she was unable to read or write. On 25 November 1840, James Carlisle was approved to receive her check. She is last noted in 1843 on a pension list for York County, New Brunswick, Canada.

There are four unplaced Carlisles who were also in New Brunswick quite early and I now believe only the first was a child of Robert and Catherine:

  1. At this point in time, I tend to believe that Hannah Carlisle WAS the daughter of Robert and Catherine and NOT of Robert Jr. and Elizabeth, mainly because Robert Jr. would have been just a bit too young. Hannah lived in the village of Sussex Vale at the time of her marriage, so she definitely belongs to this family. However, there is no evidence that Robert Sr. had a previous wife (he was called “single man” in 1784), but was married by the summer of 1785. His son Robert was then born no earlier than 1785 and would have been an extremely young father for the time period. Secondly, Robert and Elizabeth had five children baptized together in 1817 and it appears their oldest child was Anna, who married Martin Finesy. There was no Hannah among his children. Robert and Catherine’s other sons were too young to be Hannah’s father. Therefore, I have included Hannah on the list of Robert and Catherine’s children.
  2. George Carlisle lived in Queens County in the late 1820s, but I have found little else about him aside from the one mention of him signing a petition in 1828. That puts his birth year no later than 1807. He isn’t mentioned in the 1803 deed of Peter Wickwire giving land to his beloved grandsons (all named and all underage), but the other children were in their teens.  However, it is not impossible that George belonged to Robert and Catherine. Lastly, it is also possible that George was a brother of Stephen Carlisle, born in the United States, who married Mahala Dunphy and was living in New Brunswick in the 1820s. In any event, as he is not found after 1828, he may have died as a young man.
  3. Tyson?, born 1790; died 7 January 1816 (based on a typed copy of gravestone transcriptions). He is buried at the Boyden Family Cemetery, Perry, Washington, Maine. James’s daughter, Rachel, married Philip Boyden in 1845, so the families knew each other. Perhaps Tyson also married a Boyden? This point may be moot, as Tyson Carlisle wasn’t known to have been married and has NO KNOWN descendants.
  4. The last question mark is for Benjamin Carlisle, who married Lydia Gourley in Northumberland, New Brunswick, Canada in 1825. Others seem to think he was born in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and that may be the case. I included him as a possible child of Robert and Catherine because John Carlisle was known to have roamed around New Brunswick through Westmorland and Kent Counties. Whether he made it to Northumberland, I don’t know, but with Benjamin’s birth year hovering around 1800, I had included him as a potential child.

However, I think it is not likely that George and Benjamin were children of Robert and Catherine. Therefore, I have left the tidbits about them in the paragraphs above, but have removed them from the list of children.


1. Robert, born c1785, New Brunswick, Canada; died between 1848, when he and Mary sold land and 10 March 1850, when Mary sold land to Peter Shubert and was called the widow of Robert Carlisle; married (1) Elizabeth (Lambert?), c1806, probably Sussex Vale, Kings, New Brunswick, Canada. Elizabeth died before August 1830. (2) Mary (MNU) Stewart, widow of William Stewart, before 8 August 1830, when Mary sold land in Kent, Ontario, Canada as Mary Carlile. Robert’s and Elizabeth’s five children were baptized together in Sussex in 1817. If Elizabeth was a Lambert, her father is likely Loyalist John Lambert, who was first at Parrtown in 1785. Later, he received a land grant on the Kennebecasis, like Robert Carlisle Sr. Eventually, Lambert removed to Deer Island in the West Isles, New Brunswick, Canada, but there are a couple of early Lambert families in the Ontario land records, who may have been part of a family migration to Ontario. Mary, widow of William Stewart, may also have been from Sussex, Kings, New Brunswick; William Stewart may have been part of the extended Stewart family that included Loyalists Walter, James and probably John.

2. Daniel, born c1787, New Brunswick, Canada; died after 1840, when he lived in La Porte County, Indiana; married Alison/Elsie/Alcey Stover, before 12 October 1816, probably Sussex, Kings, New Brunswick, Canada. Elsie was born c1789, New Brunswick, Canada; died after 1840, if she is the female 50-59 living at home in 1840 in La Porte County, Indiana. Daniel is not found anywhere in New Brunswick records except for an 1809 petition in Kings County, New Brunswick (which means he was at least 21 at the time) and one land deed recording a land sale for acreage on the Salmon River in Sussex from Daniel and Alison to Christian Steeves on 12 October 1816. Daniel migrated to Ontario, probably with his brother, Robert’s family, and settled in Kent County, Ontario, Canada. He recorded a land patent there in 1837, but records for two of his children – Daniel and Elcey Jane – both report births in Kent, Ontario, Canada in the 1820s, so he settled there long before 1837. His assigned lot in Harwich was Lot 7 – right next to that of Martin and Anna (Carlisle) Fennacy, his niece, who owned Lot 6.

3. John, born c1789, New Brunswick, Canada (between 1780-1790 based on the 1830 Charlotte, Maine census record); died after June 1860 when he and “Lizzie” lived with Joshua and Almira’s family in Penobscot County, Maine ; married Elizabeth Cushing, 21 January or February 1813, Newcastle, Northumberland, New Brunswick, Canada. John was of Sussex; Elizabeth lived in Newcastle at the time of their marriage. Elizabeth was born John was a petitioner with William Ayer, Titus Thornton, Israel Hicks and others for the lease of marshlands in Wellington, Northumberland, New Brunswick, Canada on 7 March 1816 (PANB RS108, Microfilm #F4255)

4. James, born c1791, New Brunswick, Canada; died August 1859, Charlotte, Washington, ME; married (1) Ann Steeves, born 1790-95, New Brunswick, Canada. Ann died 11 November 1838, Charlotte, Washington, Maine. (2) Martha Lord Doughty, born 1810, New Brunswick, Canada; died 30 March 1887, Oshkosh, Winnebago, Wisconsin. She married (1) Daniel Doughty, 21 December 1826, Campobello, West Isles, New Brunswick, Canada. The marriage announcement in the Eastport Sentinel has a question mark after Daniel’s first name. However, her obituary names surviving children from both marriages, including Doughty sons Benjamin, born 1828, James, born 1832 and daughter Mary Higgins, born 1830. James Doughty’s obituary says his father died in 1834. Martha survived James, who must have been ill for several months before he died, as he recorded a deed on 30 April 1859 conveying all of his land and possessions to his wife, Martha.

5. Abigail, born c1793, New Brunswick, Canada; died 27 March 1871, Meddybemps, Washington, Maine; married Israel Hicks, 9 March 1819, Shediac, Westmorland, New Brunswick, Canada. John Carlisle was a witness. This family lived in Buctouche, Kent, New Brunswick, Canada until Israel died in 1835, but by 1850, the grown children were beginning to disperse.

6. Catherine, born c1798, New Brunswick, Canada; died after 1870, possibly Bridgewater, Aroostook, Maine when she was living with son George; married John Stewart, 28 December 1814, Sussex, Kings, New Brunswick, Canada. Witnesses were John McLeod Jr. and George Sprague. John was born 1785, New Brunswick, Canada; died 28 November 1869, Mars Hill, Aroostook, Canada.

7. Mary, born c1799, New Brunswick, Canada; died 31 August 1880, Buctouche, Kent, New Brunswick, Canada; married Ira Hicks, 26 October 1819, both of Wellington, Northumberland, New Brunswick, Canada. Married by Thomas Astle with consent of parents. Ira was born c1790, Canada; died 17 June 1857, New Brunswick, Canada. Mary’s obituary stated that five sons and two daughters survived her.

8. Hannah, born 1801-1805, New Brunswick, Canada; married James Crow, 23 August 1821, Kings, New Brunswick, Canada with parents’ consent. One James Crow was living in Upham, Kings, New Brunswick, Canada in 1851 with wife Ann and children George 12, Mary, 11 and William, 9. He was born c1801, Ireland and, according to that census, arrived in Canada in 1818. His wife, Ann, was born 1811 and arrived in Canada in 1837 from Ireland. It appears Hannah may have died by 1838. It is unknown whether she had any surviving children, but none were at home with James, if this man was her husband, and there are no other adult Crows living near James.

Tomorrow, we will look at grandchildren of Robert and Catherine in Part 2.

Which Brick Wall Would You Most Like to Bust Wide Open in 2021?

Which brick wall would you most like to have break wide open in 2021? For me, my Loyalist ancestor, Robert Carlisle, is well represented in a brick wall. There are a few chinks, here and there, but not a peep of light shining through anywhere!

I know quite a bit about Robert after he married, probably in Parr Town (today, St. John, New Brunswick, Canada) in the summer of 1785.

I know almost nothing of his life before the American Revolution.

Here is what I do know, working backwards in time:

1. Robert died in 1834 in Charlotte, Washington, Maine, according to widow Catherine’s statement when she applied for a widow’s pension available in Canada for soldiers of the “old war.”
2. The family lived in Sussex Vale, Kings County, New Brunswick, Canada until they removed to Charlotte, Maine in the 1820s.
3. Robert filed two land deeds in St. John in the summer of 1785. Both were for land sales. In the first, no wife released dower rights. In the second, Catherine released her rights, so Robert apparently married in the summer of 1785. That fits with the birth of their first child about 1786.

Before Robert’s appearance in St. John in 1785, I have only one bit of proven information about him. He served with the Royal Fencibles. Again, Catherine supplied that helpful detail in her pension application.

You would think that would be a huge lead for further research. Well, not really. My research has shown that relatively little is known about the Fencibles during the war.

Here are a few facts:

1. The Fencibles were recruited in Boston (Massachusetts), Newfoundland and Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1775. By October of that year, the regiment consisted of about 200 men. However, no muster rolls survive.

2. The only known combat for the Royal Fencibles was the defense of Fort Cumberland, near Sackville, New Brunswick in late 1776.

3. The regiment constructed Fort Howe at the mouth of the St. John River in 1777. They served under Gilbert Studholme there until the end of the war.

4. They disbanded at Fort Howe and Halifax on 10 October 1783.

5. There is no evidence that the Fencibles ever entered the American colonies as a military force.

Back to Robert Carlisle –

The only American census record for Robert shows him living in Charlotte in 1830 with son James and his family. Living next door is another son, John, and his family. The census places Robert’s birth year between 1751-1760 and wife Catherine’s between 1761-1770. Catherine’s pension application indicated she was born in 1761, so the 1830 age categories are likely correct.

I have no evidence that Robert Carlisle ever lived in the American colonies before the Revolutionary War. None of his children lived to the 1880 census in the U.S. or the 1881 Canadian census. If he did live in the colonies, he hid his past well.

It is likely that Robert was born 1755-1760 since Catherine was born c1761. He would have been about 20 years old if he joined the Royal Fencibles in 1775. Since he evidently was a private or perhaps of some other low military rank, his young age would fit that scenario.

On the other hand, It is entirely possible that Robert Carlisle was not a member of the Fencibles for the entire length of the war. He might have only served with them for a year or two. With no muster rolls or payroll lists surviving, it is impossible to verify the length of his service. More on that in a bit.

Have Nova Scotia records shed any light on Robert Carlisle?

I wish I could say yes. I was fortunate enough to visit the Nova Scotia Archives in 2019 and spend a couple of hours there.

Robert was unmarried until the war ended. Not only does he not appear in land or probate records there, the Carlisle surname isn’t even found in those early records.

Except. . . . for one mention. Dennis Heffernan married one Mrs. Jane Carlisle in December 1761. Where they married isn’t stated on the library catalog card, but Dennis Heffernan lived in Halifax, so it seems likely he married Mrs. Carlisle there.

Dennis Heffernan was a business man. He had two known children, Dennis, born c1762 and Jane, born in the 1760s. Mr. Heffernan died on 24 March 1789, also found on a card in the Nova Scotia Archives catalog.

I think part of my difficulty in finding family for Robert might be that he had no brothers and, perhaps, didn’t even have any full siblings. It’s a possibility that Mrs. Jane Carlisle was his mother and was a young widow with a toddler when she married Dennis Heffernan.

However, aside from the notation of her marriage, Mrs. Jane Carlisle slipped into history leaving no other trace of her existence. Given that Dennis Jr. was born c1762 and a daughter was named Jane, she probably is the mother of those two Heffernan children.

Is she Robert Carlisle’s mother? I have no idea. Robert didn’t have any known daughter named Jane, but it is certainly possible that he could have had a daughter by that name who died young.

Robert’s first three children were sons Robert, John and James. I’d guess from those choices that his own father likely bore one of those names.

There are Carlisles/Carliles in southern Maine  around York County at the turn of the 19th century. However, I’ve found no documentary links between that family and my Robert Carlisle.

Apart from the marriage of a Mrs. Jane Carlisle in 1761, there is one other possibly tantalizing clue to follow.

Loyalist Walter Stewart was the father of John Stewart who married Robert’s daughter, Catherine Carlisle, in Sussex Vale, New Brunswick, Canada in 1814.

Walter Stewart was from Dutchess County, New York and in his memorial, it is stated that he served with the Loyal American Regiment, based in Dutchess and Westchester Counties, New York.

What is intriguing about the Loyal American Regiment is that one JOHN Carlisle enlisted with them on 21 December 1782 AND on 25 June 1783, one JAMES Carlisle is noted as having deserted the same regiment.

Could Robert be related to this John or James Carlisle? Again, I don’t know.

A search of Dutchess County land and probate records hasn’t turned up any instances of the Carlile/Carlisle surname in the years leading up to the American Revolution.

I would dearly love to find parents and siblings for Robert, but I  have been stymied at every turn.

Suggestions, anyone???