Tag Archives: Robert Carlisle

Robert Carlisle Jr. of Ontario, Canada, Son of a Loyalist

During the last few months, I’ve written about newly found pieces of the Loyalist Robert Carlisle puzzle. Today’s post will share the story of Robert Carlisle Jr. and his family.

Robert Carlisle was born c1785, New Brunswick, Canada, likely the eldest son of Loyalist Robert and wife Catherine (MNU) Carlisle, who lived in Parrtown, now St. John, at that time.

No marriage record has been found for Robert Jr., but he married (1) Elizabeth (thought to be 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, probably Kent, Ontario, Canada, when Mary sold land in Kent, Ontario, Canada as Mary Carlile.

Robert Jr. died between 1848, when he and Mary sold land in Harwich, Kent, Ontario, Canada, and 10 March 1850, when Mary sold another tract of land  in Harwich to Peter Shubert. At that time, she was called the widow of Robert Carlisle.

Although it took many years, and the internet, to pick up the trail of Robert and his family, he and Elizabeth did help out by baptizing all his children at one time in Sussex in 1817. Therefore, there were five names to look for and daughters Anna and Catherine married in New Brunswick.

If his wife 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, Canada, as  William may have been part of the extended Stewart family in Kings County. I am also descended from that family, which included Loyalists Walter, James and probably John.

Robert was initially linked to Ontario, Canada because he filed a deed in Kings County, New Brunswick, Canada in 1831, describing himself as living in Upper Canada.

It appears that Robert and Mary had no children together and no other Carlisles have popped up in Ontario that appear to be other children of Robert Jr.

Extensive data was found on the Fennacy family, although it is a nightmare name to search in Canadian records. I use LAC’s free census website. The search engine is slow and the only wildcard that can be used is one * at the end of the beginning of a surname.

Martin and Anna seemed to settle on Fennacy as the preferred spelling of their name, but no one told the record keepers. I found it as Finsey, Finesy, Fennacie, Phenecie (!), Fennessey, Fanacy, and countless other ways. That is a lot of wild cards in a slow search engine. First names can’t include wildcards, so Ann, Anna and Annie required three searches. Another issue is that it is impossible to page from, say, page 12 to 13, if the family is enumerated on two pages. Lastly, trial and error proved that an advanced search for, say, Westmorland and Moncton in New Brunswick won’t bring any results unless “Moncton (City)” is entered as the place.

There are many quirks with the website, but in spite of the weaknesses, I am grateful that there is an online free  option to read Canadian census records. My mother always said patience is a virtue!

I was also very excited to look at some of my DNA matches who had Carlisle as a surname in the family tree. The #2 person on the list is descended from Martin and Anna Fennacy! Fun! 🙂


  1. Anna, 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 born c1800, possibly in Ireland; died between 30 January 1858, the date he wrote his will, and 14 April 1858, the date the will was recorded, Harwich, Kent, Ontario, Canada. He owned Lot 6 in Harwich, which was on the town line of Harwich and Howard – important for the study of Ann’s uncle, Daniel Carlisle. Fennacy is spelled at least ten ways in records, including starting with PH instead of F.
  2. Catherine, 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 1869, Queens County, New Brunswick, Canada.
  3. Abigail, born 1809; died after 1817 baptism; no further record.
  4. John, born 1811; died after 1817 baptism; no further record.
  5. Hugh, born 1813, Nova Scotia, Canada; died between 23 February 1853, when he lived in Dover East, Kent, Ontario, Canada and quit claimed land to Edward Fenesy (Deed Book B:945, memorial #633) and 1855, when Joannah was remarried to Daniel Richmond, 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 with Richard Fuller, three children – John, Elizabeth and Martin – with Hugh and then seven children with Daniel Richmond.

If you are descended from Robert and Elizabeth, or any other child of Loyalist Robert and Catherine (MNU) Carlisle, I would love to hear from you.

What Do Loyalist Peter Stover & California 49er Daniel Carlisle Have in Common?

You never know what tidbit of information will break open a brick wall, especially when it is found in a completely unexpected source.

First, I happened to come across an image of an index card, found on Ancestry, for an early California pioneer, Daniel Carlisle. It is part of the collection at the California State Library in Sacramento.

How did I come across this card for a person who I didn’t know? I was looking for traces of two of the sons of my Loyalist ancestor, Robert Carlisle and his wife, Catherine (MNU). Both sons were born in the late 1780s. Daniel sold land in Kings County, New Brunswick, Canada in 1816 and disappeared from the records. He was married, though, as wife “Alison” released dower rights.

Land deeds helped out with Robert Jr., too, as he sold land in Kings County, but stated that he was a resident of Upper Canada, which is modern day Ontario. I was able to track Robert to Kent County, Ontario, Canada, where he died between 1848 and 1850, again based on land records.

On a whim, I began searching websites for “Daniel Carlisle” of Ontario, hoping that Robert and Daniel might have both settled near each other, if Daniel was even still alive to be able to do so. Like I said, it was a whim and I had no clue what had happened to Daniel.

That’s when this magical card appeared:

Source: Ancestry

The hair on the back of my neck tingled for several reasons:

1. Daniel, born 1825, was of an age to be a child of Robert OR Daniel Carlisle.
2. Daniel was born in CANADA in or near KENT, the very county where Robert settled.
3. Daniel’s mother was ELSIE STOVER. I was very familiar with the Stover surname, as Elisha Stover, son of Loyalist Peter Stover, married into my Stewart line, which had married into my Carlisle line. Like the Carlisles and the Stewarts, Peter Stover settled into hi new life in Canada in Kings County, New Brunswick. Furthermore, in his senior years, Peter Stover left New Brunswick to live with adult children in Kent County, Ontario!

Remember I said that Daniel’s 1816 land sale includes “Alison,” who released her dower rights? Well, remove the final letter N and you have “Aliso.” I’ve found variant spellings of Elsie in the early days and young ladies with that name are recorded as Ailsey, Alcy, Elcey, and more. It doesn’t take much imagination to see how a slight misunderstanding of her name might have led the county clerk to add an N and turn her into Alison, which I’ve always thought very odd for a name of someone born in the 1700s.

It also doesn’t take much to see how “Aliso” could phonetically be a match for Elcey, as the name was later passed down in this family.

My curiosity was way more than piqued and I immediately headed to FamilySearch to look for land deeds for Peter Stover in Kent County, Ontario, Canada. I found several, but one, filed in 1835, was immediately followed by a land deed recorded by Peter CARLISLE! Both lived in Harwich, Kent, Ontario. It just so happened that Robert Carlisle Jr., who lived in Ontario by 1831, also lived in HARWICH!

I think I stumbled onto another possible child of Daniel Carlisle! A further search turned up a land patent for Daniel Carlisle for Lot 7 in Harwich on the town line bordering Howard Township. It was dated 1837, so this Daniel couldn’t have been Daniel the 49er.

I quite unwittingly stumbled onto two of the sons of Daniel Carlisle, as I was able to trace Daniel and “Alison” and fill in more of the puzzle pieces of their lives. The added bonus is that I now also have “Alison”s maiden name!

To answer my question “What do Loyalist Peter Stover and 49er Daniel Carlisle have in common?”

Peter Stover’s daughter, Elsie (by whatever spelling) is the mother of Daniel Carlisle Jr. Peter is therefore the grandfather of Daniel Carlisle.

I will be telling more of the stories of Peter Stover, along with Robert and Daniel Carlisle, along with Daniel the 49er, in future posts.

Remember to cast a wide net for difficult-to-find ancestors. You never know where that essential bit of information will be found!


Update: Loyalist Robert Carlisle

UPDATE on the UPDATE,  30 August 2020: See comments added about land deeds of Robert Carlisle and Catherine Glasser.

Some brick walls refuse to break open. that’s been the story for years now, as I’ve researched Loyalist Robert Carlisle and his wife Catherine (MNU).

Right now, I feel like I’m a dog with a bone that I can’t give up and have kept at this puzzle.

To help illustrate how rare the Carlisle surname was in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick in the 1700s, here are the handful of facts that I have uncovered in my many years of research.

  1. Robert Carlisle, born 1750-1760, served as a corporal in the Royal Fencible Americans stationed at Fort Cumberland, Canada from 1775-1777. He was in Parrtown by 1783, married Catherine (MNU), in late 1784 or early 1785, and moved to Kings County, New Brunswick, Canada by 1790.
  2. William Carlisle, born no later than 1759 and perhaps years before if he was a second husband; married Rachel Wickwire as her second husband, on 29 May 1780, Kings County, Nova Scotia. They had at least four children: William, born 1781; James, born 1783; Peter, born 1785 and died before 1803; Joseph, born 1788. Their grandfather Peter Wickwire gifted land to his “beloved grandchildren William, James and Joseph” in 1803. William Sr. was one of the witnesses.
  3. Dennis Heffernan married “Mrs. Jane Carlisle, ” December 1761, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. He died in Halifax in 1789.
  4. Benjamin Carlisle married Rebecca Moren, 28 November 1793, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

From this, several assumptions can be drawn, if all were of legal age (21) when they married.

  1. Robert Carlisle‘s birth year range is known from the 1830 census of Charlotte, Washington, Maine – born 1750-1760 – and probably closer to 1750, as he was a corporal in the RFA in 1775.
  2. William Carlisle, born by 1759 and maybe a decade earlier since it was a second marriage for Rachel Wickwire, born c1748.
  3. Mrs. Jane Carlisle, likely a widow, would have been born by 1740 and probably no later than the 1730s to remarry in 1761.
  4. Benjamin Carlisle would have been born no later than 1772.

No evidence has been found linking Benjamin Carlisle to Robert and his family or to William Carlisle or to Mrs. Jane Carlisle.

No evidence has been found connecting Robert, William and Mrs. Jane Carlisle. However, it is possible that Jane Carlisle, a widow, was the mother of several Carlisle children, including William and/or Robert.

There are no further family histories, land deeds or wills to be found that shed further light on any of these couples in terms of family relationships.

Recently, while listening to a webinar, the speaker commented that everyone should ALWAYS google their ancestor’s name to see what might pop up.

I’ve done that many times before, but this time, I decided to add a word and searched for “Robert Carlisle Parrtown.”

Parrtown is the original name for St. John, the town where many Loyalists disembarked from their ships and began new lives in Canada at the close of the American Revolution.

Much to my surprise, a digitized 2 volume family history published in 1954 came up:

Here we have The Ancestry of Herbert Ervin Gustin and that of his wife Julia Livingston Carlisle and their Descendants together with some account of the Gustin Family in America by Lester Carlisle Gustin. Volume 2 covers the Carlisle family.

I eagerly browsed the book, looking for information about Loyalist Robert Carlisle, who is the 2X great grandfather of author Lester Gustin, who passed away in 1965.

I have two long standing research questions related to this family:

1. Who are the parents and siblings of Robert Carlisle?
2. What is the maiden name of his wife, Catherine? (which would hopefully then lead to her parents and siblings)

I was quickly disappointed to read that Lester had no more information about either the origins of Robert Carlisle or the maiden name of Catherine. This, in spite of the fact that this family was well aware of their genealogical history. Kind of a surprise to me, given that Lester Gustin’s mother, Julia Livingston Carlisle, was born c1854, her father John, c1824 and her grandfather John (son of the Loyalist) died in 1859. Their lifetimes all overlapped, yet Julia apparently knew little personal information about her grandfather and his siblings.

I have documented more facts that several earlier generations were unable to provide.

In spite of that disappointment, I did glean several more tidbits of information that might be clues.

Gustin presented several scenarios for the origins of Robert Carlisle, one being that the family settled early in Nova Scotia. That is the theory to which I subscribe, at least as of now with no evidence that Robert ever lived in the colonies before the American Revolution.

Next, Gustin mentioned that Robert Carlisle sold at least part of Lot 809, the land that he was granted in Parrtown, on 24 March 1789. What interests me the most about this sale is that Gustin states the witness to this sale was one Abraham Carlisle, house carpenter.

Given the scarcity of the Carlisle surname in both Nova Scotia and early New Brunswick, I’d say it is extremely likely that Abraham Carlisle was closely related to Robert.

I have a request in to the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick (PANB) to see if they can locate this deed. I have two others, from 1784 and 1785, but never found any reference to a sale in 1789. However, I was aware that Robert was granted Lot 809. This deed would document the existence of Abraham Carlisle, who I have never come across.

UPDATE: I now have a copy of the 24 March 1789 deed. There is NO witness named Abraham Carlisle, NOR is any Carlisle except “Robert Carlile” mentioned in this deed. Always, always look for the records. Just because it is in a published book doesn’t mean it is correct!

Gustin was aware of Robert Carlisle’s military service and life in Sussex, Kings County, Canada, and had obviously researched at the Canadian archives, yet he was unaware of the Carlisle marriage records created in Sussex by his children.

Gustin names Robert and Catherine’s children as:

  1. John, born 1783, New Brunswick
  2. William, who married Elizabeth and lived in Hillsborough, Westmoreland County, New Brunswick, Canada by 1815
  3. Daniel, who married Alison and had land adjoining that of Robert Carlisle by 1810
  4. Robert, who identified himself as living in Upper Canada in 1831 in a Kings County land deed. No wife released dower at that time.
  5. James, born c1790; land granted to him in 1816 and it bordered family land.

Robert (born c1785), James (born c1787), John (born c1789) and Daniel (born c1795) are all children of Robert and Catherine.

However, Gustin erred by including William who married Elizabeth (MNU). He was the son of William who married Rachel Wickwire.

Gustin’s reasoning seems to be this statement, found in his book:

“names of James, John and William Kerlile” appear in the ledger”

Both James and John had sons named William, but it is likely William (married to Rachel) who is listed in the business ledger. It would help knowing the exact dates the names appear, but I have no access to this book. Whether this gives additional support to the idea that Robert and William might be brothers – maybe.

While leaving no stone unturned, I discovered four widows named Catherine on the list of people who were granted lots in Parrtown. The first, Catherine Cleveland, about whom I’ve already blogged, was actually Ketura Cleveland, not a Catherine at all. She is also a generation too old, but it is intriguing that Isaac Cleveland, her grandson, also lived in the village of Sussex Vale, where the Carlisles lived.

Next, we have Catherine (Manee) Gould, widow of John Gould of Essex County, New Jersey. She had adult sons Abraham and John Jr., who also appear on the Loyalist lists, so she is a generation too old to be my Catherine.

Third is Catherine Kautzman, who received two lots in Parrtown, #97 and #561. I’m not sure why she got two, but she was still appearing in land records in 1786 and 1812. Therefore, I can strike her off my list of possible Catherines.

That leaves but one lady – Catherine Glasser, identified as a widow. There are no other Glassers who I’ve come across in Loyalist records, so she may have been a very young widow.

In 1790, the Glasser surname mainly appears in Pennsylvania and is of German origin. That gives me pause, but it doesn’t mean that she couldn’t be my Catherine.

She received Lot #1245 and I’ve been unable to find any other information about her. I have a second request in at PANB for any land deeds in her name, particularly for the sale of Lot #1245.

UPDATE: I now have a copy of Catherine Glasser’s deed for Lot #1245. Unfortunately, there are couple of other deeds in her name, the last dated 1786, where she is still the widow Catherine “Gasser.” Since my Catherine and Robert were married by 1785, I can cross this lady off my list of possibilities.

So the hunt goes on!

On the plus side, I have much more information about the descendants of Robert and Catherine’s son, John, as that is Lester Gustin’s line.