Could John Carlile have come from Yorkshire?

By David Carlisle

A recent review of some genealogical research done a few years ago has suggested the possibility that John Carlile (yes, it appears it was originally spelled without the "s") could have been born in Yorkshire. I am referring to the father of John George Carlisle who was born in Nottingham and eventually moved to Utah. First, we should review what we learned when John Edward Carlisle, son of John George, visited his relatives in Nottingham in 1890. There are four letters which are the primary sources for this information:

#1: Aug 8 Letter

I saw grandfathers will at Aunt Sarah Thorntons and he signed his name John Carlile, but in the records of the Parish fathers name is spelled Carlisle.

I learned from the old lady [his father's sister Rebecca] that fathers father came from London and his fathers name was John Carlisle and that he was a well to do miller. That grandfather - that is my fathers father - was in the Army and left it after being wounded and before he was properly discharged. He therefore settled in Nottingham and did not afterwards make himself known in London because he was too proud, and felt that by leaving the Army in that manner that his folks would not be very proud of him. He had a brother Peter or Thomas who was a lawyer. Thus you see if this is true father's fathers name was John and His fathers name was John.

#2: Letter to a Miss Seoles

When in Nottingham I was told that my grandfather came from London and he name was John Carlisle and his father's name was John Carlisle and he had a number of brothers and sisters. I know nothing of any of them.

An older sister of my father told me that her father came from London, and that his father's name was John Carlisle, and that he was a welltodo miller, used to grind corn, etc. She said that her father joined the army, was wounded, and left, and feeling too proud to return home, settled in Nottingham. I have an uncle living in Nottingham and he tells me that no one knows where grandfather came from. My aunt's story I am inclined to credit, but I think she may be mistaken as regards London being grandfather's native place. I incline to the idea that he came from the North of England; but the London matter I believe worth looking into. My aunt is much older than my uncle and she says that her father told her something of his early life before he died. He had a brother Peter who was a lawyer.

#3: Letter to a Miss Carlisle in London:

The only way I know of tracing any connection with your family would be through the names of the brothers of your great grandfather, and you failed to give me them. My grandfather settled in Nottingham and no one seems to know where he came from. His name was John and he died when 58 years of age. He was buried in Dec. 1841. His father was supposed to have been John and I am told that he lived in London. My grandfather had a number of brothers and sisters. He was fairly well educated. My father was left an orphan when but about 14 years of age. He went to America when a young man between 20 and 30 yrs of age. I have been to Nottingham, but can learn nothing that I consider very reliable. An old lady, a sister of my father, told me that her grandfather was a miller in London and that his name was John etc. She says her father joined the army, was wounded and left and never returned to his father's home because he was too proud.

#4: Transcription of an Aug 7 Letter or diary entry, the whereabouts of the original is not known:

Aunt Rebecca says that grandfather John Carlile came from London. He was a miller. His Bro. Peter was a lawyer. Grandfather left the army before his time was up. He had a sister Rebecca. Grandfather was in the battle of Waterloo. He Received wounds in his ___ below his back. Father's grandfather was a miller. Grand Can St. [probably "ground corn, etc"] was quite well to do and gave his son a good education. His name was John Carlile, father's father's name was John, and father's name was John and my name is John E. Carlisle. Aunt Rebecca said her grandfather left some money for John Carlile who had not been ______ since he left the army."

Another transcription of this source says he was wounded in his "chest and back." If we can find the original source we may be able to resolve the conflict.

From the above letters we can summarize the things John Edward Carlisle learned from his Aunt Rebecca, although he says he is not sure how much is reliable.

About Family Origins:

A- Grandfather came from London (1,2,3,4) B- His father lived in London (2,3)

C- His father's name was John Carlile (1,2,3)
D- He was a miller (1,2,3,4)
E- ... who used to grind corn, etc. (2,4)
F- He was well to do (1,2,4)
G- ... and gave his son a good education (2,4)

About Grandfather in the Army:

A- Grandfather was in the army (1,2,3,4)
B- He was in the Battle of Waterloo (4)
C- He was wounded (1,2,3,4)
D- ... below his back / in his chest and back (4)
E- He left before he was properly discharged (1,2,3,4)
F- He never returned home after he left the army (2,3,4)
G- His father left him some money (4)

About Grandfather's Family:

A- Grandfather had a number of brothers and sisters. (2,3)
B- Peter was a lawyer (2,3,4)
C- ... Peter or Thomas was a lawyer (1)
D- and he had a sister named Rebecca (4)

Several researchers have found the papers indicating that a Peter Carlisle became a lawyer in London in 1818. We thought we had found the right Peter, a Peter Carlisle who married Elizabeth Hopkins and had children with names very similar to names in our family, but more careful research showed that this was the wrong Peter, although there seem to be reasons to believe there may be a family relationship.

The legal papers for the Peter Carlisle who was admitted to practice as a lawyer show that he lived on Edward Street, in Southwark, London. Parish records show that a Peter Carlisle on Edward Street had several children, and their mother was listed as either Maria or Anna Maria. Other records show that he later moved to Charlotte street and had children while living there. The birth records for each of these children all indicate that their father was an attorney.

This, however, is not the most interesting part of the story. The researcher who discovered the above details also discovered three marriages in or adjacent to Southwark that appear to be connected. The first marriage was in December 1816, when Joseph Brooks married Rebecca Hopper Carlile, the marriage being witnessed by James Watts and Maria Greenhalgh. Six months later, Peter Carlile marries Anna Maria Greenhalgh, and the witnesses are John Carlile and John Johnson. Nearly a year later, John Carlile marries Anna Maria Adams, widow, and the witnesses are William Greenhalgh and Francis Parr. It appears, then, that we have found Peter Carlile, the lawyer, and his brother John and sister Rebecca -- the brother John, of course, being John Carlile, our ancestor.

It is important at this point to review the connections. I have seen the signature of Peter Carlile on his legal papers, but I cannot locate my copy at present. As I recall, this was a distinctive signature, and easily identifiable as the same signature as on the marriage license for him and Anna Maria Greenhalgh. I have compared the signature of Anna Maria Greenhalgh with that of the Maria Greenhalgh who witnessed the marriage of Rebecca Hopper Carlile, and they seem to be by the same person, even if they are not quite identical. On the birth records of Peter's children, the mother is listed as either Maria or Anna Maria. It also seems that the signatures of the John Carlile who witnessed Peter's marriage, the John Carlile who married Anna Maria Adams, as well as the John Carlile who married Mary Shannon in 1821 could conceivably be by the same person, although there are some differences. When John Carlile married Mary Hooley in 1833 he signed his name with an "x." The William Greenhalgh who witnessed the marriage of John Carlile could have been the brother or father of the Maria Greenhalgh present at the other two marriages. The evidence is compelling that these three marriages are connected both to each other as well as to us.

This would both confirm and conflict with various things John Edward Carlisle learned from his Aunt Rebecca in Nottingham in 1890. It would confirm that John Carlile was from London, that he had a brother Peter who was a lawyer, and that he had a sister Rebecca. Peter the Lawyer had two sons named Thomas -- William Thomas and Thomas John -- so that would fit in with part of the story as well. One potential problem is with the Battle of Waterloo, which occurred on June 18, 1815. Was he wounded in this battle, or was he wounded afterward? If this is our John, he was still living in London in 1817. Was there some sort of accident after 1817 where he was wounded and being embarrassed he left London at that time? (Would such events have been reported in the newspapers?) And what happened to his wife, Anna Maria? Was she still alive when John married Mary Shannon, or was she still living in London, which was part of why John never went back? We may never know the answers to these questions, but this may open avenues for further research.

So far I have not explained what any of this has to do with Yorkshire. Well, that will have to wait until next time, but I am finding some interesting possibilities.

See Part 2