Stirling and Sterling


Sabine’s Loyalists of the American Revolution, Vol. II:

Jonathan Stirling died at St. Mary’s, York County, New Brunswick in 1826, aged seventy-six. Ann, his widow, died at the same place in 1845, at the age of eighty-two.

Jonathan Stirling, of Maryland, was a captain in the Maryland Loyalists. In 1783 he was one of the survivors of the transport ship Martha, wrecked on the passage to Nova Scotia. He settled at Saint John, New Brunswick, and was one of the grantees of that city. He received half-pay.

New Brunswick Royal Gazette, 11 November 1826:

All persons… estate of John Stirling, late of the Parish of St. Mary’s… immediate payment to… Geo. H. Sterling, Thos. Gill, Executors.

The Sterling property had a frontage of over six hundred feet, and is referred to locally as the “Archie Sterling property.” His house was splendidly located on the river bank. That large house was destroyed by fire.

Three McLean sisters married three brothers Sterling.

A. Addison Sterling was born and brought up on this property, and was a merchant in Fredericton for some years before his appointment as sheriff of York County, in 1883. He held that position for twenty-five years.

The Sterling property extended as far as the old school, which stood partly on Sterling property for one hundred years. The education of A. Addison Sterling was continued in Fredericton, and he walked across the river ice in winter, in the cold grey early morning and equally cold twilight. A new school stands on the site of the old schoolhouse and marks the upper line of the Harding property.

It is thought that the Sterlings are buried in the Old Burial Ground.

See also The Old Burying Ground, Vol. III, p. 208.

10 thoughts on “Stirling and Sterling”

  1. Could you please tell me what “The Old Burial Ground” is.
    I am trying to do some research on the geneology on my branch of the Sterling family tree. My father was named George Archibald Sterling. His father was Dr. Harrison Tilley Sterling (dentist), born in New Brunswick and died in Greenville South Carolina, USA. His father was George Archibald Sterling, a farmer and member of the New Brunswick legislature and his mother was Sarah Caroline Tilley – I think both were born and died in New Brunswick and are buried in the Holy Trinity Anglican Churchyard Cemetery in Lower St. Mary’s, New Brunswick. I think his father was George Henry Sterling, Rev., who is also buried there. I would like to know if Jonathan Stirling could be the father or grandfather of George Henry Sterling, Rev. I hope to go to New Brunswick in late summer or early fall and would like to learn as much about my ancestors and their history before they lived in New Brunswick and while they lived in New Brunswick as possible. I would appreciate anything you could add to my quest. Do you have any suggestions for further research that I might do? Thank you very much. Sincerely, Capitola Sterling Addison.

    1. The Old Burying Ground (or Old Public Burial Ground) is the old cemetery in the centre of downtown Fredericton, York County, New Brunswick. (See a bit more about it at if interested.)

      On the Tilley family, you might try Queens County Heritage ( which administers the S.L. Tilley House in Gagetown, New Brunswick.

      More generally, the New Brunswick Genealogical Society ( – the Capital Branch offers a research service, or did so – and PANB, the Provincial Archives ( would be a good starting point. Both of these surnames are well-established in the province so you should have little difficulty in finding a thread to follow. Best of luck!

      [edited to add]
      New Brunswick Genealogical Society’s FIRST FAMILIES – – includes an item for “STIRLING: John/Jonathan Stirling/Sterling, born 1750 in Maryland, died 1826, married c1783 in New York City, Ann Leslie b. 1763, d. 1845: came to NB in 1783 as Loyalists: first settled at Saint John then in Saint Marys Parish, York County …” and gives George Henry Stirling (1801-1856) as the couple’s third child (of eight, some of whom died in infancy). This information is not verified by primary sources, but from information submitted at various times to PANB. Sources:
      MC1156 Graves Papers: George Archibald Sterling, 1 page: see also MC80/644 Isabel L. Hill’s The old burying ground Fredericton, NB, Vol. II, page 134: see also MC1963 Sterling family fonds, MS1 History of Sterling family.

      1. Dear Editor, Thank you so very, very much for replying so quickly with such wonderful information!!! This is my first attempt at trying to trace my roots, and you have been of tremendous help!!! I have always wanted to visit this area and now have even more excitement in planning a trip there. Thank you once again!

  2. Dear Editor, Would you please tell me how I might be able to find the graves of my ancestors Jonathan (John) Sterling (Stirling) and his wife Ann Leslie Sterling in the Old Burying Ground in Fredericton when we visit that pretty city? Thank you.

  3. Capitola, your best course would be to ask for advice at the Provincial Archives, on the University of New Brunswick campus, which you’ll no doubt want to visit in any case while you’re in Fredericton. As well, the folks at the York-Sunbury Museum (now Fredericton Regional Museum) or at City Hall (the main Visitor Information Centre is there) might be able to put you in touch with someone from Fredericton Heritage Trust ( for advice if they can’t help you more directly. Both the museum and City Hall are within a couple short blocks of the Old Burying Ground. This is not a large graveyard, and there is a somewhat spotty plan of it (made, I think, in the 1860s when various plots were formally claimed) which you should be able to track down at PANB, but do be aware that many of the gravestones are missing or illegible now.

  4. Hi:
    Hello Ms. Addison:
    I just came across this article and would like to connect with you to see if we are somehow related. I am the granddaughter of the late Dr. Allen Sterling of Fredericton so I believe we are connected somehow. I am in Fredericton right now and returning next week to my home in Cincinnati where I have quite a bit of info which I can send you re the Sterlings, Colters, and Longs. This could prove interesting.


    1. Dear Frances,
      I would appreciate your sending me any information you might have on the Sterlings who might be related to me. On Sept.9, 2012, I went to the annual church service held at Holy Trinity church, Lower St. Mary’s, near Fredericton, New Brunswick. I was there with Twila Buttimer, who was the head Archivist at the University at the time. I went to the small church cemetery and stood at the gravesites of Dr. Allen Sterling, George H. Sterling ( my great, great grandfather), and other ancestors. We went back to the cemetery two more times. All of these experiences were very moving.
      I would like to hear more about what you know about the Sterlings. I do think we have a connection at some point. My Canadian lineage would be: my grandfather Dr. Harrison Tilley Sterling, who was born in the Fredericton area, migrated to the US at age 19, went to dental school in Philadelphia and settled in Greenville, SC, where he died; my great grandfather was George Archibald Sterling (born 1836 and died 1883 in the Fredericton area); his father was George Henry Sterling (born 1801 and died 1856 in the Fredericton area); his father Jonathan Sterling (born 1752 in Maryland and died in 1826 in the Fredericton area). Jonathan survived the shipwreck of “The Martha”, off the coast of Nova Scotia. He was a Captain in Maryland Loyalist Regiment and was headed to Canada to resettle after the Revolutionary War. His Maryland lineage goes back several generations to the time when Maryland was being settled by emigrants. The lineage before that goes back to England and then to Scotland.
      I hope to hear from you soon. Sincerely, Capitola Addison

  5. I have located Harrison Tilley Sterling, “son” age 13, on the 1891 Can. Census , Carleton Ward, Fredericton, NB. His name appears at the top of a page. Go the previous page (last entry) & there you will find Caroline McCarthy age 51. Given the juxtaposition of these two could it be that Caroline is the mother of Harrison. [both are living in the household of Daniel & Jane Meecham (sp?)]. Alas… PANB website does not record a marriage for Caroline (Tilley) Sterling & a Mr. McCarthy. The name of Caroline McCarthy, wid. age 61, appears on the 1901 Can. Census for Fredericton. By this time son Harrison has left for the USA.

    For what it’s worth…. Caroline Tilley Sterling IS NOT the Sarah Caroline who died in England as supposed by members of the Sterling clan.

  6. Dear Barbara Winn, I do think that you discovered information on my grandfather, Harrison Tilley Sterling and his mother on the 1891 Canada Census. I hope to pursue this lead.

    Dear Frances Sterling Babcock, I would appreciate your sending me any information you might have on the Sterlings who might be related to me. On Sept. 9, 2012, I went to the annual church service held at Holy Trinity Church, Lower St. Mary’s, New Brunswick. I was there with Twila Buttimer, who was the head Archivist at the University at the time. I went to the church cemetery and stood at the gravesites of Dr. Allen Sterling, George H. Sterling and other ancestors. These experiences were very moving. I would like to hear more about what you know about the Sterlings. I do think we are connected at some point. My Canadian lineage would be: my grandfather, Dr. Harrison Tilley Sterling (born in the Fredericton area but died in Greenville, SC; his father George Archibald Sterling (1836 – 1883 -Fredericton area); his father George Henry Sterling (1801 – 1856 – Fredericton area); his father Jonathan Sterling (1752 – 1826 died in Fredericton area). Before Jonathan, who survived the shipwreck of “The Martha” as a Captain in the Maryland Regiment that was resettling in Canada after the war, the Sterling lineage goes back to Maryland for several generations, then back to England for a couple of generations and then back to the Keir, Stirlingshire, Cadder, and Perthshire area of Scotland into the 1100s.

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