Tuesday, November 18, 2014

John Sibley and Jane Pochard

John Sibley (1755-1835) and Jane Pochard (1760-1860) were my 5th great grandparents, and one of very few sets of my ancestors who migrated to the US after the Colonial period.

They had eleven children, and have many hundreds of descendants living today, and their arrival in Maine was more by chance than many other New England families.

John Sibley was born in Nova Scotia to Englishman and soap magnate Henry Sibley and Halifax native Sarah Haislup.  When John was only eight years old, his father Henry sailed home to England to settle his father's estate and died at sea.  This left John and his five siblings orphaned in Halifax, which Sarah couldn't handle, so she left her children to be raised by others and moved to England.  While his siblings appear to have stayed in Halifax, John joined the Revolution.

In particular, John became involved with Jonathan Eddy's movement to make Nova Scotia the 14th American Colony, to break ties with England during the American Revolution. Jonathan Eddy made a failed attempt to siege Fort Cumberland in central Nova Scotia, in the fall of 1776, and John Sibley somehow ended up in Maine (then part of Massachusetts) following Eddy's retreat back to his native Massachusetts.

John later fought in the Battle of Monmouth in New Jersey, and also Saratoga with the Continental Army as a private in Captain Smart's company, Colonel Calvin Smith's regiment.  John was also at Valley Forge in 1778 and reported on command at Boston Neck in March and April 1779. He was reported deserted July 12, 1780, which many believe was the reason his pension application was later turned down.

John married Jane Pochard December 8, 1782 at Pownalborough, Maine.  Jane was born in Frankfort, Maine to Abraham Pochard, whose father was a French Huguenot who had arrived in Maine 1751 with his wife and four sons from Chenerbie, Haute-Soane in eastern France near the Swiss border. They arrived in Boston on the ship Pricilla, which sailed from Rotterdam,   Netherlands, and then proceeded directly to Frankfort Plantation (Dresden) in Maine   where they settled. Some of the family moved to Fairfield in 1775 and then to the Pittsfield area around 1814. The inability of the English speaking settlers to spell the Pochard family name correctly resulted in a variety of phonetic variations e.g. Pushard, Pushaw, Pushor, and Pushan.

They lived in Fairfield, Canaan, Warsaw (Pittsfield), and Passadumkeag, Maine.

John applied for a Revolutionary War pension on March 12, 1834, which reveals that he was born in 1755 in Halifax, N.S.  The pension application was denied due to his apparent desertion near the end of the War.

Passadumkeag, Maine incorporated as a town in 1835. When they did their first Town census after incorporation, Jane was listed as widow Jane Sibley.  So we know that John died about 1835.

John and Jane had twelve children, four girls and eight boys, including my 4th great grandmother Margaret Sibley-Burrill, who married Benjamin Burrill of Fairfield, who was 4th great grandson to John Alden of the Mayflower.


  1. Hello, One Jane Poshard married Joseph McGown of Frankfurt (Dresden), Maine. They married 04 May 1797 in Dresden, both of Dresden. Do you think Peter might have had a daughter, Jane? thank you. Merrylyn Sawyer email: merrylyn.sawyer@gmail.com

  2. Sorry, I don't know. I did a bit of searching, and I haven't found anything.

  3. Awesome information. I am helping my mom put together our family history. We are descendants of Abraham Pushard.

  4. John Sibley is my 3rd GGF, his son David, born 1797/died1882 Burlington Maine was married to Polly Church. Their son Hanson Church Sibley born 1824/died 1915 was married to Florence Lyford whose 4th GGF was William Bradford of the Mayflower.
    I have a photo of Hanson from 1912.