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Re: Sinclairs in PEI

Dear Kendrick, Christi, and Julia,

I believe our family are     descendants of this John SInclair from Argyll.

Still have somehow to confirm it.


At 06:15 PM 4/3/00 -0400, you wrote:
>Brief History: Sinclairs of PEI
>In planning a family reunion of Sinclairs from Glendaruel/Prince Edward
>Island, I found myself composing a social history of the Sinclairs on
>this Island Province and wanted to share this short history with those
>of you that may be curious or inspired.
>You may in turn recogognize many of the social patterns that your
>ancestors may have moved through themselves as settlers.  For want of a
>better subject handle it is the Sinclair History of PEI shared as
>something of an over view. Perhaps it will inspire others to write on
>Delaware and such places where their ancestors were affected by the
>social and economic and political history of their times. PEI Sinclairs
>are not all that different from many of the Sinclairs in other
>geographies that we chat about on the Sinclair list.
>All stories have a beginning someplace, and the PEI story starts in a
>small clachan in Argyll in the mid 1700's, where a Sinclair family was
>tenanted on the estates of John Campbell of Glenorchy in the Glendareul
>valley. This was the same Campbell sept ran into some altercation with
>the Sinclairs of Caithness in the previous century gaining the
>reputation as having fought in the last clan war. Ironies aside, what we
>have is very much a picture of rural agricultural life in the later half
>of the 1700's.
>Now a combination of historical factors started to come into play for
>these crofters. An Ocean away the Nations of England and France were
>deciding through force of arms, who would occupy and colonize the north
>part of North America. There was the famous fall of the French forces of
>Quebec and the transfer of the French holdings in North America to the
>Crown of Britain through the Treaty of Paris. Now among the territories
>so transferred was the Ilse of St John who had to be settled and
>colonized. To all intents and purposes it was sparcely inhabited. As it
>is frequently written "to the victor go the spoils" and the Island was
>divided into a number of lots to be drawn by a lottery at the time
>"among those deserving of reward for service to the Crown".
>Well one of those individuals so entitled was Dougald Stewart who served
>as the second in command to George Washington during the Seven Years
>War. In fact George and Dougald remained friends even during and after
>the American Revolutionary War. In any event the lottery having been
>decided and lots divided, it then simply remained to gather a bunch of
>settlers to make their home on the Island. The one stipulation was that
>they had to be Protestant.
>Word went out and a number of families in Argyll and Kintyre responded
>to the opportunity to settle and eventually own their own lands. Now to
>those that have an impression of a clan system being neatly divided in
>defined settlements over a set piece of geography, all with the same
>last names, we would respectfully point out that nothing could be
>further from the truth. This was certainly true after Culloden and over
>the south - west of Scotland by the end of the 1700's. English names as
>well as a great many Highland Clan and Scottish names had settled all
>through Argyll and the towns and cities of Scotland.
>It was a wide variety of names and families in the region that
>respoinded to the call to settle this new opportunity.  Now at different
>points of history the motivations for departing Scotland were different.
>In the following century it would be because of an economic revolution,
>but during 1765 it was simply economic opportunity and the ability of
>settlers to own some land of their own. One must recall that land
>ownership during the period was the primary reason why opportunities
>were sought in the Americas. While the purchase of ownership was not
>impossible in Scotland, it was unusual and required more capital than
>most tenants could ever hope to accumulate in their lifetime. This is
>assuming that the lands be capable of sale and offered. Most 'titles in
>fee simple' were not available to the tenanted class.
>Now one of the settlement patterns for migration to the America's from
>Scotland, had families travel with nephews together with their own
>offspring. This allowed the remaining family a foothold in the
>destination, should at some point residency qualifications for
>settlement have to be met. Sending a child as an emmigrant was a
>compromise at a point where their own resources did not permit their own
>departure. Hence a younger generation may frequently proceed an older
>generation in the patterns of some settlements.
>In 1770 the Bark Annabelle set sail from Campbelton Kintyre to Malepeque
>Bay on the north shore of St Jonh Island. On board was a what we assume
>was Sinclair Family or perhaps a direct relation, and a young boy under
>6 year old called John Sinclair. Now this John, obtained a reputation of
>being the cabin boy on the voyage which culminated after 3 long months
>in October 1770. The fall colours would have topped red sandstone cliffs
>all across the Island as the first sight of what would be their new
>Now one of the strangest things happened, the passengers and crew
>disembarked, and the boat proceeded to sink to the bottom of the Ocean.
>On board were all the settlers belongings and provisions for the winter.
>Imagine a 6 year old lad, with no food, and no tools standing on the red
>sandstone cliffs watching a white rabbit scurry by. All were
>anticipating a climate that gets ice and snow within a few more months.
>Of course he did not have a clue as to where dinner would be coming
>from. He was not alone in this thought. Some 120 other individuals were
>around him looking at the same white rabbit that might have ended up as
>being someone's dinner that night.
>Now survive somehow he did, and he became the first Sinclair to own land
>in what later became Prince Edward Island having purchased it from
>Dougald Stewart for fifty Halifax Dollars at the young age of 19. He was
>the first Sinclair in PEI and the first in his family to own land.
> Later his youngest brother, who was a Drover of cattle though Argyll,
>Scotland, met with either accident or illness and in either event died
>leaving a widow and a brood of children with no support or livelihood.
>Making the best of adverse circumstances they followed John in 1840. By
>this time our young lad was not a young lad any more being well into his
>60;s. From this simple Sinclair family of Glendaruel the Sinclairs of
>Prince Edward Island obtained their heritage and roots. We do not know
>what happened to the pioneers that may have accompanied our John, or the
>pioneer settlement. All this has been lost in the sands of erosion.
>However like so many stories that become common to Sinclairs around the
>world as settlers, the family flourished and the descendants live from
>Newfoundland to British Columbia, from Cape Cod to Los Angles. They have
>served in politics, explored the South Pole, and the western indian
>lands with the buffalo. They have married and raised ten generations, of
>hundreds of descendants carrying their same DNA.  They built their
>communities, some stayed on the island, some left to start over again.
>Throughout they were caracterized by decency, hard work and social
>In later years they were joined on the Island by other Sinclairs not
>directly related but which came from Thurso and Caithness and elsewhere
>in Argyll. Other Sinclair families appear from elsewhere in the
>maritimes and Ireland then intermingled with the PEI population. The
>world shrank in the 1800's and continues to do so at an accelerated
>rate. This Sinclair story is not uncommon but as all stories that our
>ancestors may tell, it reflects the times and society.
>Our John likely never learned to read or write, he spoke Gaelic, he may
>have played the fiddle. He worked with his hands and was frugal  He
>sponsored his church, the local school and taught his children the value
>of families and education. His decendants now hold doctorates from the
>finest Universities today, circumnavigate the globe and fly airliners.
>They tend farms a stones throw from the first house, and raise their
>children. They have married into families from Jacques Cartier ship and
>the Matyflower. Not a bad legacy.
>I encourage you to find and obtain your own local Sinclair stories, and
>give tribute, where due, to their adventure and courage. To share their
>strength of character and to recognize their social contribution in
>moving the Sinclair story forward. With a "yours aye yours" I want to
>encourage other families of the Sinclair discussion list to perhaps plan
>a family gathering for this year, as the first year of the century. So
>from the Plains of Abraham, to George Washington's friend, through ship
>wrecks and hungry times, the family in its many coloured coat moved
>{Oh How did John survive winter in 1770?
>Through two ironies of history. The Indians and the Acadians who were
>the subject matter of being displaced by British settlement after 1770
>came to the rescue. They shared what they had and taught the families to
>hunt and fish!}
>I thank you and hope in a small way this inspires you to do the same.
>Have fun.
>Neil Sinclair
>Toronto/PEI/Forever Argyll
>[ This is the Sinclair family discussion list, sinclair@mids.org
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