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Similarities of a "Lost Child" myth
In my research of Henry Sinclair of Virginia, the ancestor who was the cornerstone of Jefferson Seldon Sinclair's book "The Sinclair Family of Virginia", I find the similarities of our family myth to that of William Sinkler of PA fascinating.
I find the following on William Sinkler:
William Sinkler, a Quaker, born probably in the 1680s, married Phoebe
Gleave on 10 Mar 1708/09 in Chester county, Pennsylvania. He died about 24
May 1757. The origins of William Sinkler are unknown. Some sources
speculate that he was kidnapped from Scotland at an early age. For
additional information about William, see my note of 14 December 2001 in
the archives of the Sinclair discussion group at:
Last October I visited the Morgan City Archives in Morgan City, Louisiana,
to browse through "A History of the St. Clair Family in Europe and America
for a Thousand Years" which was written by Charles Henry St Clair. Apparently, the only copies of this document are held by the Morgan City Archives. The work consists of five volumes of over a thousand pages of hand-written text (the page numbers exceed 2000, but most of the even-numbered pages are blank).
Beginning on page 1745 of Volume 5 is a section entitled "The Lost Boy." where the author discusses the possible background of a "lost boy" named Robert whose clothes included buttons containing a crest. Then, on page 1785, he concludes the section with the following (the hand-written text, particularly names and places, is sometimes difficult to decipher and I have indicated such text with "[illegible]" or, for example, with "[younger?]": "Note: Since writing the above I am in receipt of an old letter, written many years ago, by an old Quaker Lady, who states that the Swan Crest was not on the Boy's buttons, but belonged to a [younger ?] member of the family, and she proceeds to describe what was on the buttons as follows 'On a shield with a ragged cross, with two ships, and two lions and on top, a man waving a flag and saying Leading to Glory.'
After reading this I turned to the Armoury of the St. Clairs, and find it is almost an exact description of the Arms of the St. Clairs of Dunbeath and Stemster, which are given in the Armoury as follows: (Dunbeath Baronet 1704) Quarterly as Earl of Caithness within a [illegible ] [illegible ] [illegible ]. Crest - A man displaying a banner [illegible]. Motto - Le duce gloriamur [spelling?]. The Arms, motto, and crest of (Stemster) are the same.
I next seek a description of the St. Clairs of Stemster and Dunbeath and find 'the first of this family was Alex, 2nd son of Wm II, (40?)th Earl of Caithness. Alex obtained a Crown Charter 1507 and md. Elizabeth Innes and had (1) William, his successor; (2) Oliver, frequently mentioned as brother to Wm St. Clair of Dunbeath. He was probably named after his great uncle Sir Oliver St. Clair of Rosslyn. The dau, Isabel, md Gilbert Gordon, uncle to John 5th Earl of Sutherland. William St. Clair second of Dunbeath md 1st Beatrix Gordon and 2nd Margaret Innes, sole heiress of Lord [Forbes?]. The children of the two wives quarreled & we find that Wm of these children succeeded to Dunbeath, [Henry ?] to [illegible place], David to [Thurso ?], Richard to Brims, who in 1620 heirs his brothers. Richard had two sons and a dau (1) Alex, heired Brims (1691) md & had children who lived at Brims Castle 1691; (2) William of whom nothing is known. This may be the 'Lost Boy.'
Here we find one who fills all the requirements. The dates are right, the name is right. The family claimed history and the record shows, lost a member of that name, at that time, of whom they have no account, and the arms of that family are the same as that found on the boy's buttons. And here we rest this search.
Note: The Quaker Lady also states that the boy's name was William and not Robert, as some writers have given it. The name of this Quaker lady is Mrs. Lydia A. Wilson and her home Wenona, Illinois."
To connect these passages to the William Sinkler, whose origins I am seeking, I now refer to page 1837, a section entitled "The St. Clairs of Ohio" in Charles Henry St. Clair's research, which deals with James Sinclair, Jr., the son of James "Quaker James" Sinclair, who was a son of the subject William Sinkler:
"James St. Clair Jr, son of James Sr, was the grandson of William St. Clair (who was stolen while very young from Scotland and was adopted by an American (Quaker) gentleman, and was known as 'the Lost Boy')..."
So, to finally get to the bottom line and my question, can anyone supply further information (e.g., dates of birth, marriages and children) on the descendants of William St. Clair, second of Dunbeath, and his son Richard St. Clair of Brims as mentioned above by Charles Henry St. Clair. Is it possible that William Sinkler was the son of Richard St. Clair of Brims and the grandson of William St. Clair of Dunbeath?
Thanks for any help,
Now let's look at the Henry Sinclair (b. c1729) Myth:
This came to me from a descendant of Jefferson Bonaparte Sinclair, b. c,1800, son of Captain John Sinclair. It turns out my husband's family had "mushed" the myth, and that the myth actually is that young Henry was in the care of a governess or some such on the voyage, and not a female relative...
Below is a copy of a page from a book written by my
| grandmother, Mary Colcock Sinclair. She's the one who
| traced our genealogy. She couldn't get any farther
| than Henry Sinclair on my grandfather's side. We're
| descended from Jefferson B. Sinclair, Jr.
| > >
| > > Record of Henry Sinclair, first of that name tocome to America.
| > >
| > >Henry Sinclair came to this country as asmall child in the care of a governess or nurse.
The ship sailed from Aberdeen, Scotland, and the tradition is that he had been stolen. The ship
| was wrecked off the coast of Norfolk and nearly all the passengers and crew
| were drowned. However he was saved and identified by the marking on his clothes
| as Henry Sinclair. Also embroidered on them was the crest of the Sinclairs
| of Caithness. These clothes were seen many years later by Mrs. James Baytop Sinclair,
recently deceased at ninety-nine years of age, when she was a young girl. They were
| in a trunk in the attic of an old Virginia home, which later burned down and
| then was destroyed. Nothing is known of his early life except
| that he grew up in Isle of Wight County and was the father of John Sinclair (b. 1755)
| of Berry Hill near Smithfield, Isle of Wight County and Robins Neck,
| Gloucester County. He (John) married Elizabeth Wilson, sister of Solomon
When quite a young man, an advertisement appeared in a New York paper
| seeking the "lost heir of Sir John Sinclair". Henry was evidently the one sought,
| because the date of the sailing of the ship from Aberdeen was the same as
| the one on which he came to America.At that time he was doing so well with his
| plantations and small trading vessels of which his son John was captain
| that he never answered the notice and said there were probably plenty of
| other Sinclairs to take his place.
| That was all there was on Henry. I hope it helps a
I find this fascinating. Anyone here have any insights into this?? William Sinkler was born c1680's.. Henry Sinclair c. 1729. Could there be a familial connection, thus explaining the myth connection?