mwilkie on Family Tree Circles

sort: Date Alphabetical
view: full | list

Journals and Posts


Robert SINCLAIR (1838 1901) Governor of the Poor House at Prestonkirk.

In the book entitled, The Sinclairs 1664-1992 A Family History it mentions my ancestor, Robert SINCLAIR as becoming Governor of the Poor House at Prestonkirk a short time after marrying Ann PETTIGREW.

I really didnt know what a Governor of the Poor house was, so I Goggled it. One definition explains it as, A poorhouse or workhouse was a government-run facility in the past for the support and housing of dependent or needy persons, typically run by a local government entity such as a county or municipality.

(http://www.eastlothian.gov.uk/site/scripts/news_article.php?newsID=386) which states, It's in the Records demonstrates what a fantastic resource the archives are for the study of both local and family history.

The development of poor relief is just one of the topics explored. East Lothian Poorhouse was built at Prestonkirk, East Linton in the 1860s. Although conditions were harsh the records show that some attempt was made to make the residents comfortable - at Christmas 1865 the governor asks the poorhouse committee to provide a treat for the 'inmates' which included fine bread, meat pie and plum pudding. The nineteenth century poor law records which will return to East Lothian are among the best in Scotland

In early Victorian times (for Britain see Poor Law and workhouse), poverty was seen as a dishonourable state caused by a lack of the moral virtue of industriousness (or industry as it was called). As was depicted by Charles Dickens, a poorhouse or workhouse could resemble a reformatory and house children, either with families or alone, or a penal labour regime to give the poor work at manual labour and subject them to physical punishment. As the 19th century progressed, conditions became better.

The article mentions at Christmas 1865 the governor asks the poorhouse committed to provide a treat for the inmates. Its very likely that Robert SINCLAIR was the governor at this time.


1 comment(s), latest 3 years, 7 months ago

John SINCLAIR (1808-1891) and Margaret HISLOP (1814-1879)

From the book entitled, The Sinclairs 1664-1992 A Family History

John SINCLAIR (1808-1891) and Margaret HISLOP (1814-1879)
In the Prestonkirk Census of 1841, John was to be found in Yellowlees Cottage and was mentioned as being born in Spott. He was married to Margaret HISLOP from Dunbar and he worked as a gardener.

Between 1851 and 1871 they stayed at Orchard Cottage and were tenants of Linton Orchard on the South facing bank on the River Tyne, producing fruit such as strawberries which were sent to Edinburgh by train.

In 1879 Margaret passed away and then John moved and stayed with his sister-in-law Jessie HISLOP at Browns Place. A short time after, he went to stay with his son Robert at Congalton Gardens. In 1881, John died and was buried in the Prestonkirk Churchyard.
He and Margaret had ten children:

Robert Sinclair (1838 1901) married Ann Pettigrew (1841-1916) who was the daughter of John and Margaret (Spence) Pettigrew. Robert and Ann had six children. Robert became Governor of the Poor house at Prestonkirk. In 1872 they moved to Congalton Gardens, a market garden near Drem where there are still Sinclairs today.

Isabella Sinclair (1840-1880) married Alex Malcolm (1835-1878) who was a grocer in East Linton. They both died young and their ten children became under the guardianship of Isabellas brother George.

Elizabeth Sinclair (1841-1919) married William Clark (1835-1890). They eloped and were married in 1877 in Berwick upon Tweed. They had four children. Elizabeth worked for her brother David. William was employed as a tailor.

David Sinclair (1844-1898) was a bachelor and is remembered as being a very holy man. The 1871 Census listed him as a draper in East Linton where he employed seven men and two women.

John Sinclair (1845-?) was a bachelor who was a drapers assistant. It is said that he went to Glasgow to seek his fortune by opening a high class grocers business but failed.

George Sinclair (1847-1917) married Mary Phemister (1847-1931) took over the running of Linton Orchard from his father John. Both he and Mary also became guardian of his sister Isabellas ten children when she died in 1880.

Margaret Sinclair (1848-1897) never married and she was a domestic servant who found lodgings in Browns Place, East Linton

William Sinclair (1851-?) He was a draper in Glasgow and married Janet? and had one daughter Janet Sinclair (1875-?)

Alexander Sinclair (1851-1863) Buried in Prestonkirk Churchyard

Thomas Sinclair (1854-?) In 1881 Census emigrated to Canada and became a trapper. Legend says that he died one winter in his cabin and was not found for a year later.

The attached photo is John SINCLAIR (1808-1891)


1 comment(s), latest 3 years, 7 months ago

James SINCLAIR - Fur Trader - WILKIE and Abraham LINCOLN

When I first started searching for stories about the SINCLAIR and WILKIE family, I simply googled their names. From this I found some interesting links for both families to the Hudson's Bay Company.


Interesting enough, brothers Henry (Harry) Sinclair CLARK (1882-1962) and Alexander Sinclair CLARK (1878-1962) travelled to Nelson, British Columbia, Canada in 1907. Alex worked and became a manager for the Hudsony's Bay Company in Nelson, British Columbia. Both brothers built up a ranch and a fruit farm.


If your looking for an interesting story about the SINCLAIR or WILKIE family, go to to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Sinclair_(fur_trade)or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Baptiste_Wilkie


James SINCLAIR (1811-1856) was a trader and explorer with the Hudson's Bay Company. He was the son of Hudson's Bay Company factor William SINCLAIR, from Eastaquoy in Harray, and his Cree wife, Nahovway. James was born in Rupert's Land and educated in Scotland at Edinburgh University. He twice led large parties of settlers half-way across Canada, from the Red River Valley to the Columbia River valley.

Jean Baptiste WILKIE

On June 15, 1840, Chief WILKIE led 1,630 hunters in a buffalo hunt. A council was held to elect the leaders of the hunt, and ten captains were named. WILKIE was elected to be the most senior captain.


Many Native Americans stopped at his house in St. Joseph. In 1861, several Sioux and Chippewa opened fire on each other. Red Bear, the brother of a Chippewa chief, was among those killed.


In the 1860s, Chief WILKIE made peace between the Metis and the Dakota, who had been enemies for many generations. Wilkie and Peter Grant traveled to Washington and met with U.S. President Abraham LINCOLN, who provided them with ammunition. WILKIE and several other men went into a Dakota village and asked to meet with the chief. The meeting started off tense, and the Dakota warriors were said to have been so angry that they slashed the cloth covering the lodge. After smoking the pipe of peace, an agreement was made. Later, the Metis and Dakota met at Grand Coteau in order to trade and get to know each other. It was said that out of the hundred that came, none left with the same horse they brought.

1 comment(s), latest 3 years, 7 months ago

James SINCLAIR - Fur Trader

When I first started searching for stories about the SINCLAIR and WILKIE family, I simply googled their names. From this I found some interesting links for both families to the Hudson's Bay Company.


Interesting enough, brothers Henry (Harry) Sinclair CLARK (1882-1962) and Alexander Sinclair CLARK (1878-1962) traveled to Nelson, British Columbia, Canada in 1907. Alex worked and became a manager for the Hudson's Bay Company in Nelson, British Columbia. Both brothers built up a ranch and a fruit farm.


If your looking for an interesting story about the SINCLAIR or WILKIE family, go to to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Sinclair_(fur_trade)or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Baptiste_Wilkie


James SINCLAIR (1811-1856) was a trader and explorer with the Hudson's Bay Company. He was the son of Hudson's Bay Company factor William SINCLAIR, from Eastaquoy in Harray, and his Cree wife, Nahovway. James was born in Rupert's Land and educated in Scotland at Edinburgh University. He twice led large parties of settlers half-way across Canada, from the Red River Valley to the Columbia River valley.

Jean Baptiste WILKIE
On June 15, 1840, Chief WILKIE led 1,630 hunters in a buffalo hunt. A council was held to elect the leaders of the hunt, and ten captains were named. WILKIE was elected to be the most senior captain.


Many Native Americans stopped at his house in St. Joseph. In 1861, several Sioux and Chippewa opened fire on each other. Red Bear, the brother of a Chippewa chief, was among those killed.


In the 1860s, Chief WILKIE made peace between the Metis and the Dakota, who had been enemies for many generations. Wilkie and Peter Grant traveled to Washington and met with U.S. President Abraham LINCOLN, who provided them with ammunition. WILKIE and several other men went into a Dakota village and asked to meet with the chief. The meeting started off tense, and the Dakota warriors were said to have been so angry that they slashed the cloth covering the lodge. After smoking the pipe of peace, an agreement was made. Later, the Metis and Dakota met at Grand Coteau in order to trade and get to know each other. It was said that out of the hundred that came, none left with the same horse they brought.

3 comment(s), latest 2 years, 7 months ago

Casulty of War - Norman SINCLAIR 1878 - 1915

Norman SINCLAIR was one of six children of George (1847-1917) and Mary (Phemister) Sinclair (1847-1931).


Norman was an engineer in Rhodesia who joined the Rhodesian Army at the outbreak of WWI. He was killed by a lion while on active service on the Rhodesian Frontier on 9th of May, 1915.


Norman's youngest brother, Thomas George SINCLAIR (1881-1914) was also an engineer in Rhodesia and joined the Rhodesian Army. He died in Mongu, Rhodesia on the 12th of October, 1914.

(Information provided by "The Sinclairs: A Family History", 1664-1992)

5 comment(s), latest 3 years, 6 months ago

A Family History -The SINCLAIRS 1664-1992

My distant cousin, Thomas Middlemass published the above titled book in 1992. My eldest brother Robert (Bob) Wilkie helped compile information and is mentioned along with Thomas.


Earliest records in this book mention Robert Sinclair, "possibly one of the two brothers who came down from the north. He was married to Jennet Whitehead and they had two children; Mary Sinclair, born in 1664 and William Sinclair, born in 1667. The amazing thing about the descendants of Robert, is that so far as has been traced in this research, there are only two males today who can carry on the name of Sinclair, one in Canada and on in East Lothian."


William (b 1667) married Agnes Sandie. William's name is found in the Parish Registers of Cockburnspath Parish. They had six children:
Janet Sinclair b 1687
John Sinclair b 1693
Hellen Sinclair b 1698
William Sinclair b 1701
Robert Sinclair b 1704
James Sinclair b 1707

My father, James Sinclair Wilkie (b 1929) is the son of Edward E. A. P. Wilkie (1895 - 1992) and Rita Mary Sinclair (1897 - 1942). My grandmother Rita was the daughter of John (1867 -1928) and Harriet (Lees) Sinclair.

John and Harriet had six children in total:
Rita Mary Sinclair b 1897
Ann Pettigrew Sinclair b 1899
Dorothy Sinclair b 1902
Robert Sinclair b 1904
William Lees Sinclair b 1908
Elizabeth Eeles Sinclair b 1911

I am very grateful for all the hard work and research that Thomas and Bob have put into our Sinclair family and I am looking forward to continuing to look for additional family ties to long lost relatives. I have so many names to research such as the Whiteheads, Martins, Purves, Hislop and Cowie...and that's only on the Sinclair side of my family.

The Wilkie side of the research has just begun with surnames such as granddad Ed's mother Mary Brown. The search is on and I look forward to getting any help from distant cousins who are researching FamilyTreeCircle!


1 comment(s), latest 3 years, 7 months ago

Looking for WILKIE or SINCLAIR from the War of 1812

With the 200th Anniversary of the War of 1812 coming soon, I would like to know if I have any direct descendants that fought for the British or the United States?

3 comment(s), latest 3 years, 7 months ago