The Sinclair Family
The Clan claims descent from Woldernus, Count de St Clair, in Normandy. Sir Henry St Clair of Rosslyn supported the Bruce and signed the letter affirming Scots independence. His son was the "kind and true Sy Clair" who fell in Spain beside Sir James Douglas and the Bruce's heart. Henry St Clair, his great-grandson, became through his mother heir of the Norse Jarls of Orkney and was recognised as a scion of Scandinavian blood-royal. He was Lord High Admiral of Scotland and discovered Greenland. His grandson, third and last Prince of Orkney (JamesIII compelled him to resign the principality of Orkney) and Chancellor of Scotland, founded the Collegiate chapel of Roslin 1446. Being descended from the ancient Earls of Caithness, he was created Earl of Caithness 1455. He settled the Earldom of Caithness on his younger son. From his eldest son descended the Ords Sinclairs of Ravenscraig, "chiefs of the blood" of Sinclair. Of the Caithness line, William, second Earl, fell at Flodden. John, 3rd Earl, was killed during an insurrection in Orkney. John, 4th Earl, was an adherent of Mary Queen of Scots and Chancellor of the jury which acquitted Bothwell of Darnley's murder.. He died in 1583. Of his several sons, the most celebrated was George Sinclair of Mey, Chancellor of Caithness. The eldest son, John, Master of Caithness, was starved to death by his father in the grim rockfast castle of Girnigoe but was ancestor of the 5th, 6th and 7th Earls and of the Sinclairs of Miskill and Ratter.
Family tradition, verbally handed down, is that the Sinclair who settled on Kinneary Farm, County Armagh, Northern Ireland, in 1642 came from Scotland and that in the original home there was a framed coat of arms of the Caithness family of Sinclair. The farm Kinneary has been handed down from father to son and in 1946 a young Simon Sinclair "is growing up to continue the succession." There is no record of Sinclair births, deaths or marriages before 1788 as the records of Clonfeacle Church, Blackwatertown, the parish church for Kinneary Townland, were destroyed in the Court of Records fire in Dublin in the Rebellion of 1920.
THOMAS SINCLAIR owned Tullyroan farm from the early 1800s and was duly succeeded by his grandson THOMAS WILLIAM SINCLAIR and his wife MARY, some of whose family is of direct interest:
HARRY and ADA SINCLAIR's family.
- 1. SIMON SINCLAIR died unmarried in Toronto.
- 4. ADA and JOHN McDOWELL's son John was killed in 1916. Their daughter Mary married John Martin and their son John Martin was killed in 1942.
- 6. THOMAS ALEXANDER SINCLAIR inherited Tullyroan, sold it in 1902 and went to farm in Fort Beaufort, South Africa, where he married ETHEL PAINTER.
Sidney died in 1944.
Geoffrey Alexander Sinclair farmed with his grandfather Painter then went to the copper mines in Luanshya, Northern Rhodesia. He and his wife Edna (Fraser) then farmed for some years in Melsetter and Cashel, Rhodesia, later moving to Hermanus, Cape, where Geoff did a very good job in laying out Happy Valley. He and Edna died in 1978. Their daughter Janet did not marry but La�l married and (1980) lives with her family in Somerset West, Cape.
Jean Sinclair married Dr Jimmy Daneel, who died 1980.
- 7. JOHN McCLURE SINCLAIR was a Veterinary Surgeon and came to Rhodesia in the late 1890s. He became chief Veterinary Surgeon. His wife ETHEL was a founder member of Salisbury WI.
Their daughter Norah married Billy Mills and their daughter Wanda married Nevill Keeling and they have Helen (born 1959, m. Jonathan Edridge 1980), Nield, Kevin and Glynis. Pamela married Morris Pyle and they live with their sons Craig and Adam in Zambia.
- 8. HARRY (HENRY) SINCLAIR was a chemist and came to Fort Beaufort in the late 1890s. He married ADA EDWARDS in 1900 and worked hard to get the little town to progress. He became Mayor and on his deciding to leave Fort Beaufort in 1904, his fellow committee members paid tribute to the esteem with which they regarded him. "�a new era of improvement and progress�.is largely due to your endeavours. Your energy and intelligence have greatly benefited Fort Beaufort, permanently and in many ways." He and Ada went farming on Post Retief farm, which Ada inherited from her father and which they renamed Killaloe. He took great interest in the Fort which had been built in 1836 and needed a great deal of renovation.
Pat, Kevin, Kay c. 1913
Harry and Ada Sinclair's 4th child:
- 1. Cheslyn married Nessie Forward and they lived at one time in the officers' quarters of the Barracks, part of the Fort on Killaloe. They later farmed at Bethlehem, Orange Free State. Their family:
Aldyth married Stanley Finch and they have a son David and daughter Briony.
Errol and Chris Sinclair have three children and farm at Bethlehem.
Barbara married Rudolph du Plooy and they have two sons, Michael and Norman, and live in Vereeniging.
Lynette married . . They have a family and farm at Bethlehem.
- 2 Toonie (James) married Sylvia James, lived in Fort Beaufort and their family:
Elza (b. 1926) married Percy Love. They live in Port Elizabeth and their children are Patricia (b.1947) and Brian and David (b.1952).
Ellaline (b.4.11.1931) married John Page. They live in Port Elizabeth and their children are Gillian (b.1958), Desre (b.1961) and Janice (b.1963).
Neil (Ellaline's twin) (b.5.11.1931) married Margaret Cadle and they have a son Brent and live in Port Elizabeth. Neil had spent two years on Albany, Melsetter, as Pat's farm assistant and then had a spell in New Zealand.
- 3 Kay married Zac Whitehead had they had a daughter, Dawn. Kay later married
Dr Bryce Niblock and they lived in East London.
Dawn trained as a nurse, then married Dr Denis Smyth. They live in East
London and their family is: Clinton (b. 1953), Kay (b.1956), Howard (b. 1958)
and June (b. 1960).
- 4. Stanley (Pat)...see below.
- 5. Kevin married Eileen, they had a son Terence then divorced. Kevin then married Frances and they had Gaynor, Marlene, Michael and then triplets of whom one died very young.
Pat (Stanley) had his early schooling in Post Retief village. When he was lucky he rode with his older brothers but sometimes had to walk to school. He was then a boarder at Dale College, Kingwilliamstown and finished his schooling at Kingswood College, Grahamstown.
He went to Rhodes University initially to study law, at his father's desire, but switched to Fine Art in his second year. He left university and made an effort with Kevin to get the farming at Killaloe on to a sound basis, but they were defeated by the appalling effects of the Depression.
Pat went to Cape Town and joined the Cape Argus, hoping to get a job as cartoonist but the competition was terribly keen. He decided to go back to farming and managed (for �5 a month) a large sheep farm near Beaufort West. In 1929 he obtained a position in the Veterinary Department in Northern Rhodesia. Some two years later he was seconded to Locust Control and sent to make a report on breeding areas of the Red Locust in the Congo Basin. After this he became manager of Gordon James" farm Ayrshire near Lusaka.
He met Shirley when she was on a visit to friends in Lusaka and they became engaged. He came to Southern Rhodesia and managed the Sabi Tanganda Estate, where Shirley and her father visited him, and then his lifelong friend Dr Ziervogel offered him the chance of developing Orange Grove farm in Melsetter and he moved there in October, 1936.
By the time he and Shirley were married in 1937, he had got pastures established, fencing done, sheep and cattle on the farm and a house partly built and partly furnished. It was a big change for Shirley, a townie recently involved in London life, and then a Cape Town newspaper, to come to a farm ten miles from the nearest neighbour, with no electricity, no laid-on water (lovely view from the outdoor pk, though!) and no real home comforts.
After they had been there a year, Dr Ziervogel decided on a change of management and Pat and Shirley bought the 4,000 acre Albany farm through the Land Bank, as they had no capital, and they moved there in July 1938. Jim was then six months old and Albany became the family home for the next thirty eight years.
Over the years Pat sought diligently for "the" product to make a good living in Melsetter and experimented with many crops and ideas. They survived, gradually sold off portions of the farm and when they left in 1976, they had a beautiful 400 acre farm with irrigated pastures laid out particularly for carrying their Simmentaler stud herd and a commercial cattle herd.
Sadly they felt they should move away from a border area with their vulnerable valuable stock as the terrorist menace was increasing rapidly. (Melsetter is near the Eastern border of Rhodesia with Mozambique just the other side of the mountains.) And so they left their large house, lovingly designed and built by themselves, and their delightful neighbours and friends, and went to live on a rented property near Marandellas.
All the years in Melsetter both Pat and Shirley worked steadily for Melsetter's development; one or other was on every committee and before they left, Pat had been Chairman of the Farmers' Association. on Rhodesia National Farmers' Union boards, and Chairman of the Rural Council, and Shirley had served on the Melsetter School Advisory Council for over 20 years and had been National President of the National Federation of Women's Institutes of Rhodesia.
Their four children were taught by Shirley through correspondence school and then went to Melsetter School.
Jim finished his schooling at Bishops in
Cape Town, got a 1st Class Diploma at Gwebi Agricultural College, was employed
in helping to lay out the farm and start the first students at Chebero
Agricultural College and then managed a farm in Norton. After his marriage to
Ann Everett, B Sc UCT and Dip Ed.Oxon. they managed a farm in Umboe and then
joined Ann's father at Serui Source Farms in Norton, where Jim became a
partner. In Norton he has served on the committee of the Country Club, the
Church, the Farmers' Association, the School Advisory Committer and the PTA. He
was elected as Chairman of the national Cattle Producers' Association and served
on boards of several national bodies. In 1981 he became president of the
Commercial Farmers' Union. Following this he was appointed to the Board of
several organisations, serving as Chairman of the Forestry Commission. He was
part of the negotiating team that negotiated the arrangements for Zimbabwe's
beef Exports to the EU and chaired the U.K. and German Beef Marketing Companies.
He was also Chairman of Murray and Roberts in Zimbabwe. The family farming
operation grew and both sons David and Douglas joined the family business and
there was much expansion in the 80s and 90s with a strong family team managing
tobacco, maize, cattle, pigs, and flowers. This was brought to a dramatic halt
by Mr. Mugabe's chaotic and disastrous land reform programme which saw the
families leaving the farms with the loss of over 200 jobs. No compensation has
ever been paid for the illegal seizure of properties and the destruction has
been horrific with the family home being burnt down and barns and buildings
being destroyed. Since then a new start has been made in Zimbabwe with interests
in furniture and landscaping.
Barbara went on to Umtali Girls' High School, did her teacher training at Barkly House, Cape Town, and held various teaching posts in Rhodesia before her marriage. She also managed to fit in some travelling, spending five months in Europe in 1964, and then most of 1966 in Greece as a Nursery Governess. She married Paul Goss, B Sc, C Eng, MIEE, in 1969. Paul's job as Protection Engineer with the Central African Power Corporation meant that they lived first in Que Que and then moved to Salisbury on his promotion in 1976. They, with their two sons, left in 1982 to settle in Brisbane, Australia, where Paul worked in the electicity industry and Barbara spent some years with the Australian Bureau of Statistics. They have now both retired.
Ann worked for a year in the Post Office after leaving school, in order to help
towards a university education, and then went to the University of Cape Town
where she got her BA degree. She taught for a year at Umtali Boys' High School and then went to London where she did a secretarial course and worked in a law office. She then came back to Umtali Boys' High for two yers, before going back to England and teaching there, spending two years teaching at Culford School, Bury St Edmunds. In 1977 she came back to Rhodesia and married Ray Hoole BA. BSc (now D Litt et Phil). They both taught for some years at Falcon College, Essexvale, and then at the International School, Bophuthatswana. In 1996 they moved to England and teach at Framlingham College in Suffolk.
Gavin, after Umtali Boys' High, trained at the Teachers' College, Bulawayo, and taught at various schools in Rhodesia, becoming acting Headmaster before leaving for South Africa with his family in 1982. He married Mary Curtin BA Music in 1972. In South Africa he was Deputy Principal of The Ridge, a boys' prep school in Johannesburg, and then spent ten years as Headmaster of Waterkloof House Preparatory School in Pretoria before being appointed Headmaster of Uplands School, White River, in January 2000.
Jim, Gavin, Paul and Ray were all members of the Rhodesian Police Reserve and on their many call-ups during the years of the terrorist war, their duties included guarding convoys, bridges,railways and lonely farm homesteads, often in conditions of serious danger. All were unscathed except for a minor shrapnel wound which Paul sustained.
For details of the next generation see the next page.