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This has been another family which has been difficult to trace, mainly because I have been unable to establish which ship they arrived on. However, there are some clues in Scotland which appear to lead us to the right family.


In the 1851 census for the Gorbals in Lanarkshire appears the following entry.

SINCLAIR       Alexander    Head     M         M    32   Provision Dealer  Argyllshire - Strontian                  

SINCLAIR       Margaret      Wife      M         F     40                               Argyllshire - Appin                      

SINCLAIR       John             Son        -           M     3                                 Lanarkshire - Glasgow                

SINCLAIR       Rachel         Dau.                  F      1                                Dunbartonshire – Milton

Alexander Sinclair married Margaret Campbell on 01 Nov 1846 in Barony, Lanark,Scotland.

From another website I have ascertained that one Donald Sinclair arrived in New Zealand with his wife and three small children in August 1855. He died June 1914. He too was born in Strontian in Argyll. This was in 1821.

In the 1841 census of a parish on the island of Islay we find the following:

SCT1841/540 Place: Kilchoman -Argyllshire            (Isle of Islay)

SINCLAIR     John               M                    55        Tenant            Argyllshire                   

SINCLAIR     Marrion          F                     50                               Argyllshire                   

SINCLAIR     Elizabeth        F                     25                                Argyllshire                   

SINCLAIR     Alexander       M                    20                                Argyllshire                  

SINCLAIR     John               M                    15                               Argyllshire                   

SINCLAIR     Donald            M                    15                               Argyllshire                   

SINCLAIR     Robert            M                    13                               Argyllshire                   

SINCLAIR     Catharine        F                     10                               Argyllshire                   

MCDERMID  Ann               F                     6                                 Argyllshire                   

MCDERMID  Marrion          F                     4                                 Argyllshire                   

MCDERMID  Duncan           M                    2                                 Argyllshire                   

MCDERMID  Mary              F                     1m                               Argyllshire

This census rounds the ages of all over 14 years of age down to the nearest five years, which means Alexander would have between 20 and 24, and Donald between 15 and 19. This tallies with the ages of both men when they died.

Kilchoman was a mining area, as was Strontian, so there is likely to be a connection between the two parishes.

Also the ages of Alexander and Margaret in the 1851 census tally with their ages when they died in 1886 and 1903 respectively.

In the 1841 census for Lismore and Appin, also in Argyll, appears this entry:

: SCT1841/525 Place: Lismore & Appin - Argyllshire                                                 

CAMPBELL          John                        M         35                   Schoolmaster             Argyllshire                  

CAMPBELL Margaret            F         30                   Housekeeper               Argyllshire       

MCLEAN     Donald            M         10                                                           England

This could well be “our” Margaret.     

Donald Sinclair and Catherine McCallum were married on 30 November 1849, Ballantyre, Lanark, with the banns also being called in Cambuslang, south of Glasgow.

Their son Angus Sinclair was born 09 Feb 1855. Birthplace: CLYDE, GLASGOW, LANARK, SCOTLAND.


Alexander Sinclair appears on the jury list in 1858, 1859 and 1865 as a farmer at Waiwetu in the Hutt Valley.

He appears on the Electoral Rolls.

1865-66 Sinclair, Alex. Waiwetu, Hutt. F/H Mungaroa 120 acres land No’s 45, 46, 47.

1874-75 Sinclair, Alex. Waiwhetu, Hutt, F/H Mungaroa 120 acres.

They appear to be living in the southern part of the Hutt Valley, but farming 120 acres in Whiteman’s Valley near Upper Hutt. The following reports in relation to a Court Case in 1881 are rather detailed, but do give us some idea of the work Alexander put into improving the land.

Evening Post, 2 March 1881.

ALLEGED LARCENY. Thomas Whitton was charged with stealing, on the 21st ult., at Whiteman's Valley, a horse collar, pair of plough stones, back band, corn sieve, pair of steel yards, shingle knife potato fork, and cattle brand, together of the value of 25s, the property of Alexander Sinclair. Mr. Ollivier appeared for the prosecution, and Mr. Gordon Allan for the defence; Mr. Ollivier applied for an adjournment until to-morrow, saying it was possible that by that then there would be no occasion for further proceedings. His Worship said he was not so sure of that. In the present case, a search warrant had been executed on the prisoner's premises, and he had been arrested on a warrant for an alleged felony. Now he (Mr. Shaw) was told there might be a compromise of the matter. It was impossible to compromise a felony, as the whole of the parties concerned would render themselves open to criminal informations for aiding and abetting a felony. Mr. Allan said while he was quite prepared to show that the prosecution was a most trumpery one, he had no objection to the proposed adjournment and his Worship, in postponing the case till to-morrow, stated that before he could discharge prisoner on this information he would have to be quite satisfied that the prosecution was altogether frivolous and groundless, and that it ought never to have been undertaken. He was not going to have the criminal law set in motion to enforce civil rights, therefore if this was a matter which ought to have been brought on the civil side of the Court, he must be perfectly satisfied as to that before he let the prisoner go. Bail was allowed in prisoner's own recognizance of £50, the disputed property to remain in the custody of the police in the meantime. The Court then rose.     

Evening Post, 3 March 1881.

Alleged Larceny. Thomas Whitton, on remand, was charged with stealing, at Whiteman's Valley, a horse-collar, pair of plough stones, steel yards, and other articles, value 25s, the property of Alexander Sinclair. Mr. Ollivier described the circumstances under which the prosecution arose. They were of a rather complicated nature. He said Sinclair formerly lived on certain property at Whiteman's Valley, which had since been leased to Whitton. During the period he dwelt there he metamorphosed the property from green bush into a good farm, calculated to afford a capital living to any man who chose to work on it. Unable to work on the property himself by reason of advancing years, Sinclair determined to let it, and in the course of his negotiations he came across Whitton, who represented that he was possessed of capital, and in a position to stock and manage the farm. Relying on these representations, Sinclair let the property to Whitton for a period of seven years, with right of purchase for £1000, the rent fixed for the first three years being £80 per annum, to be increased afterwards to £100, payable half-yearly. A valuation was made of the live and dead stock, which Whitton arranged to take over with the farm but a number of articles, including those mentioned in the information, were allowed to remain on the property, though not appearing in the valuation list. Whitton perfectly understood that these articles were the property of Sinclair, and offered no objection to their remaining on the farm. They had since been taken away by the prisoner to another place, hence the present action. The prosecutor having given his evidence, some discussion ensued between the Bench and the counsel on both sides, and ultimately Mr. Ollivier consented to the information being dismissed, his Worship pointing out that no felonious intent could be established by the evidence, and that Sinclair could seek his remedy on the civil side of the Court if he chose to do so. Mr. Allan said he could not allow the case to be dismissed without making a few observations. The prisoner had been dragged to the dock on a charge of felony merely to satisfy the vindictive feeling of the prosecutor. If this had been a civil action, he could easily have explained the circumstances connected with the matter. Being in the dock, however, his mouth was closed. His Worship - I have just pointed out to the prosecutor's counsel that he has his civil remedy. I need hardly remind you that you have yours. The information was accordingly dismissed.    


Alexander was obviously very involved in the activities of the Presbyterian Church in the Wellington area.

Wellington Independent, 24 November 1868

PRESBYTERIAN GENERAL ASSEMBLY. The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of New Zealand, met on Monday evening, in Willis Street Church, at seven o’clock. Present: Presbytery of Wellington— Rev. John Moir, Wellington Rev. William Stewart M'Gowan, Hutt, Rev. James S. Patterson, Wellington Elder, Alexander Sinclair. Presbytery of Auckland Rev. Thomas Norrie, Papakura Rev. Robert M'Kinney, Mahurangi. Presbytery of Hawke's Bay, Rev. George Morice, St. Paul's Elder, James Anderson. Presbytery of Nelson Rev. Patrick Calder, Nelson Rev. Wm. Shirriffs, Riwaka Rev. Alexander C. Souter, Picton, Rev. Andrew H. Stobo, Southland. Rev. William Watt, Missionary to New Hebrides. The Rev. Patrick Calder, of Nelson (the Moderator), opened the meeting by preaching from John, 18th chapter, 38th verse. The discourse was marked by vigorous thought, and an eloquent treatment of certain prevailing phases of error. At the conclusion of the service, the Rev. Thomas Norrie, of Papakura, was unanimously elected Moderator for the ensuing year. The Assembly having been constituted, Mr Norrie took the chair, and delivered an interesting and appropriate address, in which he alluded to the importance of the field of labour which God had assigned to the brethren in this colony to the honor which had been conferred upon himself as representing brethren laboring in remoter country districts 5 to the rapid increase of the ministers of the Presbyterian Church in New Zealand, now numbering nearly seventy and to the afflicting hand of God experienced by the Church in the lamentable war now raging, as also in the sudden removal by death of the esteemed minister of Blenheim, the Rev. Archibald Russell. After the appointment of some committees, the Assembly adjourned, to meet on Tuesday, the 24th, at the same place, at 11 a.m.     

Upper Hutt Leader, 15 April 1954

PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH. 75th ANNIVERSARY. If a reputable builder tendered the amount of £339.9.8 to build a church we would say that something was wrong, and if the building was actually erected for that amount we would say that it was a modern miracle. Yet 75 years ago that very thing happened when the main portion of St. David's Church was built. For some time previously services, had been hold in the Rose of Sharon hall, but in September, 1878, plans were made for the erection of a Presbyterian Church in Upper Hutt. Collectors were appointed to canvass in Wellington, the Lower Valley, Wainui-o-mata, Stokes. Valley and the Upper Valley. The pursuit of their extensive canvass over country that was poorly roaded is indicative not only of the generosity of the people, but also of their deep concern for the Church of God. The sum of £176 was collected and another £59 raised by a bazaar. Within six months—in February, 1879 —the church was opened, and two years later was free of debt. The section was given by Mr. Brown. Messrs. R. Burns. George Brown (senior and junior), Alexander Sinclair and George Grant, who was the student minister, were the collectors.

At that time the district was part of the Hutt Parish a relatively small parish from Petone Beach to the top of the Rimutaka Range, including Akatarawa. Mangaroa, Whiteman's Valley, Stokes Valley and Wainui-o-mata to the Orongorongo Bench. Mr. Alexander Yule was the elder for the areas adjacent to Upper Hutt and must have travelled extensively to keep in touch with the settlers in their homes, at the timber mills and at those first farms. In the early days regular services were conducted by student ministers serving under the direction of the minister at Knox, Lower Hutt. The first of these was Mr. George Grant, who later entered the teaching profession. The records indicate that he was one of the "moving spirits" behind the building of St. David's. He canvassed the largest area, namely. Wellington, Wainui-o-mata and Lower Hutt.

Alexander died in 1886 at the age of 67.

Evening Post, 24 April 1886. FUNERAL NOTICE. The Funeral of the late Mr. Alexander Sinclair will take place at the Presbyterian Church, Lower Hutt, on Sunday Afternoon, at half-past 3 o'clock.

Margaret was to live for another 17 years, dying at the age of 91.

Evening Post, 15 June, 1903. Funeral Notice. The friends of the late Margaret Sinclair are invited to attend her Funeral, which will leave her late residence, Upper Hutt, arriving at the Presbyterian Cemetery, Blackbridge, Lower Hutt,              To-morrow (Tuesday), 16th June, 1903, at 2.30 p.m. G. M'Ilvride and son, Undertakers, Lower Hutt and Petone.

A few years earlier this appeared in the 25 January 1899 edition of the Evening Post.

OLD AGE PENSIONS. The Magistrate's Court room was hardly large enough to accommodate the gathering of old people who assembled there with their friends this morning as claimants under the Old Age Pensions Act of last session.  Mrs. Margaret Sinclair, 86 years, 44 in the colony, was too feeble to attend.      

This was the year after the Old Age Pensions Act was passed.


Wairarapa Daily Times, 19 April 1912,

DEATH.  - SINCLAIR.—On 18th April, 1912, at Burnside, Lower Valley, Featherston, Katherine, beloved wife of Donald Sinclair; aged 91 years.

Wairarapa Daily Times, 13 January 1914, Mr John Sinclair, a well-known South Wairarapa resident, and a son of Mr Donald Sinclair, of Burnside, South Wairarapa, died at Lower Hutt on Sunday at the age of 63 years.

Dominion, 20 June 1914 MASTERTON, A very old settler of the Wairarapa, in the person of Mr. Donald Sinclair, passed away at Burnside on Friday morning. The deceased, who had reached the great age of 92 years, arrived in New Zealand in 1855. His funeral takes place on Sunday,     

Wairarapa Daily Times, 20 June 1914, The death occurred at "Burnside," Lower Valley, yesterday, of a very old and highly respected settler, in the person of Mr Donald Sinclair. The deceased was 92 years of age, and arrived in New Zealand 59 years ago. He had resided for many years in Wairarapa.

Mary Ann Sinclair was born in a raupo hut at Pirinoa, southern Wairarapa, New Zealand, on 29 January 1864. She was the youngest of seven children of Scottish settlers Katherine McCallum and her husband, Donald Sinclair. A two-storeyed home was subsequently built, and by 1870 her father had completed the purchase of his 424-acre Burnside farm. He bought more land at Morrison’s Bush, near Greytown, 10 years later. (Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, Volume 3, 1996)

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