Dundee Family History · Sinclair Family History

The terrible tales of the Edwards Sinclair

It isn’t unusual for a family to name a child after their uncle or aunt. It isn’t unusual for one of them to die. But for both of them to die a few years apart and in the same tragic way makes it unsurprising that the name has not been used in that family since.

The first Edward Sinclair was born in 1855, in High Street, Lochee. His father was a mill manager, but died when he was only 5. The second Edward Sinclair was the son of Edward’s brother John and was born in South Mid Street, Lochee in 1871 and christened Edward Thomson Sinclair.

First Edward worked at Camperdown Jute Mill, otherwise known as Cox’s. His father’s death made the family poor and he worked from a young age and by 1880 was working as a mechanical engineer, so he was a clever child, like his father and grandfather before him.

edward sinclair 1 Dundee Evening Telegraph - Saturday 14 February 1880.png

                                                             Dundee Evening TelegraphSaturday 14 February 1880

Quite how he fell into the cooling ponds at the mill will never be known, but he met his death on Saturday 14th February 1880.

edward sinclair Dundee Courier - Monday 16 February 1880edward sinclair Dundee Courier - Monday 16 February 1880 2

This, you would think, was tragedy enough for one family. But three years later, Edward’s brother, John, lost his eldest son in a drowning accident at Broughty Ferry.

John sinclairs son death Dundee Evening Telegraph - Friday 29 June 1883

The first Edward had drowned at work, the second whilst having a day at the seaside.

edward sinclair 1883 Dundee Courier - Friday 29 June 1883
1883 Dundee Courier – Friday 29 June 1883

The fact it took some time to find the body must have made things much worse.

edward sinclair Dundee Advertiser - Friday 29 June 1883
Dundee Advertiser – Friday 29 June 1883
john sinclair body found Dundee Advertiser - Wednesday 04 July 1883
Dundee Advertiser – Wednesday 04 July 1883

But sadly, this was not the end to the tragedy. The loss of her son brought on the premature death of Edward’s mother.

davina sinclair Dundee Advertiser - Thursday 16 August 1883
Dundee Advertiser – Thursday 16 August 1883

This article mentions a “a family of six”, but as yet I have been unable to trace the birth of many of them.

Betsy Smith McFarlane Sinclair born Lochee 1870 died 1957 married 1) Hugh Buchan 2) John Webster

Edward Thomson Sinclair born Lochee 1871 died Broughty Ferry 1883

David Cockburn Sinclair born Lochee 1873 died ?

John Gorrie Sinclair born Lochee 1881 died USA ? married Elizabeth

and three other children, likely to have been born between 1874 and 1880.

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