Sinclair Families

Duncan Sinclair Family | Peter Sinclair Family


Duncan Sinclair Family


Duncan Sinclair & Jennie Duratz

Duncan Sinclair was born in 1836 according to the 1851 Aldborough Township, West Canada census or 1831 according to his tombstone.  He was born in Mosa, Middlesex County, Ontario to Scottish born parents Donald Sinclair and Christina Matheson.   He married Jane “Jennie” Martin on June 6, 1874 in Wallacetown, Elgin County, Ontario.  Jennie was born February 19, 1853 in Scotland to Irish born parents William Marting and Margaret Campbell.  Duncan was a widower and a sawyer at the time of his marriage.

Duncan and Jennie had four children.  Two children Lauchlin (1876) and Elizabeth “Lizzie” (1878) were born in Canada.  William “Buff” (1880) was born in Deckerville, Michigan and Emma (1883)  in Ogemaw Springs, Ogemaw Co., Michigan.  These births mark the journey of the Sinclairs from a small Ontario town of Lake Erie to Northern Michigan.  A discrepancy arises in the 1900 census for Curtis Township which has the Sinclairs coming to the United States in 1881 and son, William, born in Michigan in 1881.

Duncan was the foreman at the saw mill in Ogemaw Springs - a town that at the time competed with West Branch to become the county seat.  While in Ogemaw Springs the Sinclair’s daughter Emma was born i(1917) and the oldest son Lauchlin drowned at age 9.

After moving to the Curtisville area Duncan established a homestead claim to the W1/2 of the NW1/4 of Sec 28-T25-R5E in 1897.  This land is situated along the east side of Brodie Road and Aldrich Road.  The homestead requirements were met and the deed was recorded five years later on May 29, 1902.

Sinclair Farm - Aldrich Road

Sinclair Farm on Aldrich & Brodie Roads

Duncan and Jennie farmed and may have continued to “log” to a smaller extent.  They enjoyed the society of Curtisville, hosting parties and exchanging visits with Neighbors.  Jennie was known to “move in” with other area families in times of crisis. She helped withn child care and household chores while the mother recovered from illness or childbirth.  There are accounts of her travels to Ogemaw County to care for families in need. After her husband’s death on February 18, 1907 the Curtisville community turned out to cut enough firewood to see her through the winter.

Jennie surprised the community by marrying William Dargatz in April 1909 at the Glennie Methodist Church.  William, a German immigrant, an his late wife, Mary, lived in what was called South Comins about two miles south of McKinley.  The Dagatz and Sinclairs were family friends.

Sinclair Early House

Those Girl’s are packing guns! 
Christina Sinclair, Henry Wilson (Willison), Peggy, Katherine, Emma, Babe, unknown woman (could be Annie Bamfield.

Sinclair House c 1917-1918

Sinclair House c. 1917-1918:  Left to right:  Peggy Sinclair, unknown girl, unknown boy, Katherine Sinclair

Sinclair Farm c. 1920

Sinclair Farm c. 1920. 
Left to right:  Walter Bowser, Christina Sinclair, Emma Bowser, Unknown, Peggy Sinclair kneeling with dog.

Jennie and Duncan’s three remaining children settled in Curtisville.  Lizzie may have suffered from a polio-like episode while the family were in their winter logging camp near McKinley.  The doctor was sent for on several occassions.  She was left with a withered arm and hand.  Lizzie never married but continued to care for her step-father, William Dargatz, after her mother’s death in 1912.  When William Dargatz died on May 2, 1926 in Curtisville, Lizzie spent the rest of her life with her sister Emma.

Lizzie Sinclair

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Sinclair Elizabeth, b. 1878, d. 1951

Sinclair Ladies

Emma Sincliar, Rebecca (Sinclair) Cole, Lizzie Sinclair

Emma Sinclair married Frederick N. Bowser on January 1, 1901 in Curtisville.  Fred was the son of early Curtisville pioneers John Bowser and Clarissa E. Merritt.  He had been briefly married to Maude Dixon in 1895.  Fred was Clarrisa’s only child and eventually he added his 40 acres in Sec 17-T25N-R5E (the SW1/3 of the SW1/4) to his parents 80 acre homestead next door (the E12/ of the SE1/4).  These lands were along the north side of Clouse Road and extended to the Curtisville Road.

The Bowser farm house was a substantial building and their barn was used as an early meeting place and school.  The story of Clarrissa collecting money from the lumber camps to build the Curtisville Baptist Church is a well known part of Curtisville history.

Grange Picnic - June 1917

Grange Picnic at Jose Lake - June 1916
Left to right:  Peggy Sinclair, maybe Babe hiding her head, Christina Sinclair, Katherine Sinclair, Emma Sinclair, Emma Bowser with hand on Walter, unknown boy and tall man, Bill Sinclair, Fred Bowser, and unknown man.


Fred & Emma (Sinclair) Bowser, unable to have children, adopted a boy named Walter “Buster” (born July, 29, 1909) from Coldwater, Michigan.  The Bowsers were busy in the social and civic activities of Curtisville.  Fred worked with his brother-in-law, Bill Sinclair, in winter logging operations, he farmed, was a member of the Gleaners, acted as the health officer for the cemetery, “put in the road from Bamfields west to the Goodfellow farm and sundry other activities.  Phone service reached the Bowsers in the fall of 1912.

Fred & Emma may have owned one of the first cars in the area in 1915, when they purchased a new Ford.  The Bowser family “motored” throughout the area, down to Michigan’s thumb, over to Canada(across the bay”)  and eventually as far as Florida.  Fred volunteered his Ford to the sick, to carry men back to their logging camps & line men back to their projects.  He got the World War I draftees to Harrisville and Mio in 1918, including the Curley Brothers (Tom and Peter) and Ernest Berry.  There were newspaper reports of the Bowser family “turning turtle” (flipping over) in their car but apparently no one was ever hurt.

The Bowsers eventually moved to Flint where Fred worked as a realtor.  They kept the Curtisville farm and returned often.

Fred Bowser was killed in Curtisville in a hunting accident during the deer season (1937)  and is buried in the Curtisville Cemetery.   Emma and Lizzie continued to live in Flint but spent much of their time in Curtisville in a small cabin.  Lizzie died in 1959 and Emma in 1960.  Both are buried in the Curtisville Cemetery.


William Sinclair & Christina Mac Coleman

In 1916, W. Sinclair owned 80 acres located in W 1/2, NW 1/4, Section 28, T25N - R5E, Curtis Township.

Duncan and Jennie’s son William Sinclair, married Christina Mac Coleman at her parent’s, Mr. & Mrs. Peter Mac Coleman, house in Curtisvile on April 30, 1903.  William and Christina lived in a log house near her parents in Section 28 (alone Brodie Road).  Later they built a “nicer” home which burned in early 1914.  They rebuilt in that same year a log house that stood behind their two story farmhouse near the corner Aldrich and Brodie Roads.  That house also burned under suspicious circumstances in the late 1950’s

William Sinclair with his horses

William Sinclair with his horses.

William Sinclair started out working the lumber camps of others, namely Loud & Sons and Peter Mac Coleman.  It was at the latters camp that he met the bosses daughter, Christina.  William eventually bought his own stands and with his family lived on site in the winter harvesting logs.  The Sinclairs would spend the growing season back at their farm on the old Thompson Trail.  William was instrumental in cutting and setting poles for phone service and for road improvements in the area.

Bill Sinclair Farm

William Sinclair Farm

The Sinclair School (also known as the Hillside and Log)  was built in 1907 and was in use until 1923.  William was the first superintendent and Christina served at a later date.  Some of the early teachers lived with the Sinclairs or Bowsers.

William and Christina (also known as Buff and Teena) had five daughters born at their Curtisville home; Margaret “Peggy” (1907), Katharine “Kit or Kate” (1909), Emma (1911), Christine “Babe” (1913) and Wilma Rose (1918).  All are buried with their parents in the Curtisville Cemetery.


Sinclairs:  Left to right:  Bill Sinclair, Fred Bowser, Christina Sinclair.  Center horse: Emman & Peggy Sincliar.  Right horse:  Babe & Katherine Sinclair

Sincalir House c 1916-1917

Sinclair House c. 1916-1917.  Peggy, Katherine, Emma, and Christine (Babe) Sinclair

In March of 1920 the Sinclairs mover onto the Trudell Farm which had recently been purchased for the H and H Ranch (Hartford & Hauser).  They managed the ranch until departing for Detroit in April 1923.  William was a foreman in charge of grounds keeping at Ford Motor Company.   He retired in the late 40’s and he and Christina returned to their farm in Curtisville.   Christina raised chickens and rabbits for sale and rented cabins that they had built across Aldrich Road from their farm.  Deer season was a very busy time as they took in borders and cooked large meals for hungry hunters.

Peggy Sinclair

H & H Ranch:  Unknown girl on the left, Peggy Sinclair on the right. c. 1920-1923. 

Chirstina Sinclair with daughter Margaret (Peggy)

H & H Ranch:  Christina Sinclair with daugher Margaret (Peggy). c. 1920-1923

The property they owned on the south side of Aldrich Road was developed into Sinclair acres (NW1/4 of SW/14 of S-T25-R5) and sold to family and friends between 1945-1959.

William died in 1950 and Christina continued on to live on the farm, spending winters at her little house in Hale, Michigan or with her daughters in the Detroil area.  Christina died in 1961.

William was a member of the Masons-Hale Chapter and Christina was a member of the Eastern Star.

The above article and photographs were provided by Valarie Fredrickson a descendent from the Mac Coleman and Sinclair families.


Peter Sinclair Family

Peter Sinclair - March 1923

Peter Sinclair - March 1923

Peter Sinclair was a younger brother of Duncan Sinclair and one of a dozen children born to Donald Sinclair and Christina Matheson.  Peter was born in 1844 according the the 1851 census for Aldborough Township in West Canada or 1829 according to his tombstone.  He married Sara Edwards in Bridgehampton, Sanalac Co., Michigan on July 4, 1871.  They had four children; Jennie (1872), Danield (1875), Rebecca “Becky” (1887) and Archibald (1879).  Sara died in 1879 and perhaps, so did Archebald as no other information be be found.  Peter never remarried.

The are accounts in the Alcona Review on Dan Sinclair living in Curtisville as early as February 1901.  His father isn’t acknowledged until April 26,1907 when he received from the State of Michigan the N1/4 of NW1/4 + SW14 of NW1/4 of Seciton 29, Town. 25, Range 5 East of Curtis Township.  A later “Curtisville News” account in the Alcona Review of November 14, 1907 states, “Peter Sinclair, of Brown City, has purchase the farm recently vacated by Truman Simons and moved his family and (personal) effects to this burg.”

Dan Sinclair - Becky's Brother

Lizzie Sinclair, Emma Sinclair, Rebecca (Cole) Sinclair, and Dan Sinclair

Winnie Rickel-Pauline Byler-Becky Cole

Winnie Rickel (nee Cole), Pauline Byler, and Becky Cole (nee Sinclair)

Peter’s children Dan & Becky Cole received a life lease on the N1/2 of NW1/4 in 1917.  They lived on the property for many years after Peter’s death.  In Dan’s obituary  (October 1952) he is said to have lived in Curtisville for 50 years.  The property is on the east side of Curtisville Road approximately 1 1/2 miles south of Bamfield Road.

Centennial - 1976

Queen of 1976 Centenial: Rebecca Cole and her Court: Lillian DuBois, Pauline Byler, Rebecca Cole, Inez (Byce) Abbott

Peter’s daughter Jennie Sinclair first married Elias Day (1890) in Sanilac Co. and later George Myers (1908) in Curtisville.  Jennie was a resident of Curtisville and George is said to be a resident of “Gatesville.”   This was a name given to the Gates Lumber Camp.  Jennie died in Genesse Co. in 1959.

Sinclair Girls

Emma Sinclair, Jenny (Sinclair) Meyers, Christy Hempton, Lizzie Sinclair

An Alcona Review Curtisville column mentions Rebecca (Sinclair) Cole, “Mrs. Cole of Carsonville has moved up to keep house for Peter Sinclair.”  The children attended the Sinclair School on the Curtisville Road across from Aldrich Road.  Tommy never married, died in 184 in Cleveland, Tennesse and is buried in the Curtisville Cemetery.

Winnie was born in 1898 in Blaine, Michigan.  She married Arther “Guy” Rickel in Curtisville on October 1, 1923.  At different times they lived in either Glennie or Curtisville.  In the 1930 census they were living next to Becky Cole and Dan Sinclair in Curtisville.

Becky Cole lived to be 100 years old and was referred to as the oldest citizen in Curtis Township in her time.  At the time of her death she was residing at 3301 S Brodie Road in Curtisville (November 3, 1979)

In 1916, Dan Sinclair owned 80 acres located in the N 1/2, NW 1/4, Section 29, Curtis Township T25N-R.5E

Dan Sinclair never married but lived with his sister and her children in Curtisville.  Occassional mention of him in the Alcona Review such as an entry on Janaury 23, 1908, “Dan St. Clair was called to Lapeer on business Wednesday night by special phone, returning home again on Friday.”  A later Curtisville column ( Mar 18, 1909) reads, “Dan Sinclair returned home on Saturday to see his father, who is quite poorly.  Dan has been away north for sometime.”  On April 10, 1913, “Dan Sinclair and George Sells are cutting wood for John Bowser” and on July 24, 1913, “Dan Sinclair is painting our schoolhouse.”  Dan was also know for raising fox.

Dan Sinclairs Foxes

Daniel “Dan” Sinclair’s Foxes

Peter Sinclair appears in the 1900 census for Brown City, Sanilac Co, Michigan as a horse trainer.  He was said to have sustained and sever facial injury from a riding accident of which he never fully recovered.  He died on November 10, 1925 (his tombstone reads 1926) and is buried in Curtisville Cemetery.

The above article and photographs were provided by Valarie Fredrickson a descendent from the Mac Coleman and Sinclair families.



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