People

Thomas Sinclair was the son of Hannah Cummings and Thomas Sinclair Sr. Thomas Sinclair Jr. was a well-liked, Métis man who lived in the Selkirk and Interlake area. He was said to be “a man with no enemy” and was thought of as a polite man who was genuine and helpful to everyone he encountered.

A black and white photo of Thomas Sinclair Jr.
Thomas Sinclair Jr.

Thomas Sinclair was born on April 9, 1841, in St. Andrews. He was married twice during the time he spent living in the St. Andrews and Selkirk area. His first marriage was to Alice Mathilda Davis in 1875, and his second marriage was to Harriet Marie Truthwaite in 1882.

His father, Thomas Sinclair Sr. was the son of Chief Factor William Sinclair and the renowned Cree woman, Margaret Nahoway. Thomas Sinclair Sr. was a boat brigade captain that operated as an independent freighter and trader out of St. Andrews. Sinclair Sr. also operated a windmill on the Red River near the rapids at the St. Andrews Parish. His final occupation, most notably, was as a member of the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia (LAA).

The Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia

The LAA was formed by Louis Riel’s Provisional Government and arose out of the Convention of Forty. This was a group consisting of a President, a Treasurer, and two secretaries, one French and one English speaking. The LAA was functioning in 1870 from March 9th to June 24th.

When Sinclair Sr. passed away in 1870 on March 23rd, his son, Thomas Sinclair took over his father’s role with the Assembly as an English-speaking member. His goodwill and amiable personality helped him succeed in his new role with the Assembly.

He later continued his position with the LAA as an appointed Magistrate, the first registrar of land titles, and Councilor of Assiniboia Province of Manitoba.

The Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia was important for the growth of Manitoba because it eventually brought Manitoba into confederation. This ultimately allowed Manitoba to become a part of Canada, being the fifth province to join the Canadian Confederation. The addition of Manitoba to the Confederation led to Ottawa’s agreement to fund the new provincial government, grant Manitoba four seats in parliament, and give the Métis people 1.4 million acres.

However, Canada never followed up on giving the Métis their land which resulted in the Red River Resistance, led by Louis Riel.

In 1882, Thomas Sinclair moved to Selkirk on account of the registry office being built there. Thomas was later elected Mayor in 1887 and was reelected as Mayor in 1888. Thomas was also elected Worshipful Master of Lisgar Lodge No. 2 A. F. & A. M. at the last election of officers.

On March 8, 1888, Thomas Sinclair passed away. This loss was felt all across Selkirk as he was well liked by the community.

The Thomas Sinclair Jr. Collection

A black and white photo of Thomas Sinclair Jr.
Thomas Sinclair Jr.