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Given the date of this photo (probably late 1870s) and his resemblance to Alfred "Pop" Sinclair, this is probably Peter.

Peter was born in the scattered community of Clyth in County Caithness, Scotland. He was baptized nearby in Lybster Free Church. The church register is clear in saying his parents weren't married but both are named, and it's likely his father Angus acknowledged him as his son. Angus's occupation was a laborer, and his mother was Catherine Clark.
     Catherine was certainly the same person who married James Calder in 1859. By then she and Peter likely had moved to Dunnet, Caithness. In 1851, about a year before Peter was born, the censuses says that Catherine worked on a farm in Hempriggs, Caithness, at the same time James Calder's grandfather and several aunts were there. The aunts were also farm workers, but who worked at which farm isn't stated. The choices were few, so Catherine surely knew the Dunnets. By 1861, James's grandfather John Dunnet and daughters were back in their native Dunnet parish, and the Calders were next door. James Calder, like many people in Caithness, was also a farm laborer. By the time the 1871 census was taken, Peter had four half-siblings. In 1861 and 1871, he was listed as a Calder.
     Between 1871 and 1874 the Calders moved to Washington in County Durham, England. Catherine and James were working in the Washington Chemical Works by 1881 and Peter was a "slagman" at the Washington Iron Works when he married in 1874. The furnace probably made steel, and slagmen took care of the waste products that were left-over after the smelting process.
     James married Jacobina Dunnet, one of his stepfather's first cousins. There was a 15-year age difference, and Jacobina lived in Dunnet. Undoubteldy they met while the Calders lived in Dunnet, if not before. Marriages involving that kind of age disparity, expecially when the woman was older, was very unusual. No evidence has been found that they were expecting a child and then married. Whatever the circumstances, the marriage was at her brother George's home at 14 Breadalbane Terrace in Edinburgh. William Dunnet was a witness and was surely Jacobina's brother.
     William Dunnet played an important role in the lives of the Sinclairs. He worked in hotels in Edinburgh and Aberdeen and was butler to Sir James Sinclair of Pentland. The Valuation Rolls for Kirkwall show William as proprietor of the Kirkwall Hotel on Bridge Street in 1876-1877, but not before. Peter and Jacobina's daughter Barbara was born in West Dunnet in 1877, suggesting they lived with Jacobina's parents after they married. Their son James was born on Bridge Street in Kirkwall in March 1879, where Peter was a hotel waiter. This points to William Dunnet offering Peter a job at the Kirkwall Hotel. The hotel occupied what had been a large house with ornamental gardens set back from Bridge Street.
     Peter died of "general lymphatic disease," which the doctor said he had for 3 months. His death notice says he died on Albert Street, but the death register is surely right in saying Bridge Street, and likely at the hotel. He is buried in the churchyard of St. Magnus Cathedral.
     No evidence has been found that he kept in touch with his father. When he married, the register referred to Angus as a deceased soldier. His mother would have known that Angus joined the army, but he was still alive. Peter and Jacobina's first child was named after her grandmothers, Barbara (Brotchie) Dunnet and Catherine (Clark) Calder. Given this, his son James William was likely named for his grandfather James Dunnet (and perhaps his step grandfather James Calder) and instead of "Angus," his middle name was in honor of William Dunnet.

children of Peter Clark and Jacobina (Dunnet) Sinclair:

Barbara Catherine, b. 29 March 1877
James William, b. 15 March 1879, d. 26 June 1882

vital records sources: Peter's baptism is in the Lybster Free Church records ( His marriage and death are recorded in civil registrations for Edinburgh and Kirkwall. He also has a gravestone in the St. Magnus Cathedral kirkyard.

all text and photographs © 1998-2019 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted