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Information for Angus is partly an educated guess. His son Peter's baptism at Lybster Free Church places him in Latheron parish, County Caithness, in 1852. The Free Church of Scotland was an offshoot of the established Church. Baptism records include the names of parents who attended the event. Although not married, both Angus and Catherine were named and therefore publicly acknowledged Peter as their child.
    A review of people named Angus Sinclair in other Caithness records doesn't reveal an obvious match. Peter's marriage record calls him a soldier, and his death record calls him a laborer. A newspaper notice mentions an Angus who was serving in the Crimean War in the 93rd Highland Regiment. Excerpts of a letter to his parents (not named) in Wick, County Caithness, were published. British army records have an Angus in this regiment. It mentions nothing about his parents, but it says he was born in Latheron, that he was a farm laborer before he enlisted and he was the right generation to be Peter's father. The army records tell us that he served for many years and settled in Dundee, Scotland. The seemingly confused and questionable reference to him being a soldier or a laborer actually makes sense. Angus was still in the army when Peter was married and was a laborer when he died. This suggests that Peter somehow knew what his father was doing, but both documents say Angus was dead. Impossible to say why, because these records aren't detailed enough to narrow down to an answer among many variables. Knowing Angus was in Dundee, his death record was found, and that says he was the son of Alexander Sinclair and Harriet MacKay.
     With this information considered, it's apparent Angus was the farm laborer enumerated in the 1851 census in Scrabster, Caithness, likely working for Alexander Dunbar of Scrabster House. He was only 15. He had an older brother William who was still living with their parents in Wick, and younger siblings. For whatever reason, he was the only known child of that family that wasn't living at home. He probably met Catherine while working at the same farm somewhere in Caithness. Farm laborers, of which there were many in the county, tended to go where there was work. Their paths crossed about June of 1851. The 1851 census was taken on 31 March, when Catherine was working on the Hempriggs estate in Caithness. Scrabster and Hempriggs aren't near enough to each other to think they met while there. One or both of them likely moved to the same farm before June. About nine months later Peter was born in the Clyth neighborhood near Lybster, and this may be where Catherine's widowed mother was living. The Clarks may have been members of the Lybster Free Church. Her baptism of Peter there probably had nothing to do with his being out of wedlock, a circumstance not uncommon in Caithness, and not an uncommon event even in the established church.
    Almost a year after Peter was born, on 21 February 1853 and then 17, Angus enlisted in the 93rd "Sutherland Highlanders." He may have gone directly to where the regiment was stationed at Anglesea Barracks, Plymouth, England. That summer they were camped at Chobham in Surry, south of London. They got the attention of the public at large, and it became a popular day trip to go down and see the campgrounds. Newspapers were particurly interested in the 93rd because of their flamboyant uniforms. It was a huge event when Queen Victoria made an official visit to inspect the troops in June.

depictions of the campgrounds at Chobham, Surrey

They eventually boarded the steamer Himalaya and made their way to Crimea in the Ukraine.

the ship Himalaya

He wrote a letter home in late November 1854.

"I am a servant with Mr. Clay[hills], a very excellent officer, who is very kind to me, giving me many comforts. He is at present sick, and I am sorry to say, will have to go home. We are at present stationed about four miles from Sebastopol. I need not tell you about the Alma, in which I was not engaged, but we had a grand battle on the 25th October, when about nine or ten thousand Russian cavalry came against our regiment and some squadrons of our cavalry. About four thousand of these Russions charged with great force against our regiment, and a great number of Turks, placed alongside of us, all lying under cover beneath a hill. But what was the use of the Turks? They are for no use at all except to cast up trenches and earthworks, at which they are very good, but they are very bad soldiers indeed, for they turned and ran right away through a lot of vineyards. Many of them went down to the village, and into the stores of our Commissariat. they were met by a body of sailors, who came from one of hte ships to drive them from the village, and some curious scenes took place. Our sailors thrashed away at the Turks, and drove them from among the stores. There was one tar who was engaged with one of the cowardly fellows who had crept into the store, and when the sailor was putting him out, thumping away at him all the time, the Turk showed fight, and the two had a regular engagement, but the sailor mastered him, and drew his cutlass and killed the poor Turk, who was frightened at the Russians. Well, when the enemy came dashing up to our regiment, which was in line behind the hill, we let them come on till they were about 200 yards distant beore we fired a shot, and then we opened a deadly fire, and cheered our cavalry to go on and charge them, and they were driven back in sad disorder, our fire having done a great deal of execution. The field was speckled with Russians, dead horses and men, and horses were flying about without their riders. Our cavalry made another charge at the Russian artillery, which was posted in a valley, and doing a great deal of injury to them by showers of grape and canister, and they rushed forward, drove the enemy from their guns, and captured nine guns and a lot of prisoners. We have taken a great number of prisoners, and shiploads of them have been sent to England, France, and Constantinople. There has been a large number of the allies dying from diarrhea. It is a very serious disease, but, thank God, I am quite well, and have escaped it. If I am spared to see you all, I will give you lots of news of what I have seen in the expedition. My opinion is that the allies will soon have Sebastopol." (John O'Groat Journal, 19 Jan 1855)

Although a "soldier servant," Angus was engaged in fighting. He says he wasn't involved at Alma, but the letter describes the battle at Balaclava on 25 October. The 93rd formed a line two rows deep to face a Russian force much larger rushing at them. That they fired on the Russians and didn't retreat led the Russians to check and shift their attack elsewhere, thinking more troops must be behind the 93rd. This moment in the battle has been immortalized by the phrase "The Thin Red Line." Soldiers who served in the Crimean campaign were given a Crimean War medal and clasps that represented participation in the individual engagements. Four clasps were awarded for army maneuvers. The first was Alma, the second Balaclava, the third was the Battle of Inkerman and the fourth for the Seige of Sebastapol. The latter was automatically given with clasps for any of the other three. The 93rd didn't engage at Inkerman. Angus was given the Crimean Medal with two clasps, confirming that he did fight at Balaclava. He went on with the regiment eventually to India and what is now Pakistan. He received the Indian Mutiny medal with 2 clasps, indicating his participation in the relief and battle at Lucknow.

Angus officially left the army on 18 April 1874. He married Catherine Morton Park at St. Paul's Church (now Cathedral) in Dundee. He was still in the army and living at the barracks in Dudhope Castle. Christina was a spinner working in one of Dundee's jute factories, which were a primary driver in the city's economy.

St. Paul's Church and Dudhope Castle barracks

Angus and Christina's first child, James, was born in 1873 in Aldershot, England, where the 93rd Highlanders were stationed. Harriet and Helen were next, born in Dundee after Angus left the army. His occupation on their birth certificates is simply "laborer." By the time the 1881 census was taken, the family had moved to Morrison's Close in Edinburgh (drawing below, done in 1853). Angus was a tanner's laborer. His addresses in Edinburgh, as far is it's known, were on Morrison's and Rae's Closes, little streets (more like alleys) that extended away from High Street, or what is now known as The Royal Mile. For centuries, these side streets were were home to the city's poor and working classes.

Morrison's Close

Given where they lived, Angus undoubtedly worked at the "City Tanworks," run by J. Hewit & Sons, only a stone's throw from where the Sinclairs had rooms. What brought the family to Edinburgh isn't obvious. They stayed in Edinburgh for about six years before moving back to Dundee.
     The last of their children was Margaret Ann, born in Dundee in 1887. In mid March of 1890 Angus had an attack of pneumonia that he didn't survive, dying late in that month at the Royal Infirmary in Dundee.

Christina stayed in Dundee and returned to spinning jute at one of the local factories. Within about a year after Angus died, two of their children, Daniel and Angus, Jr. appear in entrance records to the Baldovan Industrial School. Son James joined the army in 1891 and daughters Harriet and Helen may have been working out of the house. No one in the family are in the 1891 census, which would help place them, but it's likely that Christina, who was working at a local mill, didn't have the means or time to support and keep track of them. At city meetings, as reported in a local paper, it's said that both Daniel and Angus, Jr., were prone to roam the streets unsupervised.
    James served in the Royal Highlander Regiment from 1891 to 1903, spending time in South Africa. Angus was likely the one in the Rossie Reformatory for Boys in 1901, enumerated as an apprentice gardener. He joined the army in 1905 when he was 18, but his army papers say he was unfit for service and deserted shortly after joining. All siblings except perhaps Helen married and had families. There is a story in one of the local papers in 1939 that James went to Dundee to look up his brother Daniel. They had a reunion after not having seen each other for 30 years.
     Christina married a jute mill overseer in 1898, and he died the following year. She continued to live in Dundee to her death in 1916.

child of Angus Sinclair and Catherine Clark:

Peter Clark b. 13 March 1852

children of Angus Sinclair and Christina Morton Park:

James, b. 1873
Harriet, b. 1876
Helen Ogilvie, b. 1878
Daniel Alexander, b. 1881
Angus, b. 1885
Margaret Ann, b. 1887

all text and photographs © 1998-2021 by Doug Sinclair unless where otherwise noted

Malta 8 March, War declared 4 April, sailed to Scutari, arrived Gallipoli 11 Apr, back to Scutari 6 May, the were in the Highland Brigade (42nd, 79th and 93rd regiments), 15 June at Varna, marched to Aladyn 1 July, cholera, moved to Givrakla, 23 August to camp at Galata, 31 Aug on "Terrible" to Baltchick Bay 7 Sep. Then "landed" at Crimea 14 Sep, 19 Sep the army marches to Sevastopol. 20 Sep, Battle of Alma. 26 Sep at Balaklava. 1 Oct 93rd at Kadikoi, guarding entrance to gorge leading to Balaklava and British supply depot. It was here that the Russians attached and the resulting confrontation with the 93rd called "the Thin Red Line." 13 Oct, 93rd advance on Russian threat, engage on the 25th. Subsequent engagements by the Heavy and Light Brigades completed the Battle of Balaclava. Siege of Sebastopol. 14 Nov, hurricane across Crimea, also 100 men of the regiment died of disease. Embarked on "Vesuvius" but returned 4 May. Left again on 22nd to Kertch, took posession of Fort Yenikale (now Yeni-Kale). 15 June back at Balaclava, 18 June joined "Guards Brigade" for trench duty. 18-22 June, fighting. 8 Sep assault on Sevastopol. 9 Sep returned to Kamara. In Sep received the 53 Enfield rifle musket. That winter, engaged in building huts and making roads. 9 May, parade and inspection of the Highland Brigade by Sir Colin Campbell at Kamara. 16 June, boarded ship "Sidon" for Portsmouth, then to Aldershot. 16 July, inspection by Victoria and Albert. 18 July queen visits camp. 23 July, to Dover. 31 Jan, orders to India