Hon. John Sinclair, St. Peter`s

Biographical Notes:


The identify of John Sinclair of the Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia remains to be confirmed by future research. Currently it is not possible to distinguish among at least three John Sinclairs recorded as in Assiniboia in 1870.

Although John C. Sinclair of St. Peter’s seems the logical candidate, there appear to have been two or more John C. Sinclairs who might have been in Assiniboia in 1870.

  • A John C. Sinclair was politically active in Yankton, Dakota Territory, U.S., during 1870-1871. [See Section 5 – South Dakota Secretary of State]
  • There are references to a John C. Sinclair who trained as a native catechist at St. John’s College, Red River, and later Emmanuel College, Saskatchewan – in some sources identified as ‘half-breed,’ in others as Cree;
  • a John Sinclair who translated John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress into Cree syllabics; and
  • one or more individuals by the name of John Sinclair ministered to such communities as Stanley Mission, Norway House, and the Brokenhead Reserve at various times.
  • There was also a John C. Sinclair who signed on as a boatman with the Hudson’s Bay Company at Norway House, on 1 June 1874. Within a few years he was working as postmaster for the Company, and, by 1883, as a clerk. By 1889 he was competing directly with the Company as the independent merchant concern ‘John C. Sinclair & Sons.’[1]
  • Meanwhile, there appears to have been another John Sinclair of about the same age in the Norway House area.


Position in the Provisional Government of Assiniboia:

  • Honourable Member for St Peters, Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia[2]
  • Replaced, as Parish rep., Henry Prince ‘Indian Chief of the Saulteaux,’ who was among the ‘English Members’ to 16 November 1869 ‘Convention of Twenty-four’ held in the Court House, adjoining Fort Garry, as representative for Parish of St. Paul’s. (On 17 November, Prince objected that he had not been allowed to speak in his own language the previous day, and was critical of the militaristic show that accompanied the meeting). [3]

[1] HBCA ‘Sinclair, John C.,’ Biographical sheet.

[2] Canada, Report of the Select Committee on the Causes of the Difficulties in the North-West, certificate 77, 120. See also Canada, ‘Census of the Northwest Provinces, 1906,’ Library and Archives Canada online, http://data2.collectionscanada.gc.ca/e/e049/e001205006.pdf, District 8 – Selkirk, Sub-district no. 21 St. Peters Parish, Family no. 47, lot 10. See also ‘Legislative Assembly of Assiniboia (1st Session …),’ New Nation (8 April 1870), 1.

[3] Begg, Creation of Manitoba, 64, 77.


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