Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The Big Bend Country, embracing
Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties, State of Washington",
published by Western Historical Publishing Co., 1904.
GEORGE SINCLAIR, who may truly
be called the father of Adams county, Washington, is now living a retired
life in Ritzville, where be is one of the foremost men of influence and
prestige. In a long career of active business and public service,
he has demonstrated his ability and his unswerving integrity, which have
commended him to all good men and have so materially assisted in the building
up of this country to its present prosperous condition. One characteristic
of Mr. Sinclair has always shone out brightly in his life, namely, that
of caring as faithfully for the smallest item entrusted to his care as
for the large interests that were as important and as wide as the state
itself. That has given him the entire confidence of the people and
few men have so endeared themselves to their constituency as has Mr. Sinclair.
Born amid the rugged hills of Scotia, the
land of historic and world wide fame, and coming from the strong blood,
which through its sturdy specimens of the race has made itself felt in
every civilized land and than which, it is conceded, there is no stronger
in human veins, we could expect to see a strength and principle in Mr.
Sinclair commensurate with his worthy ancestors. In this no one has
been mistaken, as his career will amply substantiate.
It was on October 12, 1829, that the announcement
was made to George and Margaret (Johnson) Sinclair of the birth of a son,
who is the subject of this sketch. They were both natives of Scotland,
and the county of Caithness, the extreme north portion of the mainland,
was their home. At Dunnet, near the sea, our subject was educated
and when seventeen he laid aside his books for the invigorating work on
the farm. Here he was occupied until 1852, when he entered the employ
of the North British railroad as overseer of the grain department.
In this capacity he continued until 1865 in which year he resigned his
position to come to the United States. In June, he landed in New
York and soon went thence to St. Charles, Minnesota, where he purchased
one hundred and twenty acres of school land and gave his attention to its
cultivation. He sold out four years later and went to Lincoln county,
Dakota, where he homesteaded a quarter section. For a decade he was
an industrious laborer there and then sold out to come west. In 1880,
he landed in Ritzville, since which time he has been one of the prominent
men of this portion of our state. The county seat was then at Colfax,
and soon Mr. Sinclair was agitating the question of a new county.
In due time Adams county was organized as the result of these efforts and
Mr. Sinclair was appointed to the important position of county commissioner
of Adams county. There was much labor to do and great wisdom needed
to launch the new county right, and for five years an appreciative people
kept Mr. Sinclair at the helm. Then he resigned to accept the postmastership
of Ritzville, he being the fourth incumbent. For five years he held
the position to the satisfaction of all, and then on account of the election
of Grover Cleveland, he resigned and was straightway elected treasurer
of Adams county. For two terms, four years, the limit allowed by
the law, he continued in this office, and as usual, pleasing the people
in every respect. In 1899, he was called to represent his county
in the state legislature and in that capacity did some excellent work.
He was known in the capitol as a man of power and integrity and the interests
of the people were safely guarded in his hands. After that service,
Mr. Sinclair was again appointed postmaster of Ritzville by McKinley.
This position he resigned four years later to take a trip to his native
In Scotland, Mr. Sinclair married Miss Mary
White, the daughter of Andrew and Mary (Marshel) White, the nuptials occurring
on June 1, 1857. To this happy marriage thirteen children were born,
George, Margret, Tressa, Mary, Minnie, Andrew, Jane, Annie, William, Charles,
Emma L., and two that died when infants. All are unmarried except
Margret, who is the wife of Henry Horn, of Ritzville. Most of the
children are living in Adams county and are highly respected citizens.
In the fall of 1899, Mrs. Sinclair was called
to lay down the burdens of life and participate in the realities of another
world. She died as she had lived, a faithful and noble woman and
many sincere mourners were lamenting her departure. Mr. Sinclair
has rounded out a long life of three score years and ten and is still hale
and hearty and is now enjoying the fruits of his labor in the golden years
of his career, secure in the love and esteem of an appreciative people
and surrounded by his children and friends.