Dr. Sinclair was born at Hampton, on October 15, 1869. His father, Robert Sinclair was a farmer and was the son of James and Fannie Sinclair, all of whom were slaves before emancipation brought freedom and opportunity to the race. The mother of our subject was Julia Sinclair. In the absence of written records, nothing is known of her ancestry. The story of young Sinclair's struggles for an education is best told in his own words. He says: "After I had completed public school my father wanted me to have a higher education, but there was a large family of eleven, six girls and five boys, he could not see his way clear, I told him if he would pay my way to Washington, I would work my way through school, he did that, and I spent eleven years, six months at Wayland Seminary, and five at Howard University. I supported myself by working in hotels and on railroads in summer, and going to school in winter. I found it quite a struggle to make enough money in four months to buy clothes and pay tuition the other eight. Therefore I found it necessary to work even during the months I was in school. But through strict economy and perseverence, I managed to reach the goal."
He graduated from Wayland in 1892, and won his M.D. at Howard in 1898. After that he still followed hotel and railroad work till he got on his feet financially and then began the practice On June 24, 1903, Dr. Sinclair married Miss Agnes Elizabeth Terry, daughter of Thomas and Martha Terry, of Charleston. They have one son, Robert Thomas Terry Sinclair. Mrs. Sinclair was educated at Wayland Seminary and at West Virginia C. I. and is an accomplished teacher. While in railroad work, Dr. Sinclair travelled extensively in the States, and Canada, and thus gained much valuable knowledge and experience not to be had from books. In politics he is a Republican, in religion a Baptist. He belongs to the Masons and is a member of the West Virginia Medical Society and the National Medical Association. He has had opportunity to study conditions under widely different circumstances and says, "What we need most of all as a race is confidence in ourselves and others, more race pride, economy and sacrifice." He is himself a living example of what these things coupled with truthfulness, punctuality and perseverance will accomplish in the life of a man.
Speaking of his work as a doctor he says, "I started to practice medicine in Montgomery, W. Va., in 1902. I remained there three years. Then a better field presented itself, and I moved to Bancroft, W. Va. There I had the practice at two coal mines. I was then one of the two colored doctors, whose collections came through the Company. I remained there ten years. It was said that I owned the best looking home and fastest horses in the little town. I left there five years ago, (1916) that I might get better educational facilities for our boy, who was then eleven years old. The next year after coming here I became school physician and surgeon of the W. V. C. I., which position I still hold. Through the assistance and cooperation of my wife, who had stood fifty-fifty with me all along, we own our home, a seven room two-story granite face cement block. Besides we own one house and lot, and a plot of five acres with a house on it. All of this has been done through sacrifice, perseverance and plenty of stick-to-ativeness."
History of the American Negro Index
West Virginia History Center