Article from the "Whitmire News", April 5, 1951 about my Grandfather, of whom I am very proud. Papa was born September 13, 1884 and died September 4, 1952.
WILLIAM FRANK SINCLAIR
Mr. Frank Sinclair probably knows more about the insides of Whitmire than any other person, so it is said, when any discussion arises concerning the water works system of the town. He knows where the pipes are and where the connections are located. He also knows more than any other living man about the inner workings of the mill, about “what makes it run.”
Having installed the electric wiring in all of the older houses of the mill village as well as the older houses in town that first had electric lights, and having helped to string up the wires installed the plumbing and power lines.
To write a full account of the life and work of Mr. William Frank Sinclair would be to practically write a history of the mill and of the town of Whitmire. Neither space nor time nor the limited knowledge of the writer would permit that.
Mr. Sinclair was born in Spartanburg County, September 13, 1884, but his parents soon after that date established their home on a farm in the Brown’s Creek Baptist Church Community in Union County, near Lockhart, where he grew up. He was the third of six children born to Mr. and Mrs. Nim (Sally Morris) Sinclair. After the death of his mother, his father married Miss Lillie Eddings to whom nine children were born.
Mr. Nim Sinclair came to Union County with his father, Mr. Jim Sinclair, who had settled in Alabama early in the 19th century, having migrated to America from Holland. He married a Miss Powers in Alabama, a member of a pioneer family of English and Scotch-Irish extraction.
Mrs. Sally Morris Sinclair was Irish – “pure Irish”, says Mr. Frank of his mother. He calls himself “Dutch-Irish”. The name Sinclair was formerly and is still frequently written as “Saint Clair”.
The children of Nim and Sally Morris Sinclair are as follows: (1) Hugh, who married Miss Lizzie Becknell; now living in Columbia; (2) Esther, now Mrs. George Horne. Lives n Union; (3) William Frank, who married Miss Gertrude Roddy of Landeau, Chester County of whom more later. (4) Victor (deceased) who married Miss Maggie Thrift (deceased). Five children survive this marriage: (5) Ida, now Mrs. Bob Inman of Whitmire. Four children: (6) Lawrence, better known as “Son” or J. L. Who married Miss Alma Christy of Whitmire. They have two daughters living in Whitmire and one son in Kentucky.
Mr. Sinclair came to Whitmire in 1907 as an electrician for the Glenn - Lowry Manufacturing Company, then owned and operated by the late Mr. William Coleman who had built the mill in 1902. At that time the mill owned and operated its own power plant which generated the electricity which ran the mill machinery. The mill also retailed power to the dozen or so houses and stores in town which were wired for electric lights. There were no appliances in those days.. When the mill changed over to Duke Power Company in 1913 or ’14, the practice of retailing power to “town people”, i. e. People not employed by the company was continued until about 1931 when Mr. Jim Gregory was mayor of Whitmire and a deal was made with Duke Power Company who secured a 99 year lease and franchise to sell power to Whitmire residents as well to the mill company, by then owned by the J. P. Stevens Company, formerly the selling agents of the Glenn-Lowry Manufacturing Company.
In 1908 Mr. Sinclair married Miss Gertrude Roddey, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William (Susie) Roddey, who had moved to Whitmire from Landeau in Chester County in 1902, the year the mill began operations. Her sister, Mrs. John (Gilie) Hellams, lives here. Another sister, Mrs. John (Missouri) Gaston lived in Joanna. Mrs. Wade Wallace, her other sister, lives in Lando.
The Frank Sinclairs have eight children, four boys and four girls, all living and all married, with families and homes of their own.
Maudie, now Mrs. C. F. Overstreet of Greenwood, seven children. (Clyde Overstreet now in the Air Forces overseas is one of their sons.) (2) Henry Theodore, Danville, Va., three children; (3) Jeanette, now Mrs. Haskell Walker, of Danville, Va., two children; (4) William, who married Miss Miriam Revels, 1 child, Whitmire; (6) Naomi, (Mrs. Arthur Sparks), two children, Whitmire; (7) Melvin who married Miss Marian Whisonant, 1 child, Whitmire; and (8) Nellie, now Mrs. Vincent Milo, Brooklyn, New York. Melvin and Nellie are twins.
Mr. Sinclair has the knowledge, skill and experience, the “know-how, to be rated as a master mechanic and could no doubt have held that position many years ago, had he wished to. The late Mr. B. H. Herron often said he couldn’t have kept the mill running without Mr. Frank. But Mr. Frank likes to do the work and doesn’t like to take orders from the Super. He’d rather fix the trouble than explain it.
He likes being a foreman under the very kindly and highly regarded master mechanic, Mr. A. I. Jackson, who has headed that department for more than twenty years now. Mr. Jackson speaks fondly and highly of his veteran co-worker, and Mr. J. J. Frier who is now the superintendent is high in his praise of Mr. Sinclair and his loyalty and dependability.
Mr. Sinclair served as a member of city council for many years and has been water commissioner almost from the beginning. He is reputed to know where all the pipes in the entire system are located.
Long before the mill company decided to sell the houses in the village to employees, Mr. Sinclair built a home for his family and a store as well. He rented the store building for several years, but now owns the grocery business known Sinclair’s Grocery. It is managed by Mr. Furman Dickert and his son and daughter, Melvin and Mrs. Naomi Sparks work there.
When Mr. Sinclair came to Whitmire in 1907 he received $2.00 per day for 12 hours of work. Now his base pay is more than $1.80 per hour. Eggs sold for 7 cents a dozen in 1907, now, what are they?
He says times haven’t changed too much.
Nothing from this website may be copied or reproduced, in part or whole, or in any manner, without the express written approval of the owner of this website or the author of the particular work. This includes, but is not limited to, all photos, stories, graphics, and information on this website.