|Birth: ||May 14, 1842|
County Antrim, Northern Ireland
|Death: ||Mar. 24, 1881|
Sinclair family: Thomas M. Sinclair, Caroline C. Soutter Sinclair, Robert Soutter Sinclair, Elizabeth Alexander Sinclair, Amy Sinclair, Agnes M. Sinclair Vincent, Mary Sinclair & Elsie Sinclair Hart.
The Cedar Rapids Weely Times, Thurs., Mar. 31, 1881.
__Thomas M. Sinclair died at his residence, corner of Madison and Green streets, Thursday, March 24, 1881, at 1 o'clock A. M., aged nearly thirty-nine years. The circumstances attending his death are peculiarly sad and strange. In company with Mr. McAuley, general overseer of the pork packing establishment, he was passing through parts of the buildings making an examination preparatory to introducing some needed improvements. Having about completed the examinations and being ready to leave the building about noon, the gentleman in company with Mr. Sinclair took hold of the elevator rope to bring the platform from above that they might descend to the floor below. Both were standing near the hatchway, but before the elevator had started downward from the floor above them, Mr. Sinclair stepped or fell through the hatchway down upon the stone floor below, a distance of about thirteen feet. He made some exclamation as he started on the fatal fall, but what it was Mr. McAuley either did not hear distinctly, or in the excitement failed to remember. He was reached as quickly as possible and was found in an unconscious condition, having fallen upon the right shoulder, side and head. No bones were broken nor any marked evidence of serious external injury. He was conveyed to his office near by, and soon after taken to his residence. All efforts to revive him were unavailing; no signs of consciousness were evidenced from the time of the accident, and his spirit took its flight about twelve hours after his fall. Just how the fatal fall came about will never be definitely known; whether he thought the elevator had reached the floor and he stepped where he supposed it to be, or whether, being absorbed in other thoughts, he was momentarily unconscious of where he was and walked through the fatal trap, or what may have been the attending circumstances of the fall can never be told.
__Mr. Sinclair was a native of Ireland, born in Belfast May 14, 1842. In 1862 he came to America, landing in New York where he resided until he came to Cedar Rapids, in 1871, and established the great pork packing firm of T. M. Sinclair & Co. Commencing on a very moderate scale, as an experiment, he gradually enlarged the facilities and increased the business to its present immense proportions, the largest strongest and most successful business establishment of the kind in the west. As a business man he is well and favorably known throughout the United States and in Europe, few men of his age having attained so widely extended business acquaintance and reputation as he.
__But what shall we say of him as a man? There are times and circumstances in which "silence is golden," and perhaps it were better not to attempt to express in words what every person in this community knows and feels, each for him and herself. There are but few men in any community concerning whom so much good can be said and so little of his real character be portayed, whose virtues and nobility of character could be so highly eulogized and yet so much left untold of which he is entirely worthy, as the subject of this notice. Munificent as were his charities, unstinted and unsparing as were his acts of benevolence, free and full as were his benefactions, from tens of thousands to institutions of learning, thousands to weak and struggling churches, to contributions of the daily necessities of life to the worthy poor and timely visits and words of consolation to those sick and in trouble, so quietly and unostentatiously were they all performed, so freely and unhesitatingly did he respond to all worthy calls upon his charity or his benevolence and so quietly and unselfishly did he search out and relieve the poor and suffering among all classes, that but few outside of those directly interested ever heard of his good works or were apprised of his designs. His hand and his heart were ever open, not alone to his own church, to his own kinsmen, to his own countrymen or to those who had social or business relations with him, but to all. His charities covered the wide domain of suffering humanity within his reach; his contributions to churches, schools and colleges were as wide and broad as were the influences of these institutions for good, and his kind words dropped alike upon the hearts of rich and poor, young and old. He gave of his wealth to worthy objects as freely and willingly as he would have invested the same amount in property; giving because he liked to give, and without a care even as to the recipients of his gifts knowing from whence they came, much less the community in which he moved. But not only in the material affairs of life were his works of charity and love prominent and constant. His was a true missionary spirit which caused him to go into the highways and byways and urge men and women to embrace the privileges of the church, the Sabbath school and all the means instituted to lead them into a higher life; to provide places for religious instruction, to institute ways and means of getting them there and to employ competent teachers and instructors. And all this was done so quietly, so humbly, and apparently so disinterestedly that while the influence was felt and acknowledged, while the work was advancing rapidly and successfully, the moving force, the governing power could scarcely be perceived. But why attempt to picture the life and labors of T. M. Sinclair; to tell a tithe of the good he has done or present an outline of the work he has left behind? A mere shadow of his good influences are seen and but an occasional glimpse is had of what he has done. But this we know: he has planted germs of Christian charity, philanthropy, true benevolence and Christian faith which will live and grow and produce its fruit in this community as long as time shall last. His death seems an irreparable loss, a public calamity; and yet, the lessons his life has taught us, the example of true Christian character, noble and unblemished manhood he set us, remain to mitigate our sorrow, and, in part, recompense for his absence. His spirit is still among us; may we emulate his virtues and each one resolve to do his and her share in carrying on the work he so well begun.
__His funeral took place on Monday at 10 A. M., the services being held in the First Presbyterian church. It was largely attended by all classes, great numbers coming from the country and from neighboring towns. We never before saw at a funeral of a public man in our city so many farmers and laboring men in attendence. The business houses of the city were closed during the funeral services and our citizens generally were present at the church to pay the last sad tribute of respect to one held so dear a place in the hearts of all.
__The funeral services were as plain, simple and unostentatious as had been the life of the deceased. The Rev. Mr. Burkhalter, his pastor, made a very few simple, touching and appropraite remarks, numerous passages of scripture were read, two hymns were sung and a prayer offered, after which the procession formed. It was among the largest gathering of the kind we have ever witnessed in Cedar Rapids. One notable feature of it was that of about six hundred of the employes of the packing house leading the procession on foot, each wearing white gloves. This was the only organized feature of the occasion, and was done more to avoid confusion than for any attempt at display. And indeed it was the most impressive feature of the funeral, and one which will ever be held in remembrance by those who witnessed it, as the deep solemnity which sat upon each face told more eloquently of how much these laboring men loved their employer and how sad was this their last duty to him than any words can tell. It was indeed a heavy-hearted procession, each one in it as well as the thousands who did not join, feeling that they had lost a personal friend.
Caroline Campbell Soutter Sinclair (1847 - 1917)*
John Falconer Sinclair (1871 - 1948)*
Robert Soutter Sinclair (1872 - 1937)*
Elsie Campbell Sinclair Hodge (1874 - 1900)*
Thomas M. Sinclair
May 14, 1842;
Mar. 24, 1881.
"For Me To Live Is Christ
And To Die Is Gain"
Oak Hill Cemetery
Plot: Block 76
Created by: Frank
Record added: May 31, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 27233443