Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library at the Alamo

A Guide to the Pirie and Sinclair Families Papers, 1899-1981



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Pirie and Sinclair Families
Title: Pirie and Sinclair Families Papers
Dates: 1899-1981
Creator Abstract: Friends and neighbors, members of the Pirie and Sinclair families resided in eastern Bexar County, Texas. The son of Scottish immigrants, John Lang Sinclair (1869-1947) attended the University of Texas at Austin from 1899 until 1904. While there, he wrote "The Eyes of Texas are Upon You," which became the official school song.
Content Abstract: Letters, speeches, printed material, and photographs document the close relationship between the Pirie family and the neighboring Sinclair family. Several items in the collection relate to John Lang Sinclair.
Identification: Col 10649
Extent: 0.2 linear feet (1 box)
Language: Materials are in English.
Repository: Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library at the Alamo, San Antonio, Texas

Biographical Note

Jessie Lee Pirie was born in Bexar County, Texas, on 1878 September 20. Her family had a close relationship with their neighbors, the Sinclairs, and Jessie corresponded with brothers John Lang and William Sinclair. She never married and lived her entire life in Bexar County, where she died on 1959 March 25 at the age of eighty.

Jessie’s brother Wallace Dunbar Pirie was born on 1894 April 29. He resided in his family’s 1882 home his entire life. Pirie regularly lectured and gave speeches on his good friend John Lang Sinclair. Wallace and his wife, Elizabeth Schultz Pirie, had seven children. He died on 1982 April 27. Daughter Scotti Pirie was born in Elmendorf, Bexar County, on 1923 September 7. She married William F. Krebs in 1942 and spent the next thirty years living in various places, retiring to San Antonio in 1971. Scotti was an active member and held offices in various organizations, including the Alamo Mission Chapter, Daughters of the Republic of Texas. She died on 2000 January 2.

Alexander (1851-1908) and Agnes Lang (born 1851) Sinclair, neighbors of the Pirie family, were natives of Scotland. They were married in Scotland on 1876 January 28 and their first child, William, was born in Yorkshire, England, on 1876 December 28. Two years later, the family immigrated to Texas, settling near Comfort, where another son, John Lang, was born on 1879 November 26. The Sinclairs moved east of San Antonio in 1883, moving again three years later to Sayers, a town in eastern Bexar County where they owned and operated a dairy.

While a student at the University of Texas (1899-1904), John Lang Sinclair was a member of the band, served as editor of the campus literary magazine and the literary section of the yearbook, and played football. As a member of the Glee Club, he wrote the song “The Eyes of Texas.” Set to the tune of “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” it became the official song of the University. After graduating from UT, Sinclair tried farming near Artesia Wells in La Salle County. He returned to his family’s dairy farm following his father’s death in 1908. Around 1923, Sinclair moved to New York City, where he became a partner in a tax and investment advisory service and, in 1945, married Stella C. Anderson (1888-1959) of San Antonio. Sinclair died in New York on 1947 January 4 and is buried with his wife in the Masonic Cemetery in San Antonio.

John’s brother William worked with his father and brother on the family dairy farm. One of his projects, for the U.S. government, involved importing different types of cactus from around the world and testing their efficacy as cattle feed. This work took him to Australia, where he later started a farm and sold produce, and eventually died.

References

Scotti Pirie Krebs biographical file, Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library, San Antonio, Texas.

John Lang Sinclair biographical file, Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library, San Antonio, Texas.

Pirie and Sinclair Families Papers, 1899-1981, Col 10649, Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library, San Antonio, Texas.


Scope and Content Note

Letters, speeches, printed material and photographs document the close relationship between the Pirie family and the neighboring Sinclair family during their residence in southeastern Bexar County, Texas.

Letters include several from Agnes Sinclair and her sons John Lang and William to Jessie Pirie and others concerning family and social matters. Later letters from several individuals include reminiscences of John Lang Sinclair.

A brief speech composed by W. D. Pirie for the dedication of a school named in Sinclair’s honor is included, along with notes on Sinclair’s life. Printed material includes items created by John L. Sinclair, and clippings on Sinclair, the Sinclair school, and the Pirie family. Several postcards received or collected by the Pirie family have been separated to the library postcard collection.

Photographs of John Lang and William Sinclair, along with snapshots of ceremonies at Sinclair’s grave and of the family farm site, are included with the papers.


Restrictions

Access Restrictions

No restrictions. The collection is open for research.

Usage Restrictions

Please be advised that the library does not hold the copyright to most of the material in its archival collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to secure those rights when needed. Permission to reproduce does not constitute permission to publish. The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming to the laws of copyright, literary property rights, and libel.


Index Terms

Personal Names
Pirie family.
Sinclair family.
Sinclair, John Lang, 1879-1947.
Sinclair, William.
Subjects
Lyricists--Texas.
Genres/Formats
Family papers.
Correspondence.
Photographs.
Printed ephemera.

Related Material

John Lang Sinclair Papers, 1900-1967, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Agnes Sinclair Letter, 1921, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Charles S. Potts Papers, 1886-1960, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

John Avery Lomax Family Papers, 1842, 1853-1986, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.


Separated Material

Twenty-four postcards showing San Antonio and Texas scenes have been separated from the Pirie and Sinclair Families Papers and placed in the Postcard Collection.


Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Pirie and Sinclair Families Papers, 1899-1981, Col 10649, Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library, San Antonio, Texas.

Acquisition Information

Gift of Scotti Pirie Krebs, from the estate of James Alexander Pirie and his wife Scottie Eliza Roddy, 1999 August.

Additional materials donated by William F. Krebs for Scotti Pirie Krebs, 2000 March.

Processing Information

Processed by Warren Stricker, 2000 June.

Finding aid edited and encoded by Tom D'Amore, 2011 August.


Detailed Description of the Collection

 

Pirie and Sinclair Families Papers, 1899-1981

Box Folder
1 Correspondence, 1899-1979
1 Agnes Sinclair to Jessie Pirie, 10 items, 1903-1909.
2 John Lang Sinclair to Jessie Pirie and parents, 4 items, 1899-1909.
3 William Sinclair to Jessie Pirie and Jessie Beck, 7 items, 1903-1938, undated.
4 Stella Anderson Sinclair to Jessie Pirie, 2 items, 1958.
5 James Anderson to W. D. Pirie, 1975 November 30.
Steven Rich to Texas Monthly magazine [copy], 1979 March 23.
George and Bonnie Carmack to Mr. and Mrs. Pirie, January 22.
John Glenn Elementary School students to W. D. Pirie, 1977 September.
6 Remarks by W. D. Pirie at the dedication of Sinclair Elementary School [manuscript and typescript copies], 1981 April 25.
"The Eyes of Texas," from T. U. Taylor, Fifty Years on Forty Acres.
7 Notes
Printed material
8 Pamphlet: The Milkman’s Primer by J. L. Sinclair.
Handbill: “The Sinner’s Friend” by J. L. Sinclair.
Announcement: marriage of John Lang Sinclair and Stella Catherine Anderson, 1945 June 3.
Invitation: dedication of John L. Sinclair Elementary School, 1981 April 25.
Yearbook: Alamo Mission Chapter, Daughters of the Republic of Texas, 1939-1940, 1940-1941.
9 Clippings
Photographs
10 John Lang Sinclair.
11 Ceremonies at John L. Sinclair grave, 1975.
12 William Sinclair.
13 Sinclair dairy, 1974.