Soldier and president of the Confederation Congress.
Ensign, later lieutenant, in British army in Canada (1757-62). Purchased 4000-acre estate in western Pennsylvania. Colonial agent and judge in Westmoreland County, a territory disputed with Virginia (1771-74). Colonel, later brigadier-general, in Continental army (1775-78). Active in Pennsylvania politics as an anti-Federalist. Delegate to Continental Congress (1785-87; president, 1787). Governor of Northwest Territory (1787- 1802).
Born in Scotland; probably the son of William and Elizabeth (Balfour) Sinclair. May have studied at the University of Edinburgh, as well as serving an anatomical apprenticeship. Married Phoebe Bayard, a niece of James Bowdoin (1760).