Family tree

First Letter from Irwine Binney to Emily Dibblee

See Emily Dibblee (recipient of letter)
Irwine Binney (sender of letter - brother of Emily Dibblee)
Emily Binney (mother of Emily Dibble)
William Binney (Willie - brother of Emily Dibblee)
Frederick Lewis Dibblee (husband of Emily Dibblee)

This letter was written in 1874 from Irwine Binney to his sister Emily Dibblee, who is England but about to return to her husband in India. This letter is entirely cross-written. It was written on one sheet of paper, each folded in half and written as four pieces. The page was then turned through a right angle and cross-written to save paper. See below!

Here is an explanation of parts of the letter. The Bend is the colloquial name for Moncton, because it was built on the bend of the Petitcodiac River. I think that Refd. Epis means Reformed Episcopalian. Irwine Binney seems to have owned a mine at one time (see his obituary). Willie was William Binney. He may have been living in Greece at this time. Irwine doesn't seem to have a very high opinion of him! NY is presumably New York. St J is presumably St John's. I think that S J Railway is St Johns and Quebec Railway.

I have a soft spot for Irwine Binney. It seems rather a stiff letter, and fussing about details, but he is obviously conscientious, and interested in other people, even if he gets irritated by their inefficiency. This letter was written at the same time as Emily Binney's, and it's interesting to compare them. Irwine's advice to Emily Dibblee about her children is as warm as his mothe'sr, but it manages both to give his opinion, yet leave Emily free to make her own mind up. She kept this letter, so perhaps she valued this advice.

I have given the transcription of the letter first, and the original after, in case you want to check it (and the best of luck to you!).

Transcription - Page 1 of original letter - Page 2 - Page 3 - Page 4

June 1st /74

My dear Sister

I received your kind letter of the 21st April a day too late to answer by return steamer. Dear Mother received yours of the 18th ult We are glad to hear that the children are much better. Mother is writing you by this mail and will give you all the house news. By the bye you do not say a word about the Mine in mothers letter, and in your last said you would write me by N Y but I have not recd. any letter yet and as you neither mentioned the Mine or that you had written me via St.J. I cannot arrive any at any conclusion. I regret I gave you so much trouble about the book. The best way to send anything to New Brunswick is by the Anchor Line of Freight Steamers to Saint Johns. They leave Liverpool & Glasgow every two weeks. Messrs Henderson Brothers are their agents in London and a branch same firm in Liverpool and Messrs Scammell Bros. are the agents in St Johns all you have to do is send any parcel to the agents in London Care of Mess S Bros Agents St Johns and the same to send Mr Irwine on cost of any article so they can be entered at the customs of course. Walter will look after any thing. This way of sending things stops all trouble to friends and is quick & safe. I have now put the Iron Mine in the hands of some Montreal Gentlemen and and expect to meet one of them today (Mr Brydger late Manager of the S J Railway Canada and now Commissioner of our Railways and he purposes examining the Mine so he can report to his friends when he returns. We received a long letter from Willie he was quite well and expecting to arrange about his wife & visit you but half of his plans are imaginations never to be realized. I intended sending you a paper by the last steamer giving an account of poor Dan McLaren’s sudden death. He is missed very much here, he left a family of six children. Our church (Refd. Epis) had a grand bazaar last weekend, kept it up for three days and realized after paying all expenses nearly $600. The amount is to pay off the debt on the organ. I have just got through gardening and we are having fine growing weather you can almost see the grass growing. We raised about 6 or 7 tons hay on our farm. The Bend is improving very much indeed, a great many new houses going up and all the old shanties are being painted & fixed up to correspond with the new comers places. It is a small village at the station now. Duncan’s field is filled with buildings. John Harris has moved into the building next to Dr Chandlers. The Terries are getting along firstrate. The second child has been very ill all winter and is now getting better very slowly. By the Bye you can send any parcel to aunt(?) at Halifax by the same steamers I referred too. They have agents in Halifax and one of their steamers will leave Liverpool on the 23rd this month

I fell very much disappointed to hear you intend to go back to India so soon. If I had told my mind I intended visiting both you and Willie. I do not think it would be right to take the children to India again. I think the climate is not at all suited for young people, but you and your husband know best what to do with your own children.

Now dear sister with much love
Believe me your affect Brother

First letter from Irwine Binney - page 1
First letter from Irwine Binney - page 2
First letter from Irwine Binney - page 3
First letter from Irwine Binney - page 4