Hon. Jonathan Binney
Father and mother: Captain Thomas Binney and Margaret Miller
Dates: 1724-1807. See cemetery records for Jonathan Binney and both his wives.
Career: See biography from Dictionary of Canadian Biography.
By the 1760s Binney was making a name for himself as an opponent of executive authority, as an assiduous collector of appointive offices, and as a figure of controversy. In 1764 Binney became collector of provincial duties and magistrate at Canso, a major fishing and trading port. A land petition (1783) says that his house and property there were destroyed by New England Privateers in 1764. In 1766 "with the assistance of some gentlemen of the Navy, who happened to be near Canso" he dispersed a group of warlike Indians. He was having problems being paid for his post at Canso, so helped himself by deducting the first £75 of his customs receipts and fines from his remittances to Halifax. He was told to repay this money in 1775, refused to pay and ended up in jail. He managed to get released and his debt struck off, but he continued to get into trouble. The biography ends "Jonathan Binney was a typical example of the first generation of New England merchants and politicians in Nova Scotia. If his affairs always seemed to teeter on the brink of the unsavoury and illicit, it was because in those early times one could not be successful in the harsh climate of the Maritimes by being genteel."
Jonathan Binney's second wife was Hannah. Her father is given as Hibbert Newton in the simple family tree found among family papers. That would explain, perhaps, the large number of Hibbert Binneys among their descendents.
There are references to Janathan Binney in the obituaries of Edward Binney, Rt Rev Hibbert Binney (who both got the date he was elected to the Assembly wrong!) and Irwin Binney. Irwin's obituary says: "Hon. Jonathan Binney was one of the first residents in Halifax, a member of the first Legislative Assembly (1758) of the province. He and Frederick des Barras met the Indian chiefs at Arichat, Nova Scotia, in 1761, and concluded a lasting peace , and was appointed to the Legislative Assembly in 1758; second judge at St. John's Island (now Prince Edward Island); and also collector of customs for the island."
From Genealogy of the Binney Family in the United States collected by Charles J. F. Binney (published in 1886):
Hon Jonathan BINNEY, or Halifax, N. S., the immediate ancestor of the Nova Scotla and New Brunswick branches of the family, son or Thomas and Margaret (Miller) Binney, of Hull, and Boston; grandson of the ancestor John and wife Mercy Binney, of Hull, Mass. He was born in Hull, Mass., Jan. 7, 1724-5; died in Halifaxy N.S., Oct. 8, 1767, aged 83.
He was published Nov. 26, 1745, in Boston, and married 1st Jan. 8, 1746, by Rev Thomas Prince, to Martha, born 1722, in Charleston, daughter of Capt. Stephen Hall, by his 1st wife Ann, (daughter of Richard Boylston, of Charlestown. .In 1753, May 28, she signs as Martha Binney, for her share of her father Boylston's estate; and Jonathan Binney and wife Martha, quit claim in 1753, to Stephen Hall, a lot of land north-west of the trainfield, south-east of Jobn Miller, south-west on John Phillips, which she derived from her grandfather Boylston. About 1746, Jonathan Binney established himself as a merchant and ship owner, in Boston. Aug. 6, 1746, John Fayerweather, a merchant of Boston. in his account book, charges Jonathan Binney, for cordage and houseline, for Capt. Scott.
His letter of March 28, 1752, to his cousin Capt. Amos Binney ascribes his business troubles to his "cruel brother" Capt. Paul Binney. Feb. 3, 1749, Jonathan Binney of Boston, has a judgment vs. Paul Binney, of Boston, for £545, 12s 6d. and £3, 12s 6d. expenses and seized half the rent of Paul's house in Long Lane. Boston, till the debt is paid, and Oct. 3, 1752, Jonathan Binney assigns for £240, the right to collect the above rent, to Mrs. Margaret Binney, during Paul's life. In 1750. Jonathan Binney and John Sprague, of Boston, advertise it as a good and commodious brick-house in Long Lane, next to Francis Borland's, with a handsome yard and garden (News Letter, July 19, 1750). In his letter to Capt. Amos Binney of Hull, 1752, he promises to pay his note to hire as soon as able. and in 1804, through Ebenezer Gay, Boston he paid it with interest, to Amos Binney's heirs, which Col. Amos Binney of Boston, received and distributed. In 1753, his wife Martha (Hall) died, and he went to Halifax, N.So, leaving their only child.
Stephens Hall, b. June 19, 1749 ; bapt. Old South Church, June 25; ; d. Oct. 1, 1760, aged 11 years, 3 months.
The writer has the fly leaf of the 1st Vol. of Prideaux's sermons owned by the Rev. Bailey Loring, North Andover, Mass,, with this inscription and the autograph of the donor : "Stephen Hall Binney, given him by his 'unkel,' Capt. Benjamin Binney, of Boston, Oct. 12, 1759."
After Jonathan Binney went to Halifax, N.S., he made that his home and established himself in business there, and married 2d about 1759, Hannah Adams Newton, daughter of the former collector Hilbert Newton, and sister to the then collector of customs, Henry Newton; she was born 1722; and died in Halifax, Dec. 22, 1797, aged 75.
Children by second wife:
Stephen Hall, (2d) b. Halifax, Sept. 29, 1760 ; m. Susanna Green.
Hibbert Newton, b. Aug. 22, 1766. in Halifax; m. - Creighton and - Solomon.
Jonathan Binney Nov. 8. 1764, of Halifax, N.S. conveys to John Newton, of Halifax, in trust, for his wife Hannah, and son Stephen Hall Binney (2d), his share of his mother's property in Hull, and land in Worcester and Leicester, derived from his mother.
In 1749, Oct. 1, in Boston, he witnessed the deed of John and Elizabeth Dolhonde, to Paul and Sarah (Dolhonde) Binney, and others; in 1744, he witnessed the will of Capt. Paul Binney, and in 1746, he was administrator on the estate of Dr. Joseph Binney.
Oct. 23, 1792, he deeds to Stephen Hall Binney (2d), lands in Hull and Holden, Mass., derived from his mother Margaret, sister Sarah (Binney) Gould, or brother Capt. Benjamin Binney who died in Maryland, and left by will property to the two oldest sons of his brother, Jonathan Binncy of Halifax, N.S. The Castine, Mc., Binneys from Hull, and the Osgoods of N. Andover and Salem, descended from Margarct (Binney) Osgood, shared in this property.
In 1758, Jonathan Binney was elected a member of the First House of Assembly that was called in the Province, at Halifax, N.S. and continued as such, to Nov. 16, 1764. In 1760, he and Frederick Des Barres, met the chiefs of three tribes of Indians, at Arichat, and concluded a lasting peace. July, 1761, he was appointed to the Council, by Gov. Minot; Nov. 10, 1764, hc was appointed superintendent of trade and fisheries for Causo; and was afterwards. on Oct. 11th, 1766, collector of duties, and excise there, and also at St. Johns Island (since Prince Edward's Island). He collected a number of French Acadians at thc Isle of Madam. In 1764, he was also appointed chief judge of the Inferior Court, and was known as the "Hon. Jonathan Binney.'' In 1765, he and other gentlemen of Halifax, obtained a grant of 150,000 acres of land at St. Mary's river, to obtain an exclusive monopoly of salmon fishery; not improved till 1800, a party from Truro, N.S., purchased 4,000 acres of it, the latter year, and removed thither, and formed a settlement at thc Isle of Madam. Oct. 11, 1766, he was collector of duties and excise, and superintendent. and signs at the Custom House. Causo, a permit for Samuel Hay's sloop, "Lovely Lass," to load fish for New York; she hailed from Newark, N.J.
In 1768, Jonathan Binney was made second judge at St. Johns Island (now Prince Edward's Isle). During his residence in Halifax, he made several visits to England, in one of the last, he had engraved there, the silver seal with the arms on it, which he and his descendants have since used, viz. Crest, a stag's head and neck, ppr. with branching anclerss, Shield, ar., two bars, gu., with three martelets, close in each bar. The martelets are the insignia of the younger branches of the nobility, per Hibbert Newton Binney's letter; who said that it was probably adopted by his grandfather, Hon. Jonathan Binney, on his visit to England, between 1780 and 90, when he was told by the famous physician Dr. Bucannan that he was an undoubted descendant of the early Earls of Haddington, the oldest son of whom bears the title of "Binning,'' till lately Binny, though their family name was Hamilton, whose arms (Scotland) fibre gu. a sword erect, ppr., pommel and hilt or., between three cinquefoil, or., crest a horse's head couped, ar. bridle, gu.
In 1776, Jonathan Binney went to England, to rebut the charges preferred against his conduct while collector, and which he completely refuted.
In Haliburton's "Nova Scota." 1829, page 102, and repeated from that by Mrs. Williams in her Neutral French or the Exile in N.S. Providence R.I. 1841, page 45; says: "Mr. Binney, the collector, and others, who were taken prisoners in a vessel at Passamaquoddy, on his way from Annapolis to Boston, in 1721." . They both confound Mr. Newton, then collector with Jonathan Binney, who did not go to N. S.; till 1753.
© Jo Edkins 2008 - Return to Binney index