Wednesday, June 13, 2018

John Milton Binckley, June 1859 Travel Diary, Pages 3-4

[Many thanks to William Myers, Mary Davy, Sally Young and Sue Davis for their ongoing research collaboration; specifically to William for providing scans of the original document, and in turn many thanks to Peter Johnston Binckley and Patricia D'Arcy "Trish" Binckley (1951-2007), at the source.

The handwriting is difficult to translate and transcribe. Sally Young and William Myers helpfully made additional suggestions. Corrections and clarifications will be ongoing.]



[John Milton Binckley,  June 1859 Travel Diary, pages 3-4.]

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not without endangering myself. To save basket & cane.

Soon, after starting, get Mother into the sleeping cars. They cost 50 cents extra, . . . berth. I wanted none for myself, but for mother, & took mine in order to be near her . . . checks. The sleeping cars pleasant & snug looking place. I observed regularly enough spitoons in the standing cars & not elsewhere.

Here the habit of timid women in not keeping close to escort was well illustrated. When a woman is escorted . . . she should, in a crowd, keep right in the heels of escort, who should know they were there without looking behind & missing seeing what is before, for him to see & understand.

Here we go up the Patapsco. A beautiful stream, always one of my chosen of romantic streams. Always musical, always in motion – never a mad fall, yet never a sluggish flow. . . . by a hundred dams obstructing but not stopping her singing current -- . . . I get onto an analogy between the stream
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The bosom of some one.

I had once a notion to write a novel laying the scene in the Patapsco. I mention I thought the stream like myself – flowing on, too, to waste its waters . . . gathered from a thousand scant pastures and carried faithfully her to a thousand rugged obstructions to waste its water in the stagnant Chesapeake.

Read in the day the “news” . . . from the last Vol – just out – of Irving’s life [of] Washington. His last hours, well described. An . . . of Ben West. When in the zenith of his fame, the honored of nations & the table guest of kiss, the story of the kiss his mother gave him for his first picture, when a little boy, was told, with the remark “You have carried another kiss from your Mother!” “Alas, said the object of their admiration with tears, “I have no mother!”  A kind of paen[?] about content” conformed the staff. “Content” – contempt rather. Does the author feel contented? If so, he never reached it by reading such stuff.

[John Milton Binckley (1831-1878).
Mother = Charlotte Stocker Binckley (1788-1877).]


Monday, June 11, 2018

John Milton Binckley, June 1859 Travel Diary, Pages 1-2


[Many thanks to William Myers, Mary Davy, Sally Young and Sue Davis for their ongoing research collaboration; specifically to William for providing scans of the original document, and in turn many thanks to Peter Johnston Binckley and Patricia D'Arcy "Trish" Binckley (1951-2007), at the source.

The handwriting is difficult to translate and transcribe. Sally Young and William Myers helpfully made additional suggestions. Corrections and clarifications will be ongoing.]


[John Milton Binckley,  June 1859 Travel Diary, pages 1-2.]

                                                                        Wash DC
                                                                        1 June 1859

In the back & on the way – told mother several weeks ago, I frequently seem to make up her mind as to what route -- of course I had made my mind, but now I asked her depot in sight “what I wrote?” She began to speculate on it, I had no sort of determination of imagination.

Dr. Dermullen [Mullen?] met us at depot by appointment. He took mother for a walk, while I  . . . & baggage. Well he did, for I had barely time to see my baggage checked, when I had to p--- at one End, & get back to mother, without seeing Dr. Dermullen [Mullen?] good-bye, after cars had got on the road, found mother with a male passenger, very crowded, but gave up & hunted another seat, kindly gave me his to sit with mother. A simple rough gentleman he was.

Ticket to Burlington $27 = 54 $
I want a chew of tobacco. Mother sits next car window. Don’t want


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to disturb her, but she is unable to decide . . . is the . . . observing the foliage. Mother remarks when we get to Ohio the green will be darker.

Riley House. Here I put Mother in the parlor return found her on the porch pointing at some wild roses at a distance of about ¾ of a mile.

Of course, want to get them in the woods – they were beautiful & were the Envy of the . . . gave one to a little girl, to her great gratitude – we wait here about 1/2 hour. Threatening rain. Here come the cars. Basket, can, satchel, umbrella, etc. etc.  Enough to insure our destruction or somebody else who may be on the platform. There stands, waiting to get in, a lone Irish woman & her child. The poor never looks so poor as when they travel. Poor creature! Here pass two coal trains – one 32 & another 33 cars coal.

In the cars – dropp'd my cane getting in - recovered it of course, but 

[John Milton Binckley (1831-1878).
Mother = Charlotte Stocker Binckley (1788-1877).]

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Detroit: Turn of the Century Artifacts, 1999-2002

Mario's Restaurant. You want old school? This is the place. I love it!  4222 Second Ave. "We Feed the Whole Mob." A theatrical and memorable production every time. Open since 1948. 


Detroit Tigers vs. Kansas City Royals at Tiger Stadium (active from 1912 to 1999), September 25, 1999.  The Tigers won, 11-3. The very last game ever played at Tiger Stadium came two days later, when the Tigers again beat the Royals, 8-2. 

In the year 2000, the Tigers were moved to Comerica Park, and in 2009, Tiger Stadium was demolished.


Lords of Acid: their pulsing music can be heard on many a soundtrack, despite lyrics that are often risqué, ribald or raunchy -- and not necessarily in that order. 



On February 11, 2000, they put on a very lively, entertaining show at the State Theatre, a 2,200 person venue at 2115 Woodward Avenue --almost exactly the same capacity as the Town and Country Club in London -- built in 1925.  The State Theatre was rechristened the Fillmore Detroit in 2007.



Sweet Georgia Brown's at 1045 Brush Street was a hip place - I loved it. Unfortunately, due to a falling out among owners and associates, it only ran from 2002 until 2009, with another period of being closed in between. I saw Al Jarreau (1940-2017) hanging out there; the waiters tended to have side hussles, too, which was always entertaining and interesting.


Panaderia La Gloria. Tamales Fresh Daily. Lots of dessert treats. Rubén González y Familia. 3348 Bagley Avenue, Mexicantown, Detroit. It's been here as long as I can remember. The area has been a Mexican enclave since the 1920s. Fantastico!

Long Live Detroit!