BINNEY, STEPHEN, merchant, politician, shipbuilder, businessman; b. 24 March 1805 at Halifax, N.S., seventh child of Hibbert Newton Binney and Lucy Creighton; m. on 15 Oct. 1828 Emily Pryor, daughter of a Halifax merchant, and had a large family; d. 17 Jan. 1872 at Moncton, N.B.
Stephen Binney’s father was collector of impost and excise at Halifax, and Stephen soon became a well-known figure in the business life of the city. When the first civic elections were held on 15 May 1841, Binney was elected a councillor; the councillors subsequently chose him as the city’s mayor. Offended by the minor role assigned to him at a reception in September 1841 for a French prince, Binney clashed with the lieutenant governor, Lord Falkland [Lucius Bentinck Cary*]. The resulting clamour had not died down when a new crisis arose. The citizens of Halifax heard the news of the birth of a son to Queen Victoria early in December 1841. Binney immediately proposed that, since he planned to visit England on private business, he, as mayor, should lay at the foot of the throne a congratulatory address from the council and citizens. This should have been presented through the lieutenant governor, but the council, after consulting Falkland, allowed Binney to carry the address to England. Binney sailed on 3 Jan. 1842; in March his leave of absence expired and another councillor, Edward Kenny*, was appointed to complete his term.
When Binney returned to North America and decided to leave Halifax is not known, but on 20 Nov. 1843 he purchased for £600 half an acre of land with a wharf and shipyard in Lewisville, one mile northeast of “The Bend” (now Moncton), where his home, luxurious for the day, still stands. As well as being active in shipbuilding, Binney owned a wholesale business in lumber, flour, and feed. He was largely responsible for the establishment of St George’s Anglican parish, of which he and Bliss Botsford*, a noted lawyer and politician, became first wardens in 1852. Binney also took an active interest in railways; he, Edward Barron Chandler, and Amos Edwin Botsford* were delegates at the Portland railway convention in 1850, and Binney backed those who wanted the Intercolonial Railway to pass through Moncton.
Stephen Binney, scion of a prominent Nova Scotia family, was unsuccessful as the first mayor of Halifax, but later made a valuable contribution to the religious, cultural, and mercantile life of his adopted community.
St Paul’s Church (Halifax, N.S.), Baptismal register, 1791–1816. Westmorland County Registry Office (Dorchester, N.B.), libro V, 297. Canada, Sessional papers, III (1870), pt.5, no.13, app.C, 27–28. Moncton Daily Times (special edition for the diamond jubilee of confederation), 15 June 1937, 12–13, 20, 39. W. C. Borrett, East coast port and other tales told under the old town clock (Halifax, 1944), 81–88. C. A. Pincombe, “The history of Monckton Township (ca. 1700–1875),” unpublished ma thesis, University of New Brunswick, 1969, 157, 161, 167. S. T. Spicer, Masters of sail: the era of square-rigged vessels in the Maritime provinces (Toronto, 1968), 97. F. E. Crowell, “Binney family,” Yarmouth Herald, 25 July 1933.