ROBERT DINWIDDIE--BANKER, SCIENTIST, AND EMIGRANT TO NEW YORK ------------------------------------------------- Correspondence and History Relating to Robert Dinwiddie (1811-1888, son of William D. and Jean Thorburn) and His Wife Ann Hornsby Menzies and Their Family. (Email exchange during Aug. 2000 between Jim Warr and Michael Strauss) ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Dear Mr. Warr, I note that you have done some research on the name of Dinwiddie. There was a Robert Dinwiddie who attended or taught at Dumfries Academy in 1826 from who I happen to have an original manuscript. I wonder if you have any information that could help me in understanding who was this R.D. from 1826. Many thanks in advance your kind assistance. Sincerely Michael Strauss

Michael, Are you related to the Dinwoodies? I am not sure which Robert Dinwiddie you are referring to. I have several who were born around 1800. What is the manuscript that you have? Could you give me some information on it? Jim Warr

Jim No, I am not related to the Dinwiddies but 20 years ago I knew the two very elderly sisters who had lived up the street in the same house for almost a century. I will try to obtain their names as well as their father's name if you don't have this information. For your guidance they lived on Scarborough Rd. in Scarborough, NY from the 1880's to 1970's. The manuscript I have is described below in a letter which I sent to Dumfries Academy last year to which I did not receive any reply. In the meantime I am indirectly in touch with Dumfries Academy. Interesting to note that they will be celebrating their bicentennial in 2002. Look forward to any information you may have failing which hope to be able to advise you the names of the sisters and their father. best rgds m strauss


Michael J. Strauss Box 325 Scarborough, NY 10510 Tel. 914 762 0925 Dumfries Academy Academy St. Dumfries, DG1 1B? United Kingdom Wednesday, August 16, 2000 Re: Handwritten Manuscript Dated 1826 Dear Sirs: I am writing to inquire whether there would be any interest by your goodselves to acquire a handwritten manuscript (it is either a workbook or teacher’s syllabus) written in 1826 by a Rob(ert) Dinwiddie. Dumfries Academy is clearly indicated on the first page of this manuscript. This work clearly and precisely shows in problems and examples and with many illustrations the instruction given by your esteemed institution in the early part of the 19th century. The manuscript which is in excellent condition is approximately one hundred pages and encompasses the following: 1) Mensuration of Superficies 31 Pages, 14 Problems 2) Mensuration of Solids 24 Pages 20 Problems 3) Timber Measuring, Artificers’ Work, Bricklayers’ Work,Masons’ Work, Carpenters & Joiners’ Work,Slater’s & Tilers’ Work,….Plasterers’, Painters’, Glaziers’ ,Pavers’, and Plumbers’Work. 4) Vaulted and Arched Roofs 5) Conic Sections and Their Solids 6) Specific Gravity 7) Weight and Dimensions of Balls and Shells The penmanship and many illustrations are simply outstanding! Enclosed please find several photocopies of this manuscript. Please be so kind as to forward this letter to any interested party. I look forward to your response. Sincerely, Michael Strauss

From: James Warr [mailto:[email protected]] Sent: Tuesday, August 22, 2000 5:57 PM To: [email protected] Subject: Re: robert dinwiddie Michael, I appreciate your reply. The 2 elderly sisters rang a bell and I looked up an article in my files referring to a Rbt. D. by a Rex Johnston-Smith in the Dumfries and Galloway Family History Newsletter. This is probably the Robert who wrote the paper you are referring to, and the sisters are his descendants. As you will note in the last sentence, the family had family records of great worth to the Dinwoodie family, which are not available anywhere else. If you could find the names for me, put me in contact with the family, or anything else that might bring to light this information, it would be sincerely appreciated. Thanks in advance. Jim Warr

Quote from Johnston-Smith: Robert Dinwiddie (b. Dumfries 28 July1811), a first cousin of the above, went to New York in 1835, did well and married Ann Hornsby Menzies. There were 6 children. Details of his career appear in the Biographical Register (No. 1228) of the St Andrews Society, New York. He retired from business in 1883 and devoted himself to his scientific pursuits. A copy of his portrait appears in the History of the New York Academy of Sciences. He died on 12 Jul 1888 and his widow died at Scarborough, New York on 28 January 1903. Marion Dinwiddie in a note dated 20 March 1963 listed descendants of Robert and Ann as a) William Dinwiddie, died circa 80. living at 16 Chrystal St., Stamford, Connecticut. and b) Mrs Frank Budd, 635 Tanglewood, Stamford, Connecticut. Miss Marion is clearly a descendant of Robert and Ann, though the exact relationship is not known. In 1962 she lived at Braeside, Scarborough, New York and had in her possession memorabilia of the Penpont/Woodhead Dinwiddies including a family Bible and a copy of the will of James Dinwiddie (b. 9 Jan. 1754) signed in Dumfries on 6 Jan. 1814. Unquote.

Jim, Thanks your reply. Marion indeed was one of the sisters. Can easily find out the other sister's name but will take a few days as the historical society is not open on a daily basis.  Your information is quite good. Have another tidbit for you that I had almost forgotten about. I have the letter of introduction dated Dumfries 6th of March 1835 for R.D. which reads in part

Aron Baldwin Esq Dear Sir Mr. Robert Dinwiddie the bearer having in contemplation of embarking for New Yorke in quest of more prosperous situation than he now holds. He is a young man of respectable connexions in Dumfries, and his own character stands unexceptionable studious(?) and perservering in his business. He has been four years clerk & teller in the Office of the Commercial Bank. Mr. Goldie the manager regrets much in losing his correct and valuable service as an accountant of confidence(?)....... Your most truly Douglas Cavens(?)

written on one piece of paper folded into wallet size with the address Aaron Baldwin Esq, Boston

I also have a dictionary printed in Northfleet on 27.5.1787 which belonged to the family and an atlas or two but unfortunately no will and no bible. I fear the worst for the aforementioned. One atlas Is Mitchell's printed in 1854 in Philadelphia and the other is the "New General Atlas; containing Distinct Maps of all the Principle States and Kingdoms throughout the World" published by W. Gracie dated 1823 and penned in numerous places the name Miss ??? Menzies, Bridge of Earn Perthshire Scotland as well as numerous other "Menzies" obn. Best rgds Michael

from: James Warr [mailto:[email protected]] Sent: Friday, August 25, 2000 12:58 AM To: [email protected] Subject: Re: robert dinwiddie Michael, How did you happen to obtain this material? Were you aquainted with the family? Are there any living relatives that might still have some of the family records? Yesterday while going through some issues of the Transactions of the Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society, I came across this letter from Robert D., the son of Robert Dinwiddie, who donated his fathers books to the society. It is quite a coincidence that I should run across this at this time. I thought you might be interested, so include it below. Sorry for the poor job my scanner did in copying it. Jim Warr

The Dinwiddie Library. The Secretary read the following letter, received through Mr Robert Stoba, Solicitor, from Mr Robert Dinwiddie, of New York. BRAE SIDE, SCARBOROUGH-ON-HUDSON, New york, lst March, 1890. To Dr EDWARD J. CHINNOCK, Secretary of the Dumfriesshire and Galloway Nataural History and Antiquarian Society, Dumfries, Scotland. Sir, Mr Robert Stoba has kindly consented to hand you with this letter two cases of books as per enclosed list, formerly the property of my late father, Robert Dinwiddie, a native of Dumfries, and, as I believe, a member of your Society. These books were bequeathed in his will to me, but I have concluded to offer them to your Society in the hope that they may prove of value to its members in many ways. I trust that they may prove acceptable to your Society, and find a permanent home among the fellow-townsmen of my father, and I desire that they shall be added to your library of reference, and be known as the " Robert Dinwiddie Library," and held subject to such regulations that, while promoting to the utmost usefulness to all members of your Society, they will still be protected as far as is possible from loss, destruction, or mutilation. In presenting these books to your Society, I do so, believing that such disposition would have been agreeable to my father's wishes could he have been consulted, and I am glad to be the medium of tendering you this donation to your library. I have the honour to be, Yours very truly, Robert Dinwiddie

The Secretary was directed to write thanking the donor for his valuable present.

Mr. James Lennox. FSA (the Librarian) read the following paper entitled "The Dinwiddie Library, and how it came to this Society". The original owner, Mr. Robert Dinwiddie was born in Dumfries, 23d July, 1811 and died at New, York, 12th July, 1888. He was the 3rd son of Mr. William Dinwiddie, hosier. Commencing life in the Dumfries branch of the Commercial Bank of Scotland, he rose to be teller. He emigrated to America in 1835, and joined the house of Brown Brothers, merchants and bankers in New York; shortly afterwards entering the employment of J. Laurie & Co., commission merchants, in which business he succeeded them, being left by them to administer funds for St. Luke's and the Presbyterian Hospital in connection with the St. Andrew's Society of New York. He retired from business in 1883, and then devoted more of his time to scientific pursuits, althongh he had always,been a worker both in archeology and botany. His attainments in these had been recognised, as he was fifteen years a member of the NewYork Academy of Sciences and an active member of the micro- scopical Society up to the day of his death. Some years ago he gifted the whole of his extensive scientific library to the New York Academy of Sciences, and what is now under our own roof has been collected since that date, being more Valuable as they are more recent. He visited this country a few years ago, being here when the Cryptogamic Society were in Dumfries, and during his stay he was admitted a life member of this Society. The history of the New York Academy of Science contains a portrait of him, but no mention appears in the text, as it was with great difficulty that they persuaded him to sit for this plate, but on no account would he allow anything to be said of him. The books consist of 229 bound volumes and 22 unbound. They embrace ;-24 Microscopic,. 5 Medicine, 8 Geology, 24 Natural History, 38 Botany, 13 Natural Philosophy, 4 Meteorology, 6 Travels, 43 Reports of Societies, and 57 Magazines, etc. To go fully into these would make a lengthy paper, as many of these subjects can be sub-divided into very many special studies. Amongst them we have books on fresh water plants, salt water plants, shells and fish, cryptogamic botany and flora, etc. The books are, in the main, English; many of them are elegantly bound in half morocco and half calf, which will add much to their usefulness in handling.

Jim, Thanks again yr email. It's wonderful how things just "appear" such as the two letters which you forwarded to me. It is interesting to have confirmation of the fact that R.D. was indeed a banker as his "letter of introduction" states. Also in the meantime it occurred to me that the name of Menzies in the atlas which I mentioned is that of R.D.'s wife. It is very nice that one can definitely establish who R.D. was as well as his age when he wrote the manuscript. Obviously he was an excellent student already at the age of 15. In my estimation the manuscript clearly reveals that R.D. was to become a scholar no doubt due to his training at Dumfries Academy. As I mentioned in my email of 22.8 I indeed knew the sisters but only as a young boy when I may have shoveled their driveway of snow or another odd job or two. The two sisters were to the best of my knowledge "old maids" but I will double check this fact when I can find someone tending the historical society here. I shall gladly reveal how I became the proud owner off this material at a later time... perhaps during the bicentennial celebration of Dumfries Academy. It is too good a story to miss the look on your and others' faces, so unfortunately you will have to be patient. I am much indebted for the light you have shed on the Dinwiddies. Though I am not much of a history buff it is a thrill to watch pieces of history "falling" into place. best regards, Michael Strauss P.S. Marion sister's name was Florence, their father was Robert, mother Cora Louise ??, Florence b. 5/29/1882 d. 18.8.74 Marion b. ? d. 29.8.74 and their house on Scarborough Rd. (Braeside) was donated to the Scarborough Pres. Church.