>Capt McKinrie, Dunvegan

Letters from the Past
“Cargoes Liverpool to Dunvegan, Isle of Skye, 1841.”


Eunice Shanahan


Entire dated 19th January 1841 on light cream paper with no watermark,from McLeod and Co. Liverpool to Captn McKinrie Dunvegan Isle of Skye N.B.

The postal markings are a circular date stamp of Liverpool JA 19 1841, with an illegible code at the bottom, possibly an M?, and then a receiving mark circular date stamp with code at the left of the day Jan Z 21 1841. Both of these were poorly applied in red ink, across the sealing fold. The letter has been written with quite a flourish, obviously written with a quill pen.

Liverpool 19th January 1841

Captn H. McKinrie

Dear Sir,

Since you left here, there has been no opportunity for Dunvegan till yesterday when we shipped on board the schooner Western Isles Captn McDon One barrel, one half Barrel and a Band Boy, addressed to Mrs McKinrie Dunvegan for which we got a receipt, which we enclosed to Mrs McKinrie this day.

Cannon Millar & Co, Esqrs have not agreed to pay your order, they will settle with us for about £12. However when they do pay we will write you more particularly.

Have you succeeded in recruiting for Cape Briton and what are you doing.
Write us soon. The William Hinch has discharged in Dublin. Captn Skinner has discharged there also
We are Dear Sir
your m. Obdt servt
R McLeod & Co

Notes: This is the kind of letter that underpins my interest in old correspondence. Although this is only a commercial letter, it still has the personal details that add the spice. It raised a lot of questions to which I could find no answer. It was written more than 175 years ago, and life has changed so much, yet cargoes and freight still have to be transported and distributed, and the letters replaced with phone calls and texts and e-mails. It has changed forever, yet with all the information available on the internet these days, I could find no information about Captn McKinrie at Dunvegan Isle of Skye. Nor for the vessels mentioned, the William Hinch or Cape Briton.

Although there was a record of R McLeod & Co shippers in Liverpool 1841, there was nothing about Cannon Millar & Co mentioned in the letter.

I found the mention of a Band Boy a complete mystery, as it sounds like a measurement, but unless it is some esoteric term for shipping wine, (because of the reference to the barrel and half barrel), I have no idea what it could be, and would be really pleased if anyone who reads this knows the answer and would let me know.

Dunvegan This map shows that Dunvegan is a short distance from the port on Loch Dunvegan, in the north of Skye, so I wondered if this was the port for cargoes from Liverpool to Skye, or only for this particular shipment?

One of the reasons I find this hobby so fascinating is that whatever paths I follow in researching the letters, there always seems to be a side alley that leads to more questions than I anticipated.

Sources Great Britain Post Roads, Post Towns and Postal Rates 1635-1839 Alan W. Robertson and websites as mentioned.

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