Yorkshire Chess History



Amos Burn











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



31/12/1848, Hull



25/11/1925, Hammersmith, London



(excised from the Vienna 1898 group photo)


Non-Chess Life


Amos Burn was born on 31/12/1848, in Hull.  The birth was registered at Sculcoates, Hull, in the first quarter of 1849.  His parents were Amos Burn, senior, a timber broker born in Hull in 1810/11, and Mary Burn, née Webster, who was born in Hull in 1812/13.  This couple had at least the following six children, all born in Hull:


Richard Burn

born 1835/36

Mary Burn, junior

born 1837/38

Maria Burn

born 1841/42

William Woodhouse Burn

born 1843/44

Amos Burn, junior

born December 1848

Ann Burn

born 1853/54


The 1851 census found the parents and first five of the above children living at 22 Caroline Place, West Sculcoates, Hull, with John Gray Keal, the 16-year-old nephew of Amos Burn senior, and a servant.  Amos senior was a timber broker, Richard was a ship broker’s apprentice, Mary, Maria and William were scholars, and John Gray Keal was a shipping agent.  Amos junior was only 2 years old at this stage.


The 1861 census found the family at a new address, 80 Wright Street, West Sculcoates, Hull, less than half a mile from the previous one.  Mary wasn’t listed so had possibly married.  John Gray Keal had moved on, but there was a boarder as well as a servant.  Amos senior was still a timber broker, Richard was now a general merchant, William was a timber merchant’s clerk, and Amos junior and Ann were scholars.


Around 1869, William Woodhouse Burn married Alice (born 1845/46, Hull), and at some stage from 1861 to 1871 moved to Liverpool.  Brother Amos also moved to Liverpool.  Which brother moved first is unclear.  The Oxford Companion to Chess says Amos Burn went to London at age 21.  This presumably is a mistake, meaning Liverpool.  Amos appears on the Liverpool Chess Club scene as early as 1868.


The 1871 census found William and wife Alice living at 55 Lloyde Street, Everton, Liverpool.  With them lived their son Henry l. Burn and William’s younger brother Amos junior, who was now 22 years old.  William was a clerk to a corn merchant.  Apparent ditto marks seem to imply Amos junior was also clerk to a corn merchant, otherwise he had no stated occupation.


The marriage of Amos Burn, junior, to Martha Ann Jaeger (born 1848/49, Liverpool) was registered in the fourth quarter of 1879 at Birkenhead.  The couple had at least the following two children, both born in Birkenhead:


Elsie M. Burn

born 1880/81

Hilda M. Burn

born 1881/82


Amos Burn (junior) and his wife seem elusive in the 1881 census.


The American Chess Magazine, Vol. II. No. 2, August 1889, page 55, said of Amos Burn that after the New York chess tournament of 1889 he had lived in the United States for several years, making Chicago his home.  He may, of course, have maintained some kind of home on both sides of the pond, as he was nevertheless listed in the 1891 England census.


The 1891 census found Amos and wife Martha living at Claremont, Ingestre Road, Oxton, Birkenhead, Cheshire, with children Elsie, Hilda and two servants.  Amos was a sugar merchant.


He apparently made business trips to America from time to time.  One such trip may be referred to in a record of a 45-year-old Amos Burn arriving in New York from Liverpool aboard the Winsconsin on 25/01/1892.  Amos Burn the chess-player would be 43 years old, so this may have been another Amos Burn; there were others.


Kelly's Directory of Liverpool &c, 1894, didn’t list the Burns at Ingestre Road.   It may be that Amos was living in the United States.


It rather looks as though Amos Burn’s wife Martha died at some time from 1891 to 1901.


Kelly's Directory of Liverpool &c, 1894, listed William W. Burn as a ship and insurance broker at 35 South John Street, Liverpool, with his home at 17 Alexandra Drive, Liverpool, but it didn’t seem to list Amos Burn, perhaps because he’d retired and was living in lodgings, or was in the United States.


Gore's Directory of Liverpool & Birkenhead, 1900, didn’t mention Amos, though it listed his (future) landlord, Charles W. Greenham of 11 Sugnall Street, Liverpool.


The 1901 census found 52-year-old Amos Burn occupying two rooms as a boarder at the household of Charles W. Greenham and family, at 11 Sugnall Street in the Mount pleasant area of Liverpool.  Amos was described as a retired sugar merchant.


The 1911 census found Amos still boarding at the Greenham household in Sugnall Street, described now as a gentleman.


The Post Office London directory of 1915 listed a Mrs. Black at 19 Luxemburg Gardens, rather implying Amos burn had yet to move there.


At some time from 1911 to 1925 Amos Burn seems to have moved from Liverpool to London, more specifically 19 Luxemburg Gardens, Hammersmith.




Probate records tell us Amos Burn of 19 Luxemburg Gardens, Hammersmith, Middlesex, died on 25/11/1925.  Administration of his will was granted to Elsie Burn, spinster.  He left effects of £2,408 1s. 11d.




There seems no evidence of public chess activity while he lived in his native Hull, though he may well have been a member of one or other chess club in Hull.  It is therefore as a Liverpool player that he is best known, though he appeared in City of London Chess Club events, possibly when he was on business trips to London.


Besides Liverpool Chess Club internal competitions and inter-club matches, he also represented Lancashire and occasionally Cheshire in county matches.


He participated in at least six Counties Chess Association meetings, at least four British Chess Association meetings, and at least four Craigside tournaments.


He played in the Hastings tournament of 1895.


He played in at least four Anglo-American Cable Matches.


Further afield he played in at least three Irish chess events.


His most-distant international event was in New York in 1889.


Continental tournaments he played in included:


























Saint Petersburg




San Sebastian





Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann

Census information is copyright of The National Archive, see UK Census Information

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