Yorkshire Chess History



Major Thomas Minor











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



1865, Rushall, Staffs.




25/05/1923, Ripley, Derbys.




About the Name


“Major” was a forename, not a military rank.


Non-Chess Life


The parents of Major Thomas Miner were Thomas Miner (born 1831, Dawley, Salop.) and Ann Miner (nee Plimmer, 1830/31, Dudley, Worcs.), who were married in 1853, and had at least the following five children, all born at Rushall, Staffordshire:


Miriam Miner

born 1856

Annie Miner

born 1857/58

Alice Jane Miner

born 1858

Letitia Miner

born 1863

Major Thomas Miner

born 1865


The 1871 census found the family of two parents and five children, with one servant, living at 16 Mill Street, Rushall, Staffs.  Father Thomas was described as a victualler and “charter master”.  Miriam was recorded as “Mariann”, the enumerator presumably having misheard or mistranscribed.


The 1881 census found parents and all children but Annie living with no servant at Ryecroft Villa, Rushall.  It appears the victualler’s business may have fell on hard times, as father Thomas was now a coalminer, living up to his surname.  Nevertheless, the children were managing to pursue less laborious callings.  Miriam was a “professor of music”, Alice was a dressmaker, Letitia was a pupil teacher, and Major was a chemist’s apprentice.


In 1885, sister Letitia married an Alfred Watson.  As Letitia Watson she became an executor of Major’s will, made perhaps before he married.


Father, Thomas Miner died in 1886, aged 56.


At some time from 1881 to 1891, Major Thomas Minor set up as a chemist on his own account, and moved to Sheffield.  This move to Sheffield was probably around 1889, as the Sheffield directory for 1889 seemed not to list him, but the 1890 directory listed him as a pharmaceutical chemist at 194 London Road, Sheffield.  He seems then to have soon moved premises to 248 London Road.


The 1891 census found unmarried Major Thomas Miner was a pharmaceutical chemist working on his own account at 248 London Road, Sheffield.  Living with him were his sister Miriam, and a servant.


On 08/08/1894, at St Anne’s, St Anne’s-on-Sea, Lancs., 29-year-old chemist Major Thomas Miner, of St. Mary’s parish, Sheffield, son of Thomas Miner, collier, deceased, married 29-year-old spinster Frances Emmeline Hanson, St. Anne's-on-Sea, daughter of Benjamin Hanson, manufacturer, deceased.  The bride had been born in 1865, at Huddersfield.  The couple went on to have at least the following four children, all born in Sheffield:


Emmeline Miriam Miner

born 1897

Thomas Eric Miner

born 1898

Alan Gerard Miner

born 1902

Benjamin Ronald Miner

born 1904


The 1901 census found Major and Frances, children Emmeline and Thomas, a chemist’s apprentice, and two servants, living at 248 London Road, Sheffield.  Major was a pharmaceutical chemist, an employer, plying his business from home, i.e. he lived over/behind the shop.


The 1911 census saw little change, except that Frances was absent, and Major’s niece, Ethel Miriam Watson (his sister Letitia’s daughter), was living with him at the time.  The census return showed there had been so far only the above four children.  A chemist’s assistant also lived there, at 248 London Road, as a boarder.


In 1914, Major Thomas Minor was listed as living at Townhead, Thurlstone, near Holmfirth, according to the poll book.  Nevertheless, White’s 1915 directory listed Major Thomas Minor, M.P.S., chemist, still at 248 London Road, so the significance of the Holmfirth reference is unclear.


Directories continued to list our man at 248 London Road up to 1921, but the 1922 directory listed one Leslie Piper, M.P.S. pharmacist, at that address, so our man had perhaps sold up and perhaps retired.


In time, Major seems to have ended up living at Ryecroft, Ripley, Derbyshire, which is apparently where he died.




Major Thomas Miner died, aged 58, on 25/05/1923, at Ripley.




Evidence of him playing in the Sheffield league is not to hand.  His most memorable game for him was perhaps that against Lasker in the latter’s 1908 simultaneous display in Sheffield.





Copyright © 2014 Stephen John Mann

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

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