Yorkshire Chess History



Thomas Staniforth Latham











Made in Yorkshire



Sheffield Sub-Site



1840/41, Sheffield



28/12/1880, New York



In the 1860 there was a Sheffield chess-player called T Latham.  This T Latham seems to disappear from the Sheffield chess scene after 1867, and subsequent English census records seem to offer no evidence of his existence thereafter, so it seem likely that he was Thomas Staniforth Latham who was son of the cutlery manufacturer George Latham, and emigrated to the United States in 1870.


Private Life and Business


Thomas Staniforth Latham was born in 1840, about October.  His parents were banker’s clerk George Latham (born 1805/06, in Sheffield) and Emma Latham (born 1815/16, in Sheffield).  In 1841 these three lived at Gell Street, Sheffield.  There was an older son, John H Latham, who was presumably away at school at the time.


By 1851, George Latham had become a cutlery and spring-knife manufacturer.  George’s father had presumably died in the previous ten years, as George’s blind mother, 88-year-old, Bramley-born Sarah Latham was living with George and Emma at 35 Gell Street, along with four Sheffield-born children:

John H Latham                      born 1829/30

Thomas Staniforth Latham  born 1840/41

Sarah Latham                        born 1844/45

George Edward Latham       born 1849/50

They also had a live-in servant.  John was a cutlery and spring-knife manufacturer, presumably working in his father’s business.  Thomas and Sarah were scholars.


By 1861, the family had moved to 190 West Street.  John had moved out.  20-year-old Thomas was now a cutlery manufacturer, presumably working for his father, and George was now a scholar.  On the distaff side, mother Emma had become a dealer in fancy goods, while Sarah was an assistant in a fancy goods shop, presumably her mother’s.


In 1870, 29-year-old Thomas emigrated to the United States.  He left Liverpool on a ship called “Java”.  He was in the cabins rather than steerage.  The ship called at Queenstown in Ireland, then crossed the Atlantic, arriving in the US on 12th March 1870.  He was described in the travel documentation as a merchant, so perhaps the object of moving to the US was to import cutlery etc from Sheffield.


Be that as it may, Thomas settled in the States and in 1875, in Manhattan, “Thomas S. Latham” married a lady whose full name seems to have been Mary Courtney Mitchel Borell.




He died only a couple of months or so after his 40th birthday, on 28th December 1880, at which time he was resident at 58 & 60 Reade Street, New York, and was described as a merchant.  Probate was granted on 1st February 1882 to his younger brother, George Edward Latham of 11 Howard Street, Sheffield, who was the “lawful attorney” of Mary Courtney Mitchel Latham, widow, then residing in New York.




“T Latham” was a member of Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club from 1861 to 1867, playing for them in the 1865 match versus Huddersfield..  He attended the West Yorkshire Chess Association meetings of 1863 (at Sheffield), 1864 (at Huddersfield) and 1867 (at Wakefield).





Copyright © 2012 Stephen John Mann

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

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