Yorkshire Chess History
Joseph Gilbert Parker, George Parker and Elliott Parker
Identity of the Chess-Players
“Parker” of Sheffield, with no initials given, attended the second meeting of the original Yorkshire Chess Association along with “Linley”. Later, in 1847, “J. G. Parker” of Sheffield is recorded as attending the annual meeting along with “Arthur Linley”. It seems reasonable to assume that the Parker and Linley of 1847 were the Parker and Linley of 1841. Thus the Sheffield “Parker” of 1841 would appear to be J. G. Parker, who could only be Joseph Gilbert Parker.
Elliott Parker crops up as a member of the Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club, and Joseph Gilbert Parker’s brother and business partner is the only person of that name in Sheffield at the time in question.
“G. Parker” similarly crops up as a member of the Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club, and is most likely to be George Parker, brother of Joseph and Elliott, though at least on other “G. Parker” presents himself for consideration as being the chess-player.
The parents of Joseph Gilbert Parker were William Parker and Catherine Parker, who had at least the following seven children, presumably all in Sheffield:
It would appear there was also a brother called William, perhaps the eldest child, whose was in time executor of Joseph’s estate after death.
Joseph Gilbert Parker was born in Sheffield on 19/09/1819, and baptised on 02/01/1820 at the Independent Nether Chapel on Norfolk Street, Sheffield. The Nether Chapel’s baptism register gives the date of birth.
Baines’s History, Directory & Gazetteer of Yorkshire, 1822, listed, in Sheffield, William Parker, merchant, three times: at 80 South Street, 20 South Street, and 2 Surrey Street. These were presumably three different people.
White’s History & Directory of Sheffield, Rotherham &c, 1833, listed, in Sheffield, William Parker, gentleman, Nelson Place, Glossop Road; William Parker, American merchant, South Street, with home at Convent Walk; and William Parker, anvil manufacturer, Vulcan Works, South Street, and spade, shovel and chain manufacturer, Attercliffe. The American merchant looks like our man’s father, for reasons which will become apparent. Thus at this stage our man’s family was probably living at Convent Walk. The third William might have been an older brother of Joseph.
It seems that by 1841, father William had died, as the 1841 census listed only Catherine and the above seven children living at Broomhall Place, Sheffield. This was presumably no. 6 Broomhall Place. Catharine was described as “independent”, while Joseph was described as a merchant.
It appears that following their father’s death, the eldest (?) two sons went into partnership running the American merchants’ business as “William and J. G. Parker”, at New York in the US and Sheffield in the UK. This “copartnership” between William Parker and Joseph Gilbert Parker, was reported in the London Gazette as being dissolved by mutual consent as from 19/02/1848. Brother Elliott seems to have effectively taken William’s place.
White’s General Directory of Sheffield, 1849, listed Joseph Gilbert Parker, merchant, partner Parker Bros., with his home at 6 Broomhall Place, Sheffield. Elliott Parker was listed as another partner in Parker Bros., with his house in New York. Parker Bros. was listed as American merchants, at 37 Eyre Street, Sheffield. This all suggests the above-mentioned William Parker, American merchant, was the brothers’ father.
The 1851 census found hardware merchant Joseph Gilbert Parker living with his sister Ellen, a “proprietor of houses”, with one servant, at 6 Broomhall Place, Sheffield.
White’s Gazetteer & General Directory of Sheffield, 1852, listed Joseph Gilbert Parker, merchant, partner Parker Bros., with his home at 6 Broomhall Place, Sheffield, in partnership still with Elliott who had his home in New York. The firm of Parker Bros., now at 76 Eyre Street, was now described as American merchants and cutlery manufacturers.
The London Gazette reported that the partnership between Joseph and Elliott, under the name Parker Bros., was dissolved by mutual consent as from 01/09/1852. Joseph continued the business on his own.
After his death Joseph was described as a widower. His marriage may have been the marriage of Joseph Gilbert Parker which was registered in the third quarter of 1853, at Bangor, in Wales, in which case his bride would seem to have been Mary Turnor [sic] or Mary Williams.
The firm of Parker Bros. seems to have been dissolved, as White’s General Directory of Sheffield, Rotherham &c, 1856, listed Joseph Gilbert Parker, merchant, with his home now at 27 Broomhall Place, Sheffield, but there was no mention of Parker Bros or of Elliott Parker.
At some stage Joseph Gilbert Parker moved to the London area. This appears to have been at some stage from 1856 to 1862, as White’s Directory & Topography of Sheffield, 1862, seems not to list Joseph anywhere. The Misses E. H. & M. Ellison now occupied 27 Broomhall Place.
Our man seems elusive in the 1861 and 1871 censuses, but was presumably in the London area.
The death of Joseph Gilbert Parker, supposedly at age 58, though 59 would seem correct, in the second quarter of 1879, at Kensington, London.
The Argus (Melbourne) of 19/06/1879, reported the death:
Probate records confirm this was our man, reporting that Joseph Gilbert Parker, formerly of Sheffield, but late of Denbigh Terrace, Notting Hill, gentleman, a widower, had died on 16/04/1879, at 3 Denbigh Terrace. Administration of his estate was granted to William Parker, of 13 New Porter Street, Sheffield, “the Brother and one of the Next of Kin.”
“Parker” of Sheffield, who it seems reasonable to assume was Joseph Gilbert Parker, as argued above, attended the second meeting of the original Yorkshire Chess Association, in 1841, but this could have been Elliott Parker, or “G. Parker”, both sometime members of Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club.
“J. G. Parker” attended the Yorkshire Chess Association meeting of 1847.
Joseph may have attended other meetings without catching the reporters’ notice, and is likely to have been a member of the Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club like his brothers.
Joseph’s brother, Elliott Parker, was a member of Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club at least in 1848 (earlier records not available) and 1853.
“G. Parker”, whose name would have been given more fully had he not been Joseph’s brother George, was a member of Sheffield Athenaeum Chess Club at least in 1850 and 1852.
Copyright © 2013 Stephen John Mann
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