Where was James Mason born?

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Mick Norris
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Re: Where was James Mason born?

Post by Mick Norris » Mon Feb 08, 2021 2:57 pm

Christopher Kreuzer wrote:
Mon Feb 08, 2021 7:12 am
Thanks, Paul. That is a fascinating article. Wonder if any research has since been done into any records that survive of immigrants into New Orleans at the time?

The article is very well-written, but I can't resist quoting an example of a very long sentence (which happily relates to my question above):
With a new name, ostensibly adopted by his father to avoid prevalent anti-Irish prejudice, and possibly a change in religious persuasion, as we know he did not die in that in which he was baptised, probably adopted as a means of mere survival and for the purpose of acquiring assisted passage from Ireland to the promised land of America, the evidence suggests that they travelled via the cotton trade routes between Lancashire and the Confederate States arriving in ante bellum New Orleans in early 1861, not one of the traditional eastern seaboard entry points used by the mass of the famine-fleeing Irish at the time.
If you assume they left on a ship from Liverpool, then passenger lists would be another source possibly (depending on how accurate a date you can get)
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John Saunders
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Re: Where was James Mason born?

Post by John Saunders » Mon Feb 08, 2021 3:08 pm

Gerard Killoran wrote:
Mon Feb 08, 2021 2:56 pm

My subscription to the BNA has lapsed but there is an article about James Mason in the chess column of the Cheltenham Examiner, Wednesday 25 January 1905 (page 6). Much earlier than the Birmingham Weekly Mercury article.
1905-01-25-Cheltenham-Examiner---James-Mason.jpg
1905-01-25-Cheltenham-Examiner---James-Mason.jpg (84.91 KiB) Viewed 611 times
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Tim Harding
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Re: Where was James Mason born?

Post by Tim Harding » Mon Feb 08, 2021 3:10 pm

John McKenna wrote:
Mon Feb 08, 2021 2:38 pm
...
1888 Mason sojourned in Dublin -

“CHESS CELEBRITY IN DUBLIN Mr James Mason, the chess-player, is in Dublin and can be seen daily in play in the newly opened Chess Divan and Café of Mr J. Morphy at No. 79 Grafton Street. In addition to simultaneous games and general play, Mr Mason has undertaken a match of 'the first five games up' with a Dublin amateur …. Mr Mason is an Irishman, having been born in Kilkenny..."
[Irish Times, 23 vii 1888]

https://irishchesshistory.files.wordpre ... h-1888.pdf

How appropriate that the match was played at the premises of Mr. J. Morphy.
...
However, perhaps when all is said and done, what does it matter if the "Masonic secret" remains undisclosed. The man himself seems to have preferred that might remain the case.
I tend to agree with the last comment.

John Morphy, proprietor of the chess Divan in Grafton Street, which Mason helped to promote at its opening, was originally John Murphy.
His draw with Steinitz in an 1881 simul is Game 500 (page 277) of my book Steinitz in London.
There I say:
Clearly Morphy was a surname of such special chess significance that John Murphy decided to adopt it.
I found the game in the St. Patrick's Chess Club Pamphlet (in Cleveland Public Library).

In later years Murphy/Morphy seems to have had financial problems and I think he sometimes also used the surname Moriarty, but I'm not sure so I didn't put that in the book.
Eventually he fled to New York, probably to escape his creditors, and was for a time a prominent member of the Brooklyn Chess Club. Some of his games there (including a win against Showalter) can be found in the archive of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

I shall shortly post separately the text of the Cheltenham Examiner article that Gerard has requested.
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Re: Where was James Mason born?

Post by Tim Harding » Mon Feb 08, 2021 3:18 pm

EDIT: I said I was going to post the text from the Cheltenham Examiner article that Gerard requested but I see John Saunders has done it first.

I don't know who S.J. S. was but the column's editor was W. S. Branch, who was not always reliable.
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John Saunders
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Re: Where was James Mason born?

Post by John Saunders » Mon Feb 08, 2021 3:36 pm

Here's a newspaper cutting from the Belfast News-Letter of 8 June 1905...
1905-06-08-BelfastNews-Letter---James-Mason.jpg
1905-06-08-BelfastNews-Letter---James-Mason.jpg (113.37 KiB) Viewed 598 times
... I'm not sure this adds much to what Winter quoted from the Buckley article but might be of some interest.
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Re: Where was James Mason born?

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Mon Feb 08, 2021 3:39 pm

I see I was too late so I'll delete this...

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Re: Where was James Mason born?

Post by Kevin Thurlow » Mon Feb 08, 2021 3:47 pm

I note though that above the bit on Mason, the Cheltenham paper reports a match between Cheltenham and Bath, where the home side's Board 4 was Col E Law, what a pity he wasn't Col E S Law, but I suppose his parents weren't to know what career he would pursue.

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Re: Where was James Mason born?

Post by John McKenna » Mon Feb 08, 2021 5:49 pm

Tim Harding wrote:
Mon Feb 08, 2021 3:10 pm
John McKenna wrote:
Mon Feb 08, 2021 2:38 pm
...
1888 Mason sojourned in Dublin -

“CHESS CELEBRITY IN DUBLIN Mr James Mason, the chess-player, is in Dublin and can be seen daily in play in the newly opened Chess Divan and Café of Mr J. Morphy at No. 79 Grafton Street. In addition to simultaneous games and general play, Mr Mason has undertaken a match of 'the first five games up' with a Dublin amateur …. Mr Mason is an Irishman, having been born in Kilkenny..."
[Irish Times, 23 vii 1888]

https://irishchesshistory.files.wordpre ... h-1888.pdf

How appropriate that the match was played at the premises of Mr. J. Morphy.
...
However, perhaps when all is said and done, what does it matter if the "Masonic secret" remains undisclosed. The man himself seems to have preferred that might remain the case.
I tend to agree with the last comment.

John Morphy, proprietor of the chess Divan in Grafton Street, which Mason helped to promote at its opening, was originally John Murphy.
His draw with Steinitz in an 1881 simul is Game 500 (page 277) of my book Steinitz in London.
There I say:
Clearly Morphy was a surname of such special chess significance that John Murphy decided to adopt it.
I found the game in the St. Patrick's Chess Club Pamphlet (in Cleveland Public Library).

In later years Murphy/Morphy seems to have had financial problems and I think he sometimes also used the surname Moriarty, but I'm not sure so I didn't put that in the book.
Eventually he fled to New York, probably to escape his creditors...
John Murphy/Morphy was not the only one peripherally involved in this story to be hounded by creditors -
Frederick Milnes Edge, late of No. 49, Hanover-street, South Belgravia, in the county of Middlesex, Author, and now a Prisoner for Debt in the Debtors’ Prison for London and Middlesex, having been adjudged bankrupt by a Registrar of the Court of Bankruptcy, in London, attending at the Prison aforesaid, on 18 August, 1865, and the adjudication being directed to be prosecuted at the Court of Bankruptcy in London, is hereby required to surrender himself to William Hazlitt, Esq., a Registrar of the said Court, at the first meeting of creditors to be held before the said Registrar, on the 15th day of September next, at eleven o’clock in the forenoon precisely, at the said Court. Mr George John Graham, of No. 25, Coleman-street, London, is the Official Assignee.’
Source: London Gazette, 29 August 1865, page 25...
https://www.chesshistory.com/winter/extra/edge.html

But that's another story. (Like that of "a match between Cheltenham and Bath, where the home side's Board 4 was Col E Law...")
Last edited by John McKenna on Tue Feb 09, 2021 2:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Gerard Killoran
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Re: Where was James Mason born?

Post by Gerard Killoran » Mon Feb 08, 2021 7:23 pm

Tim Harding wrote:
Mon Feb 08, 2021 3:18 pm
EDIT: I said I was going to post the text from the Cheltenham Examiner article that Gerard requested but I see John Saunders has done it first.

I don't know who S.J. S. was but the column's editor was W. S. Branch, who was not always reliable.
The only 'S. J. S.' I can find who might fit the bill is Samuel John Stevens of the City of London Club, who like James Mason, lived in Hackney.


https://www.chesshistory.com/winter/winter123.html (see 8865. S.J. Stevens)

and

https://www.chesshistory.com/winter/winter122.html (see 8863. The Stevens principle)

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Re: Where was James Mason born?

Post by Tim Harding » Mon Feb 08, 2021 10:03 pm

That's a very plausible suggestion, thank you.
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Gerard Killoran
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Re: Where was James Mason born?

Post by Gerard Killoran » Tue Feb 09, 2021 5:34 pm

James Mason's book 'Social Chess', in addition to games played by established masters, contains three games won by R. J. Buckley and two by S. J. Stevens. This seems to be an acknowledgement of their friendship.

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Re: Where was James Mason born?

Post by Gerard Killoran » Fri Mar 05, 2021 3:51 pm

James Mason in his own words from the London Middlesex Gazette, August 19, 1893.

London Middlesex Gazette - August 19, 1893 Page 2.png
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Re: Where was James Mason born?

Post by JustinHorton » Fri Mar 05, 2021 4:16 pm

If you wish to become a strong player all you have to do is wait until my book is published and then by its help you can hardly fail to become such
Fantastic! Do we know if anybody followed his advice successfully?
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"Yes, but I prefer a game with a better chance of cheating."

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Re: Where was James Mason born?

Post by NickFaulks » Fri Mar 05, 2021 4:21 pm

JustinHorton wrote:
Fri Mar 05, 2021 4:16 pm
Fantastic! Do we know if anybody followed his advice successfully?
It may not be too late. How can I get hold of a copy?
If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.

John Townsend
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Re: Where was James Mason born?

Post by John Townsend » Sat Mar 13, 2021 11:48 am

Could anyone point me to a specimen of James Mason's signature, please. I'd like to compare it with the signature on another document.

Thanks and regards,

John

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