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Arthur Johnston
Number of games in database: 18
Years covered: 1871 to 1894
Overall record: +2 -15 =1 (13.9%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

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C44 King's Pawn Game (2 games)
C77 Ruy Lopez (2 games)
C01 French, Exchange (2 games)
A20 English (2 games)

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(born 1841, died Nov-20-1919, 78 years old) United Kingdom (federation/nationality United States of America)

[what is this?]

Arthur Johnston (aka Arthur Johnson), born Aug 1841, London, England; died 20 Nov 1919 Jacksonville, Florida.(1)(2)

Johnston immigrated to the United States in 1861 and shortly thereafter fought in the American Civil War as a member of Company A, Illinois 4th Cavalry.(2)(3)

After the war, he became court reporter for the federal court at Cincinnati. In 1865 he was secretary of the Cincinnati Chess Club. In 1871 he was a participant in the 2nd American Chess Congress (1871) and in the first Ohio State Championship held February 1872.(2)(4)

In July, 1872, he married Maria Christiana Doyle, and by 1874 had moved to Santa Ana, California, where he engaged in farming for a time and raised orchids commercially. After Orange county was organized he returned to being a court reporter and public stenographer. He wrote two or three books on the relations of Great Britain and the United States, copies of which are at the Santa Ana library.(2)(5)(6)

In 1894 he competed in the Southern California Correspondence Chess Tournament taking second prize at the conclusion of that event in May 1895.(7)

After the death of his wife in 1911, he began to travel. He left Santa Ana around 1916, taking a pleasure trip to Canada and visiting Cincinnati for a time. He spent his remaining years wintering at Jacksonville, Florida, and summering at Asheville, North Carolina.(2)

Arthur Johnston died of cancer at a hotel in Jacksonville. His body was returned to Santa Ana where he was interred next to his wife.(2)(8)

(1) 1900 Census.
(2) Santa Ana Daily Register, 1919.11.21, p2
(3) Find A Grave website,
(4) Cincinnati Daily Commercial, 1865.09.07, p2
(5) Cincinnati Daily Commercial, 1872.08.21, p5
(6) 1880 Census.
(7) San Francisco Chronicle, 1895.05.18, p10
(8) Santa Ana Daily Register, 1919.10.20, Section Two, p9

Last updated: 2020-06-10 16:30:58

 page 1 of 1; 18 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Mackenzie vs A Johnston 1-02318712nd American Chess Congress, ClevelandC27 Vienna Game
2. A Johnston vs M Judd  ½-½3918712nd American Chess Congress, ClevelandA20 English
3. M Judd vs A Johnston 1-07418712nd American Chess Congress, ClevelandC78 Ruy Lopez
4. A Johnston vs F H Elder  0-15518712nd American Chess Congress, ClevelandC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
5. A Johnston vs M Judd  0-12418712nd American Chess Congress, ClevelandB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
6. P Ware vs A Johnston  1-05218712nd American Chess Congress, ClevelandA80 Dutch
7. H D Smith vs A Johnston  1-02418712nd American Chess Congress, ClevelandC66 Ruy Lopez
8. H Hosmer vs A Johnston 1-02018712nd American Chess Congress, ClevelandC01 French, Exchange
9. F H Elder vs A Johnston  1-03018712nd American Chess Congress, ClevelandC77 Ruy Lopez
10. A Johnston vs P Ware 0-12118712nd American Chess Congress, ClevelandC41 Philidor Defense
11. A Johnston vs H D Smith  0-13518712nd American Chess Congress, ClevelandC44 King's Pawn Game
12. A Johnston vs H Hosmer 0-12818712nd American Chess Congress, ClevelandC44 King's Pawn Game
13. A Johnston vs Mackenzie 0-13118712nd American Chess Congress, ClevelandA10 English
14. M Judd vs A Johnston  1-0631872Ohio State ChampionshipC01 French, Exchange
15. A Johnston vs M Judd  0-1411872Ohio State ChampionshipA20 English
16. Henry Porter Belknap vs A Johnston  0-1461872Ohio State ChampionshipC77 Ruy Lopez
17. L Meredith vs A Johnston  0-1391872Ohio State ChampionshipA84 Dutch
18. A Johnston vs C Pierce  0-1171894Offhand GameC25 Vienna
 page 1 of 1; 18 games  PGN Download 
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Johnston wins | Johnston loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: I think you got hung up on Esq. and it having something to do with the wealthy or owning land (which would have been true in Victorian England). In the U.S. that honorific had far less importance. You can search the Cincinnati newspapers from 1870-1875 for "Esq." and see that it was appended to the names of people from all walks or life and not just wealthy landed gentry.
Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: I believe that completes my survey of the material cited by Joost and I have found ZERO occurrences of his name ever being given as "A. P. Johnston" or "A. P. Johnson".

Perhaps Joost picked it up from an uncited source?

So the facts we have are:

For 1871, the Cleveland newspapers give "Johnson" exclusively, but the <Book of the Second American Chess Congress> gives "Johnston".

For 1872, the Cincinnati press favors "Johnston" over "Johnson".

His first initial(s) are almost always just "A." with one occurrence of "W. A.".

His chess career appears to have lasted only three months, Dec 1871-Feb 1872.

...and that's basically all we really have.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: I found a name now while looking for "Chess Club".

1860: Cincinnati Chess Club. - A regular meeting of the Chess Club was held at their rooms on Saturday evening, when the following officers were elected: President, S. C. Newton; Vice-President, R. H. McKenzie; Recording Secretary, Daniel Hough; corresponding Secretary, T. French; Treasurer, J. Eggers. (Cincinnati Commercial Tribune, 27 Feb 1860)

1865: The members of the Cincinnati Chess club will meet at Room No. 4, College Buildings, at 7 1/2 o'clock tonight to elect permanent officers, select a club room, and transect other important business. Cincinnati Commercial Tribune, 6 Sep 1865)

1865: The Cincinnati Chess Club met last night, and elected the following officers for the ensuing year: President, John Eggers; Vice-President, L. Phil. Meredith; Treasurer, Theo. Heaton; Secretary, <Arthur Johnston>; also, an executive committee of five. (Cincinnati Commercial Tribune ("Cincinnati Daily Commercial" in the scan), 7 September 1865, p. 2)

1867: The Cincinnati Chess Club has been reorganized, and meets in the room of the Horticultural society, on Fourth Street, between Vine and Walnut. (Cincinnati Daily Gazette, 9 Sep 1867)

1868: We are to have a chess club in this city. The organization is to be completed the coming week. (Cincinnati Daily Gazette, 28 Dec 1868)

1869: The Cincinnati Chess Club is to go into operation again this winter. (Cincinnati Daily Gazette, 21 Oct 1869)

Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: Arthur Johnston. Awesome find.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: We were both wrong :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: True, but at least you found a name. That's the important thing. Theories are great, facts are better. ;-)
Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: I found another instance:

<In pursuance to a call in the papers, a meeting of those in favor of organizing a chess club was held, last night, in the Law School, at which the following gentlemen were requested to act as a committee to obtain subscriptions: Dr. W. Sherwood, Phineas Moses, Thomas Heaton, Arthur Johnston and W. B. Nichols.>
Cincinnati Enquirer, 1865.08.24, p2
Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: And perhaps the reason he stopped playing in 1872...

JOHNSTON-DOYLE-On Wednesday, July 31, at Christ Church, Glendale, by the Rev. Charles Young, Mr. Arthur Johnston to Mrs. Maria Christiana Doyle, both of Cincinnati.>

Cincinnati Commercial, 1872.08.21, p5
Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: <DIED
JOHNSTON-At her home in Santa Ana, California, Thursday, January 12, 1911, Mrs. Maria Christiana Johnston, aged 64 years.
-Funeral Saturday, Jan. 14, 1911, at 2 p.m., from the Episcopal church. Deceased was the wife of Arthur Johnston. For thirty-seven years she and Mr. Johnston have been residents of Santa Ana. [...]>

Santa Ana Register, 1911.01.12, p5

Justice Cox has received a letter stating that Arthur Johnston, a pioneer here is ill at the home of his niece, Mrs. Fred Wiethorn, 3136 Durrell avenue, Cincinnati, O. He has had bronchial pneumonia.>

Santa Ana Register, 1916.01.15, p5
Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: And it looks like Arthur continued to play chess!

<The Southern California chess correspondence tourney was completed a few days ago. C. F. Pierce of Los Angeles secured the first prize, Arthur Johnston of Santa Ana second, and C. W. Waterman of Los Angeles third.>
San Francisco Chronicle, 1895.05.18, p10

I think you've definitely nailed it <Tab>!
Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: 1910 Census, Santa Ana, Ward 1 gives:

Name: Arthur Jonston
Age in 1910: 68
Birth year: 1842
Birthplace: England
Immigration year: 1861
Spouse: Mariah C. Jonston
Occupation: Stenographer

Thanks for finding that name <Tab>; now I can sleep tonight!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: Hehe. I can't immediately find him in 1870 census. In 1880 he's already in Santa Ana, "Orchardist", no children. "England" may be Ireland, perhaps.

Jun-10-20  wharfrat: <Tabanus and jnpope> I’ve been following this exchange the last couple days. My wife has a lot of family living in Cincinnati and I’ve been there many times, which piqued my interest. Don’t know if this is the same man, but the Hamilton County, Ohio Probate Court website shows that an Arthur Johnston died on December 26, 1919. You both have access to sources that I do not, but this might help you find an obituary (albeit for perhaps an Arthur Johnston that didn’t play chess).
Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: 1900 Census:

Name: Arthur Johnston
Age: 58
Birth Date: Aug 1841
Birthplace: England
Home in 1900: Santa Ana, California
Spouse's Name: Maria C Johnston
Marriage Year: 1872
Father's Birthplace: England
Mother's Birthplace: England
Occupation: Stenographer

Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: <wharfrat>: Thanks. <Tab>'s link to Find-a-grave shows a Santa Ana Cemetery tombstone engraved with:

Arthur Johnston
Died November 20, 1919
Aged 78 Years

I'm searching for an obituary around that date... if that fails I'll expand my date range.
Premium Chessgames Member
<According to a letter just received by Attorney H. C. Head, Arthur Johnston is dying of cancer at a hotel in Jacksonville, Fla. The letter was written by the proprietor of the hotel. It stated that Johnston had asked her to tell Head that Johnston's physician said that he has cancer of the stomach and cannot live more than two or three months. Johnston is well known in Santa Ana, where he was a pioneer. Although approaching old age, he learned stenography and type-writing, and for several years he was a stenographic reporter in the local courts. He was stenographer in Attorney Head's office. Several years ago his wife died here, and soon afterward Johnston went to Canada, and then to the South.>
Santa Ana Daily Register, 1919.10.20, Section Two, p9

<The body of Arthur Johnston, pioneer of Santa Ana, today is being prepared at Jacksonville, Florida, for shipment to this city for interment. He died in Florida yesterday a telegram announcing this fact being received this morning by H. C. Head from W. E. Thomas. Head telegraphed instructions to ship the body here. The wife of deceased is buried in Santa Ana, and it was his expressed wish that he be laid by her side when Father Time should exercise his reaper on him. He was about 78 years of age and has two sisters, Misses Frances and Bertha Johnston, residing at Orange.

Johnston was well known in Santa Ana and was one of the pioneers of this section, settling at Orange in about 1874. He left here about three years ago, taking a pleasure trip to Canada and visiting at Cincinnati for a time. He has been spending his winters at Jacksonville and summers at Asheville, N. C.

He was born in London and came to the United Stats early in life. He is said to have been the first court reporter in the United States, his first position of this character being in the federal court at Cincinnati. He is believed to have brought the first typewriter ever to come into what is now Orange county territory.

Settling at Orange in 1874, he engaged in farming for a time. He was a "book-worm" and it is said that he, while plowing on his ranch, was not infrequently seen holding the handle of a walking plow in one hand and a book in the other.

He worked at carpentering for a number of years soon after coming here, and it is related that while employed in the construction of a residence for Martin Van Buren at West Orange in '78 he frequently would start out for the job, and becoming a little fatigued would sit down under a shade tree a read a book, becoming so absorbed that he would forget himself until the forenoon was nearly gone, then concluding that as the day was half gone, he had just as well remain off the job all day, and continued his reading.

For many years after Orange county was organized he was court reporter and public stenographer. He was recognized as an authority on matters literary and often was the judge in disputes on such questions.

He wrote two or three books on the relations of Great Britain and the United States, copies of which are at the Santa Ana library.

He was a veteran of the Civil war, enlisting at Cincinnati.>

Santa Ana Daily Register, 1919.11.21, p2
Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: I've submitted a correction slip to rename our "A Johnston" to "Arthur Johnston" and to break off the other, P B Weir vs A Johnston, 1981, into his own pid as "A Johnston".

Once we have that split I'll start a proper CG bio.
Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: I also submitted a OTB game played in 1894 by Arthur (along with a note for Annie as she tends to get to new submissions before correction slips get processed).
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus:, the parents' name can be taken with a grain of salt (if not based on original information).

In Los Angeles: <On Saturday, December 29, 1894, Lipschütz visited the Athletic Club rooms at Stowell block, 226 South Spring Street, and challenged the visiting Arthur Johnston of Santa Ana to a game. Johnston chose to play White and opened with the Allgaier Gambit: 1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Nf3 g5 4.h4 g4 5.Ng5. Lipschütz, said the Los Angeles Herald of January 6, 1896, "misjudging his opponent's skill, smiled and accepted the opening; to his surprise, however, Mr. Johnston proved to be perfectly familiar with the strength and subtlety of this powerful partie and eventually scored a win."> - Samuel Lipschütz. A Life in Chess, by Stephen Davies. McFarland, 2005, p. 242.

Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: The marriage notice gives his wife's name as Maria Christiana Doyle, but that PDF gives Maria Christiana Norman.

I wonder if her marriage to Arthur was her second? Born a Norman, became a Doyle before becoming a Johnston?
Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: First whack at a CG bio is up, feel free to add/subtract as needed <Tab>. He's technically your find. ;-)
Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: We still need to get some info on William B Haughton and Henry Harding. And Henry Hosmer could use a real bio. I think I'll tackle Henry Harding as he's from my neck of the woods.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Tabanus: The bio is fine, I see no problems with it and you did it fast too.

I was lucky to stumble upon his name in 1865. If I should nit-pick, perhaps reduce the number of empty lines! I find no marriage record, which is a little rare.

Premium Chessgames Member
  jnpope: And after all of today's material... I still don't know where Joost got that <P>!
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: Excerpt from the foregoing:

<.... The wife of deceased is buried in Santa Ana, and it was his expressed wish that he be laid by her side when Father Time should exercise his reaper on him....>

They don't write like that any more!


Big Daddy Time was, and is, one tough sumbitch.

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