Preston Ware (1821 – 1890)

Preston Ware, son of Preston and Electa (Richardson) Ware, was born August 12, 1821, at Wrentham, and died January 29, 1890, in Boston. At the age of seventeen years he became clerk in a wholesale boot and shoe house in Baltimore, Md., receiving as salary fifty dollars a year and his board. During this time he was taught the elements of chess playing, at which he afterward became an expert. He was subsequently book-keeper for the firm and later a member of the firm of Robert G. Ware & Brother, of Baltimore, wholesale boot and shoe dealers. About this time he was one of the organizers of the Baltimore Chess Association. At the end of two years he established the wholesale shoe house of Anderson, Ware & Co., and three years later sold out and formed the firm of Ware & Weston, which continued four years. Buying then the interest of Mr. Weston, he admitted to partnership Mark W. Jenkins, and, under the firm name of P. Ware, Jr., & Co., was for several years one of the leading boot and shoe dealers of Baltimore. He was also interested at that time in the line of freighters known as Jenk’s Boston and Baltimore Packet Line, which he had helped organize, and which ran until superseded by steamers. Coming with his family to Boston in 1852, Mr. Ware became a member of the wholesale boot and shoe firm of Joseph F. Dane & Co., and the same year he joined the coterie of chess players which included Dr. William Everett, Dr. J. W. Stone, Mr. Hammond, and others of prominence, who met regularly at the United States Hotel, and who in 1858 founded the Boston Chess Club. In 1853 Mr. Ware bought out the Hayward Rubber Company; and in 1855 he sold his interest in his Baltimore business to his partner, Mr. Jenkins. In 1858 he disposed of his interest in the Joseph P. Dane & Co. firm, and in 1860 sold out his stock in the Hayward Rubber Company and became agent of the Newark Rubber Company. He likewise organized at that time the wholesale boot and shoe establishment of P. Ware, Jr., & Co., and continued in business until 1879, when he sold out. He participated in the second, third, and fifth American Chess Congresses and in the International Congress at Vienna. Across the board he met almost every celebrated player of the time, including Paul Morphy, and was recognized as one of the pillars of American chess.

Preston Ware married June 16, 1846, Lavinia Lilly, daughter of Alonzo Lilly, of Ashfield, Mass. Her father was son of Eliakim Lilly and grandson of Jonathan and Sarah (Foster) Lilly. Sarah Foster was a daughter of Nathan and Hannah (Standish) Foster and grand-daughter of Deacon Josiah Standish. whose father, Josiah Standish, was a son of Captain Myles Standish, who came over in the “Mayflower” in 1620. Alonzo Lilly was born at Ashfield in 1800. In early manhood he removed to Baltimore, Md., where for a number of years he was engaged in mercantile business, and was a bank director. About the year 1868 he returned to Massachusetts, and, settling in Newton, became interested in business in Boston. He died January 30, 1890. in his ninetieth year, and was buried in Newton Cemetery. He married Marianna Entler, of Baltimore, who was of Dutch ancestry.

Preston and Lavinia Lilly Ware had four children, three of whom are now living, namely: Francis Alden; Charles Howard; and Bruce Richardson. Mary Lilly, the only daughter, died at the age of eleven. Charles H. Ware married Tina Todhunter, of Baltimore, and has two chtldren — Mary Lilly and Joseph. Bruce R. Ware married Ida Randall, of Mattapoisett, Mass., and has three children — Marion, Lillian, and Bruce.”

Source:  Biographical Sketches of Representative Citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Graves and Steinbarger, Publishers, Boston, 1901, page 850


Preston Ware (1821 – 1890) — 2 Comments

  1. Francis Alden ware was my great grandfather also, his son Preston Ware was my grandfather. The family home can be found in Wrentham Ma.

  2. Thanks for this post. Preston Ware (the chess player) was my great, great grandfather. He’s buried at the Newton Cemetery in Newton, MA

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