The elder James Gourlay was dead by the end of 1772 and the boy was raised by his mother under the umbrella of the Schuyler family. However, Anna Schuyler remarried during the 1780s and raised another family.
James Gourlay's first wife was Hannah Ross who died in 1797 at the age of eighteen. In September 1799, he married Lana Bromley at the Albany Dutch church. He buried his mother from the church in August 1798.
In 1797, he was living in a house on Dock Street that was owned by Barent Bleecker and was destroyed by fire. In 1800, his house appeared on the census for the town of Watervliet. Nominally a cordwainer, James Gourlay became a prominent Albany merchant. His home was on Lion (later Washington Avenue) Street. City directories sometimes listed him in partnership with Jeremiah Waterman at 85, 87, and 89 Washington! He was a member of the Albany Mechanics Society. He served on Albany juries and was a justice of the peace. Later, he kept a boardinghouse at 89 Washington.
James Gourlay lost his wife, Helen, in October 1850. He filed a will in 1861. James Gourlay died in February 1862 in his ninety-first year!
Sources: The life of James Gourlay is CAP biography number 8214. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. Portraitist Ezra Ames painted two portraits for him about 1815. They have not been located.
first posted: 3/20/04