James Gourlay
Stefan Bielinski

James Gourlay (perhaps also "Gurley") was a merchant in Albany for a few years prior to the War for Independence. We seek defining information on his origins and path to Albany.

In December 1771, he called himself a merchant with a store in the house of John Roorbach in Cheapside in an advertisement printed in the Albany Gazette. His stock included fabrics, cutlery, shoes, and books, and that he was a lottery agent. He also belonged to the Albany Masonic lodge.

On his deathbed, he identified Anna Schuyler as his "putative wife" but disavowed responsibility for the "male child she has." However, the boy grew up as James Gourlay and became a prominent Albany merchant!

James Gourlay filed a will in October 1772. It identified his father, James Gourlay, and his brothers and sister. He was dead by December 17 when the will passed probate.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of James Gourlay is CAP biography number 8213. This sketch is derived chiefly from community-based resources. Perhaps (very slightly) he was the "Lt. James Gorrell" more widely known and noted in the Index to the Johnson Papers. That frontier operative had some business with a number of Albany merchants during the 1760s.

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first posted 3/30/04; revised 12/11/17