John Shaw


John Shaw was born about 1760. He most likely was the son of Albany and Rensselaerswyck ropemaker and innkeeper Neal Shaw.

Young Shaw served in the Revolutionary army attaining the rank of lieutenant of artillery. He served in that capacity from 1781 to the end of the war. Afterwards, he was accorded a land bounty right in conjunction with the third or Rensselaerswyck regiment of the Albany County Militia. He applied for a pension in 1825 and the application detailed and documented his service.

In September 1783, John Shaw married Isabella Denniston at the Kinderhook Dutch church. His bride probably was the daughter of his father's one-time partner. The marriage produced a large family.

In July 1786, he was identified in the will filed by his father-in-law.

Initially, this Shaw family made its home outside the city limits - probably along the river road leading toward the Van Rensselaer Manor House. In 1790, his Watervliet household included five children. A decade later, the Watervliet census return accounted for eight children and three slaves. In 1801, he purchased a grocer's license from the city government. In 1809, "Shaw & Denniston" were assessed for thirty-two feet of dock space in the third ward while his house and lot on Maiden Lane were valued separately.

As the northern border of the city was extended north, beginning in 1815, his residence at North Market Street was listed in the Albany city directories. It showed his address at 67 North Market and his shop at 4 State Street in close proximity to the ropemaker's waterfront customers. His occupation was given as "ropemaker."

In 1825, his pension application stated that his wife was feeble and infirm and that their twenty-eight-year-old daughter, Maria Shaw, looked after the family concerns as most of their six offspring (as young as nine-years-old) who lived with them were not in good health.

John Shaw died in July 1826 at the age of sixty-six. A newspaper notice mentioned his Revolutionary war service. His will passed probate in July 1826. His widow lived on at 67 North Market until her death in 1838.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of John Shaw has not been assigned a CAP biography number. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

first posted: 9/15/09