Neal Shaw
Stefan Bielinski

Neal Shaw probably was born in the 1730s. He may have been the son of John and Sarah Shaw. A number of ropemakers named Neal Shaw lived in New York and New England during this individual's lifetime.

Early in 1758, Neal Shaw was issued a New York marriage license to wed Mary Decline (de Klein). They were still together in 1777 when they witnessed a baptism in Albany. We seek additional church and family information for him!

By the 1760s, his name began to appear on affidavits in New York and in the Albany area where he was identified as a ropemaker. In 1767, his first ward house and property were included on the Albany assessment roll. His city holdings were valued at a fairly substantial twelve pounds.

Over the next decades, he continued to make and sell rope. He also was identified as an innkeeper in Rensselaerswyck - perhaps in association with innkeeper and landholder Hugh Denniston.

Although he was called before Albany committees during the War for Independence, he was allotted a land bounty right for service in conjunction with the Albany city regiment of the county militia. In 1777, his "place" in or near Albany was referenced by the Albany committee. His son, John Shaw, was an officer in the revolutionary army, married Denniston's daughter, and followed his father as a ropemaker.

In April 1781, the Albany city council purchased a rope from him. In March 1784, innholder Neal Shaw and another individual sold land in Rensselaerswyck to John Brown of Albany.

In November 1785, he was among the witnesses to the filing of Denniston's will.

But by 1785, Neal Shaw may have removed to New York City where his ropemaking and other business was referenced in the laws enacted by the New York State legislature. That individual had died intestate in 1785.

In 1802, a ropemaker named Neal Shaw built a house in Portland, Maine. The subject of most of this sketch would have been in his seventies by that time.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Neal Shaw is CAP biography number 1124. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. Was he a Scottish immigrant? Perhaps he was among the Scots involved in the Argyle Patent during the 1760s.

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first posted: 5/5/05; updated 12/12/09