Isabella Denniston Shaw


According to later legal papers, Isabella Denniston would have been born about 1764. She was a daughter in the large family of Hugh and Rachel Van Valkenburgh Denniston. She grew up in an innkeeper's home in Albany and also in its environs.

In September 1783, she married former Revolutionary army officer John Shaw at the Dutch church in Kinderhook. The marriage seems to have produced a large family.

In 1785, she was among the heir noted in the will filed by her father.

These Shaws made their home near the waterfront and in the North End of Albany. Like his father, John Shaw was a ropemaker and innkeeper. Isabella's father was their business partner.

On a number of occasions, Isabella was named in real estate transactions along with her husband involving lots in Watervliet.

John Shaw's pension application for service to the American cause was filed in April 1825. It described his family living with him as including his wife Isabella (then about sixty-one and "feeble and infirm") and six children ranging from twenty-eight to nine. Veteran John Shaw died in July 1826 at the age of sixty-six.

However, Isabella Denniston Shaw managed to live in their 67 North Market Street home for more than another decade. She died in March 1838. She would have been about seventy-four-years-old. Her will passed probate in October.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Isabella Denniston Shaw is CAP biography number 5138. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

first posted: 9/15/09