Mr. Shew was a farmer, merchant, highway commissioner, garage owner, auto salesman, vocalist, member of the Mason’s Lodge and school trustee. His adult life was split between South Gilboa and Stamford.
John T. Shew was born March 2, 1867 at Shew Hollow in Gilboa, the son of James H. and Catherine (VanDusen) Shew. He had at least five siblings: Emmet, Emma, Minnie, Mina and Ethel.
On November 22, 1892 he married Miss Harriet Estelle Frazee of South Gilboa. Harriet was born July 9, 1871 at South Gilboa a daughter of Charles and Phoebe (Clark) Frazee. In the 1905 census for Gilboa the family is living on Shew Hollow Rd.: John T. Shew age 38 farmer, Harriet E. 33, Charles Emmett 7, Katherine M. 3 and Phoebe Frazee 65 mother-in-law. One house away is John H Souer age 32 farmer, Mina (one of John’s sisters) 32, Jessie M. 5, Emmett J. 3, James H. Shew 66 father-in-law a sawyer (someone who saws wood). In December 1906 his father James had his arm crushed in a planing machine and died after his arm was amputated.
John is shipping his milk to New York City in 1896; he sang the Battle Hymn of the Republic at a Lincoln Dinner in 1897 and he and Don R. Frazer went to Connecticut to look at farms there as farms are cheaper there than in Schoharie County in 1898.
March 1899 (Jefferson Courier)- Harpersfield- John Shew of South Gilboa has purchased the stock of goods in the store of W. D. Robertson, and will personally conduct the business. We understand that after arranging his business, Mr. Shew, with the aid of his wife, will conduct the store. They are occupying rooms in Joseph Wescott’s house. Also in 1899 he started a cart on the road with F. B.VanDusen as a salesman and made repairs on his store by adding a new floor and the walls and ceiling have been re-papered.
In the 1900 Stamford census he lists his occupation as grocer and about 1903 he becomes Commissioner of Highways in Gilboa. In 1904 or 1905 he purchased 50 acres of land adjoining the Frazee homestead farm mostly for the pine timber. During the same time period, as one-room schoolhouse trustee, he engaged the teacher for the South Gilboa school.
April 1905 (Jefferson Courier)- South Gilboa- At the trolley road meeting in Stamford last week, John Shew of this place and Dr. Churchill of Stamford were appointed to see some of those in the town of Jefferson from whom the right of way must be secured. (A trolley never happened to my knowledge)
John lists as the proprietor of the Frazee. Homestead Farm boarding house that advertised it had 10 rooms and was 2 ½ miles from the RR depot in 1915.
In 1918 his daughter Kathryn/Katharine graduated from Stamford Seminary and his son Charles graduated from Syracuse University, and he sold his large farm in South Gilboa. Following the sale of his farm would be about when he opened his Square Deal Garage on East Main St. in Stamford offering “everything for the auto”.
In 1921 his son, a teacher in Hunter, NY, married Marion Agnes Clarke and in 1925 his daughter married Dayton E. Griffin of Stamford.
The Stamford Petroleum Products Corporation Inc. was formed by John and a few other prominent citizens of Stamford in 1928 and in 1930 he helped his son-in-law Dayton with his airport.
In an August 1933 article about horseshoe pitching contests, which were held daily in back of the New York Central station, John won the title of the “Lone Star Player”.
January 1936 (Stamford Mirror-Recorder)- John Shew, has terminated his employment at the Delaware Valley Feed and Lumber Co., in the office of which he has been for the past five years.
June 27, 1937 obituary- John T. Shew, 70 died at his home in Stamford. He had been a resident of Stamford since 1921 (but I think it was earlier). He took an active part in village and public affairs, serving as village trustee, member of Park and sewer Commission. Member of Presbyterian Church, Utsayantha Choral club, Gilboa Masonic lodge and Delta chapter R.A.M. Stamford.
Survived by his wife, son Charles E. Shew of Camillus, NY.; daughter Mrs. Dayton Griffin of Bloomfield, NJ; grandson Randall of Camillus; brother Rev. Emmett Shew of Kingston; four sisters Mrs Fred Breggs and Mrs John Sour of South Gilboa, Mrs Charles Champlin of Walden and Mrs W.R. Reed of Okaloosa, Iowa.
March 14, 1940 (Cobleskill Index)- Funeral for Mrs. John T. (Harriet Estelle Frazee) Shew of Stamford died at Morristown, NJ at the home of her son-in-law and daughter Mr. and Mrs. Dayton Griffin at Stamford Presbyterian. Members of Utsayantha Chapter OES attended the service in body.
Both are buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Jefferson and posted on findagrave.com.