James Shewan

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James Shewan (6 January 1848, Rora, Aberdeenshire - 7 May 1914) was a Scottish-American businessman who made his fortune in real estate in the United States. He was the founder of the largest dry dock and ship repairing facility in the Port of New York.

Shewan was born on 6 January 1848 in Rora, Aberdeenshire. His father died when he was four years old. He was apprenticed to a ship carpenter, and in 1869 he moved to New York City. In New York he started a dry dock and ship repair business, first called Shewan and Palmer, later Shewan and Jenkins. In 1877 Shewan bought out Jenkins and became the sole owner of the business.[1]

In 1870 Shewan married a Welsh lady Ellen Curley. They had three daughters (Nellie, Ada and Agnes - later Marquise Rizzo dei Ritii[2][3]) and two sons (James Jr. and Edwin A.)[1]. James was owner of an important listed historical building, Inverugie Estate/ Plumbush[4], in Cold Spring, New York.

Shewan died on 7 May 1914. His business passed into the hands of his sons[5].[1]


  1. ^ a b c MacDougall, Donald John, ed. (1917). Scots and Scots' Descendants in America. Caledonian publishing Company. pp. 354–355. Retrieved 5 February 2016. 
  2. ^ Agnes Rizzo Shewan Bequest, Alison McQueen, Empress Eugénie and the Arts. Politics and Visual Culture in the Nineteenth Century, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2011 - page XV e page 288
  3. ^ The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Europe in the Age of Enlightenment and Revolution, The Met/ Bradford D. Kelleher, 1987 - page 159
  4. ^ Sheila Buff, Insiders' Guide to Hudson Valley - 1st Edition, Guilford- Connecticut, 2009; page 67
  5. ^ “James Shewan & Sons" v. U.S. March 2nd 1925, http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-supreme-court/267/86.html