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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
L. James Shaver

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 626-627 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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As a business man L. James Shaver, Realtor, has been conspicuous among his associates for his fairness and honorable methods. In everything he has been eminently practical, and this fact has shown itself not only in his business undertakings, but also in his social life.

He was born in Palatine Church, Montgomery county, New York, December 16, 1882, his parents being James and Martha (Nellis) Shaver. James Shaver was born at Shavertown and died at Palatine Church, having followed the business of agriculture. He was the son of John and Mary Catherine Shaver. Martha (Nellis) Shaver was born at Palatine Church, October 27, 1858, and is now living at Palatine Church, aged sixty-six years. She is the daughter of Peter I. and Mary C. (Saltsman) Nellis, the former of whom was born March 1, 1834, at Palatine Church and was a farmer. Mary Catherine (Saltsman) Nellis was born May 25, 1834, at Palatine Church and died at Palatine Bridge on March 19, 1911.

L. James Shaver attended district school at Palatine Church and later public and high school at Palatine Bridge. After completing his education he and his brother Nellis went on the road as musicians for two years, after which time they came back to Canajoharie and went into the cigar and newspaper business as partners. They dissolved partnership after about ten years, and L. James Shaver went into the real estate business in 1914, in which he has since been engaged. In 1921 he opened a store on Church street, Canajoharie, for the sale of victrolas and other musical instruments, to which he added a line of articles suitable for gifts, and the store was thereafter known as "Shaver's Gift Shop". Since the opening of this store he has his real estate office in the rear. In the spring of 1924 he decided to carry a more general line of merchandise and with that object in view made extensive alterations and improvements to his store and has purchased a big assortment of general merchandise adapted to the wants of the people of Canajoharie and vicinity.

Mr. Shaver was a trustee for the village of Canajoharie for three terms (six years) and is now supervisor of the town of Canajoharie, and is also a director in the Spraker National Bank at Canajoharie. In politics he casts his lot with the republican party. He is a member of Hamilton Lodge, Number 79, A. F. & A. M. of Canajoharie, and also belongs to the Fort Rensselaer Club, the Automobile Club and the Gilliam Hose Company, all of Canajoharie. For diversion he turns to hunting and fishing. He attends the Methodist Episcopal church.

On October 11, 1905, at Canajoharie, Mr. Shaver was united in marriage to Miss Anna Maude Wessels, born at Canajoharie, on November 29, 1882, daughter of the late Silas Addison and Alzina (Snyder) Wessels. Dr. Silas A. Wessels was born at Cherry Valley, June 10, 1857, and graduated at Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1878. He immediately entered upon the practice of his profession at Argusville, then at Ames and in 1879 came to Canajoharie. As a physician Dr. Wessels gained a deserved reputation for diagnosis and skill, which gave him an extensive practice. He died at Ames, New York, on March 2, 1913, where he had removed after giving up his practice. He was a member of the Montgomery County, New York, Medical Society and also served as president of the society.

Richard Wessels, paternal grandfather of Mrs. Shaver, was born at Flat Creek, August 16, 1826, and was a farmer. He was twice married. His first wife was Anna Maria (Horning) Wessels, born May 30, 1828, and died May 11, 1889. His second wife was Hannah Elizabeth (Smith) Wessels, born July 8, 1841, and now living in Ames, New York, aged eighty-three years. Alzina (Snyder) Wessels, mother of Mrs. Shaver, was born January 15, 1857, at Sprout Brook, New York, a daughter of Marvin and Lucy Ann (Diefendorf) Snyder, and is now living with her daughter in Canajoharie, aged sixty-seven years. Marvin Snyder, maternal grandfather of Mrs. Shaver, was born at Cherry Valley, New York, December 27, 1821, and died at Ames, on March 16, 1897. His wife, who was a relative of Colonel Jacob Diefendorf, who fought in the Revolutionary war, was born February 18, 1826, and died at Ames on January 14, 1908. Mrs. Shaver is a member of the Fort Rensselaer Chapter, Daughters American Revolution, and its registrar. She is also a member of the Methodist Episcopal church of Canajoharie, and a republican in politics.

Mr. and Mrs. Shaver have two children: Virginia C., born at Canajoharie, August 8, 1906, and a graduate with the class of 1924, of the Canajoharie high school; and Evelyn Jean Shaver, born at Canajoharie, November 27, 1909, and now a student in the high school at that place.

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