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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Philip Dater Shaul

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 520, 523 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 Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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In every line of endeavor it is the few and not the many who achieve success in the fullest sense of the term and it is these few who mold the character and shape the destiny of the communities in which they reside. Of this type is Philip Dater Shaul, who possesses in large measure that quality which has been termed "the commercial sense", and has made his own way in the world, progressing steadily through the force of his personality and the strength of his mental endowments until he is partner in the largest department store in the Mohawk valley. He has aided in pushing forward the wheels of progress in the city and has ever manifested an unselfish spirit of devotion to the general good, exerting an influence widely felt and productive of much good. He was born February 28, 1862, in South Columbia, Herkimer county, New York. a son of John O. and Hannah Shaul, natives of Starkville, that county, and represents one of the oldest families in the Mohawk valley. His great-grandfather settled in this region and was captured by Indians, who took him to Canada, where he was held a prisoner for six years.

Philip Dater Shaul obtained his elementary instruction in a country school in South Columbia and afterward attended the public schools of Amsterdam. His initial experience along mercantile lines was gained as a clerk in the drug store of Wendell & Becker, for whom he worked for three years, and then resumed his studies, completing his education in a private school. He next became a clerk in the department store of S. Levi & Company of Amsterdam, and remained with that house for several years, acquiring a thorough understanding of the business. He then went to Troy, New York, as buyer and manager of the cloak and suit department of the Boston Store, where he was afforded an opportunity to develop his executive ability, and upon his return to Amsterdam he was admitted to a partnership in the firm of S. Levi & Company. In 1892 they bought the old Manney property at Nos. 57-63 Main street and erected thereon a large and up-to-date department store. In 1894, in association with Solomon Holzheimer, he purchased the Levi interests and the firm of Holzheimer & Shaul has outdistanced all of its competitors, having the leading dry goods store in the Mohawk valley. It handles a large and carefully selected line of high grade merchandise and gives to its patrons full value for the amount expended, never resorting to questionable methods in order to effect a sale. The business is conducted in accordance with the most modern and progressive ideas of merchandising and the firm name is synonymous with enterprise and integrity in commercial circles of Amsterdam. Mr. Shaul is also a director of the Montgomery County Trust Company and an influential factor in the management of that financial institution.

On the 23d of February, 1886, Mr. Shaul was married to Miss Margaret Shottenkirk, a daughter of John and Elizabeth Shottenkirk of Johnstown, New York. Her demise occurred December 12, 1914. On February 15, 1917, Mr. Shaul married Mrs. Mary C. Kellogg, of Westfield, Massachusetts.

Mr. Shaul is an adherent of the republican party but has never been attracted by the honors and emoluments of office, being by nature modest and retiring. He is an active factor in every movement looking toward the accomplishment of real and practical good and in considering the welfare of his city he gives to it the earnest, thoughtful study that he habitually bestows upon personal matters. He is a director of the Young Men's Christian Association, a trustee of the City Hospital, a member of the Amsterdam board of trade, and chairman of the Merchants Bureau. He is a trustee of the local Kiwanis Club, of which he has also been president, and is one of the state officials of that organization. Mr. Shaul is identified with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, the Antlers Country Club and also belongs to the Mohawk Club of Schenectady. He is affiliated with the Second Presbyterian church and is serving as one of its trustees. His devotion to duty, his business probity and his public spirit are well known to every citizen of Amsterdam and have met with a rich return of personal regard.

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