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Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs:
Wendell

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 1284-1285 of Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, edited by Cuyler Reynolds (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Company, 1911). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 929.1 R45. Some of the formatting of the original, especially in lists of descendants, may have been altered slightly for ease of reading.]

That branch of the Wendell family of which Judge John D. Wendell, of Fort Plain, New York, is the foremost representative in the present, descends from Holland ancestors. The first settlement was made in New Jersey, where Jacob Wendell settled in the town of Shrewsbury, Monmouth county, in 1654. He had brothers, John and Robert, who came to America with him in 1650. The four intervening years are not accounted for but were probably spent in the vicinity of New Amsterdam. Jacob married and had sons and daughters.

(II) Jacob (2), son of Jacob (1) Wendell, the emigrant, was born in New York, 1718, died at Richfield Springs, New York, 1804. He married and had issue.

(III) John, son of Jacob (2) Wendell, was born in the town of Schagticoke, Rensselaer county, New York, in 1754, died in Richfield Springs, New York, 1824. He married and had issue.

(IV) Jacob (3), son of John Wendell, was born in Schagticoke, Rensselaer county, New York, in 1778, died at Cherry Valley, Otsego county, 1854. He married and had issue.

(V) Benjamin, son of Jacob (3) Wendell, was born September 23, 1808, died April 11, 1888. He was a shoemaker and postmaster at Sprout Brook, Montgomery county, New York, until 1856, when he purchased and removed to a farm between Sprout Brook and Fort Plain, in the town of Minden. Here he resided until his death. He was always called colonel from the fact of his commanding a small company in a local engagement of an uprising at Helderberg. He was justice of the peace in the town of Minden, and was a Whig and Republican in politics, a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, which he served as trustee. He married Sarah Fox, born 1809, died November 27, 1892, daughter of George W. Fox. Children:

  1. Oscar, married Sarah Flint.
  2. Elizabeth.
  3. George W., married Sara Timmerman; children: Park, James and Clarence.
  4. John D., of whom further.
  5. Fred Fox, married Emma Bush; child, Irma.
  6. James, married Frances Hickey; child,
    1. Minnie, married E. C. Norton, and has child, Francis.
  7. Miriam, married George H. Yerdon, child,
    1. Cora, married Silas Finkle.
  8. Charles, married Mina Furman; children:
    1. Theresa, married D. R. Shoemaker; children: Robert, Charles, Anna, Don, D. A., Nora;
    2. Nellie, married Irvin Price; children: Dorothy and Mina;
    3. Benjamin, married Emma Arthurs;
    4. Walter;
    5. Carl;
    6. John D.;
    7. Marion.
  9. Albert, married Fannie Dennison; children: Oscar and Nellie.
  10. Frances, married James A. McFee.

(VI) John D., son of Benjamin and Sarah (Fox) Wendell, was born at Sprout Brook in the town of Canajoharie, Montgomery county, New York, October 17, 1839. His youth was spent at Sprout Brook and on the farm in Minden, where he attended the district schools in the winter and in summers worked on thefarm. While his father was postmaster he carried the United States mail from Buel to Sprout Brook, a distance of about two miles, usually going and coming on foot. He grew up stout and rugged, and with a deep thirst for an education; when about eighteen years of age he applied for a teacher's license and passing a successful examination before John H. Brookman, superintendent of public instruction, was granted a certificate to teach and secured a school at Mapletown in the town of Canajoharie. By teaching in the winter and working on the farm in summer he secured sufficient means to enable him to take a course at the Albany Law School, which he entered in the fall of 1861. In the spring of 1862 he graduated therefrom and the same year was admitted to the bar. He located at the village of Fort Plain, Montgomery county, in the office of Judge Yost, who was then county judge and surrogate of Montgomery county. After being in this office two years opened an office in the village of Fort Plain and continued until 1874, when he formed a law partnership with his brother, Fred Fox Wendell, continuing with him in business until 1883 when the firm was dissolved, Fred F. Wendell accepting the position of superintendent of the tax department of the West Shore railroad.

During the nine years the Wendell brothers were in company they did a very large and lucrative business and were connected with some of the most important legal cases ever tried in the Mohawk Valley. They were also in charge of the land department of the West Shore railroad, obtaining the right of way through Montgomery, Herkimer and Schenectady counties. After the dissolution of the firm of J. D. & F. F. Wendell, Edwin S. Van Deusen, who had been with the old firm since 1876, was admitted a partner with J. D. Wendell, a connection which existed until 1888. In 1868, John D. Wendell was nominated and elected to the office of district attorney of Montgomery county, which office he held for a term of three years. In 1888 he was elected county judge and surrogate of Montgomery county, which office he held until 1894. The offices of surrogate and county judge having then been separated, he was elected county judge, serving a term of six years, when he retired to practice in Fort Plain, and in 1902 Fox Sponable was admitted as junior member, the firm being Wendell & Sponable. Since 1885 he has been attorney of the West Shore railroad; also attorney for the New York Central railroad in trying all tax cases in the Mohawk Valley.

Judge Wendell is learned in the law, skillful in its application, and as a judge was noted for the correctness of his decisions and the promptness with which court business was despatched. On appeals taken from his decisions comparatively few were reversed by the higher court. He is a member of the State and County Bar Association and for several years was one of the vice-presidents of the State Association. He was one of the incorporators of the Farmers and Mechanics Bank at Fort Plain and a director. He is a lifelong member of the Methodist Episcopal church of Fort Plain, served for many years as president of the board of trustees, Sunday school superintendent, and teacher for thirty years. He is a member of the Masonic order and was president of the Fort Plain Social and Literary Club; in fact, there is no department of the village life in which he has not been deeply interested and aided in every possible way. He married, June 15, 1862, Lu Emma, daughter of Thomas King, of Fort Plain. He has no children.

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