Biography of Charles D. Wendell

Son of Jacob Wendell and Nancy (Fox) Gould

Herkimer County, New York

Charles D., known by the family as Charlie, was the last son born to Jacob Wendell and his second wife, Nancy (Fox) Gould. Charles joined the family on 25 April 1837 in Herkimer County, New York.

Of all the Wendell children it was Charles that was the one that was prone to be the most likely to get into trouble. Not that he was one that did anything to get into serious situations, but if he was around things were going to be busy.

He probably was not controlled as strictly as his older brothers, due to the fact of his father's age when a firm hand is needed to direct a child on the correct course. By the time Charles was 10 years old his father was sixty nine. Jacob would not have the strength and stamina to probably discipline the young boy. All the Wendell boys were at a very early age taught the business of shoe making and most of them did very well. Charles had no interest and apparently did not stay on track in any department. It was known that he was given the job of tending the family garden, which he tried to shirk that responsibility when he could get away with it. His sister, Imilda related the story that she saw her father chasing or attempting to chase Charlie around the yard with a razor strap for not doing his chores.

At the time the family home had to be dissolved due to the health conditions of both parents, older brother, Washington was setting out for the frontier of eastern Minnesota. As family members were split up to help with the care of the parents, it was determined that Charles who was in his teens at the time would accompany Washington. From what is known about Washington, he was a person who apparently felt that with Charles with him in the far country he could manage him quite well.

As all young boys have to grow up, thus did Charles Wendell. Growing up meant that he could make his own decisions as to what course that he wished to pursue in life. Gold had been discovered at Pike's Peak in Colorado and that must have sounded like great adventure to him and when he reached age off he went.

On the eve of the outbreak of the Civil War, it is known that Denver was a fairly raw frontier town, with a rough element of miners and some less desirable people. Nothing is known about the period of time that Charles was in Denver, but no doubt he was employed in some mining or associated operation.

When war divided the nation Charles enlisted in Co. F. of the 1st Colorado Volunteer Infantry as a private. When word reached other family members there was naturally much concern about his welfare because they felt him always somewhat careless. The Union troops in that area were trying to protect it from two warring parties, the Confederates who wished to come up and get at the gold in the area and some Indians that were not all that peaceful. Colorado being such a large territory to patrol, it soon became apparent that infantry could not cover it well at all. Company F of the 1st Colorado soon became the nucleus for the newly being formed 1st Colorado Cavalry, under a Methodist minister turned soldier, named Chivington. If Charles Wendell did not know how to ride a horse, he soon learned and very fast.

There were various small fights and Charles was involved at the major battle of Glorietta Pass. He full filled his term of service. It is known that after his time was up that he for three months was an Indian scout and spy..............What this entailed is not actually known. There is nothing to verify or dispute the following.................Charles would have known all that area quite well having ridden back and forth for some three years. At the time that his enlistment was up it is quite likely he was out in the field somewhere with the 1st Colorado Cavalry and unlikely that he would have been turned loose to return to Denver on his own, alone in hostile territory. It was shortly after his time was up that the horror of Sand Creek occurred when the 1st Colorado Cavalry lead by Chivington went in and massacred the village. Sadly, there is that chance that Charles Wendell was a scout. It will never be known one way or the other and from a family point of view certainly hope that he was far away from that scene.

War finally over Charles returned to both Wisconsin and Minnesota where he reunited with some of his Wendell family. He eventually married a young widow, who had lost her husband to disease soon after he reported for duty in a Wisconsin regiment. She was left with a tiny little girl, Laura. Cynthia (Bartlett) McDonald would marry Charles on 1 May 1866 in Wisconsin. Cynthia was also a New Yorker by birth. Her parents were Rufus and Laura Bartlett. Charles did farm for sometime, but apparently due to the time in Colorado he had fallen in love. The call was too much and so he bundled up his wife and small family and set out for the Denver area once more.

He would settle initially in the Morrison, Jefferson County, Colorado area. He would pursue farming in that area. It was here that his beloved wife Cynthia would pass away on 18 February 1881. He still had young children at that time and they were cared for by their older siblings.

He was a member of The Grand Army of the Republic Post # 03 in Golden.

Not much is know of the following years, but he spent those pretty much where some of his children were. Eventually, he would be found In the Rifle area of Colorado where some of his children had gone to when they became adults. He would do a number of things, including working on machinery and carpentry.

The rigors of the war would eventually catch up with him, as they did with so many. His health would deteriorate and he would be found being attended to by doctors.

In his last years he resided with his son in the little town of Collbran in Mesa County, Colorado. In his later years he followed the Nazarine faith to a degree. It was in Collbran that he passed away on 22 November 1902 and was laid to his eternal rest in the cemetery.

The children of Charles D. and Cynthia (Bartlett) Wendell were:

Coral Clarrise, born 28 March 1867 probably in Clark County, Wisconsin. Married James Stevens Porter.

son un-named, born November 1869 and died 27 December 1869

Fannie, born 11 August 1872 in Winona, Minnesota. Married Joseph C. Austin.

Earl Bartlett, born 26 May 1874 in Minnesota. Married Dellia Kiggins.

Ralph R., born 16 November 1878 in Colorado. Married Emma Kiggins.

Millie L., born 15 October 1880. Married #1 Parks, #2 Gillam.

Note: Though Laura McDonald was the daughter from Cynthia's prior marriage, she was always considered a child of Charles' as he raised her and loved her just like all of her other children. Though no records have been found to indicate that she was ever legally adopted by him, she always went by the last name of Wendell.

Charles was the youngest brother of my great-great grandmother Imilda Leona (Wendell) Berrian

Charlott Wells Jones

Submitted by: Charlott Wells Jones, great-great niece of Charles D. Wendell.

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Created: 4/15/16
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