Biography of Washington W. Wendell

Son of Jacob Wendell and Nancy (Fox) Gould

Herkimer County, New York

Washington Wendell would follow the calling of many of his Wendell relations by spending a portion of his life as a Methodist minister and later as a Baptist minister.

He was the third son born to Jacob and his second wife, Nancy Fox. He arrived in the world in or near Richfield Springs in Otsego County, where many of his Fox relatives lived. His arrival was on 26 January 1829.

By 1850 he had left New York and gone to Wisconsin where he married a young lady named Mary A Smith. Not much is known about Mary, but she was only about 16 when she married Washington. She had been born in New York, where her father had come from Connecticut. She was born about 1834.

Initially Washington had followed the trade of his father, that of a shoemaker. While living in Trenton, Washington County, Wisconsin he was making shoes.

More land was opening up further west in Minnesota. Washington decided that he might have a look and see if there was land there that he was interested in. He packed up his wife and headed for Fillmore County, Wisconsin where in early 1857 he paid cash for 158. 03 acres. He started farming his land, probably along with his young brother Charles that he had taken along with him.

In 1857 other members of his Wendell family arrived by wagon to join him. They also took out land in the area.

Washington was already a licensed preacher when a man by the name of Ezra Tucker instigated the organization of the Pilot Mound Methodist Episcopal Church in 1858. Washington was soon seated as the first Sunday school class teacher. He also served as the superintendent.

Between 1858 and 1859 Washington Wendell changed some of his religious views and in 1859 was involved in establishing the Pilot Mound, Baptist Church. He was ordained on 21 September 1859.

Washington would eventually be found in St. Charles, Winona County, Wisconsin where he opened a shoe shop in 1861 and kept busy with that. It was here that his older brother became the first doctor in St. Charles.

The Wendell's returned to the West Bend area of Wisconsin where he was a sewing machine company's agent. Eventually he would go to Orange, Massachusetts and continue working in the sewing machine industry.

Washington and Mary had three children born to them. Gillespie W. Wendell was born 3 April 1851 in Newberg, Washington County, Wisconsin. Two daughters would join the family only to die young. Charlotte Laura was born about 1855 and died in Minnesota on September 4, 1860 and Arabella Gertrude, born 7 September 1861 and died at 14.

Washington Wendell passed away September 11, 1888 in Orange, Massachusetts.

Submitted by: Charlott Jones, great-great niece of Washington Wendell.

Postscript: Until recently it was wondered what made Washington go to Massachusetts. As previously stated he was a man of faith. Somewhere along the way he heard about Mary Baker Eddy and her Christian Science movement in the east. Apparently, the beliefs being established appealed to him. He took his wife Mary and one daughter and moved to Franklin, Orange County, Massachusetts. Though he still worked with the bicycles and sewing machines he became a strong advocate and follower of the Christian Science Church, even becoming an important speaker for Mary Baker Eddy.

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Created: 1/30/16
Copyright © 2016 Charlott Wells Jones
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