Biography of William Hershell Wendell

Son of Jacob Wendell and Nancy (Fox) Gould

Herkimer County, New York

William was the first child of Jacob Wendell and Nancy (Fox) Wendell. Both had been previously married and had children. At the time of his birth on 27 September 1824 his father would not have been considered a young man, as he was 46 years of age when William was born. His mother was much younger than her husband Jacob, as she was only 24 when William came into the Wendell household.

William, like his other brothers of both his father's first family and the second one, of which William was the oldest, had only the minimal education that a shoemaker could give his children. William knew how to work in his father's shop repairing shoes. But his father and mother, both encouraged him, like they did their other children to better their station in life. He took them to heed and eventually became a lawyer, having his office in Cooperstown.

It is unknown where he took his law studies. Possibly he worked and learned the profession from some local lawyer, then took his bar exam, which he did pass.

On January 2, 1853 he married Anna Maria Bidwell in Sydney, Delaware County, who always went by her middle name Maria. She was the daughter of Simeon and Clarissa (Ayers) Bidwell, born on March 20, 1830 in Sidney, Delaware County, New York. They were married by Rev. E. Baldwin.

Together they would have the following children, William "Willy" Bidwell, who married Mary Elizabeth France and eventually lived in Ottumwa, Iowa, working as a carpenter and for a steam railroad. Frederick F. who first married Mary Ellen Pond and after her death married Edith L. (Houghtailing) Gartsee, a widow. and Carrie L., sometimes also known as Cora who married James Collins, and lived out her life in the Unadilla/Sydney area.

Initially they resided in Oneonta for a period of time prior to moving to Cooperstown.

William was very involved in the town of Cooperstown and Otsego County as well. He was the Justice of the Peace for Otsego County from 1858 until 1864. During the Civil War or at least a portion of it he served on the city council. A call went out for new regiment, which would be the 121st New York Volunteer Infantry. He was given the job of seeing about getting one company recruited. At the time, his younger brother, Nelson O. Wendell was in the south serving in the 44th New York Volunteer Infantry, also known as "Ellsworth's Avengers." No doubt William saw an opportunity for his younger brother to attain a higher rank, though he had been promoted to Sgt. Wendell, due to a heroic deed at the Battle of Malvern Hill. William was able to get his brother home on a furlough to recruit Co. F of the 121st New York, of which he became the captain of. This not only gave him time at home to recruit, but rest, get some quality food and reconnect with family and friends.

William and Maria were involved in the Otsego County Musical Society, plus numerous other things within the area.

Later, though always involved in the law, William also became involved in real estate in the area.

William was a person who was one of the more serious of the numerous Wendell boys of his father's two marriages. He was a caring, close brother to all of his siblings and half siblings. His home was always home and a haven for anyone of the family that wished to come and spend time with him and Maria. He was a fair and square dealing man in all of the various things he was involved in.

Late in life, he and Maria resided in Sydney, Delaware County, where he passed away on 3 May 1884. He was laid to rest in East Union Cemetery.

After William's death Maria married again in 1886 to Jerome Boneparte Youmans. He was born 1818 in Otsego County and died in Unadilla in 1905. She was his third wife, his first having been Amanda Bruce who he married in 1840 and she died three years later. He then married Charlotte Jane Lyon in 1846, who was the mother of his children She passed away in 1884.

Upon Maria's death in 1913 she was buried as Wendell beside William in East Sydney Union Cemetery.

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

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Created: 5/8/14
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