Biography of Sally Louisa Wendell

Daughter of Jacob Wendell and Nancy (Fox) Gould

Herkimer County, New York

Tragedy seemed to have followed Sally Louisa Wendell (known as Lou-ize to family members) throughout her adult life. In spite of all the sadness and adversities that came her way, with her strong Christian faith she was able to overcome and continue on her path.

Sally Louisa was one of three daughters born to Jacob Wendell and Nancy Fox.

She was born in Herkimer County, more than likely in the Wilsie Hill, Warren area. She joined the family on September 3, 1834.

Lou-ize was a very tall slender woman, taller than some of her brothers and the Dutch Wendell men tended to be tall large men. Four known pictures of her attest to this fact. She was a person that was always concerned about her appearance and tended to dress as nicely as finances permitted.

Around the time of her mother's death or shortly there after she traveled west to Wisconsin to where her older half sister (by her mother's first marriage) Nancy Jane (Gould) Haner lived in the West Bend area. It was here that she met a widower named John H. Marcellus and married him in September 1855. Into this marriage John brought a young son Herbert O. who was but around 3 years old.

Naturally Lou-ize became his mother figure, but when he was only 6 years and 1 month old his little life was snuffed out in 1858. This had to have been a bitter sweet year for the Marcellus' as their first daughter Stella Florence was also born in 1858. Three years later, in 1861 Lou-ize had her second daughter, Corlin Jesse. Great sadness prevailed in the household when in 1863 they lost both of their little girls. In March little Corlin died and she was followed on August 23rd, when Stella passed away from typhoid fever.

Lou-ize's life would suffer another jolt when her husband John was caught up in the last conscription of older men to fill the dwindling ranks in the northern army during the civil war. There is no doubt that after the loss of three such very young children and a husband off to war, she must have felt complete emptiness. She was fortunate to have loving brothers and sisters to help comfort her and ease her pain.

War finally over and John returned home and again hope and a renewed faith presented itself in the form of a son, Charles Wendell Marcellus born in about 1865.

Life went on and they lived on their farm. How much more could Lou-ize stand as she lost her son on December 11, 1878 in Boltonville, Washington County, Wisconsin. All the children were layed to rest, side by side in the Boltonville Cemetery.

How many years Lou-ize and John remained in Wisconsin is unknown, but they eventually moved to Washington County, Kansas where they again engaged in farming.

It was after moving to Kansas that Lou-ize went back to Herkimer and Montgomery County on a visit to see her brothers and sisters, plus numerous other family members that lived in that area. No doubt she had somewhat faced her fate, losing all her children, but no doubt it did have an effect on her seeing her brothers and sisters with their families.

On July 18, 1896, her beloved John passed away. He was buried in the Washington, Kansas cemetery. However, no tombstone ever appeared for him there. Lou-ize wished that his stone be placed with their children in the Boltonville, Cemetery in Wisconsin. She left space on that stone for her name to be cut in at the appropriate time. She no doubt told her youngest sister, Imilda Leona Wendell Berrian to do this, never knowing that she would outlive everyone of her brothers and sisters.

After John's death she became rather of a wanderer, going to California where she lived for awhile, then up to Oregon and Washington where Imilda and family lived. She returned to Washington, Kansas, took up residency in the Revi Hotel, sold her home, but she was not satisfied. She started turning more inward to her Christian faith.

In 1904 she boarded the Oskar II in New York with a younger woman as companion and set sail for a three month stint in England, Germany and France. She saw many marvelous sights before returning to New York, where she visited some of her family for the last time.

She headed west once more. Somewhere she had become involved in the Church of the Nazarene. She was told if she donated all of her finances to the church they would take care of her for the remainder of her life. This did not prove at all to be the wisest decision on her part. They may have initially cared for her, but eventually she was found by her sister Imilda and niece Ada malnutritioned and near death in Pasadena, California where she was living.

Her own death was caused by cancer of the face and neck, which she suffered through with her religious faith keeping her strong. Sally Louisa Wendell died on December 27, 1923 at the age of 83. She was buried in Rose Hills Memorial Park Cemetery, Whittier, California, on December 31, 1923.


The writer of this sketch has the journal that Lou-ize kept as documentation of her experiences while on her European tour.

It is through Sally Louisa Wendell Marcellus' traveling and keeping obituaries, among other things that had made it possible to put so much of the Wendell family of Herkimer and Montgomery counties together.

Charlott Wells Jones

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Created: 1/18/14
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