Harmanus Wendell was born in March 1732. He was the son of Jacob and Helena Van Rensselaer Wendell.
Over the next decade, he began to take his place in early Albany society. He was a merchant and Indian trader who signed a petition of Albany businesssmen in 1764 asking the British for protection in the Indian country.
In 1760, he began a life of service to the community when he was first appointed firemaster for the third ward. He also served as overseer of roads and on the night watch. In 1766, he and John Ten Broeck were awarded custody of Albany's four docks for a year.
In November 1775, he was elected to represent the third ward on the Albany Committee of Safety. Re-elected semi-annually, he served until the committee disbanded in 1778. Then he was elected alderman for the third ward.
Despite some question regarding his loyalty which became an issue in 1778, he supported the American war effort and later was accorded a land bounty right in conjunction with the first regiment of the Albany County militia.
Harmanus Wendell died in June 1786 at the age of fifty-four. Attended by five slaves in 1790, his widow carried on in their house until her death in April 1812.
first posted: 10/20/05