Johannes Wendell was born in New Netherland in 1649. He was the son of Evert Janse and his first wife, Susanna Truax Wendell. At the time of his father's second marriage in 1663, he was identified as aged fourteen and the eldest of five surviving children.
Shortly thereafter, he entered the fur trade. By the 1670s, he had married Maria de Meyer - daughter of a Manhattan-based merchant and would-be Albany trader. That union was shortlived and her death left him with two small daughters. By the end of the decade, Johannes had remarried - this time to Elsie Staats, daughter of a prominent Albany physician. Over the next twelve years, she bore him nine more children - making their household among Albany's largest.
Johannes Wendell prospered in the fur trade, established a home on upper State Street, acquired frontier lands, was appointed justice of the peace in 1684, commissioned captain of the Albany militia company in 1685, and was appointed alderman under the Albany city charter of 1686. He also was a deacon and elder of the Albany Dutch church.
He served as first ward alderman until the charter government was suspended during the reign of Jacob Leisler. Unlike the other city fathers, he did not repudiate Leisler's regime. Instead, he accepted Leisler's commission to be mayor of Albany in 1690. With the return of regular government in 1691, Johannes Wendell found himself cut off from city hall. He also began to experience trouble in his business when he was brought before the Albany court and fined for illegal trading with the Indians.
In November 1691, this fifty-one-year-old merchant and landholder made his will. He died early in 1692 leaving a widow and eleven children to share in his extensive estate.
Real Estate: After his house and lot above Pearl Street, Johannes Wendell had acquired a share in the Saratoga Patent, land at Stone Arabia (today's Lansingburgh), and acreage at Klinkenbergh in southern Albany County.