Harmanus A. Wendell


Harmanus A. Wendell was born in May 1744. He was the son of Abraham H. and Elizabeth Wendell Wendell. He grew up in the upper State Street home of a prominent merchant but lost his mother in 1757. In 1763, he was among those provided for (but not by name) in the will of his uncle. He was known as "Harmanus A. Wendell" to prevent confusion with a number of same-named kin.

In April 1770, he married Christina Vandenbergh at the Albany Dutch church. She died in 1782. In March 1785, he married Catharina Wendell also at the Dutch church - where all ten of his children from the two marriages were christened.

This lifelong Albany resident's life of community service began in November 1774, when he was appointed firemaster for the second ward. By 1779, he had set up his home in the first ward where his property was valued on assessment rolls in a number of locations for several decades. However, the census of 1790 was more definite as it fixed the household of "Harmanus A. Wendell" on upper State Street near that of his father and included five family members and three slaves. In 1800, the census showed him at the same location but as a widower with five children. However, the census of 1810 identified his residence as the "poorhouse" and counted a total of fifty-eight persons of all categories as residents. His precise connection to the poorhouse bears more intensive investigation.

During the 1780s and 90s, he was identified as a member of Albany fire companies. In 1797, his name was included on a first ward freeholder's list. At that time, he was identified as a tavernkeeper.

In March 1783, he was named as a nephew and heir in the will filed by Geesje Wendell - a maiden aunt. In April 1793, he was named as the son and co-executor of the will of his father.

By 1813, the first city directory was listing him as the superintendant of the market with an address of 77 Hudson Street. Subsequent directories gave his address as 67 Hamilton Street and at 92 North Pearl Street. During those years, other people were identified as the "overseer of the poor" making the reference from 1810 even more puzzling.

He was active in the operations of the Albany Dutch church and was a member of the Great Consistory of 1815.

Harmanus A. Wendell died in July 1819 at the age of seventy-five.

biography in-progress


the people of colonial Albany Sources: The life of Harmanus A. Wendell is CAP biography number 2675. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources.

The census of 1810 broke down the residents of Wendell's "poorhouse" as:

13 boys aged 10 and under
1 boy 16-26
16 men over 45 years old
6 girls under 10 years old
2 girls 1-16
1 female 16-26
5 women 26-45
7 women over 45
6 free persons of color
1 slave

first posted: 10/20/08