Jacob Wendell was born in August 1691. He was the last child born to the second marrige of Johannes Wendell to physician's daughter Elsie Staats. His father died early in 1692 - leaving Elsje to raise their large family until she re-married in 1695 and subsequently gave birth to several more children. He grew up in their landmark home on State Street.
In 1691, he was named among the many heirs to her father's substantial estate.
At a young age, Jacob was sent to New York to learn business. His Manhattan mentor soon shipped him to Boston merchant John Mico where he quickly found success on his own.
In August 1714, he married physician's daughter Sarah Oliver of Cambridge at Mico's townhouse. The marriage is said to have produced twelve children - although none of them were christened in Albany. However, between 1716 and the mid-1720s, he witnessed a number of baptisms at the Albany Dutch church.
Over the next three decades, he rose in Boston business and political circles to become wealthy and powerful. Other members of the Albany Wendell family came to Boston to work under him. He was called "Colonel." He also was a notable developer of New England frontier lands. Among his partners in these real estate ventures was childhood cohort Philip Livingston.
Banker, businessman, Council member, militia officer, and landholder, Albany native Jacob Wendell achieved unparalled distinction in New England. He died on September 7, 1761. Jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes was his great-grandson.
Sources: The life of Jacob Wendell is CAP biography number 2696. This sketch is derived chiefly from family and community-based resources. The standard antiquarian book on him was published by James R. Stanwood in 1882. His family papers reside at the Massachusetts Historical Society.
His portrait was painted by John Smibert and dated 1731.
first posted: 1/20/08