Amos Kendall bigraphy, stories - American politician

Amos Kendall : biography

August 16, 1789 - November 12, 1869

Amos Kendall (August 16, 1789 – November 12, 1869) was an American lawyer, journalist and politician. He rose to prominence as editor-in-chief of the Argus of Western America, an influential newspaper in Frankfort, the capital of the U.S. state of Kentucky. He used his newspaper, writing skills, and extensive political contacts to build the Democratic Party into a national political power.Sloan and Startt, p. 108; Remini, Martin Van Buren, p. vii. An ardent supporter of Andrew Jackson, he served as United States Postmaster General during the Jackson administration as well as briefly under Martin Van Buren. He was one of the most influential members of Jackson's "Kitchen Cabinet", an unofficial group of Jackson's top appointees and advisors who set administration policy.O'Brien, McGuire, McPherson, and Gerstle, p. 230. Returning to private life, Kendall invested heavily in Samuel Morse's new invention, the telegraph. He became one of the most important figures in the transformation of the American news media in the 19th century.Howe, p. 496.


Kendall fell ill with a digestive illness and insomnia in the summer of 1869. On August 2, he traveled to New York to visit a nephew. He fell ill with what he believed was a common cold, and by the time he returned to Washington, D.C., on August 14 he was bedridden. As his wife was preparing to move the household into the William Stickney mansion at 6th and M Streets NW, Kendall resided at the home of Robert C. Fox, his son-in-law. Still bedridden after three weeks, Kendall moved to the Stickney mansion. Accessed 2013-02=21. Kendall was unable to eat and was in great pain. He called his illness "bilious fever", but it was more likely cancer of the liver and the stomach. The pain was so great, Kendall considered suicide, and he remained bedridden until the end of his life.Cole, p. 294.

Amos Kendall died at dawn on Friday, November 12, 1869, and was interred in Glenwood Cemetery in Washington, D.C. Accessed 2013-02=21.

Kendall's will provided for the purchase of land and construction of a chapel of a second branch chapel for Calvary Baptist Church as well. This became known as Mission Chapel (later known as Memorial Chapel). His will also created a scholarship at what is now George Washington University. The scholarship was awarded to the student from the District of Columbia who scored the highest ranking on the college's entrance exam. It existed so long as a member of Calvary Baptist Church continued to sit on the university's board of trustees.

Marriage and children

Amos Kendall was markedly shy. In part, this was due to the lack of social graces taught to him in his childhood and adolescence. He did not actively participate in social gatherings until he moved to Groton, Massachusetts, in 1811. In Groton, he fell in love with 16-year-old Eliza, the sister of a prominent Boston family of merchants. She refused his attentions (as she was too young to marry), and Kendall wooed her older sister, Mary. But the loss of his legal apprenticeship and subsequent move to Kentucky in 1813 ended their relationship.

Kendall married Mary Bullard Woolfolk of Louisville, Kentucky, on October 1, 1818.Green, p. 270. The couple had four children: Mary Anne (born in 1820), a stillborn boy, Adela (born in 1822), and William Zebedee (born in 1823).Cole, p. 63. On October 13, Mary died of a fever after a 10-day illness.Cole, p. 63.

On January 5, 1826, Kendall married 17-year-old Jane Kyle of Georgetown, Kentucky. She gave birth to four sons and seven daughters.

Religious beliefs

During his sophomore year at Dartmouth, Kendall's belief in Congregationalist theology began to waver. During a trip to Vermont to see relatives in September 1809, he worshiped at a Christian Church and was amazed to see that their religious services not only involved women but were emotionally charged. While living in Groton in the fall of 1811, he rejected Roman Catholicism and Unitarianism but was strongly attracted to the revivalist preaching of Congregational minister Edward Dodge Griffin.Cole, p. 29. While living in Lexington, he attended some Methodist churches, but found them too loud and bombastic.Cole, p. 43.

Living octopus

Living octopus

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