Amos Kendall

Historical Marker #1799 notes the location of Amos Kendall's home when he lived in Frankfort. Kendall was a noted Frankfort newspaper editor who became postmaster general in Andrew Jackson's administration.

Kendall was born in Massachusetts in 1789. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1811, and, like many New England young men of his generation, got his start as law clerk and educator.

A chance meeting in Washington, D.C., with Senator Jesse Bledsoe of Kentucky brought Kendall a tutoring job. However, the arrangement fell through, and, after moving to Lexington, Kendall served as the teacher for Henry Clay's children. Kendall sought out a law career soon thereafter and landed in Georgetown where he became editor of the local newspaper, the "Minerva." In 1816, he moved to Frankfort and became editor of the "Argus of Western America." There, Kendall became plugged in to the state's political scene.

During his years in Frankfort Kendall became disillusioned by Clay's ideas and supported Andrew Jackson's 1828 run for the presidency. When the "Argus of Western American" went under in 1829, Kendall moved to Washington D.C. Jackson, appreciative of Kendall's Kentucky support, made him an auditor at the U.S. Treasury. Kendall became a trusted confidant and member of Jackson’s so-called "Kitchen Cabinet." In 1835, Kendall was appointed Postmaster General in Jackson's administration. He held the position until 1840, when he resigned during the Van Buren administration.

Kendall's writing skills and political acumen benefitted Jackson greatly during his two-term presidency, and also helped Van Buren get elected. While still in Jackson's cabinet Kendall began writing for the Washington "Globe." In the 1840s, Kendall suffered a number of financial reverses, but gained his footing as business agent for Samuel B. Morse, inventor of the telegraph.

During the Civil War, Kendall remained a committed Democrat. While he opposed the secession of the Southern states, he also thought that the Constitution should be strictly interpreted. During Reconstruction, not surprisingly, Kendall opposed the Radical Republican plan for reuniting the nation.

Kendall died in Washington D.C. on November 12, 1869, and was buried in Glenwood Cemetery. One of Kendall's lasting legacies is that he helped found Gallaudet University for the deaf in Washington D.C. in 1857. Today, it continues its work of educating hearing-impaired students.