Rev. Thomas Kendall, the grandfather of the above, was
born in Massachusetts, and resided at an early time in the town of Millbury,
Worcester Co. He was a missionary among the Narraganset
Indians, and chaplain during a portion of the Revolutionary War.
Thomas Kendall, Jr., the only son of Rev. Thomas
Kendall who arrived at maturity, was born in Millbury, Massachusetts.
He married Olive Crane, of Oxford, in that State, and had by her six sons
and one daughter. One son by this marriage died in infancy. He
married for his second wife Martha Sparawk, by whom he had two daughters and
one son, and the family (all living except the youngest son) removed to New
Lebanon, Columbia Co., N. Y., in June, 1820.
The subject of this sketch, John Kendall, who was the
oldest son by the first marriage, was born in Northbridge, Worcester Co.,
Mass., July 21, 1810, and was, consequently, ten years old at the time of
the removal. His father was a mechanical genius, and began early in
life to work and experiment in machinery for his own amusement. His
experiments led him to consider the principle of graduating the degrees on
the scale of the thermometer, and about the year 1820 he invented a machine
for that purpose, giving with great accuracy a division of degrees
conforming to the variations of caliber of the tube. This was the
great difficulty to be overcome in the construction of the thermometer, and
it was never successfully obviated till Mr. Kendall invented his machine.
It was the result of close and accurate mathematical study, and the most
ingenious application of mechanism. Mr. Kendall perfected his own
standard between the boiling and freezing points so completely that Prof.
Henry says the degrees established by him conform almost exactly to the best
standards obtained in London and Liverpool.
After his removal to New Lebanon he established the
manufacture of thermometers, which he continued during his life, and also
constructed a barometer for his own use. He died at the age of
forty-five, in December, 1831.
His son, John Kendall, inheriting much of his
mechanical genius, and being brought up with him, naturally became
interested in his father's occupation, and after the death of the latter
took up the business, and has followed it most of the time since, building
and furnishing his present well-equipped shop, and introducing many
improvements in the way of machinery. In 1832 he added the manufacture
of barometers, which he has continued to make, although his principal
attention is devoted to the other branch of his occupation. Within the
past ten or twelve years he has increased the capacity of his machinery so
that he can now produce, if needed for the market, from forty to forty-five
dozen thermometers per day. The machine invented by his father is now,
however, no longer monopolized or kept a secret, but has come into general
use, and the competition has very much reduced the profits of manufacturing.
Mr. Kendall, however, makes a very popular thermometer, and supplies a fair
share of the demand throughout the country.
He was married in 1832 to Deborah Avery, of New
Lebanon, and has three children, all daughters. Though an earnest
advocate of Republican principles, and sometimes a hard worker at elections,
he has never sought nor desired office for himself. He is universally
esteemed for his integrity and uprightness of character, and his genial
disposition has made him many warn friends.