Henry "Harry" Easton Devendorf
One time reporter & writer for the Amsterdam Democrat Recorder
Former Secretary to the US Vice-President James S. Sherman
b. Nov 1857 Delavan, Walworth Co, Wisconsin - d. 2 May 1925, Washington D.C.
His wife, Anna G. Wright
b. 4 Oct 1863, Utica, NY - d. 13 Jan 1915, Washington, D.C.
Researched and Donated by Nancy Robinson
"Harry piqued my interest when I was doing the 25th Anniversary Amsterdam Recorder edition and I just had to research him. As I suspected he really was quite a man with an amazingly extraordinary career which, after reading his obit, probably killed him in the end. I would have liked to include a photo of Harry, but, alas, no luck in finding one."
Amsterdam Evening Recorder, Monday, 4 May 1925
NEWSPAPER MAN OF OLD DAYS IN AMSTERDAM DEAD
Harry E. Devendorf Receives Final Summons-Secretary of Many Congressmen
Harry E. Devendorf, for twenty years active as a news writer, at one time city editor of the Amsterdam Daily Democrat, now The Recorder, and for nearly thirty years a resident of Washington, where he served as private secretary to number of congressmen, died at his home in the national capital, Saturday night. Mr. Devendorf was in his 65th year. For fifty years he had been a busy man in his profession and very successful in his chosen field. For the past year he had been in failing health and he had not been as active as usual.
Mr. Devendorf was born in Delevan, Wis., in November, 1859. He was a son of Lucien B. Devendorf who was long a prominent resident of Utica. When Harry was five years old, his parents took him across the plains and moved to Nevada where he lived for nearly a dozen years. There were no schools in the locality and Mr. Devendorf was educated by his mother, who was a native of Cedarville, Herkimer county. When he was a young man, his parents returned to Cedarville and at the age of 17, Mr. Devendorf went to Utica and attended the Advanced school and afterward the McReary & Shields Business college. He went to work in the office of the Christian Leader-edited by the Rev. Charles R. Lee and printed by White & Floyd in Utica. His ambitions was to learn to be a printer, but in a few months' time he gave this up and went to work writing for the paper, reporting religious conversions in this and other nearby states. While engaged in this work, Mr. Devendorf studied shorthand and became an expert stenographer. He left the Christian Leader and went to work in the office of William H. Comstock, Utica, United States registrar in bankruptcy, as stenographer in the bankruptcy court.
The Utica Daily Republican was founded in 1878, and Mr. Devendorf obtained employment on it as a reporter. He was engaged in this while the paper lasted, which was for a year and a half, and he became skilled as a reporter. When the paper went out of business he secured temporary employment with Dr. Logan, a traveling physician, with whom he visited various parts of the United States. Next he went to work in the office of the Watertown Dispatch, a daily newspaper published by the firm of Kelley & Clare, two former Uticans. He remained there for two years. He then returned to Utica and went to work in the office of J.M. Childs & company, dealers in agricultural implements. In time he re-engaged in the newspaper business and became city editor of the Amsterdam Democrat. He served in that capacity for a year and a half, and then he returned to Watertown and became city editor of the Watertown Times. Mr. Devendorf then went back to Utica as managing editor of the Utica Sunday Tribune. He continued in this position for eight years. During this time, Garry A. Willard was elected county clerk on Oneida county and had to put in much of his time at Utica. Between getting out the Sunday paper, Mr. Devendorf found time to go to Boonville several days a week and get out the Boonville Herald, the work of which was largely editing correspondence. While he was engaged on the Tribune, Mr. Devendorf was also correspondent for the Associated Press and the United Press and handled the news for the Rome Sentinel, and he did much work in the way of special correspondence for New York City papers.
In 1896, James S. Sherman, who was chosen member of congress, appointed Mr. Devendorf his private secretary. It was a place for which he was admirably fitted, not only by his experience in the newspaper field, but by the experience he had in various parts of the country, as he had traveled very extensively. Mr. Devendorf held the position with Mr. Sherman during his ten year service in congress, and also while he was vice president. He spent the winters in Washington and had a large acquaintance among the congressmen and public men. His success in serving Mr. Sherman had given him not only considerable clerical ability, but an inside knowledge of politics, and as he was shrewd observer of men and affairs, his judgment in political matters was very good. When John Sanford of this was nominated for member of congress in 1888, he engaged Mr. Devendorf to take charge of the publicity work of his campaigning, which he did most successfully. After Mr. Sanford had served one term, he was re-nominated and he again engaged Mr. Devendorf to conduct his newspaper campaign for him. Mr. Sanford was elected the second time.
At one time Mr. Devendorf was private secretary for five different congressmen. He had served this way, Congressman Emerson of Warren County, Lucius N. Littauer of Gloversville, John K. Stewart of Amsterdam, James M.E. O'Grady of Rochester and Congressman Flack of Malone.
He served as secretary for Congressman Charles L. Knapp of Lowville who was in congress from 1903 to 1911. He was secretary for the Hon. Samuel Wallin of Amsterdam 1913-1915 and for Hon. William Barclay Charles of Amsterdam, 1915-1917 representatives in congress for the thirtieth district. He has served Congressman Snyder of the Oneida-Herkimer district during the past nine years.
He did not seek these positions as he was a busy man. The positions sought him, and when requests for service came to him he was always will to accommodate. He had been clerk of the congressional committee on Indian affairs while Mr. Sherman was chairman of that committee and also during the incumbency of Mr. Sherman.
Mr. Devendorf was a member of the Arcanum club and the Republican club of Utica, of the National Press club of Utica, of the National Press club of New York City and the Brown's Tract Guides' association. He had never held any political office except those of a minor character while living in Utica. As a young man in that city he was a member of the Adjutant Bacon Cadets, and while in Watertown he was a member of the Thirty-first Separate company of the National Guard.
In 1882 Mr. Devendorf married Miss Anna Wright, daughter of William C. Wright of Utica. She died several years ago. He leaves also two children, Raymond E. of Washington, who is private secretary to Senator Wadsworth and a daughter, Miss Grace Devendorf, who is roentgenologist for Dr. Shoop, an eminent physician of Washington.
The funeral will be held in Utica Thursday afternoon at 2 o'clock. The interment will be in Forest Hill in that city.
The Utica Daily Press pays to Mr. Devendorf the following editorial tribute:
In every town of Oneida and Herkimer counties news of the death of Harry E. Devendorf will be regretted. He was known in all these communities and wherever known, he was liked and respected. Death ends a busy life devoted mainly to public affairs, which held Mr. Devendorf's interest throughout his active career. Few men had a better knowledge of the government's operations at Washington and he rendered frequents service to the people of central New York who had business with its departments.
Mr. Devendorf went into newspaper work in his younger days and never relinquished his interest in it. It was partly because of the grasp of public matters thus acquired and more, perhaps, because of his particular aptitude for the work, that he became private secretary of the late Vice President Sherman. In that responsible position he overlooked none of the details of official routine. He was especially eager to be of service to the people of this congressional district, and in that aim, he succeeded.
Mr. Devendorf was a modest man who seldom spoke out of turn. But when he did speak and especially upon matters requiring good political judgment or foresight, his words were eagerly awaited. He was unusually shrewd in his forecasts and for twenty years was a sort of barometer for the political weather in this state. The qualities of mind which enabled him to appraise thus accurately the trend of public affairs were those which endeared him to his friends. They included loyalty, a capacity for friendship, respect for facts and the ability to analyze human motives. He was the kind of man who will be sorely missed by all who were privileged to call him "friend."
The Washington Post, Friday, 15 January 1915
Anna G. Devendorf, wife of H.E. Devendorf, at one time secretary to Vice-President Sherman, died at her home, 909 E. Capitol Street, Wednesday after a lingering illness. Funeral services will be held at 3 o'clock, the Rev. Enoch Thompson, of the church of the Nativity, officiating. Temporary interment will be in a receiving vault of a local cemetery not yet chosen last night. The body will buried later at Utica, NY., the birthplace of the deceased. Mrs. Devendorf had lived in Washington for the last 18 years. She was 51 years old. She is survived by her husband, a son R.E. Devendorf, and a daughter, Grace Devendorf, of this city.
Watertown Daily Times, 14 Jan 1915, Watertown, NY
Mrs. Harry E. Devendorf
Utica, Jan 14.
Mrs. H.E. Devendorf, wife of Harry E. Devendorf, former secretary to the late James S. Sherman and a former resident of this city, died in Washington DC last evening. The announcement was received by John E. Wright of 420 Elizabeth Street, this city, late last evening. Mrs. Devendorf had been in poor health for several months and her death was not entirely unexpected.
She was born in this city Oct 4, 1863 and spent most of her life here. She had been a member of Calvary Episcopal Church. She was a woman of fine character and of a kindly disposition, which won her many friends. She was loved by all who knew her, and her death will cause great sorrow. Her marriage to Mr. Devendorf took place at Mexico Point, NY September 13, 1882. Her maiden name was Anna G. Wright. Mr. and Mrs. Devendorf lived in this city until Mr. Devendorf's duties as secretary to Mr. Sherman took him to Washington.
Mrs. Devondorf's parents are both dead, her father having died eight years ago. The death of her mother occurred 11 years previous.
Besides her husband, she leaves a daughter Grace and son, Raymond, both of Washington, a sister, Mrs. E.D. Chase of New Hampshire and two brothers, Wm. Wright of Goldsboro, PA and John E. Wright of this city. Mr. Devendorf was formerly a resident of this town.
Excerpt from the Watertown Daily Times, 10 August 1921, Watertown, NY
"Like father, like son," the saying goes and so it is that Raymond E. Devendorf, son of the veteran house secretary, has followed his father's vocation and is secretary to Senator James W. Wadsworth and clerk of the very important military affairs committee of the senate, of which Senator Wadsworth is chairman. Raymond Devendorf has many friends in northern New York. He goes fishing there most every summer. As a matter of fact, both of the Devendorfs are enthusiastic fishermen and delight to test their skill in the trout streams of the North County. This year both seem destined to miss their vacation however, as there is no indication of either the house or senate adjourning for some weeks to come.
NOTES ON THE DEVENDORF FAMILY
In 1803, Henry S. Devendorf, the grandfather of Harry E., became the first settler of Cedarville, Herkimer County, and kept the first tavern there in 1810. In 1826, he deeded a lot to build a chapel for the Methodist Episcopal Church of Cedarville.
Excepts from The Devendorf Family, page 51:
Solomon Devendorf, son of Capt. Henry & Anna Rosina Devendorf, b. 24 Oct 1770 d. 13 Jun 1850 married, 19 Oct 1790, Christina Devendorf, his cousin, b. 28 March 1774 d. 24 Feb 1853, dau of Capt. Jacob Devendorf & Christina Windecker.
Son of Solomon & Christina Devendorf: Henry S. Devendorf, b. 26 Nov 1796, d. 1884 married Elizabeth B. [Bellinger], dau of Daniel Bellinger.
Children of Henry S. Devendorf & Elizabeth Bellinger who relocated to Delevan, Wisconsin:
1850 US Census, Columbia, Herkimer Co., NY
1850 US Census, Litchfield, Herkimer Co., NY
Lucien B. Devendorf
From Descendants of Joseph Easton, Hartford, Conn., 1636-1899, by William Starr Easton, pages 121 & 122:
Wisconsin 1855 State Census Index
H. S. DEVENDORF
1860 US Census, Delavan, Walworth County, Wisconsin
Other Devendorf's on same page:
1) Julius Devendorf, age 28, NY, Flora, 25, b. NY Kate 1, b. Wisc.
1880 US Census, Utica, Oneida County, NY
Utica, New York Directories, 1887-91
1900 US Census, Washington, D.C., District 122
1910 US Census, Washington, D.C., Precinct 9, District 239
WWI Draft Registration
Raymond Easton Devendorf
121-12th Street, Apt 5, Washington, D.C.
1920 US Census, Washington, D.C., District 218
1920 US Census, Washington, D.C., District 120
1930 US Census, Washington, D.C., District 133
1930 US Census, Washington, D.C., District 241
US Marine Muster Roll 1940
Douglas P. Devendorf
U.S. Veterans Cemeteries, ca. 1800-2004
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