Amos Kendall, an American politician, born in Dunstable, Mass., Aug. 16,1789, died in Washington, D. C, Nov. 11, 1869. Until the age of 16 he worked on his father's farm, and in 1807, after a little more than a year's preparation, he entered Dartmouth college, where in 1811 he graduated the first in his class, although a large part of his time had been occupied with teaching for a support. Having studied law and been admitted to the bar, in the spring of 1814 he emigrated to Lexington, Ky. Finding his professional labors not immediately remunerative, he again resorted to teaching, and for several months was a tutor in the family of Henry Clay. Subsequently he established himself in Georgetown, where he was appointed postmaster, and in the intervals of his practice edited a local newspaper. In 1816 he was attached to the staff of the state journal at Frankfort, called the "Argus of Western America," and showed himself an able political writer. He was one of the earliest friends of common schools in Kentucky, and succeeded in procuring the passing of an act to district the state, and to set apart one half the profits of the bank of the Commonwealth to constitute a school fund. He was a firm supporter of the election of Gen. Jackson, who in 1829 appointed him fourth auditor of the treasury department.
In 1835 he was made postmaster general, and in one year reorganized the -financial system of the department, and freed it from the debt with which it had been embarrassed. In 1836 he procured from congress a reorganization of the department on a plan suggested by himself, which has undergone no essential alteration since. He was retained in office by Mr. Van Buren, but retired from the cabinet in June, 1840, in order to further the interests of the democratic party in the presidential election of that year. He never afterward entered public life, although a foreign mission was offered to him by President Polk, but devoted himself chiefly to his profession. For many years he was embarrassed by a suit instituted against him by certain mail contractors, which was ultimately decided in his favor in the supreme court. In 1845 he assumed the entire management of Prof. Morse's interest in the American electro-magnetic telegraph. In 1865-6 he travelled through Europe and visited Egypt and Palestine. He is the author of "Life of Andrew Jackson, Private, Military, and Civil," begun in 1843, but never completed. He founded and was first president of the deaf and dumb asylum in Washington, and was a liberal benefactor to other religious and educational institutions.
His "Autobiography," edited by William Stickney, was published in 1872.