The surname “Yund” was a much respected one in Amsterdam, NY for close to a century and it was today’s Birthday Celebrant who originally brought it to this Mohawk Valley community and first established the family’s heritage of business acumen. Joseph Theodore Yund was born in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France on July 18, 1823. France and Germany have fought over the ownership of this region for hundreds of years, which explains why its population includes people of both French and like Yund, German descent.
He started his professional life as an apprentice spinner but soon joined the French army, serving under Napoleon III for eight years, including two years as a member of a regiment based in Paris. After being discharged from service in 1850, he returned to Alsace-Lorraine, married his wife Louise and started his family, which would eventually consist of three sons. In 1854, he made the decision to move to America and came directly to Amsterdam, which at the time was a budding center of textile manufacturing and always in need of experienced spinners.
Then in 1864, Yund decided to go into business for himself, manufacturing brooms out of a shop he opened on what is now Guy Park Avenue, near St. Luke’s Church. A few decades later, his son Thoedore would build the Yund Mansion near that property. The home still stands and serves as the office of Amsterdam accountant, Michael Zumbolo.
Two years later, Yund made another career switch, opening a retail furniture and cabinet making business at 87 East Main Street. It would be as a merchant, at this location that Joseph Yund would become best known and very wealthy…
(Two of Yund’s sons would become partners in one of Amsterdam’s most successful knitting mills. This other Amsterdam knitting magnate shares their father’sJuly 18 birthday.)
My complete birthday post for Joseph Yund will appear in the new second edition of A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam, NY Birthdays, which will be available before the 2016 Holiday season. I also distribute an Amsterdam, NY Birthday Blog Monthly Newsletter that includes the full birthday posts for three of the twenty-to-thirty people whose birthdays I recognize each month. Each newsletter also includes an Amsterdam Birthday Quiz that will test your knowledge and memory of people and events in your hometown.
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