July 18 – Happy Birthday Joseph T. Yund

117856930_1420525784The 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. He ran the store for seventeen years and then handed over the reigns to his son Theodore and retired.

Yund was one of this city’s earliest, most devout and most generous Catholics. He took an active role in the establishment of St. Joseph’s Church, the first congregation for Amsterdam’s German Catholics. In addition to raising and donating significant funds toward the construction of the parish’s church on lower Guy Park Avenue, Yund personally supervised its construction.

During his long retirement Yund became famous locally for his long daily walks around the city, accompanied by several conversations with friends and passers by along the way. He died in the early morning of May 23, 1903 at his home at 240 East Main Street, a bit more than two months short of his eightieth birthday.

(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.)


3 thoughts on “July 18 – Happy Birthday Joseph T. Yund

  1. Incredible … That is my great great grandfather ! So proud of what he started in the city of Amsterdam . I believe he also built a church called St. Joseph’s that was torn down in the 1980’s . Happy Birthday Great Great Grandfather ! 💕Margaret Yund Demeter


    1. I too have Joseph T. Yund as my Great-Great Grandfather. I’m a sister of Margaret Yund Demeter. You may hear from a number of Yunds in the Albany area who are related to Joseph T Yund….there are a lot of us. Our Dad Theodore Joseph Yund would have been been a Great Grandson of Joseph T.(Theodore) Yund and a Grandson to Charles C. Yund. Our Grandmother Louise Agnes Rothen Yund also from Amsterdam married Walter C. Yund (our dad’s father) Our Grandfather Walter C. Yund unfortunately died when our Dad was 8 years old). Fortunately my Grandmother Louise kept lots of old family information that she had collected which has helped us (particularly another sister and cousin) find out a lot about our roots. I have an amazing photo of 3 generations of Yunds the oldest being Joseph T. Yund and wife with their sons Theodore, Charles and Alfred and their wives. There are also Raymond, Laura and Walter Yund(my Grandfather being the youngest child of the 3 children in the photo…..all children of Charles and Teresa Kennedy Yund. The photo was taken in Charles Yund’s home diningroom in Amsterdam in the very early 1900s. The woolen Mill Yund Kennedy Yund that was in Amsterdam was built by our our Great grandfather Charles and his brother Theodore and Thomas(?) Kennedy…….his sister Teresa married Charles and another sister Elizabeth married Theodore. My Grandfather Walter was involved with the mill at the time of his death. Great Grandfather Joseph came to the USA with his wife Louisa and baby son Theodore and we are so happy they did! Happy Birthday Great Great Grandfather Joseph T. Yund…..Love Your Great Great Granddaughter, Mary Grace Yund McCarthy


  2. Another Great Great Granddaughter (Margaret and Mary Grace’s sister 😉 here to wish our Great Great Grandfather, Joseph Theodore YUND, a Very Happy (Belated) Birthday. And yes, it is true, I embarked on a journey (with my cousin, Maureen) soon after our dad’s death in 2007, to learn more about our YUND FAMILY ROOTS in Amsterdam, N. Y., and little did I know it would take us seven years to complete … which resulted in the creation of five 250-page genealogy books that we compiled for our family (through one of those “Memory Book Making Websites”) so that Joseph’s journey to this country from Barr, Alsace, Bas-Rhin (Upper Rhine) will not be forgotten. We learned so much along this journey of self discovery that we never knew before, completing a puzzle that originally had a lot of missing pieces. Thank You Great Great Grandfather Joseph and Great Great Grandmother Louisa for making that journey back in March of 1854 with your young son Theodore… which I believe took you about six weeks. ❤


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