ORIGIN OF THE AMERICAN DE WOLFS,
THE NOVA SCOTIA DE WOLFS AND OTHER BRANCHES OF THE FAMILY
NOT DESCENDED FROM CHARLES OF GUADALOUPE.
Industriously, but thus far unsuccessfully, have the family genealogists sought the link to connect the De Wolfs of America with the noble family of that name, for centuries prominent in many countries of Europe. It will appear from the following tables sufficiently evident that all the lines which form the subject of this book descend from Balthasar and Alice De Wolf, first appearing in authentic records about 1665. To the labors of Mrs. Salisbury the family owes the establishment of the relationship of Charles De Wolf of Guadaloupe to his American ancestors and of the relationship existing between the descendants of Simon and Mark Anthony. But however obscure to recent generations had these facts become, it will be seen from the intercourse and correspondence of the Hon. Benjamin De Wolf of Windsor, Nova Scotia, with the Hon. James De Wolf of Bristol, R.I., from relations of Simon's grandsons and their Rhode Island cousins, and other facts related in these pages, that the relationships of the several lines and their starting point at Lyme, Conn., were well known to our great-grandfathers. "Only three others of the name of De Wolf, says the noble work of Professor and Mrs. Edward Salisbury, "have been discovered as living in America as early or earlier than Balthasar De Wolf—all three living in New Amsterdam: the first, Abel De Wolf, receiving a license for mining in the Catskill Mountains in 1659, Abraham De Wolf of whom nothing is known further than that he was in New Amsterdam in 1661, and thirdly, Dirk De Wolf, who obtained exclusive privilege for making salt in New Netherlands in 1661. Abel De Wolf seems to have been associated with Dirk, but the three seem to have returned to Holland, leaving no descendants in this country. No relationship or association between them and Balthasar has been discovered." But this Balthasar, this trunk from which the multi-branched family tree has grown, till it penetrates with its vigorous and persistent growth the history of every land—who was he? Whence came he? Who were his ancestors? The answers to these questions have been sought in vain. Curious have been the conjectures. He has been made a French Huguenot fleeing from persecutions Russian—a Protestant refugee from Holland—even a Jew. It were, perhaps, easiest to pronounce with Mrs. Salisbury (in a recent letter) the pretentions of the Rhode Island De Wolf to noble European lineage as groundless. But this "short and easy method" does not seem altogether scientific. Undoubtedly no positive proof of his relationship to the well-known European family has ever been adduced. But strong circumstantial and cumulative evidence is not lacking, and it must be remembered that with all the theories of Balthasar's descent—Russian, French, Dutch and Jewish—no one has ventured to suggest he was of the American Aborigines, so European descent of some kind he must have had. Now the origin of the name de Wolf as given to the nobleman, Louis de Saint Etienne, is a matter of historical record—the noble families of Europe of the name all trace by authentic records descent from this stock. There is no reason to suppose that anyone has ventured to assume the name without the right to it. The interesting studies of Dr. J. R. De Wolf and others, noting the frequent use of names of many animals, including the wolf, for surnames, as in the Guelphs, ingenious and interesting as they are, seem to have no special bearing upon this particular question. The very definite form De Wolf, certainly in this country is quite distinct from the much more common name, Wolf or Wolff—which, as Dr. De Wolf points out, is frequently Jewish.
In a country whose earlier settlers were many of them sons of titled families in search of adventure, seeking to retrieve ruined fortunes, or fleeing from political or religious persecution, is it not more probable that one of the well-known European family should have found his way to America, than that the name should have been self-assumed or derived from some utterly unknown source and suddenly have "grown" like Topsy? This argument from probability would seem greatly strengthened by the interesting discovery of the writer of our preface that the Livonian De Wolfs have a tradition of one of their family leaving for America about the same period that Balthasar appears in Connecticut. Even so careful and unprejudiced a witness as Mrs. Salisbury finds something inexplicable in the family which causes it at once to make alliances with the most influential and exclusive families of the new world. The resemblance in feature and character of the De Wolfs of Europe to those in America has been noticed by more than one. Mr. Frank E. De Wolf at a distinguished assembly in Europe, pointed out to his wife among the guests, a Gentleman of whom he had absolutely no knowledge, remarking the striking resemblance in feature and bearing to one of his family in Rhode Island. A little later on being presented to him, he learned that he was a Count De Wolf, a prominent courtier. These facts together with the persistent tradition in the De Wolf family of the origin of their name, of their relation to European families of the same name, and of the origin of the crest or coat- of-arms which, with slight variations, appear in connection with all the branches of the family in Europe, certainly make the identity of the American with the European family more than probable. If Balthasar fled to the wilderness of America for any religious, political or family reason, he may have had cause to conceal his national origin or his rank beneath a veil of mystery so dense that his descendants have been unable to lift it, as did, according to his biographers, that Dr. Francis Le Baron, with whose descendants the De Wolfs were in later years to be bound by marriage.
All this is at least of genealogical and antiquarian interest, however much we may feel that it matters little in a Republican land what titles of nobility decorated the names of our ancestors. But to those who accept recent theories advanced by high authorities as to heredity, such questions do not lack interest when ancient titles are founded on deeds of valor. Even a cursory examination of the De Wolf portraits in these pages will reveal a strong family likeness in even quite remote lines. The fact indicates family characteristics which appear in so many records of their lives. To learn that these characteristics may be traced back still further through many centuries cannot be without interest, and should not be without inspiration to live lives worthy of our forebears. The chief gain in tracing our descent from knights of old and heroes of the past, should be a certain noblesse oblige—a determination that our lives shall not lower the standard that our race hath raised. "A people," says Lord Macauley, "which takes no pride in the noble achievements of remote ancestors, will never achieve anything worthy to be remembered with pride by remote descendants."
Of Balthasar the first trace is in the records of "A Perticular Court in Hartford, March 5th, 1656, when among the "names of those presented for smoaking in the streets contra to the law," appears the name of "Baltazer de Woolfe." For this he was fined. "Tradition has it," says Mr. John M. Dolph, "that he paid his fine, lighted his pipe and went out." This introduction of their first known ancestor on the stage of American life, will be recognized with a smile by many a De Wolf reader as sufficiently characteristic of a race not always submissive to restraints which did not approve themselves to their own convictions, yet bearing the consequences of their own independence or even recklessness with an easy good-natured philosophy. There may be a hint, too, of that lack of sympathy with Puritan restrictions, natural to a foreigner of aristocratic birth, such as the author of the "Nameless Nobleman" so well portrays in Dr. Le Baron's "Treaty Offensive and Defensive," with Major Bradford and his fellow selectmen.
The second mention connects him with the superstitions of the day, for September 5th, 1661, Nicholas and Margaret Jennings of "Sea Brook" are indicted "for not haveing the feare of God before their eyes," "having entertained familiarity with Satan, the great enemy of God and mankind, and by his help done works above the course of nature, ye loss of ye lives of severall p'sons, in p'ticuler ye wife of Reynolds Marvin with ye child of Baalshar de Wolf with other soceries;" the child is spoken of as "bewitched to death."
Balthasar de Wolf, in Savage's "Genealogical Dictionary," is mentioned (first) in Wethersfield, Conn., 1664. In 1668 he and his three sons; Edward, Simon and Stephen, are mentioned in the records of Lyme as members of the train-band. He probably therefore lived from 1661 (or earlier) in East Saybrooke, which in 1664-5 was set off as the separate town of Lyme. "The fact that Stephen was in the militia," says Mr. J. M. Dolph, II shows that he was at that time at least sixteen years old." "So we may properly suppose that Balthasar was about forty-eight, and his son, as we know by the dates on his tombstone still existing at Lyme, was twenty-two, and Simon and Stephen between sixteen and twenty." "That he was English," adds the same writer, "appears from his penmanship, which is clearly that used by educated Englishmen, and from the family names which are English." On the other hand, the unusual name "Balthasar" does not sound English even in that day of strange names. The author does not remember meeting it excepting as recently prominent in the Pan American Convention. In that case it is probably of Spanish origin. The attempts of the court to record his name, perhaps from his own pronunciation of it; "Baltazar de Woolfe and Baalshar de Wolf," point to at least broken English.
While the early De Wolfs do not seem to have been large landed proprietors, notices of sales and bequests show they possessed a good landed estate.
Edward, the eldest son of Balthazar, the ancestor of the branches of the family traced in this work, was a man of property, like his father living in Lyme, and highly respected. He was not only a carpenter, but a millwright, the builder and operator of two saw-mills, and a grist-mill. "That his high standing, integrity and good judgment," says Mr. Dolph, were well-known is proven by the fact that in, 1682, after long delays and difficulties between the people of New London and their contractors for building their new church, Edward de Wolf, of Lyme, and John Frinck, of Stonington. were called upon to go to New London and arbitrate between the builders and the people. It is recorded in the Lyme record that in May, 1686, the town of Lyme laid out to Edward De Wolf twenty-two acres of land on account of his work for the town in the matter of the new meeting house. In 1688, Edward settled upon the Eight Mile River, and in the same year liberty was granted to him to build a grist-mill. He subsequently built a second saw-mill near his home on the Eight Mile River. He lived near one of his mill sites, near the village of Laysville." "There was some condition or quality, either in education, character, family, respect, ability, personal attractions or other 'unknown quantity' which enabled them to marry into some of the best families in Lyme and the neighboring towns." (Salisbury work). Such families were the Lees; Lieutenant Thomas Lee marrying Mary, daughter of Balthazar de Wolf; the Griswolds, Matthew Griswold, who became the second husband of Mary, being "the largest landowner and most leading man in Lyme;" the Douglas family of New London; the Lays, Mathers, Calkins, Watermans, etc.
"As the tree is known by its fruit. we are left to draw our chief inferences in regard to the traits of mind and character of Balthazar De Wolf and his children from what we can learn of their descendants. Never rich, the divisions and subdivisions of their lands among successive generations, would soon have made them poor. But it does not appear that any of them waited for that fate. Very few graves of the earlier generations can be found, and nearly all their descendants, in all the generations, went away from Lyme. There must have been an early energy and ambition in the family which carried them away from their birthplace, in search of adventure or to better their fortunes.
In Lyme, vessels were built which went out to many markets, chiefly to the West Indies, and brought back cargoes to its wharves. Probably by these means Charles De Wolf made his 'venture' to the island of Guadaloupe, where he finally married, and prospering, became the founder of the wealthy and distinguished Rhode Island family of De Wolf." (Family Histories, by Prof. and Mrs. Salisbury. Vol. II, P. 135).
The love of the sea and West Indian trade, which made the De Wolfs the great merchants of Bristol, R.I., seem therefore to have been inherited tastes and abilities from earlier ancestors. The same characteristics, whether personal or physical, seem to be strongly marked in all the race.
The late Dr. J. Ratchford De Wolf, of Halifax in his contribution to the Salisbury Family Histories, says: " The American De Wolfs, whether of New England or Canada, are noted for their habits of enterprise and industry, their love of change and adventure, their freedom from ostentation, their domestic virtues and their numerous progeny; as also for their healthiness, and the frequent instances of longevity among them." Of the family of Mark Anthony De Wolf the common ancestor of the Bristol De Wolfs, the late Dr. John De Wolf, of Providence, R. I., also writes for the above volumes: "His wife is said to have been a woman of noble character. Most of the children, eight sons and five daughters, grew to be men and women and as a rule were distinguished for the elegance of their manners and great beauty of person.
"Among the members of the family who were thus," as Mrs. Salisbury writes, "carried away from their birthplace in search of adventure or to better their fortunes," were three cousins Nathan, Simeon and Jehiel De Wolf, who followed twelve months later the exodus of about two hundred emigrants who in 1760 went from Connecticut to repeople Acadia; to settle in Nova Scotia whence the French peasants had gone forth in exile.
In "the old Acadian country
where all were equal and all were brothers and sisters,"
"The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in
Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic."
Three cousins settled, and became progenitors of a numerous and influential branch of the De Wolf family. Of this filling of the places left vacant by Evangeline and her people by the sturdy New Englanders, the Rev. Arthur H. Wentworth Eaton, a descendant of Jehiel De Wolf, the emigrant to Nova Scotia, has written in touching words in one of the many Acadian ballads and poems of which he is the author.
Five years in desolation the Acadian land had lain,
Five golden harvest moons had wooed the fallow fields in vain.
Five times the winter snows caressed and summer sunsets smiled
On lonely clumps of willows, and fruit trees growing wild.
But the simple Norman peasant-folk shall till the land no more,
For the vessels from Connecticut have anchored by the shore,
And many a sturdy Puritan, his mind with Scripture stored,
Rejoices he has found at last, "the garden of the Lord."
There are families from Tolland, from Killingworth and Lyme,
Gentle mothers, tender maidens and strong men in their prime.
There are lovers who have plighted their vows in Coventry,
And merry children dancing o'er the vessels' decks in glee.
* * * * * * *
They come as Puritans, but who shall say their hearts are blind
To the subtle charms of nature, and the love of human-kind ?
The blue laws of Connecticut have shaped their thought, 'tis true,
But human laws can never wholly Heaven's work undo.
* * * * * * *
And where the Acadian village stood, its roofs o'ergrown with moss,
And the simple wooden chapel, with its altar and its cross;
And where the forge of Basil sent its sparks toward the sky,
The lonely thistle blossomed, and the fire weed grew high.
* * * * * * *
The broken dykes have been rebuilt, a century and more,
The cornfields stretch their furrows from Canard to Beau Sejour;
Five generations have been reared beside the fair Grand Pré,
Since the vessels from Connecticut came sailing up the Bay.
And now across the meadows, while the farmers reap and sow,
The engine shrieks its discord to the hills of Gaspereau;
And ever onward to the sea the restless Fundy tide
Bears playful pleasure yachts and busy trade ships, side by side.
And the Puritan has yielded to the softening touch of time,
Like him who still content remained in Killingworth and Lyme;
And graceful homes of prosperous men make all the landscape fair,
And mellow creeds and ways of life are rooted everywhere.
The writer first knew of the Nova
Scotia De Wolfs in early youth, meeting one of them with his own
father, James De Wolf Perry, at the Philadelphia Centennial
Exposition of 1876. The writer's father remembered his
grandfather, Captain James De Wolf, telling him of cousins of the
name living in Canada. Seeing the name De Wolf in the Canadian
concession at the Exposition in 1876, where was exhibited a very
beautiful line of carriages and other vehicles, he proposed
introducing himself and the writer to the fine looking gentleman
who was in charge. He proved to be Mr. John M. De Wolf, of
Halifax, N.S., who is still living, and whose son, Mr. Frederick T.
De Wolf, now carries on the business of carriage manufacture. Mr.
De Wolf told Mr. Perry that he too had known of relationship with
"De Wolf in the States." Neither of them , however, could
furnish more definite knowledge of the connection. It was only
after his father's death that the writer obtained from an old
letter, preserved among the papers of his great-grandfather, James
De Wolf, a clue to their relationship. This letter was written to
James De Wolf by Mr. Benjamin De Wolf, of Windsor, Nova Scotia,
after his return from a visit to Bristol. This visit must have
been mutually enjoyable, as both men were influential legislators
each in his own country, both men of intelligence, enterprise and
wealth. The letter is given here as an agreeable and interesting
link between the two branches of the family:
Windsor, 30th Nov., 1818."Cousin De Wolf;
My Dear Sir:—
According to my promise I take the liberty to acquaint you with myself and Daughter's safe arrival at Halifax. In Fifty-eight hours from Boston, where I met many of my Particular friends and relations, all of whom were overjoyed to see us safe returned. Be assured, my dear sir, the very Polite attention myself and Daughter received while under your Hospitable Roof at Bristol, and with your good Family at New York, has made a deep and lasting impression of Gratitude in our Hearts. I shall at all times esteem it a great mark of Friendship to hear from you and your good Family, all of whom have my Best wishes for their welfare. Pray offer my kind regards to your Brother Charles and Family. Likewise to your Brother William and family and to all your other brothers and relatives and to say to them I shall ever feel grateful for their kind civility to myself and Daughter while at Bristol. The day I left New York I reached at New Haven where I met with a great number of members of the House of assembly, some of whom I made a very Particular Inquiry for the name of the De Wolfs at Lyme and elsewhere. But could not obtain any useful information that any of the old family of the De Wolfs were alive. Therefore I took a carriage at New Haven and returned by the way of Hartford to Boston where I met with our worthy Friends, George De Wolf, Esq., and Mrs. Charles De Wolf who we were much gratified to see. I hope ere long to have the Pleasure to see you and some of your Connections in Nova Scotia. In the meantime my self & Daughter unite with our affectionate Regards for your self, Mrs. De Wolf, your dear children at Bristol and at New York, all of whom I Pray God to Bless.
Truly Yours,Benjm. De Wolf."
Concerning this visit, Dr. James Ratchford De Wolf writes of the daughter of the writer referred to in the above letter: "In all probability it was his youngest daughter Isabelle Amelia who in 1821 married Capt. McKay, a British officer. When, in 1836-8, I was a student at Windsor, she was a widow. She gave me a gold seal (large and plain) at parting which I still possess. Her nephew, Dr. B. De Wolf Fraser, who was very deaf, was struck by a Railway train and killed several years ago. I knew him intimately." Mrs. Middleton, the granddaughter of Hon. William De Wolf of Bristol, mentioned in the above letter, remembers many anecdotes told by her grandfather of Jehial DeWolf, Jr. Many incidents of the visit of Hon. Benjamin De Wolf of Connecticut and of cousins, one of whom became later Mrs. Bartlett of New York (Appendix A), are remembered by Mrs. Middleton. Benjamin De Wolf, whose letter has been given, was the founder of the Windsor branch of the family. He was one of the most successful men of Hants Co., Nova Scotia, owned a tract of about eight thousand acres of land, and with one exception, was the highest taxpayer in Windsor. He was for many years High Sheriff of Hants Co., Member of Parliament 1785-9, and in the latter year appointed Justice of the Peace. He married the daughter of Dr. Ephraim Otis. His wife's sister Susannah was the wife of William Haliburton of Windsor, the father of Judge William Hay Otis Haliburton. Benjamin De Wolf, not believing in slavery, emancipated all his slaves who, however, chose to remain in his service.
By the emigration from Connecticut was settled the township of Horton, N.S. One of the most attractive spots in Horton, near the mouth of the Cornwallis River," says an article in the Acadian Orchardist, May 15, 1900, by Dr. James R. De Wolf, was the home of the most prominent members of the new community and was known as Mud Creek—the centre of the village was 'Mud Bridge.' In 1829, it is learned from the same article, this name having become highly obnoxious to the inhabitants, two young ladies, granddaughters of Judge Elisha De Wolf, with the aid of their uncle, postmaster of the place, succeeded in having the name changed to Wolfville. The name was accepted as appropriate from the former influence of the De Wolfs as well as the number still residing there. Judge De Wolf had entertained in his mansion, "Kent Lodge," celebrated for its unbounded hospitality, His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent, when on his way from Halifax to Annapolis. At the time of its re- christening resided there: Daniel De Wolf, M.P., Andrew Dwight De Wolf, Joseph De Wolf, with his hat factory where St. John's Directory now stands, Hon. Thomas A. S. De Wolf, M. P. and his elder brother William, Elisha De Wolf, Jr., Al. P., Charles, Oliver, Robert, John Starr and Thomas L. De Wolf.
To the author of above article, Dr. James Ratchford De Wolf, the writer is indebted for a great portion of valuable information and for such an amount of personal sympathy and encouragement in his work, that although the acquaintance was only by letter, it made the news of his recent death at the ripe age of eighty-two, come with a sense of deep personal loss and sorrow. He was the most indefatigable genealogist of the De Wolf family. He also furnished many valuable contributions to the great work of Professor and Mrs. Salisbury. "For the past fifty years," he writes, "I have been a student of our family history, and I yield to no one in the deep interest I take in the name and in all that is connected with its origin and dissemination. I have collected and arranged some five hundred or more names of the De Wolfs of Nova Scotia and as many more of affiliated families connected with ours by marriage. I have it carefully indexed." It should be a matter of deep regret that Dr. De Wolf did not find sufficient encouragement to warrant his publishing this valuable collection during his life time, but it is to be hoped that the work, now possessed by his daughter, Mrs. Harrington, will yet be put in such form as to be a permanent monument to the good doctor's industry and learning.
Dr. James Ratchford De Wolf was the grandson of Judge Elisha and the great-grandson of Nathan De Wolf, one of the three emigrants to Nova Scotia. It was to Mr. Frederick T. De Wolf, son of John M. De Wolf, whom Mr. James De Wolf Perry met at the Philadelphia Centennial, that the writer owed his introduction to Dr. De Wolf.
Dr. De Wolf was the son of Hon. T. A. S. De Wolf of Lord Falkland's administration. He was graduated at Edinburg University, was a member of the Medical Society of Paris, and of the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburg. In 1857, Dr. De Wolf became Superintendent of the Halifax Hospital for the Insane. He revolutionized the whole system he found there. "The whole treatment instituted by Dr. De Wolf was embraced in a single idea—humanity, the law of kindness, the desire to relieve from suffering." A notice of his death says of Dr. De Wolf: " His amiability of character, his solicitude for the welfare of those who came within the circle of his acquaintance—in a word, his sterling attributes of heart and hand are known of all men."
The youngest son of Hon. T. A. S. De Wolf was the late Charles Frederic De Wolf, whose portrait appears in our pages. He was as prominent in business circles as his older brother in the medical profession. Becoming a partner with his father in the well-known commission and shipping firm, T. A. S. De Wolf & Son, Agents for the Anchor Line, he became after his father's death the sole partner. He was prominent, says a notice of his death, in all projects for the prosperity of Halifax.
Charles De Wolf was a frank, manly, upright man, esteemed and respected by all who knew him."
The De Wolfs in Canada, as will be seen in the tables, have become allied with families of greatest prominence in state and church. They are also well represented in England. Referring to a notice sent the writer of the death of James Ratchford De Wolf of Brunswick St., Liverpool-ship-owner, and of Salacres, Upton near Birkenhead (v. Tables 53), Dr. De Wolf writes: "He was my first cousin and namesake, as well as school- fellow. Another James De Wolf boarded in the same house with us in 1828-30. There are several of our name in Liverpool—two in London and one in Wales—all descendants of our Nova Scotia family. One is a clergyman, Rev. Robert B. De Wolf, a graduate of Oxford, the others are engaged in business. These are all I believe who bear our name in England."
Some of the Nova Scotia family have returned to the United States from which their forefathers emigrated. Among such descendants is found the writer's friend and correspondent, Rev. Arthur Wentworth Hamilton Eaton of New York City—a great-great-grandson of Jehiel De Wolf, the youngest of the three emigrants to Nova Scotia in 1761. To Mr. Eaton we are indebted for much aid and the very great assistance of the loan of the volume of the Salisbury works, containing the notes and tables of the De Wolf family.
Of the Nova Scotia De Wolfs, Mr. John Starr De Wolf went to Liverpool, England; somewhat later, in 1850 was joined by his brother, James Ratchford De Wolf. The son of the latter is the Rev. Robert De Wolf, a church of England clergyman. Of the children of John Starr De Wolf, Mr. George De Wolf has been the first, in 1881, to return to Canada, where at Vancouver, B. C., he is Warden of his Parish Church and a member of the Executive Committee of the Diocese of Westminister. His daughter, Miss Elsie De Wolf bids fair, after completing musical studies in Germany, to become distinguished as a violinist.
The Canadian branch of the family has also, like the Rhode Island branch, a talented representative on the stage—another and well-known Miss Elsie de Wolf, a daughter of the late Dr. Stephen de Wolf, who came from Nova Scotia to New York, where for many years he was a successful and most popular practitioner.
Many have been the inquiries of De Wolfs from all parts of the country as to their early ancestors. Many have been the temptations to stray into interesting and wider fields than the self-imposed limits of this work. To trace all the descendants of Balthasar de Wolf, even were it possible, would require many volumes. Only twice has the author permitted himself in the preparation of the tables of descent of the De Wolf families subsequent to the time of Charles D'Wolf of Guadaloupe to be led away from his purpose—first, in supplementing this chapter on the Canadian De Wolfs with an appendix tracing, though necessarily in a very abbreviated imperfect manner, some of the lines of descent of each of the three emigrants of Nova Scotia, the interesting intercourse with the Rhode Island De Wolfs in the earlier generations, the celebrity of many of the descendants, the author's pleasure in acquaintance and correspondence with Dr. De Wolf, Mr. Fred. De Wolf of Halifax, Rev. Mr. Eaton, Mr. Pingree, Rev. Charles H. De Wolf and others of this branch, and the aid and sympathy they had given him in his work, are sufficient reasons, if any need be urged, for adding so interesting a feature to this volume. The second yielding to temptation resulted from finding among his correspondents, two who were descended respectively from the oldest and the youngest of the brothers of Charles of Guadaloupe—the only two of his brothers who, so far as the writer can learn, are known to have left descendants. To do more than devote a brief appendix to these branches would have been beyond the scope of the present work. Each of the branches, however, claimed special interest. In the first, the writer's faithful co-laborer, Mr. Oratio J. De Wolf of Coraopolis, Pa., has cleverly, and it would seem successfully, refuted a formerly accepted theory of descent. If space has permitted only an abbreviated genealogy in this line, it is the less to be regretted, since Mr. De Wolf has just issued a more extended genealogy of the male descendants of Matthew De Wolf. We add a sketch which he has kindly furnished us of his ancestor, Joseph De Wolf of Granby, the grandson of Matthew of Bolton.
"Joseph De Wolf, son of Peter and Sarah (Couch) De Wolf, was born in Granby, Conn., Aug. 25, 1761. At fourteen years of age he enlisted in the Revolutionary forces. Tradition has it that his mother followed him to camp with a switch, but finding herself unequal to the task, secured the services of his uncle to give the young patriot a switching. However this may be, it is certain that the castigation (if he got one) did not cool his patriotic ardor, for he served throughout the struggle, by virtue of which service, in 1832, he was granted a pension of eighty-three dollars per annum during his natural life. 'A Revolutionary Soldier,' is the honorable inscription on his tombstone in the old cemetery at Vernon Ohio. He was married Oct. 12, 1780, to Sarah Gibbons, daughter of Peter and Sarah (Green) Gibbons of Granville, Mass., born May 5, 1764. In the spring of 1799 he went (in advance of his family) to northeastern Ohio, purchasing a tract of land from the Connecticut Land Co., in what is now Vernon Township, Trumbull Co., his being one of the first three cabins erected within the confines of the township. In the following year his family consisting of wife and ten children (the youngest a babe of one year) joined him, making the trip in company with other emigrants. The route lay through Pittsburgh, down the Ohio River to Beaver, from whence the emigrants were obliged to cut a road through an unbroken forest. The means of transportation afforded the family was an ox wagon; on the way one of the oxen died, and a cow that had been brought along for milk was yoked up to finish the journey. The subject of our sketch was commissioned a Justice of the Peace in 1810, by Gov. Worthington, then Governor of the State, and was Treasurer of the first lodge of Masons instituted in Trumbull County. He died Aug. 15 1846, and was followed to the 'Great Unknown' two years later by his faithful wife. They are buried side by side in the old cemetery at Vernon, Ohio.
After this volume had gone to press, a sketch was received of another distinguished and interesting character of this same line of Matthew, Dr. Thaddeus Kingsley De Wolf of Chester, Mass. The sketch written by his daughter, Mrs. Sarah De Wolf Garnwell, which (with great regret is slightly abbreviated) follows:
The life of Dr. Thaddeus Kingsley De Wolf, which extended over all the nineteenth century, 1801-1890, was interrupted by hardly an illness of thirty-six hours duration. On Sunday, Nov. 5, 1890, he fell asleep peacefully in his library chair as, in his own words, he would have wished, "ready and eager to pass on." He was born at Otis, Mass., May 18, 1801, son of Capt. James De Wolf of that town, and was named for his paternal aunt's husband, Thaddeus Kingsley, Esq., of Plattsburgh, N.Y. After having graduated from Castleton, Vt., he practised his profession a short time in Litchfield Co., Conn., then he moved to Chester, Mass., where he remained to the end of his life, though offered many honors in other places, among them a Professorship in the Medical School at Philadelphia.
A man of strong character, he had sincere friends and warm enemies, but was respected of all. As a physician, it is doubtful if he had his superior in Western Massachusetts, and was frequently called into consultations with those "river-gods," Drs. Stone and Flint. He was extremely scrupulous in professional courtesy, but merciless in exposure of quackery. He graduated eleven medical students. He was especially kind and helpful to young men. The gentle vein of his character was also seen in his great love of children and fondness for animal pets.
Devoted to his profession, he could yet excel in a political speech or Fourth of July Oration. His speech on receiving the banner for his town at the Whig Convention of 1844, was praised by both Choate and Webster. In 1836, he was appointed Justice of the Peace by Gov. Everett, which office he held till his death. He represented his town in the General Court 1868 and was for thirty years postmaster. He excelled in anecdotes, and was never happier than entertaining guests at his own table.
Dr. De Wolf was, at sixty, a man of remarkable personal presence with the air and style of an old French Seigneur. As will be seen by the tables of the appendix, he has left descendants who have won distinction in both professional and business pursuits.
The second line in Appendix B presents, conspicuously, the transition of the name from De Wolf to Dolph. In a recent letter to the writer (May 16, 1902), Mrs. Salisbury makes the interesting statement: "At one time the brother of Senator Dolph refused to accept my assertion that he was a De Wolf and forbade me to say so in my book...... I was able to fully prove the connection." Since that time, great advance has been made in the study of this branch of the family, and the gradual modifications of the name, as may be seen from the interesting facts brought together at the Dolph Reunion at Kinsman, Ohio, especially in the essay of Prof. J. M. Dolph, the Senator's brother, freely quoted earlier in this chapter. The proceedings of this reunion should be put in permanent form.
The writer's indebtedness to many members of the family for patience, forbearance and industry in furnishing the necessary information for these pages, has been frequently recognized in the course of this narrative. To mention all would add many pages. Mr. John Horton De Wolf, of Chicago, son of Dr. James De Wolf, of Vail, Iowa, has given inestimable aid in taking upon himself much of the labor of tracing out the members of the line of Simon, son of Charles, of Guadaloupe. Mr. Lafayette Erastus De Wolf, of Nimble, Pa.; the Rev. Erastus De Wolf, and his sister-in-law; Mr. Clark De Wolf, and many others of the Simon De Wolf branch, have lightened the writer's labors in a portion of the work which presented the greatest difficulties. Almost every family of his nearer relatives in Rhode Island branches, has furnished a willing and enthusiastic cousin to aid him. To the State Historian of New York the writer owes his knowledge of the system adopted in tabulating this work, while even so busy and distinguished men as the Secretary of State, his Theta Delta Chi brother, Hon. John Hay; Senator Hoar, of Massachusetts; the Secretary of War, the Rt. Rev. the Bishop of Nova Scotia; and others, have not withheld aid in his search. To such invaluable works as the Salisbury's Family Histories, and Prof. Munroe's History of Bristol, obligations may have been sufficiently acknowledged where quoted, but not to my old school friend, Prof. Munroe himself for further help, nor to his wife, herself of the Le Baron line. To Mr. Le Baron Willard, Mr. Le Baron Bradford, and many others, in the matter of the appendices. His own cousin, Mrs. Josephine De Wolf Gardiner, has been the writer's constant co-laborer. While as he closed his task, he has not only the cheer of the presence, but much valuable assistance in the work of final revision, correcting, indexing and copying, from his friend of many years, Mr. L. F. Sennett.
Notwithstanding all these advantages, the writer is not so presumptuous as to hope that the work will be found without errors or serious omissions. Others would undoubtedly have made more of the material, none could more earnestly have desired to give a truthful and impartial sketch of the family whose blood flows in his own veins. He has not recorded all the scandals, the failures, the shortcomings, that might be gathered in the annals of this as in every family. Yet he believes he has not so far concealed the faults as to give only a distorted view of the virtues of his kinsmen.
It was the writer's purpose to introduce a special appendix on military service of the De Wolf family, and consequent eligibility of living descendants to the various Patriotic Societies. The result of attempts to get exact information upon the subject, makes it doubtful if the treatment could be sufficiently accurate and comprehensive, while the work has been so extended in other directions, that neither time nor space permits. He has contented himself with occasionally noting military service reported to him under names as they occur, and must leave the rest to his readers. The descendants of Simon De Wolf and those of his uncles as well, (LI.) would be eligible to the Society of Colonial Wars; the descendants of Mark Anthony, through his active service on the Prince Charles of Lorraine. So too, of Mark Anthony's descendants, those who descend from the Bradfords and Le Barons; i.e., the descendants of his son James, and his two grandsons, George and Charles, would be entitled to membership in the Colonial Wars, the Colonial Governors, and The Mayflower Society; the last both through Governor William Bradford, of Plymouth, and through Richard Warren. A much greater number than can be indicated, would be eligible as sons or daughters of the American Revolution. Such are the Perrys of both the James De Wolf descent and the Nancy Kinnicutt descent. The former branches of the Perrys could claim membership in the S. A. R. through Capt. C. R. Perry; and the Society of War, 1812, through Capt. R. H. Perry. The services of members of the family in our country's more recent wars, have had frequent mention in the course of the narrative.
Many De Wolf veterans of the Civil
War are still living. Younger men served in the Spanish War.
Sometimes whole families consist of veterans of the Civil War, as
in the case of Dr. John De Wolf, of Providence, all of whose sons
were in the Union Army. An interesting volume could be written of
thrilling adventure, of warlike deeds, and bravery of many who yet
live "to tell the tale." The writer in boyhood had heard from his
mother's lips tales of the Revolution, as related by her aunt, Mrs.
Gen. James M. Varnum, who lived to mend the baby socks of her
oldest boy. From the lips of that same baby grown to mature
manhood, the oldest brother of the writer, Major R. H. Perry, he
has heard frequently in later years no less thrilling tales of
service on the staff of General "Phil Sheridan," of the
Reconstruction Period, when Military Chief of Police at Galveston,
Texas, of watching the movements of Maximilian in Mexico, or of
strange State secrets that read like chapters of Venetian history,
with which he was connected as Consul at Santo Domingo during the
administration of President Grant. But these chapters hardly find
a legitimate place in a genealogy. Future annalists of the family
must record the brave deeds of those now living, and adorn their
pages with their portraits. In order not to become a veritable
photographic album, the illustrations of this volume have been
chiefly confined to the older generations. We make an exception to
give a group of young soldier boys-none of them now living-that
they may bear witness that not alone the older generations bear the
palm for beauty or for bravery. The writer knows many a brave
living veteran deserving a place by their side, but he has followed
the wise counsel of one of his distinguished young cousins, Mr.
Dana Gibson, himself a son of one of the soldier group, to devote
this volume to the record of the deeds, and the presentation of the
portraits of our ancestors, leaving to those who come after the
work of doing justice to the living. If the writer's labor of
several years shall cause the sons and daughters of to-day in any
degree to emulate the virtues, while shunning the shortcomings of
their forefathers, he may gratefully close his task