Catherine “Kate” Wolfe was baptized on December 7, 1842, in the Diocese of Kerry, Parish of Listowel, in Ireland. She was the daughter of Maurice Richard Wolfe, who bred horses and came from a Catholic farming family, and Johanna Downey Wolfe. She had eight siblings: Margaret (b. 1827), Richard Downey (b. 1829), Stephen (b. 1833), James Downey (b. 1839), Johanna E. (b. 1840), Maurice (b. 1848), John Francis (b. 1850), and Edmund Dean (b. 1853). Her baptismal sponsors were Michael Downey and Margaret Nolan.
Little is known of her early life. She, her parents, and her siblings immigrated to the United States in 1849. They sailed from Liverpool to New York aboard the Senator, a 777-ton ship of the Black Star Line, owned by Samuel Thompson; they arrived on September 22, 1849. Maurice Richard Wolfe’s brother John immigrated to the United States in 1847, his brother Thomas Richard in 1848, and his brother Richard in 1849. They all settled, at least initially, in LaSalle County, Illinois. Catherine Wolfe’s family bought land there, as well, and stayed.
On January 16, 1890, Wolfe married Joseph G. Hepler, a farmer and carpenter from Pennsylvania, at Saint Mary’s Church in Eagle Township, LaSalle County. It was Hepler’s second marriage; his first wife, Theresa Bell Alberts, died sometime around 1881 after having two sons, William (b. 1876) and Clarence Burgess (b. 1878). Kate Wolfe Hepler had no children.
Hepler and her husband lived in LaSalle County for the rest of their lives. Kate Wolfe Hepler died on November 6, 1922, from injuries sustained in a fall two months prior. She is buried at Saint Columba Cemetery in Ottawa, Illinois. Joseph Hepler died on June 13, 1923, and is buried at Saint Mary’s Cemetery in Streator, Illinois.
images: Catherine “Kate” Wolfe Hepler and Joseph G. Hepler (Ann McClary / Find a Grave)