Edmond Maurice “Old Ned” Wolfe was born on June 15, 1788, in Cratloe, County Clare, Ireland. His parents were Richard M. “Short Dick” Wolfe and a woman whose surname may have been Sullivan or O’Sullivan. The family estate at Cratloe had been purchased in March 1760 by Wolfe’s grandfather, Maurice James “Old Maurice” Wolfe. Prior to that, the Wolfe family had lived in Templeathea, near Limerick City.
Little is known of Wolfe’s life or whether he had siblings. He married Margaret Sullivan, possibly in 1812. One account has him marrying Nelly (or Nellie) Brosnahan, but other evidence more convincingly suggests his wife was Sullivan. They had four and possibly five children: Richard Edmond “Dicky Ned” (b. 1824), Ellen J. (b. 1832), Mary Agatha (b. 1834), John Edmond (b. 1837), and Patrick (b. ca. 1844), the latter’s relationship remaining unconfirmed. All of the children except for Dicky Ned Wolfe immigrated to the United States.
Family oral history—contained in a letter written by Wolfe’s great-granddaughter Jane Wolfe “Dollie” Cooper and dated August 1956 from Cratloe, also known as the “Aunt Dollie” letter—suggests that Wolfe “was rather a prominent man in the district in his day. Amongst other things he was what was called a ‘warden’ in Daniel O’Connell‘s Repeal organisation in the thirties and forties of the last century.” (The Repeal Association sought an end to the Act of Union, which had joined Great Britain and Ireland.)
Wolfe built a family home at the Glen, Cratloe, in 1815. He died on May 13, 1876.