Maurice Patrick Wolfe was born in March 1873, in Missouri. He was the son of Richard Downey Wolfe, a farmer and Irish Catholic immigrant, and his second wife, Margaret Shine Lyons Wolfe, also an Irish immigrant. He had seven full siblings: Johanna (b. 1867), Daniel Maurice (b. 1869), Honoria Euphrasia (b. 1871), Margaret Theresa (b. 1875), Richard (b. 1878), Marie Louise (b. 1881), and Aileen Gregory (b. 1884). He also had a half sibling, Katherine Collins (b. 1863), whose mother was Richard Wolfe’s first wife, Margaret O’Kane.
Wolfe married Mary Ellen Morrow of Lafayette, Indiana, in 1897, and the couple had six children: Mildred (b. 1897), Richard (b. 1899), Julia (b. 1902), Margaret (b. 1905), Mary (b. 1906), and an unnamed infant born early in 1909. They farmed in Brazoria County, Texas, just west of Galveston, on the Gulf of Mexico.
On July 23, 1909, a hurricane struck the gulf coast of Texas and Louisiana, killing Wolfe, his wife, and all six of their children. According to a contemporary news report, Wolfe was in a boat about four miles from his home when the storm hit; he drowned. He had been returning from Galveston, where he had sold goods from his farm. His body was not recovered until mid-August.
According to the Angleton Times:
Mrs. Woulfe and six children, a negro woman and two children and several white men were at the house. Without warning, a tidal wave swept over them. Every effort was made by the men to save the women and children, but the terrific force of the waves was beyond human power to resist. Mrs. Woulfe and the infant child were found about three miles from the house, in Hoskins’ field, within 500 yards of where Morris’ boat was found. The lifeless forms of the children were found in the Bayou.
The death toll of the storm reached at least thirty-eight, with damages of more than $2.5 million.
images: from the Laredo Times, July 25, 1909, page 12; from the Galveston Daily News, August 17, 1909, page 1; from the Denton Record Chronicle, July 24, 1909, page 2 (NewspaperArchive.com)