Richard Wolfe (1795–1871)

Richard Wolfe was born in 1795, possibly at Knockanasig, County Kerry, Ireland. He was the son of Maurice James Wolfe, a Catholic farmer, and Helen (sometimes Ellen) Dore Wolfe. He had five siblings: John (b. ca. 1794), Edmund MauriceMaurice (b. ca. 1800), Bartholomew (b. 1809), and Michael (b. 1813).

He married Mary Foley on an unknown date in County Kerry. The couple had eleven children: Margaret (b. ca. 1826), Mary (b. 1826), Maurice (b. 1828), Mary Ellen (b. 1829), Patrick (b. 1830), Daniel F. (b. ca. 1832), Richard (b. 1836), John Maurice (b. 1838), Bridget (b. 1839), Edmund (b. 1840), and Richard J. (b. 1843). The first Richard died before 1848, and Bridget before 1847. 

Wolfe emigrated to the United States in the company of his wife and children, traveling in steerage class aboard the Thomas H. Perkins. They arrived in New York from Liverpool on September 29, 1848. The family settled in LaSalle County, Illinois, joining relatives there. Wolfe’s brother Maurice had already emigrated in 1847 with their first cousin John Richard Wolfe. (Brothers Maurice and Richard Wolfe and shared a grandfather with John R. Wolfe: James M. “The Barrister” Wolfe.) John R. Wolfe’s brother Thomas Richard came from Ireland in 1848 and his brothers Maurice Richard and Richard separately in 1849. While John R. and Maurice Wolfe, and much later Thomas, all moved to Clinton County, Iowa, the rest of the Wolfes remained in Illinois.

Wolfe farmed first in Deer Park Township before, in 1858, purchasing a farm in Waltham Township. His wife, Mary, died there in 1861. Wolfe sold the property and bought a farm in Dimmick Township, where he lived the rest of his life. He died in 1871 and is buried with his wife at Saint Columba Cemetery in Ottawa.

image: Gravestone of Richard Wolfe at Saint Columba Cemetery in Ottawa, Illinois (Holly / Find a Grave)

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