Thomas Richard Wolfe was born in Listowel, County Kerry, in 1811. He was the son of Richard James Wolfe and Johanna Relihan Wolfe. He had at least nine siblings: James Richard (b. 1800), Maurice Richard (b. 1802), John Richard (b. 1809), Ellen (b. ca. 1810), Johanna (b. 1812), Richard (b. 1815), Margaret Ellen (b. 1818), Edward (b. 1821), and Patrick (b. 1822).
Sometime before 1832 he married Ellen Leahy. The couple had ten children: Richard L. (b. ca. 1837), Margaret (b. 1837), John (b. ca. 1839), Thomas L. (b. 1840), Hanora (b. ca. 1843), James (b. ca. 1845), Mary Johanna (b. ca. 1846), Catherine “Kitty” (b. 1847), Ellen “Nellie” (b. 1853), and Maurice (b. ca. 1855). John Wolfe died between 1848 and 1850, and James before 1850.
In 1848, Wolfe immigrated to the United States in the company of his wife and his children Richard, John, Margaret, Thomas, Hanora, Johanna, and Catherine. They sailed from Liverpool to New York aboard the James H. Shepherd, a relatively small, 635-ton ship of the Z Line, owned by Zerega and Company and run by Schmidt and Belchen, out of New York. James Ainsworth was the ship’s master. They arrived on September 11, 1848. From New York, they traveled to LaSalle County, Illinois, where they joined relatives.
In 1847, Wolfe’s brother John and their first cousin Maurice, had sailed together and settled in Illinois. (Thomas and John Wolfe shared a grandfather with Maurice Wolfe: James M. “The Barrister” Wolfe.) Wolfe’s brothers Richard and Maurice Richard both would arrive separately in 1849. While brother John and cousin Maurice moved on to Clinton County, Iowa, Thomas Wolfe and his brothers Richard and Maurice, at least initially, remained in Illinois.
Thomas Wolfe farmed in Illinois, living in Deer Park Township, LaSalle County, by 1850, and in LaSalle, LaSalle County, by 1860. By 1870, however, he had moved to Clinton County, Iowa, to join his brother and cousin. His wife and children Richard, Margaret, Thomas, Ellen, and Maurice all joined him. They lived in Liberty Township.
Wolfe died on March 23, 1876, and his wife, Ellen, on March 8, 1882. They are buried together at Holy Angels Cemetery in Carroll County, Iowa.
images: Gravestones of Thomas and Ellen Wolfe, Holy Angels Cemetery, Carroll County, Iowa (Geo. Clinton / Find a Grave)