Andrew Matthias Wolfe


ANDREW MATTHIAS WOLFE, of Kittanning, insurance agent, representing the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, of New York, was born Sept. 6, 1875, on the old homestead in Washington township, Armstrong county. He counts among his ancestors a number of pioneer families of the county who have furnished many good citizens to this section of Pennsylvania, the Wolfes, Lemmons, Earlys, and Bonners (or Bohners). He is descended from Revolutionary stock, and through his mother is a grandson of Col. Daniel Lemmon of the war of 1812, whose father, John Lemmon, was a soldier in the Revolution and one of the very earliest settlers in what is now Armstrong county, Pa., having made a settlement in 1785 on a tract of land called the "Roan." Subsequently he removed to Kentucky. He was granted a pension by the government. Among his descendants are the brothers Barclay and Daniel Nulton, attorneys. One James Lemmon was a member of Col. John Armstrong's company, 1756-59.

John Wolfe, the great-grandfather of Andrew M., was born Jan. 27, 1791, and died Jan. 29, 1856. Settling in Washington township, where he had secured about two hundred acres of wild land, he put up log buildings and there made a permanent home, remaining at that location until his death. He was one of the founders of the Lutheran Church at Limestone, in Washington township. He married Ann Margaret Sontel, who was born March 4, 1796, and died Oct. 17, 1885. They had a large family, viz.: Michael, born Dec. 12, 1813, died June 20, 1883; Matthias is mentioned below; Eve, born Jan. 6, 1819, died in 1863 (Mrs. John); Christena, born July 5, 1821, died Nov. 17, 1907 (married Bartholomew Wyant); Jacob, born April 17, 1824, died March 17, 1893; John, born Oct. 24, 1826, died April 1, 1901; Valentine, born March 17, 1829, died July 18, 1908; Diana, born Oct. 9, 1831, married Samuel Dickey, son of Rev. Mr. Dickey; George King, born Oct. 21, 1836, died Aug. 30, 1907; Ann Margaret, born July 12, 1838, married William Fair; there was also another daughter.

Matthias Wolfe, son of John, was born Sept. 21, 1815, east of the mountains, and was very young when the family settled in Armstrong county. After living at various locations he bought the place on part of which his son John now lives (the latter owning forty-five acres), at the time of his purchase partly improved, and having log buildings. Here he spent the rest of his days, dying in his prime, May 22, 1865. He was killed by a runaway team. In the fall of 1861 Mr. Wolfe enlisted in Company G, 103d Pennsylvania Volunteers, and he served until the following March, being discharged on account of disability. He was a Lutheran in religious connection and a Republican in politics.

On June 8, 1837, Mr. Wolfe married Elizabeth Early, and their children were born as follows: William, May 20, 1838 (died same year); Evaline, May 19, 1840 (died Feb. 14, 1912); Andrew, Aug. 14, 1843 (died from exposure in 1863, while serving in the Civil war as a member of the 103d Pennsylvania Regiment); Mary Ann, Aug. 16, 1845 (deceased); John Early, April 11, 1850; Harriet, April 20, 1854; Margaret E., April 13, 1856; Catherine, Dec. 9, 1860 (died March 11, 1863).

John E. Wolfe was born in Madison township, this county, and was but one week old when he moved to the place in Washington township where he has ever since had his home. He assisted his parents and after his father's death remained home to help his mother, eventually taking charge of the property, part of which he now owns. It is located midway between Rimerton and Montgomeryville. He has improved it in many ways, making it thoroughly up-to-date, and has a particularly fine orchard, making a specialty of fruit growing in his agricultural operations. He has been very active in township affairs, and has held several important offices, having served as township treasurer, supervisor and school director. Politically he is a Republican. His religious connection is with the Lutheran Church, with which the family has long been associated, he and his wife belonging to St. Marks Church.

On Dec. 24, 1872, Mr. Wolfe married Eleanor Lemmon, who was born in Armstrong county, Feb. 17, 1854, daughter of Alexander and Sarah (Bonner) Lemmon, and they have had seven children: Charles A., born Dec. 10, 1873, a merchant at Wickboro, Pa., married Laura McGaughey (they have no children); Andrew Matthias is mentioned below; Elizabeth A., born Sept. 25, 1877, married Edward S. Spencer, of Los Angeles, Cal., and has two children, Fred and Josephine; James H., born Sept. 2, 1879, in the grain elevator business near Lincoln, Nebr., married Mary Dennis (no children), Arthur Chester, born March 15, 1882, married Myrtle McGarvey and has one child, Ellen; Sarah Jane, born Sept. 8, 1888, is with her brother Charles in the store at Wickboro; and John T. Sherman, born Jan. 16, 1891, died Oct. 16, 1901.

Andrew Matthias Wolfe was reared on the home farm and attended the local schools until eighteen years old. Meantime he had acquired considerable familiarity with farming assisting in the work at home, and after leaving school he did farm work on his own account for two years. He next worked in the oil region in McKean county, Pa., for one year, after which he became employed in the Kittanning brick works, where he continued for about ten years. For the two years following he was in a wholesale produce house at Kittanning, and then worked in a flouring mill, which he managed for a year. But he could not stand the dust and he made a change, taking up the insurance business, in which he has since been engaged. He represents the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, and has established a fine business by his application and close attention to his work.

On July 23, 1902, Mr. Wolfe married Carrie Orr, at New Castle, Lawrence Co., Pa., and they have a family of four children, James E., Charles R., Henry Paul and Maxine. Mr. Wolfe owns the home at No. 1415 Johnson avenue, Kittanning, which he occupies with his family. He is a member of the Kittanning Lodge, No. 321, K. P., and his religious connection is with St. John's Lutheran Church, to which his wife also belongs.

Mrs. Wolfe was born in Wayne township, Armstrong county, daughter of James E. Orr, a painter by trade, now in the employ of the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company. He and his wife Harriet (Bargerstock) had a family of children as follows: Mary, widow of Frank Cunningham, a Spanish-American war veteran; Henry; Carrie, Mrs. Wolfe; James E.; Fannie, widow of George Willard Bruner; Gertrude, wife of George Brunt, of Ford City; Hazel, wife of Harvey Martin, of Kittanning, and George.

Capt. Richard Orr, from whom Mrs. Wolfe is descended, founded one of the oldest families of Armstrong county, which down to the present has furnished some of the most substantial, intelligent and respected citizens of the county. He was a faithful defender of the Colonial cause during the Revolution, raised a company for Lochry's disastrous expedition, was taken prisoner at that time, and was one of the four of Lochry's men who returned. An extensive account of his services in the war and his subsequent life may be found in his sketch elsewhere in this work.

Source: Pages 820-821, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed October 1998 by James R Hindman for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (

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