Jacob Wolf

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JACOB WOLF was one of the early pioneer settlers of Bethel township, then a part of old Allegheny township. He was born Oct. 10, 1813, at what is now Logansport, and was one of a family of thirteen children, three sons and ten daughters, viz.: Jacob; Elizabeth, Mrs. William Van Dyke; Lydia, Mrs. Hamilton Kelly; Polly, Mrs. Gideon King; Susanna, Mrs. Andrew Jack; Christina, Mrs. John King; Margaret, Mrs. George Kerns; George, married to Margaret Cumsty; Eveline, second wife of Hamilton Kelly; Rachel, Mrs. Samuel Murphy; Harriet, Mrs. Jonathan Painter; Dianna, Mrs. Socrates Dickey; Henry T., married to Mary Weaver. The father of the above named children was George Wolf, who owned and lived upon a farm near Logansport; his first wife was Susanna Williams, who was the mother of the first nine children. After her death he married Mrs. Elizabeth Williard, who was the mother of the last four named. The father of George Wolf was Jacob, who was also the father of about a dozen children; his parents came from Germany away back in Revolutionary times.

Jacob Wolf, the subject of this sketch, was as stated the eldest of the family of George Wolf. He was married March 12, 1835 to Frances Van Dyke, of South Buffalo township, who was born Oct. 11, 1812. The venerable "Squire" Gibson of Freeport performed the marriage ceremony. They became the parents of nine children, six sons and three daughters. Elizabeth, their first child, died in infancy. Susanna married Godfrey Exley, of Clarion county, and died April 8, 1899, Mr. Exley dying about two years previous. William Lee married Miss Mary Montgomery, of Manor township, and died June 14, 1898, leaving his wife and two sons, Edgar Roy, a teacher, and Norman Lee, who usually works in gas fields. Chambers W. married Miss Emma E. Lookabaugh, of Parks township, and died April 8, 1908, leaving his wife and two sons: Harry Lee and J. Clyde (the latter unmarried), both of whom are employed by the Pennsylvania Railway Company, Harry as telegrapher, Clyde as auditor, and reside in New Kensington, Pa; Harry Lee married Miss Bertha King, now deceased, and afterward married Miss May Davis (they have three children, Nellie, Inez and Lloyd). Mr. and Mrs. Chambers W. Wolf also had one daughter, Warna May, who married Frank Truby, and both are deceased. Hiram G. married Miss Harriet I. Montgomery, of Manor township, and they reside on a part of the Wolf farm near Center Valley; their family consists of Alfred Clyde, a civil engineer; Frances Luella, a teacher; Coral Ethel, married to Artie Freeland Caldwell, a fireman (they have one son, Myron Freeland Caldwell, now eight years old); and Carrie Mabel, a teacher. Labanna Earhart and Austin Van Dyke died of diphtheria in February 1862, within a few days of each other, aged fifteen and thirteen years, respectively. Frances followed next in line, and then Jacob Oscar (see separate sketch); they reside at the old home.

The parents of Mrs. Frances Wolf were George and Elizabeth (Sipes) Van Dyke, of South Buffalo township, whose family consisted of eight children, three sons and five daughters, namely: Frances; Mary, married to Soloman Wolf; William Van Dyke, who married Elizabeth Wolf; Margaret, who married Stephen Mahaffey; George, who died unmarried; Eliza, who married James Arp; John, who married Harried Atwood Wilson; and Susanna, who married Andrew Hindman. The ancestors of the Van Dykes came from Holland. William Van Dyke was the grandfather of the children named in this article.

Jacob Wolf, whose name introduces this article, was in his early years a "schoolmaster." Until quite recently there remained standing in what is called Pine Run an old log schoolhouse in which he taught a school of some sixty or seventy young men and women more than seventy years ago. For a number of years this old schoolhouse was used as a dwelling house; the last person to own and use it as such was Mr. Daniel McElfresh, one of Mr. Wolf's pupils at that time. Pupils then traveled four or five miles to attend school. About seven years after his marriage he purchased and moved to his farm, and built a house upon it, when deer and wild turkey might be had for the taking, and bears, wildcats, etc., prowled in the woods at night. After years of hard labor he succeeded in clearing it of its heavy growth of timber and putting it into a state of cultivation. Later in life he followed boating on the Allegheny river, and was owner of a boat, the "Clipper," for carrying merchandise from Pittsburgh to Oil City and other towns along the river. He was one of a committee who banded themselves together to found a church, the Bethel Lutheran, in what is now Bethel township. He lived to see and assist in building in 1880 a second, larger and better, church upon the same ground, selected by that committee..

Politically Mr. Wolf was a Republican from the birth of that party. His first presidential vote was cast for William Henry Harrison, the Whig candidate. He was twice elected justice of the peace and held a number of other offices in old Allegheny township, although the Democrats outnumbered the Republicans two to one. He maintained that it was the duty of every man to vote and he seldom if ever failed to perform that duty. At one time while performing his duty as tax collector he chanced to be in the most remote part of Allegheny township, ten or twelve miles from his home. During the day and night snow fell to the depth of almost three feet. In the morning he started for his home, on horseback. In the afternoon, to relieve his horse, he dismounted, when the horse, taking advantage of the opportunity, succeeded in getting away from him and he was obliged to follow after in the trail on foot. The horse arrived at home several hours in advance of him and caused considerable alarm to his wife and children.

During his early manhood Mr. Wolf was captain of a company of militia, which had stated days for drilling and parade. These days the entire county turned out en masse. It was a sort of holiday, in which all took great interest. After the parade or drill sports of many kinds were indulged in, but woe to any member of the company who became obstreperous while on duty; he was usually kept under guard for the remainder of the day, and sometimes felt the weight of the broadsword about his lower extremities.

Mr. Wolf was a great reader, and up to within a few weeks of his death few men were better posted upon the general topics than was he. A few months before his death occurred the sinking of the "Maine," the news of which caused him much anxiety, and he at once declared it to be an act of treachery on the part of the Spaniards. Then followed the war with Spain, and as long as he could do so he read of its progress. He lived to be the oldest citizen in Bethel township, as well as the oldest member of Bethel Church. He died July 4, 1898, aged eighty-six years, and was buried in the family plot in Bethel cemetery, selected by himself at the time of the founding of the church, and by the side of his wife, who died Sept. 6, 1890, aged seventy-eight years.

Source: Pages 672-673, Armstrong County, Pa., Her People, Past and Present, J.H. Beers & Co., 1914
Transcribed September 1998 by James R Hindman for the Armstrong County Beers Project
Contributed for use by the Armstrong County Genealogy Project (http://www.pa-roots.com/armstrong/)

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