Janet and Robert Wolfe Genealogy --- Go to Genealogy Page for Ira Gerald Wolfe

Notes for Ira Gerald Wolfe

These notes follow Ira Wolfe through about 1880. The marriage notes with Clara Brenizer follow them through their remaining lives. Ira 's son, Homer Nelson Wolfe, wrote a short biography about Ira Wolfe that is reproduced below, after the chronological record. [1]

Ira Wolfe grew up with Chronister siblings born to mother Anna Brenizer and his step-father Joseph Chronister. Ira's half-brother, Willis Chronister, wrote some interesting letters back to a friend in Pennsylvania, while they were in Kansas and Colorado.

The Brenizer family was also important in this story. Ira's mother was Anna Chronister, whose maiden name was Brenizer. Anna was sister to Joseph Ritner, Caroline, and John Leonard Brenizer. Joseph Ritner Brenizer was father to Clara Brenizer, Ira's second wife. Thus, Ira Wolfe and Clara Brenizer were cousins.

1853 Ira Wolfe was born in Hampton, Pennsylvania

[2]. The Chronister house (with a newer addition) where Ira Wolfe lived as a child, just west of Hampton, Pennsylvania.

Reading Twp, Adams County, Pennsylvania in 1872 where Ira Wolfe grew up.

Here are some facts about other people with whom Ira G Wolfe interacted.

1850 In the early 1870s, Ira traveled to Kansas with Wes Howard. In 1850, (David) Wesley Howard (age 13) lived in Straban Twp, Adams County, Pennsylvania with three brothers and parents George (age 45) and Elizabeth (age 39) Howard. [3] They lived just a few miles down the road from the Chronister household.

1860 According to Homer's story, Ira left the Chronister home around 1870 and went to the Eichelberger's in Ohio. In 1860, Joseph Eichelberger Sr (age 40) lived with wife Caroline, son Joseph E Jr (age 11), and other children in Silver Springs, Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, which is about 10 miles north of Hampton. Other sources show that Joseph Eichelberger, born 1820 in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, married Caroline Brenizer. Thus, Joseph Eichelberger Sr was an uncle to Clara and Ira. [4]

1860 David W Howard (age 22) and (brother?) Jacob Howard (age 26) lived in Straban Twp, Adams County, Pennsylvania (no parents were listed). [5]

1860 Wesley and Mary Lott lived in Franklin Twp, Adams County, Pennsylvania with children, including Martha [Mattie](age 2). [6] [Ira Wolfe and Mattie Lott were married in Kansas in 1876]

1860 Ira (age 6) lived in Hampton, Reading Twp, Adams County, Pennsylvania with parents Ann and Joseph Chronister and siblings Laura (age 3) and Willis (age 1). [7]

1869 Joseph Eichelberger Jr. moved from Pennsylvania to Darke County, Ohio at age 20 or 21.

1870 Annie and Joseph Chronister lived in Hampton with children Laura, Willis, Clara, Lafayette, and Austin [8]. According to the story that his son, Homer, wrote, Ira was likely on the road going to the Joseph Eichelberger place in Darke County, Ohio. Ira went from Adams County on the Pennsylvania-MD border [south of the "V" in Pennsylvania, on the map] to Darke County, Ohio, when there was no paved road, c 1870. It is plausible that he followed the railroad through Pittsburgh.

1863 Adams County, Pennsylvania to Darke County, Ohio.

1870 On 5 February, Ira G Wolfe, born in Hampton, Pennsylvania, enlisted, for 5 years, in the US Army at Columbus, Ohio. He was a farmer, age 21 (he apparently did not tell the truth about his age, perhaps so that he would be eligible to enlist). He had hazel eyes, dark brown hair, dark complexion, and was 5 feet 6 1/2 inches tall. He was assigned to the 11th Infantry Regiment, Company P. He deserted on March 9, 1770, as did most men who were listed on the same page of the roster. [9]

1870 Ira would soon travel with Wes Howard to Kansas. In 1870, David and Mary Howard lived with son Charlie (age 3) in York Springs, Reading County, Pennsylvania. Mary Howard's maiden name was Chronister and their children would later marry into the Brenizer family. [10] Mary Howard was a 4th cousin of Ira's step-father, Joseph Chronister. Living with David Howard were Harriet Chronister (age 59) and her likely children Sarah (age 27), Anna (age 21), and John (age 31); and Alice (age 2, likely John's daughter). Harriet Chronister was the widow of Jacob L Chronister, who lived at Latimore Twp, Adams County, Pennsylvania in 1850 and 1860 with children John, Sarah, and Mary, all of matching ages to this family. It is plausible that Mary Howard was the daughter of Harriet Chronister. Anna Chronister later married John L Brenizer's son, Charles Milton Brenizer, and Anna's sister Sarah and Alice Chronister lived with them.

1870 Ephraim Howard (brother of David Wesley Howard) lived in Straban Twp, Adams County, Pennsylvania with son Milton Howard age 14. Milton was mentioned in Willis Chronister's letters from Kansas as a companion of Ira's while they were doing artistry (photography). [11]

1870 The parents of Ira's future first wife, Mattie, were John W (age 39) and Mary (age 33) Lott, who lived in China Twp, Lee County, Illinois with their children, including Martha (age 12). [12]

1870-79 "About this time also, quite a number of settlers arrived from Adams County, PA, who selected Cheever Township as their place of settlement" [13]. The European population of Buckeye Township, where Ira and Wes Howard apparently settled, went from 0 in 1870 to 561 in 1880 [14].

1870 Wild Bill Hickok was the sheriff in Abilene. Bonebrake helped to develop Abilene [this could be a relative of the namesake of Bonebrake Theological Seminary, where Ranald Wolfe later studied in Ohio, although no direct relationship is known between these Bonebrakes] The original town of Abilene - became established as a trading point for cattle, - in 1869 Rice and Bonebrake's Addition; - and in the following year, 1879, Bonebrake & Bidwell's Addition; - in 1880 - The erection of the Opera block by Mr. Bonebrake, gave Abilene a building that would be a credit to a much larger place [15].

1871-73 No record has yet been found of Ira in a normal school certification program in Pennsylvania, although Homer's story indicates that he returned to Pennsylvania from Uncle Eichelberger's in Ohio and went to normal school to get a teaching certificate. [16]

Ira went to Kansas about this time with Wesley David Howard, according to the story written by his son, Homer. He was known both as Ira G Wolf and as Ira G Wolfe in Kansas, although his name was often spelled incorrectly on public documents.

1872 The Chronister school opened in school district 37 in Buckeye Twp, Dickinson County, Kansas. The school closed in 1954. This was where Ira taught after he went to Kansas with Wes Howard. The listing for teacher "TG Wolf" very likely is a transcription error for IG Wolfe. Photocopy, "TG Wolf" was a teacher at the Chronister schoolhouse, Dickinson County, Kansas, c 1872. [www.sckans.edu/~orsh/school/home.shtml, website citing the Chronister school in "a-c", no longer active]

"The educational interests of the county are in keeping with the general progress and advancement of the other interests of the county. The schoolhouses are all in good condition and the sites are fenced. Nearly all of the school buildings are located on the prairie, and although located in these exposed positions, but very few have taken any steps to ornament the grounds by setting out shade trees. Inside, however, the buildings are well seated, and well supplied with maps, charts, globes, dictionaries and other school apparatus. ... The total number of teachers employed during the year was 133, of which sixty-five were males and sixty-eight females. The average salary per month paid to teachers was, males $36, females $31.50." [17]

1875 I. G. Wolfe (age 21), farmer, lived in the household of David W Howard (age 38 merchant) and Mary E (age 30) in Cheever Twp, Dickinson County, Kansas. Son Charles Howard (age 8), of Pennsylvania, and daughter Lottie M (age 1), of Kansas, were in the household. Next door (household 50) was John Wesley Lott (age 43 farmer) and wife Mary (age 38) and their daughter Mattie (age 17) of Illinois and Pennsylvania. [18] The events were then in place for Ira's first marriage, to Martha, the girl next door.

1876 J. Chronister ran for the position of road overseer in Section 1 of Buckeye Township in Dickinson County. This was likely John Chronister, who traveled with Wes Howard and Ira to Kansas. [19]

1876 Mr. I.G. Wolfe [Wolf] and Mat Lott, both of Dickinson County, Kansas, were married on May 25 by F.H. Burris, minister of the gospel, at the house of Mr Burris in Dickinson County, Kansas. [20][21]Photocopy, Marriage license for Ira Wolfe and Mat Lott.

Newspaper wedding announcement.
Photocopy, Newspaper, Luke photography. Here is a wedding photo, perhaps taken by Ira's brother-in-law, Luke:

Wedding photo of Ira Wolfe and wife [22].

1876 The letters of Ira's half-brother, Willis Chronister son of Joseph Chronister, provide a very interesting perspective on life in Kansas at this time. [23]

1877 Ira's first son, Ira, was born on 28 Feb, but Mattie died within 1 week. Son Ira died by August 1. [24] Mattie Wolfe's gravestone reads: "Wife of I.G." and she was buried at Union (Livingston) Cemetery in Section 10 of Buckeye Twp, Dickinson County, Kansas. She died 7 of March at age 18 years and 1 month. "The wife of Ira Wolfe of Cheever died last week buried Fri (Mar 9)". [25] DW Howard, born 1837 and died 1913, with wife Mary was buried nearby. DW Howard went to Kansas with Ira and was living in Abilene Kansas in 1910, according to the census. Also buried nearby were CM Brenizer (Charles Milton was John Leonard Brenizer's son) and Harriett, Sarah, and John Chronister, who lived with David Howard in 1870. [26]

1878 This map of Dickinson County Kansas shows Ira's schoolhouse in section 10 of Buckeye Township:

Schoolhouse where Ira Wolfe taught in Buckeye Twp, Dickinson County, Kansas, 1878. The schoolhouse moved to section 11, on the land of John Chronister in 1878 and was shown in an 1885 atlas.

1880 Ira Wolfe was listed as a widowed stepson living with Annie and Joseph Chronister in Cheever Twp, Dickinson County, Kansas along with Annie and Joseph's children Laura V. Luke and Willis, Clara, Austin, John, and Newton Chronister. [27]Photocopy, Ira Wolfe listing in the 1880 census for Dickinson County, Kansas.

1880 W.O.Luke, photographer, lived in Leadville, Lake County, Colorado with wife Laura (age 23), brother-in-law Willis Chronister (age 21), and 2 children. This was Ira's brother-in-law Mr. Luke (husband of Laura Chronister). Laura V. Luke (age 21) was also listed at Cheever Kansas, with her father Joseph Chronister and half-brother Ira Wolfe, in this census, an apparent double listing. Wellington O. Luke was a professional photographer with pictures published in several Colorado museums. Homer wrote that Ira traveled with Mr. Luke and took photographs of the West for magazines. [28]

1880 Davis M and Mary Howard lived in the city of Abilene with children including Lottie (age 7) born in Pennsylvania and Herbert (age 2) born in Kansas. Lottie's birthplace indicates that the Howard's (and Ira, who traveled with them) came to Kansas no earlier than 1873 [29]. Next door were John (Uncle to both Ira and Clara) and Beatrice Brenizer with children Milton and Mary.

1880 Joseph Eichelberger (age 31, born Pennsylvania), farmer, lived in Jackson Twp, Darke County, Ohio with wife and three children. Joseph's nephew George F. Shall (age 17) lived with them, born in Pennsylvania with parents born Pennsylvania. [30] The names Ichelberger and Shawl appear in Homer's story below, with variant spellings.

c 1880 Ira's son Charles Wolfe had these photos of Ira Wolfe:

Ira Wolfe, perhaps about 1880. [31]

Ira Wolfe, perhaps about 1880. [32]

1882 A Mr. Wolfe, perhaps Ira Wolfe, was the contracting agent for the Chicago, Rock Island, & Pacific Railroad in Atchison, Kansas and became the assistant general freight agent. [33]

1883 On 20 February Ira G Wolfe, unmarried, executed a mortgage for $500, payable at the Chase National Bank of New York, from Mariana C Porter of Middlesex County, Massachusetts for 80 acres on East half of the North East quarter of Section 26, Twp 11 South, Range 2, East of 6th PM. The mortgage was paid off 8 February 1885.

Ira's son Homer Wolfe wrote the following biography of Ira (sent by Faith Wolfe to Robert Wolfe in 1985). The date that the story was written is unknown, but the typewriter appears to be the same as the typewriter still in use when Homer wrote a story about Paradise (c 1985).

Ira Gerald Wolfe was born in 1853 at Hampton, Pennsylvania. At the age of 14 he ran away from home, crossed the Alleghenies on foot, and went to his cousin Joe Ichelberger's who was farming near Union City, Ohio [other documents suggest that Eichelberger did not move to Ohio until 1869, so Ira was more likely 16]. After a brief stay there he started out again and made his way to New York City. There he hired to the captain of a ship who left him in charge of one of the sailors until the ship was ready to sail. This sailor, in his drunkenness, ordered him to clean up his shoes, which Ira refused to do. The sailor then came at him with a knife and he was glad to get away as quickly as he could. That ended his sailor experience.

After many other happenings during which he endured much privation and want he returned home at the earnest request of his mother. He then went to school two more years, after which he secured a teacher's certificate. At the age of seventeen he went to Kansas with Wes Howard. There he farmed for Mr. Howard in the summer and taught school in the winter near Abilene, Kansas. One experience during his school-teaching days, as told to one of his boys later, was as follows.

Two boys, both large and strong, were having a fight. They had both broken the rules of the school and stood in need of punishment. Mr. Wolfe went to an uncleared plot nearby and came back with two long switches. He gave each of the boys a switch and told them to punish each other; which they did to his entire satisfaction.

After a few years of this farming and teaching Ira Wolfe went to Leadville, Colorado, which was a rough mining town at the time. Mr. Wolfe had a brother-in-law, a Mr. Luke, who came to Colorado to take pictures of the beautiful scenery. These pictures of mountains, rivers, lakes and waterfalls were sent to papers and magazines in the Eastern States for publication. Mr. Wolfe accompanied him on some long trips through the mountains. This was a very enjoyable experience, and he picked up some interesting souvenirs: a large bone-handled knife and a pair of buffalo horns which he polished and mounted and kept for many years were among these. These trips were not confined altogether to the State of Colorado, for on one occasion they crossed Mosquito Pass, in Texas.

After this Mr. Wolfe went back to Abilene, Kansas. Here he met an old friend whom he had known in Pensylvania, and who had come west in a covered wagon with her folks. This was Miss Clara Brenizer, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Brenizer. After their courtship they were married in 1885, at Hadam, Kansas, when Ira was thirty-two Years of age. They then moved to Scott County in Western Kansas and settled on a 120 acre farm. They were located between Garden City and Scott City, which was in the stage of building up, and they often gave a night's lodging to folks who were traveling between those two points. It was here, Jan. 7, 1886, that their first child was born, whom they named Charles Marion Wolfe.

But Mr. Wolfe seemed to have the wanderlust. He remained on the farm only two years after which they moved on to Lamar, Colorado. Here he went into the real estate business with a Mr. C. G. Armint. Mr. Armint told him that he was "too damned honest to make a success in that country." It was in Lamar that the twins were born on June 24th, 1889. Grace Bee Wolfe and her brother, Vere Brenizer. Vere lived less than two months and was buried in Lamar August 13th of the same year. His grave cannot be located today.

It was in Lamar also that Mr. Wolfe's wrist was broken. He was holding a rather high-spirited horse and had the halter rope around his wrist to insure a secure hold. A bunch of wild horses came running by some little distance away and his horse gave a sudden bound and started after them. Before he could disengage his hold his wrist was broken by the sudden jerk on the rope. The horse joined the wild gang and was never caught again.

After nine months in the real estate business Mr. Wolfe had quite a bit of money invested in business. He left with the understanding that his partner, Mr. Armint, would reimburse him for his investments when certain property was sold, but he never heard from the man afterward. He went from there to Union City, Ohio, where he had been with his cousin, Joe Ichelberger. He rented a small home directly across from the High-School building and next door to his brother-in-law, Frank Shawl. Clara's sister, Mary, and Frank, had three daughters, and the two families enjoyed close proximity for several years. Among other jobs that Ira held was that of a railroad switchman. He stayed near a switch through the night and switched trains to their proper tracks. He also worked on a railroad gang, and it was during that time that he had the two middle fingers on his left hand pinched off at the top joint. Several men were putting a long iron rail in place and Ira did not let go in time. The other men dropped the rail into place and Ira's fingers were pinched off when it dropped. It was here that Homer Nelson and John Franklin were born and, after a move across town, their youngest child, Faith Geraldine was added by birth. They remained here until Homer Nelson (The writer of this narrative), was in his ninth year. With this last move they lived next door to "Cousin Joe Ichelberger" where they had apple trees, cherry trees, quince trees, berries and a garden.

It was about the summer of 1904 that Mr. Wolfe and Frank Shawl visited Florida where a brother of Mrs. Wolfe, Jake Brenizer, lived in Jacksonville. They came back to Ohio with stories of a beautiful, mild climate and flowering trees and roses, and the following year, 1905, both families moved to the sunny land of Florida. Their oldest son, Charles, had married Petrovna Pickett in Union City, and now there were only four children in the family.

But the two families became separated in Florida. Ira Wolfe and his family stayed in Gainesville for a short time, then he bought a ten-acre farm in Paradise, a small community some six miles from Gainesville. Grace Bee began teaching school and was away from home, teaching in various Florida towns, most of the time. The farming venture was not a success, and Mr. Wolfe sold his farm back to the man he had bought it from and returned to Gainesville where he became manager of an ice-making plant. It was a fairly large plant and there were about a dozen delivery wagons that delivered ice throughout the city. Fruit cars were iced on a switch-line and some ice was packed in sawdust and shipped by rail.

After ten years in Florida it happened that the oldest son, Charles, was farming the old farm that was still owned by "Cousin Joe Ichelberger". It was an eighty acre farm and Charles did not have the needed equipment for operating it. At that time Mr. Ira Wolfe invested considerable money in the purchase of farm machinery and a couple of horses. He moved back to Ohio and acquired half interest in the farm production after the owner was given his share. After the first year Mr. Wolfe moved to town and left Homer to carry his load of the farm work. Homer was now twenty years old and was capable of doing a man's work.

Mr. Wolfe secured a job with the Kiser Grocery Company in Union City. The family attended church regularly and were well thought of by all who knew them. Grace Bee went to Dayton, Ohio, where she worked in the office of Kemper Brothers as receptionist and stenographer.


Footnotes:

[1] Family Document, Homer's son, Homer, sent a copy of this story to Robert Wolfe in 1983.

[2] Gary A. Chronister, "Old Man Chronister," Adams County Historical Society Newsletter 19 (1992), 2-7, at 2.

[3] US census, 1850

[4] US census, 1860

[5] US census, 1860

[6] US census, 1860

[7] US census, 1860, Reel 1057, Image 577, family 183, [Internet_Archive].

[8] US census, 1870, Reel 1289, Image 672, family 26, [Internet_Archive].

[9] citing GS film 350343, [FamilySearch_Image].

[10] US census, 1870

[11] US census, 1870

[12] US census, 1870

[13] William G Cutler with A. T. Andreas, publisher, History of the State of Kansas (1883), 686, left column, [HathiTrust], [Google_Book].

[14] William G Cutler with A. T. Andreas, publisher, History of the State of Kansas (1883), 683, [HathiTrust], [Google_Book].

[15] William G Cutler with A. T. Andreas, publisher, History of the State of Kansas (1883), 689, [HathiTrust], [Google_Book].

[16] Conway Phelps Wing, History of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania (1879), 259, (picture on first page), Reports the first class of 300 students at the Cumberland Valley State Normal school in Shippensburg started in 31 May 1873. The list of the first few classes from this school mention neither an Ira Wolfe nor an Ira Chronister.

[17] William G Cutler with A. T. Andreas, publisher, History of the State of Kansas (1883), 687, left column, bottom, [HathiTrust], [Google_Book].

[18] Dickinson, Cheever, 1875, entry 49, [Ancestry_Image].

[19] Newspaper, The Dickinson County Chronicle.

[20] Family Document, Copy of Marriage license, Dickinson County Courthouse.

[21] Newspaper, Dickinson Chronicle, Friday, May 26.

[22] Family Document, Files of Newman Wolfe and Doug Wolfe. There is no label indicating whether this is Martha Lott or Clara Brenizer.

[23] Janet and Robert Wolfe, Genealogy Page for Willis Chronister, [JR_Wolfe_Genealogy].

[24] Newspaper, Chronicle on August 3.

[25] Newspaper, The Enterprise Gazette of Dickinson County, Friday March 16, 1877.

[26] Rootsweb file, Listing with Mattie Wolfe at the Union cemetery. Also buried here were friend DW Howard and Brenizer and Chronister families, [Rootsweb].

[27] US census, 1880, Reel 0379, Image 372, [Internet_Archive].

[28] US census, 1880

[29] US census, 1880

[30] US census, 1880, Reel 1010, Image 618, family 106, [Internet_Archive].

[31] Family Document, Files of Douglas Wolfe.

[32] Family Document, Files of Douglas Wolfe.

[33] Newspaper, Atchison Globe, 23 March 1882, page 1, column 3.


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