By Larry E. Wolfe (Great, Great Grandson of Samuel Wolfe)
While visiting ‘Wolf Bus Lines’ for the first time to talk about our mutual family tree, I was given this 8-1/2 x 11 family photograph which revealed some new and significant things about my Great-Grandfather, Alfred Jacob Wolfe (seated last on right), and his immediate family.
We always thought he only had four brothers and one sister due to another photograph we have, but as you can see there was a total of seven brothers and one sister. Although only seven sons are shown in this family photograph of Samuel (1850-1931) and Ellomanda (1851-1928) Wolfe’s family, taken about five years after the turn of the 20th century, they also had an unnamed son who was born on January 10, 1882 and only lived to January 15th.
In addition they had two daughters, Annie, seated at her father’s right hand, and Victoria May who died at a very young age, almost fifteen years before this picture was taken, when she was only five years old, on the twenty-eighth day of January, 1891. This was quite an eventful year for Samuel and Ellomanda who would eventually give birth to a total of twelve children, for their youngest son, Irwin, was born just eight weeks later on the nineteenth day of March, eight days after Samuel’s forty-first birthday and just four days before Amanda’s fortieth birthday.
However, this last son, the ‘baby’ of the family also died at a somewhat young age, when he was only nineteen, in 1910, and was buried where his father, mother and older brother Samuel Jr. would later be buried, for they all appear on the same monument in ‘the Chapel’ cemetery located in Greenpoint, Pa..
This was a hearty, God-fearing family as Walter Wolfe inferred. Walter, born in 1910, is the Uncle to the ‘Wolf Bus Line’ boys, Bradley and Edwin, who sent me to see him, in order to get some good first hand Wolf family information. Walter, who is one of the two sons of Edwin (standing first on left), told me that all the boys (Samuel’s sons) worked in the coal mines.
But, we do know that some of them also went in other directions, because the oldest of the seven, Alfred Jacob, my Great-Grandfather, also known as A. J. or ‘Allen’, seated next to his mother, first, made a living teaching music lessons on horseback, riding north from his parent’s homestead in Greenpoint, Pa. into the populace coal mining towns of Tower City, Lykens, Wiconisco and then east to Pine Grove and Suedburg.
It was in Suedburg that he met his wife to be, Kate Klinger. Her father was co-owner in a mining operation with the father of a man, that I knew and spoke to first hand, named Eddie Rehrer, whose first wife A. J. had taught piano lessons. A. J. was a hard-working entrepreneur, later building a profitable business, A. J. Wolfe’s General Merchandise in Greenpoint, Pa. just down the road from his parents place. His father, Samuel, was a stone mason and handily cut building stones for A. J.’s barn foundation from one huge boulder found in the nearby mountainside.
This weather-worn barn still stands there in Greenpoint just west of the recently renovated house, store and warehouse, although the upper barn floor has since been removed and the roof replaced due to fire damage. The foundation is still as sound as the day it was built, revealing the craftsmanship and fine masonry skills of our patriarch Samuel, to be sure, a hard-working man. A. J. continued to travel in the same areas he had taught music lessons, only now he was bartering with the farmers for their fresh produce, eggs, chickens and livestock in exchange for his ‘store-bought’ goods.
His route included the people who lived ‘in front of the mountain’ all the way up through Manada Gap where Eddie Rehrer’s sawmill and tavern were located. A. J.’s store and ‘huckster’ business was a vital necessity for the families of Greenpoint and the surrounding area, including the coal miners who depended on him for carbide, carbide lamps, overalls or ‘uniforms’ as ‘Uncle’ Walter called them, work shoes, you name it and Grandpa’ had it! His store continued to deliver groceries up until he died in 1956, utilizing, during the last years, a new dark green and black ’53 Dodge pickup, that Hurly Donmoyer, Aunt Kathleen and I would ride in ‘when they kept it on the road’.
During the 1950’s, in the early years of my life, it was my great joy to spend time in the summers at the store with Grandpa’ and Grandma’ living in somewhat of a dreamland with all the candy and goodies my stomach could hold, not to mention the story-book beauty of the large, outdoor goldfish pond, the towering multi-story Martin birdhouses, the acres of gorgeous flowers Grandma’ would plant, the huge pines, shrubs and lush green grass as thick as a carpet, the farm animals including a big beagle named Jackie and an overgrown Easter rabbit (which I unknowingly ate!) and the meticulously kept buildings, painted dazzling white with dark green trim, a summer-house which housed a grand old pump organ, the lovely two-story house complete with working shutters, an artesian spring in the cellar, the dumb-waiter full of pies that sprang up out of the cold cellar into the kitchen at the touch of your foot, the beautiful open stairway with turned wooden spindles painted white, which led to ‘my’ bedroom on the west side of the house, where I would awake and just gaze out the window at the wonderful panorama of all of my marvelous, childhood wonderland! Walter told me of the memorable summer vacation days he too spent there in the 1920’s, staying at the store with ‘Uncle Al’ as he lovingly referred to my Great-Grandpa’.
More on the Wolfe Pack Story in Chapter Two coming soon!
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