Written by Larry E. Wolfe (blog compiled by Brian A. Wolfe)
Just a few years after the Samuel Wolfe family picture was taken the Wolfe’s built a church, there in Greenpoint, called ‘the Chapel’. Samuel and his oldest son, my Great-Grandpa’ A. J., lead this effort in constructing the independent church where all could worship God freely apart from any denominational ties. This was their stated purpose for building ‘the Chapel’ being established in 1907. The sturdy building still continues to be used to this day.
However, this interesting story of the circumstances that surrounded the building of the Chapel was told by Molly Meck Long, a long-standing member of the Chapel, who lived to be 101 dying in 1995. She gave the following account to my oldest brother Warren.
At that time, about the turn of the century, the Wolfs were meeting for church services in Sattazahn’s Lutheran Church on alternating Sundays when they were ‘locked out’ of the building much to their surprise one Sunday morning. Having been barred from using the Lutheran church building, they then began meeting in the one-room schoolhouse just up the road. But allegedly, one of the men from Sattazahn’s Lutheran Church ‘spit tobacco juice’ in some of the school books causing much consternation.
While investigating the source of the tobacco juice, the guilty party was determined by the brand of tobacco used somewhat exclusively by a certain man from Sattazahn’s. So, the Wolfs, after losing the use of the schoolhouse for something they did not do, decided to build the Chapel just across the road from the one-room schoolhouse.
Another expanded version told by local historian Francis Ditzler whose family also attended Sattazahn’s at the time goes like this. The historian said that Sattazahns called a new Pastor and the Wolfs and Ditzlers wanted a Calvinist teaching Pastor or Reformed because the church is Lutheran and Reformed but they instead called another Lutheran Pastor.
He said the Wolfs and Ditzlers met downstairs during Sunday School teaching the Reformed doctrine or Calvinist. Then they started meeting in the Ditzler home where they ran a butcher business just up the road. When the numbers grew they moved to the schoolhouse and henceforth the two stories become one because Molly Meck told Warren why they got kicked out of the school.
However it happened the result was an independent church was established which taught the Word of God every Sunday and the Wolfe’s who remained in the valley supported it faithfully.
Not all Wolfs stayed in the valley as Edwin Martin Luther Wolf left the Greenpoint area before all these events took place moving sometime around the turn of the century to Derry Church which would later be named “Hershey” after the ‘chocolate man’ Milton S. Hershey. My wife Betsy and I visited Wolf Bus Lines in York Springs as we were pretty sure the founder was in our line of Wolfs. We struck it rich as we discovered that Edwin’s grandsons Bradley and Edwin were still at the helm of the business. They provided the below Wolf family picture and directed us to their ‘Uncle’ Walter Wolf who lived in Lebanon PA. Walter gave us the following account concerning things he recalled about his immediate family.
‘My oldest sister Elizabeth was born in 1902 in Derry Church which was later named Hershey. My father Edwin made ice cream for Milton S. Hershey. One of the flavors he specifically made for him was onion. Now, Hershey didn’t just want the onion juice to flavor the ice cream, he wanted the onion in it too, all chopped up, the whole onion! My Dad later moved to York Springs when Milton S. Hershey established a creamery there. He worked for him for a while and started an automobile dealership, garage and bus service.
We began in 1926 with a seven passenger Pierce Arrow and a Flint sedan. We took school kids from the country to York Springs. In the 30’s we went to Johnstown and bought two used school buses. Then we started charter work to ball games in Philadelphia and Baltimore. Then my sister Elizabeth took over the business. I drove bus for thirty years.’ He went on to tell us various stories of ‘Uncle Al’ (my Great-Grandfather) and ‘his boy Clarence’ (my Grandfather), as Walter still had an extremely sharp mind at 88 years of age!
It was through ‘Uncle’ Walter’s first-hand knowledge of his aunt and uncle’s on this family photograph that we were able to identify some but not all of the Seven Sons of Samuel. It wasn’t until my wife and I visited the cemeteries of the Chapel and Sattazahn’s Lutheran Church, that we were able to narrow down the names.
We do have this later photograph taken right around 1939-40. This general time frame was chosen due the late 30’s look of the cars shown on the photograph, also, they would not have been picnicking during the war which started in late 1941, and Edwin, one of the five brothers shown on the photograph, died in May of 1942.
The five brothers are standing by the roadside in the grove across the street from Grandpa’s store with their sister Annie. In order from left to right you see Samuel Jr. (or Sammy as we called him), Charles, Annie, Edwin (E.M.), Alfred Jacob (A. J.) and Walter Loy (a half-brother), with David (nicknamed Wooly), the only other living son, being absent.
David ‘Wooly’ Wolfe who remained in the Greenpoint area, also had seven sons, Albert, Harry, Francis, Charles, Paul, David Jr. and Lester. He was father to five daughters making an even dozen children, which was quite a large family even in those days. Albert died in 1939 at the early age of thirty-three, leaving his only child Albert Jr at age nine to grow up fatherless, but with Grandpa David and six uncles nearby, he must have had plenty of good instruction.
David’s Grandson, ‘Popeye’ (Albert Jr.), so nicknamed because of his once ever-present pipe, lived on the old homestead of Samuel and Ellomanda where Samuel Jr. lived, which ‘Popeye’ purchased in 1961 when Samuel Jr. died.
‘Popeye’ had five children, Dennis, Scott, Judy, Connie and Cindy. He was the only descendant in David’s line that we knew personally, having bought many a Christmas tree from him over the years. But, I’m sure with all of ‘Wooly’s’ children there must be many more of our relatives scattered throughout the central Pennsylvania area!
So whats with the Wolf Vs Wolfe spelling you might ask???
The Wolfe’s that stayed in the Greenpoint area added the ‘e’ to the end of their name for some unknown reason. However, my ‘educated’ opinion (through cemetery study and other various and sundry info) points to the likely probability that the ‘e’ was added by certain Wolfs to distinguish themselves from another family of Wolfs that might have been members of Sattazahn’s Lutheran Chuch.
Knowing that there was somewhat of a division or conflict between the Wolfe’s and some of the people at Sattazahns, A. J., David (‘Wooly’), and Samuel Jr., who are those Wolfs who remained in the Greenpoint area, might have decided to set themselves apart distinguishing themselves from this other group of Greenpoint Wolfs by simply adding the ‘e’.
We do know that they added it before February of 1902 because A. J. and Kate’s infant daughter Grace has the ‘e’ on her tombstone. In addition, all of the other Wolf families, with the exclusion of one family which is buried at the Chapel, are buried at Sattazahns. Samuel and Ellomanda did not take the ‘e’ as far as we know, but the only proof we have of that is the engraving on their monument at their gravesite. Edwin, who moved out of the area before the above mentioned division/conflict occurred, never added the ‘e’ while the choice of the other two brothers, Henry and Charles, is not known.
In Chapter 4 we will get into more detail about the Warren A. Wolfe (our father’s) family history.
For more life-changing stories go here: New Blog Index