ANDREW WOLF


Andrew Wolf is a venerable member of the old guard of Forty-niners to whom will always be the credit for the first great work of developing the magnificent resources of California. Laudations of the strenuosity, the preseverance, the industry, the heroism and the upright integrity of these pioneers will never fail to be recorded in the history of the Golden state, and now that the actors of those wondrous deeds will themselves soon retire from the stage of life, it is more than ever fitting that the Californians of the present--almost two generations removed from the golden days of '49--should vividly realize and again and again have presented to them the figures so bold and prominent of men whose like will not be seen again on earth.

From the thronging concourse of Argonauts who passed over the great American desert in the first years after the discovery of gold, there is none living at the present time more truly representative or a better example of the industry and wise and sagacious business management which culminated in success than Mr. Andrew Wolf, who for fifty-five years has been associated with the best and highest interests of San Joaquin county, and who has been for a number of years a resident of the city of Stockton. He is at the present writing not only one of the oldest men in the county but also perhaps the oldest citizen in point of length of residence. When he arrived one fall day in 1849 Stockton was a place of tents, and there was no sign of permanency or stability in the civilization of San Joaquin county. Mr. Wolf has been one of the great factors in creating a solid and substancial community of industry and a body politic, and as one who is well on in the eighties of life he receives and deserves the veneration and esteem of all who are a part of this great state and interested in its annuals.

This honored old citizen of Stockton made his advent into life and the world in the state of Ohio, at his parents' home on Beaver creek in Greene county, on May 26, 1821. He was a son of John W. and Mary (Hawker) Wolf, the former a native of Pennsylvania and the latter of Ohio. The family was of German ancestry. His father was born in 1791 and died in 1878. He was an infant when taken to Ohio, and from that state volunteered for service in the war of 1812, and was among the troops surrendered by Hull at Detroit. His wife died in 1835.

Mr. Andrew Wolf is a self-made man and began achieving his own fortune from an early age. He was fourteen years old when he left his home in Greene county and went to Dayton, Ohio, where he engaged at clerking in the grocery store of his uncle, William Van Cleaf. Three years were passed in this occupation, and he then became a dry goods clerk in the store of Samuel Brady at the same place. A year later he entered the grocery business for himself, as a partner in the firm of Coblentz & Wolf, which carried on business in Dayton for several years. In 1847 he sold out his interest and went to Iowa, where for the next two years he was in the employ of some merchants and where he added to his reputation for business sense and ability.

It was while at Muscatine, Iowa, that the great news of the Eldorado reached Mr. Wolf, and the repeated tales of golden discoveries filled him with ardor to participate in the stirring scenes of California life. He inspired several friends with the same desires, bought his outfit and joined an emigrant train having about twenty wagons and ox teams, and set out across the plains. He left Muscatine on April 5, 1849, arrived at St. Joseph and by the lucky finding and completion of an unfinished boat made the passage of the Missouri river on May 14, and by the middle of August arrived in Hangtown, now Placerville, California. The party came by Fort Laramie, and the Sublette cut-off, and just before leaving the Truckee valley for the crossing of the Sierra Nevadas they camped over night in the cabin made famous as having been built and occupied by the ill-fated Donner party. The entire journey was made safely, although the cholera threatened the lives of all and caused the death of one man. From Hangtown Mr. Wolf and several friends went to Gold Run near by, and during three days' mining he cleaned up fifteen hundred dollars. He was then blinded by poison oak, and was compelled to leave, setting out for Sacramento, and after spending four days in that city started for San Francisco, but on the night of October 15th he stopped at Stockton, where he was led to locate permanently, and has centered his business interests and activity in San Joaquin county ever since.

From the fall of 1849 till the autumn of 1851 he was engaged in freighting between Stockton and various mining districts, and then for two years was in the livery business at Stockton in company with the late Charles Dallas, the firm being known as Wolf & Dallas. This partnership was dissolved in the fall of 1853, and from then until 1865 he conducted a livery establishment in his own name. In the last-mentioned year he turned his active attention to ranching and stock-raising, locating on his fine place of eight hundred acres where Burnham station now is, about eight miles from Stockton. He continued his personal management of these farming interests until 1875, when he returned to Stockton, although he still retained his ranch and gave it his supervision. Since 1875 he has made his home in Stockton, and his fine residence is located in 741 East Weber street. He still owns his well improved ranch at burnham, and has many other interests throughout the county. He was one of the organizers and promoters and for some time served as president of the Grangers' Union at Stockton. He was also president for several years of the corporation known as the McCall Scraper Company, which had its headquarters and did a large business in Stockton. He owns considerable real estate in the city, and has done much in the way of building up and improving the city. He is now serving as a director and also a member of the finance committee of the Stockton Savings and Loan Society, and through these means and in many other directions has manifested his great public spirit and interest in the welfare and permanent good of San Joaquin county. During the early fifties he served as a member of the city council of Stockton for one term.

Mr. Wolf is a member of the San Joaquin Society of California Pioneers, and his wife is a member of the ladies Auxiliary of the same organization. He has been a member of the Odd Fellows fraternity for nearly sixty years, since he joined Buckeye Lodge No. 47, I. O. O. F., at Dayton, Ohio, September 3d in 1845, and in 1852 he transferred his membership to Charity Lodge No. 6, at Stockton, where he has affiliated ever since. He and his wife are members of St. John's Episcopal church in Stockton, and he is serving as vestryman. In politics he has been a stanch Republican since the birth of that party, but most of his political enthusiasm has gone rather for the benefit of the general welfare than to practical party work.

August 17, 1852, Mr. Wolf was married to Miss Amanda D. Dwelly, a native of Machias, Maine, and who had come to California in the fall of 1851 in company with her mother and her step-father, the late Peter Munson, a well known pioneer of San Joaquin county. Four children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Wolf: Laura, the wife of Wellington T. Smith, died March 27, 1889, but the other three children are still living. Frank is a resident of Burnham stateion; George L. is in Stockton; and Delia is the wife of Dr. J. J. Meigs, a well known physician of Oakland, California.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine


Return to Biographies Index, Volume II

Return to California AHGP home page

Return to Sacramento County AHGP home page