EDMOND R. WOLFE (1788–1876)
Edmond Richard Wolfe was born on June 15, 1788, in Cratloe, Parish of Athea, County Limerick, Ireland. His parents were Richard M. Wolfe and Ellen O'Sullivan. The family estate at Cratloe had been purchased in March 1760 by Wolfe's grandfather, Maurice J. Wolfe. Prior to that, the Wolfe family had lived in Templeathea, near Limerick City.
Wolfe had at least two siblings: Margret "Peggy James" (d. 1874), who married E. Sheehy, and Maurice Richard (b. 1778). Little is known of Wolfe's life.
He married Ellen "Nellie" Brosnan, of Islandanny, County Kerry, on June 15, 1812. They had seven daughters and at least two sons. These included Richard Edmond (b. 1824), Edmond, Joan, Nell, Mary, Bridget (d. 1911), and Julia.
Family oral history—contained in a letter written by Wolfe's great-granddaughter Jane C. “Dollie” Wolfe and dated August 1956 from Cratloe, also known as the “Aunt Dollie” letter—suggests that Wolfe "was rather a prominent man in the district in his day. Amongst other things he was what was called a 'warden' in Daniel O'Connell's Repeal organisation in the thirties and forties of the last century." The Repeal Association sought an end to the Act of Union, which had joined Great Britain and Ireland. Wolfe's efforts on behalf of Repeal are corroborated by newspapers of the time, such as the Cork Examiner, which on December 30, 1842, reported that he had raised more than a pound for the movement. The Freeman's Journal of December 19 of that year describes a dinner in which a movement leader "begged to introduce Mr. Woulfe, a gentleman who had come in with 10 [pounds?], which he had collected in the mountainous parish of Athea. The gentleman was received with three enthusiastic cheers, and took his seat at the festive board."
Almost a century later, in 1931, the Limerick Leader reported on Wolfe's contributions to the Repeal movement. According to Timothy Wolfe, in 1842 Edmond Wolfe ran for the Board of Guardians to represent Monegay in the Newcastle West district of County Limerick in opposition to the candidate put forward by his landlord, William Courtenay, tenth earl of Devon. "And all who have any idea of the conditions of the time," the Leader wrote, "will understand the magnitude of that venture and task that he accomplished in being about the first farmer in Ireland to defeat, which he did, his landlord's nominee, for a seat on a public board."
Wolfe built a family home at the Glen, Cratloe, in 1815. Nellie Brosnan Wolfe died in 1869, and Edmond Wolfe on May 13, 1876. They are buried together at Templeathea.