Margaret Wolfe Maher (courtesy of Ann McClary)

Margaret Wolfe Maher (courtesy of Ann McClary)

Margaret Wolfe was born in August 1827 in Listowel, County Kerry, Ireland. She was the daughter of Maurice Richard Wolfe, who bred horses and came from a Catholic farming family, and Johanna Downey Wolfe. She had eight siblings: Richard Downey (b. 1829), Stephen (b. 1833), James Downey (b. 1839), Johanna E. (b. 1840), Catherine “Kate” (b. 1842), Maurice (b. 1848), John Francis (b. 1850), and Edmund Dean (b. 1853).

Little is known of her early life. She, her parents, and her siblings immigrated to the United States in 1849. They sailed from Liverpool to New York aboard the Senator, a 777-ton ship of the Black Star Line, owned by Samuel Thompson; they arrived on September 22, 1849. Maurice Richard Wolfe’s brother John immigrated to the United States in 1847, his brother Thomas Richard in 1848, and his brother Richard in 1849. They all settled, at least initially, in LaSalle County, Illinois. Margaret Wolfe's family bought land there, as well, and stayed.

On May 2, 1852, Wolfe married Bartholomew "Batt" Maher at Saint Patrick's Church in LaSalle County. Maher had arrived in the United States from Ireland in 1848. The couple lived in Eagle Township, LaSalle County, for the rest of their lives. They had seven children: Catherine "Kate" (b. 1852), John Wallace (b. 1856), Johanna (b. 1857), Jerry (b. 1862), Jeremiah Leonard (b. 1867), Bartholomew "Bartie" (b. 1868), Maurice Edward (b. 1869), and James Francis (b. 1870). Jerry Maher died in 1862.

Margaret Wolfe Maher's eldest child, Kate, married a cousin, Richard James Wolfe. (Kate Maher Wolfe's maternal grandfather, Maurice Richard Wolfe, and Richard James Wolfe's father, Richard Wolfe, were first cousins.) Margaret Maher's son John became a lawyer in North Dakota.

Batt Maher died on July 12, 1904, in Streator, Illinois. Margaret Maher died of pneumonia after a brief illness on October 12, 1906, in Eagle Township, LaSalle County. They both are buried at Lost Land Cemetery in LaSalle County.