JAMES H. WOLFE. The life record of James H. Wolfe, now deceased, covered a period of seventy-eight years and few men of Macoupin county have been more highly respected. He was long a resident of this county and conducted his affairs in such a way as to reflect credit not only upon himself but upon all with whom he was associated. He belonged on the paternal side to one of the old families of Pennsylvania and was born in Morgan county, Illinois, March 19, 1830. His parents were George and Mary (Sims) Wolfe, the former a native of Virginia and the latter of South Carolina. The grandfather on the maternal side, James Sims, was born in Virginia but emigrated to Illinois and was the first representative from Sangamon county to the state legislature. George Wolfe, father of our subject, came to Macoupin county with his family in 1839 and located on a farm on Apple Creek, in North Palmyra township, where he made his home until 1854 and then removed to North Otter township, settling on a farm four and a half miles from Girard. There his wife died on the 1st of January, 1873, and he passed away four months later.
James H. Wolfe was the eldest of a family of seven sons and grew to manhood under the favoring conditions of country life. At the age of nine years he came with his father to Macoupin county. He began attending school in Morgan county but continued his education in the district schools of North Palmyra township. In 1842 he began actively assisting his father upon the home farm and so continued until 1850 when he became a teacher, but also devoted his attention to farming as opportunity permitted. In 1855 he was appointed agent of the Chicago & Alton Railway at Girard, being the first agent of the road at that point, and in 1856 embarked in the mercantile business at Girard. Previous to his mercantile career he was engaged in buying live stock, which he drove to the market at Alton and St. Louis. The news of the discovery of gold in Colorado created great excitement in 1858 throughout the Mississippi Valley and Mr. Wolfe started overland with a party of adventurous young men bent upon quickly acquiring a fortune in the new gold fields. They endured many hardships after arriving at a spot near the foot of the mountains where Denver now stands, but the sands of Cherry Creek refused to yield the yellow treasure and the quartz mines of Gilpin and Clear Creek counties proved equally unpromising to many gold seekers. After becoming convinced that his destiny pointed in other directions than to gold mines Mr. Wolfe returned to Girard and until 1869 engaged in teaching and in the lumber business at Shipman. He then moved to Carlinville and served tow terms as deputy county clerk. In 1878 he took up his residence on a farm near Nilwood, which he cultivated for ten years. He then removed to the village of Nilwood where he spent the remainder of his life, being one of the successful merchants of the town.
On the 3d of September, 1857, Mr. Wolfe was married to Miss Faustina M. Magoon, who was born in Canada, a daughter of Ezra and Betsy (Mack) Magoon, the former of whom was a native of Canada and the latter of New Hampshire. Mrs. Wolfe is a granddaughter of Asa Mack, of New Hampshire, and a great-granddaughter of Cyrus Mack, who was one of the soldiers of the patriot army at the time of the Revolutionary war. Of the children of Mr. and Mrs. Wolfe five are now living: Arthur L. and Mary E., both of Nilwood; George E., who married Minnie E. Otwell and resides in Norman, Minnesota; Mabel, who became the wife of John Murphy, of Nilwood, and has one daughter, Ruth; and Faustina E., who lives at Nilwood. A son of Mr. and Mrs. Wolfe, Loren E., married Ella B. Corrington and died in 1893, leaving one child, Roland C., who is now living in Minnesota.
Mr. Wolfe was a valued member of Girard Lodge, No. 171, A.F. & A.M., and was for many years a member of the Masonic order, having been made a Mason in 1855. He was also identified with the Odd Fellows and had many warm personal friends in those organizations. He gave his support to the republican party and, being an earnest friend of education, served as a member of the school board, the only political office he ever held being that of supervisor. He died December 19, 1908, and for many years had faithfully discharged his duties as a citizen and the head of a family, setting an example of industry, integrity and perseverance worthy of the highest commendation. His memory will ever be deeply revered by all with whom he came in contact wither in business or social relations.