Erie County (PA) Genealogy

Family Histories & Biographies

DeWolf Family

Contributed by Andy Pochatko



FROM ALBION NEWS
DECEMBER 26, 1907

LARGE FAMILY OF DeWOLFS

Mr. Salisbury Tells About
Aunt "Eliza" and Her
Good Life.

CONNEAUT CREEK'S MANY BIG FLOODS


Did Much Damage and Always Tore
the Salisbury Bridge Away
Until Recently.

Edward DeWolf and his wife, Sarah Cotton DeWolf came to Conneaut Township about 1819 and finally settled on Conneaut Creek in a standing a little east of John Sherman's present house.  They had a family of eight children, namely, Charles, Joseph, Hiram, Stephen, Putnam, Erastus, William, and Alexander.  All grew to manhood.  The old folks finally lived with Erastus, he occupying the home above described.  Edward DeWolf died May 17, 1835, his wife died January 12, 1854, She was a women highly esteemed by all her neighbors and those who became acquainted with her.  Erastus, with whom they lived, was the seventh son and familiarly as Doc DeWolf.  He was a man of sociable disposition and full of fun used to call himself Old Doc.  He was a tanner, currier and shoemaker by trade, and first class at the business.  He married Eliza Freeman of Cussewago Township, Crawford Co., Pa.  She was the daughter of James and Mary Dunn Freeman and was born in Cussewago Township, March 3, 1805 and died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. H. G. Harvey in Mile Grove, July 31, 1904, at the ripe old age of 99 years, 5 months, and 28 days.  Aunt Eliza, as she was familiarly known among her neighbors, seems to require more than a passing notice of her somewhat eventful life.  She might truly be said to have cared for and brought up four generations.  She told the writer that her parents had twelve children and she was poorly and sickly when a child with asthma.  Her father cared for her, which care she appreciated, and repaid with interest in caring for his younger children and him in old age.  She said she never attended dances, so common in those days, but stayed at home and cared for the family affairs and needs, which trait appeared to be with her through life.  She and her husband had seven children, namely; Benjamin Loren, Edward Celoe, Eliza, Harriet Evelyn, Sarah Augusta, Roland Augustus and Leonard Irwin.  These children were well cared for and some of her grandchildren received her kind care, having her a good home.  Perhaps no woman in Conneaut Township ever had a better acquaintance or more experience with Conneaut Creek than Aunt Eliza.  At the time of the flood of 1836, which occurred on the 16th day of June, just seven days after her third child was born, she was taken in a canoe from the house to higher land and there put into a wagon and taken to Sherman’s Corners.  The water at that time was so a boat could run into the house.  The family lived in a log house until 1849 when they built a substantial frame house, the lower story being of stone.  The big flood of September 13, 1878 broke all records for high water on Conneaut Creek.  The water was up to the second story of the DeWolf house.  A boat was run along the road in front of the Salisbury grave yard.  By a mark at the time by Liberty Salsbury and Adelbert Marsh the water was 15 feet above normal.   In the beginning of February, 1883, there was a big flood with floating ice that did more damage than any that had preceded it.  At the time of the flood of 1878, Mr. DeWolf had about 125 bushels of nice wheat in his granary which got badly damaged.  Their lower rooms were left covered with mud and slime but Mrs. DeWolf with usual perseverance and the help of family soon put things in order again.  This couple was industrious, prudent and persevering, determined to make a home, and succeeded.  He worked the farm day times and made boots and shoes nights.  She cared for the family and household duties and stayed up nights and bound shoes and the freaks of old Conneaut Creek did not drive them out, and after all the troubles from all the troubles from water and toil this woman lived her one hundred years nearly out.  The house they built was destroyed by fire May 7, 1904, and John Sherman has built a new house on the old foundation.

Erastus DeWolf was born March 17, 1808 and died April 19, 1882.  He was a good farmer and a good citizen and with his wife accumulated a good piece of property.  The DeWolfs were of French descent and originally from Vermont.  William B. DeWolf came to Conneaut Township and settled where Harry Brewster now lives.  He married Catherine, daughter of Matthew Harrington.  They had eight children, all girls.  He was a farmer and his daughters were quite a help to him on the farm.  Most of them were well educated and some of them became teachers in the common schools.  Alzora graduated at Edinboro became quite a traveler, visiting the old country, Hawaii, California, the Rockies and many other places.  These girls were all schooled at Kidder’s Corners and understood all parts of household work and considerable farm work.  Hiram DeWolf, another brother, settled on the farm now owned by Elijah Salsbury.  He was a good farmer and a good citizen, had quite a family, most of them gone to the other shore.  Hosea DeWolf, of another family, settled beside Hiram.  He married Eleanor Taylor April 10, 1836.  He was quite unfortunate in his family, only two lived and were a constant care to him and his wife and his wife, not capable of care for themselves, but were care well for him and his wife until their deaths.  Hosea DeWolf was a kind, honest man in every respect, and an obliging neighbor.  He worked hard and accumulated a good property.  These men all came in early and had the privations of a new country to contend with and all lived near Kidder’s Corners.  Aunt Eliza, heretofore mentioned, who had so much trouble with high water, lost her reason and became totally blind in her last days and would imagine the water of the creek was around her and call for someone to get her out.

Well, the Salsbury Bridge was being constantly carried off by the floods and was a standing tax on the town until that old veteran bridge builder, Jay Sherman, put a bridge across the creek that the biggest flood ever known on the creek failed to move.  (The flood of September, 1878)  The abutments were built by W. J. Brockway, both now deceased.


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