Major General James Wolfe The ancestry of James Wolfe extracted from History of Limerick, John Ferrar 1787 The ancestry of James Wolfe, Anthony R. Wagner, CVO, D.Litt, Richmond Herald Abstracts from the Registry of Deeds, Dublin Captain George Wolfe of Corbally, Co Limerick The Woulfe Name from Irish Families, by Edward McLysaght Wolfe family in Limerick General Wolfe - the hero of Quebec. Is he one of us?
Major General James Wolfe
The story of General Wolfe is included because family legend says we are related. To date, I have not been able to prove a link, although there is some evidence pointing to a possibility. There is still much more research to be done. If you can help, please send me an e-mail.
Below I have given General Wolfe's ancestry as quoted by John Ferrar and Anthony R. Wagner. Under Wolfe Surname in Ireland is the entry from Irish Families by noted historian, Edward McLysaght.
The Ancestry of Major General James Wolfe
Extracted from History of Limerick by John Ferrar 1787 (p 350)
Wolfe, James 1727-1759, Major-General, born on 2 Jan. 1727 (bpt. 22 December 1726) at the vicarage, Westerham, Kent, England, was eldest son of Edward Wolfe, by Henrietta (whose portrait was painted by Thomas Hudson; see Cat. Third Loan Exhibit.. No. 806), daughter of Edward Thompson of Marsden, Yorkshire, England. Of Edward Wolfe's father, Cpt. Edward Wolfe b. 1650 married Margaret Southern; his grandfather is said to have been Captain George Wolfe, who was one of the leading defenders of Limerick in 1651, and who belonged to a family, originally Welsh, but long settled in Ireland.
James Wolfe was killed in the capture of Quebec City from the French under Montcalm in that annus mirabilis of 1759.
Brief Family Tree
Cpt.. George Wolfe b. c1620-30, resided Corbally, Co. Limerick
Cpt. Edward Wolfe b. 1650 married Margaret Southern(e)
General Edward Wolfe b. 1689 married Henrietta Thompson.
i. James Wolfe b. 1727 (no issue) General
ii. Edmund Wolfe. b1728
The Genealogy of James Wolfe
by Anthony R. Wagner, CVO, DLitt, Richmond Herald
John Ferrar in his History of Limerick, 1787 (p 350) made a statement about the ancestry of James Wolfe which has usually. though not always, been accepted.
Captain George Woulfe of the city of Limerick, he writes, ' was proscribed by general Ireton for his attachment to the royal cause. He fled to the North of England, where he settled, and his grandson General Edward Woulfe, was appointed Colonel of the 8th Regiment of Foot in the year 1745. He transmitted his virtues with additional lustre, to his son Major General James Woulfe, whose memory will be ever dear to his country, and whose name will be immortalised in history.
George Woulfe was a member of the family of Woulfe of Limerick and later of Tirmaclaun in Cruagh, County Dublin, whose pedigree is recorded in Ulster's Office from Thomas Woulfe, Bailiff of Limerick in 1476 down to the nineteenth century. George and his brother Francis, a Franciscan Friar, and Superior of the Franciscans in Limerick, were both exempted from Ireton's Pardon at the Capitulation of Limerick on 27th October 1651.
James Wolfe's father, Lieutenant-General Edward Wolfe, who died in 1759 aged 74 years and was therefore born about 1685, makes his first appearance on 10th March 1702 when he was commissioned as a second Lieutenant in Viscount Shannon's Regiment of Marines. From that point his career was clearly traced by Charles Dalton.
(George Is Army 17141727, Volume 1, pp 1689 ). He became, Major of Colonel William Newton's (late Temples) Regiment of Foot on 24th April 1710, served in Flanders, went on half-pay in 1713, was Major of Dubougay's Regiment of Foot on 22nd July 171S, Captain and Lieutenant-Colonel of the 3rd Foot Guards 10th July 1717, Colonel of the 1st Marine Regiment 17th November 1739, Adjutant-General to the Expedition to Carthagena 174041, Brigadier-General, 25th February 1744, Major-General 27th May 1745, Inspector of Marines, transferred to the Colonelcy of the Kings Regiment of Foot 25th April 1745, and Lieutenant-General 27th September 1747. He died on 27th March 1759 and was buried at St. Alfege, Greenwich, England.
His marriage to a wife nearly twenty years younger than himself, Henrietta, daughter of Edward Thompson of Long Marston, Yorkshire, took place at Long Marston on 12 February 1723/4. Henrietta Thompson was the descendant of established County families and through them from more remote noble ancestry. The Thompson pedigree shows James Wolfes descent through her from King Edward III and Hotspur.
It has been said that Edward Wolfe was born at York but no evidence for this has so far come to light though he was living there at the time of his marriage. Wolfe is, however, an old established name in Yorkshire, particularly in Scarborough, Bridlington and district, many wills of persons of the name living thereabouts being preserved in the York Probate Registry. There is, on the other hand, definite evidence linking Edward Wolfe with Ireland
In the first place Major Walter Wolfe, brother of Edward and uncle of James retired to Dublin and died there in 1771. The record of his military career (Charles Dalton, English Army Lists & Commission Registers 16611714, Volume V, pp 2634) begins with his Commission to be Ensign in the Earl of Orrery's Regiment of Foot in 1704. On the 1st of January 1707 he was promoted to Lieutenant. He served at Malplaquet, was Captain in Brigadier-General Henry Morryson's Regiment of Foot on 16th February 1716, and Major on 1st April 1742. He was living in Dublin by 1744 and kept up a correspondence with his nephew James (Beckles Willson, The Life Letters of James Wolfe, 1909, pp 47, 82, etc).
It further appears from the evidence both of letters and wills that a sister of Edward Wolfe was married to George Goldsmith of Dublin who died in 1736, a cousin of [author] Oliver Goldsmith, and had by him a son Edward Goldsmith of Limerick, who died in 1764. (See Beckles Willson, and James Prior, The Life of Oliver Goldsmith, 1837, Volume I, p 6.)
A third Irish connection was with the celebrated Bishop Berkeley. Wolfes letters (Beckles WilIson. op. cil. p 201) suggests some connection, and it is stated that this was that Mrs William Berkeley (died 1694) the Bishop's mother, was aunt to General Edward Wolfe (A. A. Luce, The Life of George Berkeley, Bisbop of Cloyne. 1949, pp 223). There is some evidence that Mrs William Berkeley was Elizabeth, daughter of Francis Southerne, brewer of Dublin, by Margaret sister of John Stearne, Senior Fellow of Trinity College, Dublin, and a great nephew of Archbishop Ussher. Possibly, therefore. the mother of Edward Wolfe was her sister.
Charles Dalton (English Army Lists & Commission Registers 16611714. Volume III, p 411) propounded the theory that the father of General Edward Wolfe was a certain Captain Edward Wolfe who first appears as a Lieutenant in the Royal Regiment of Foot guards in Ireland in 1686. He was turned out of the Irish Army as a Protestant by Tyrconnel in 1687, and appears in a list of Protestant Officers, lately in the Army in Ireland now out. of employment in and about London who desire to be entertained in His Majestys Service, on 22nd March 1688/9. He was commissioned Captain of an independent Company of Foot on the 1st October 1688 and as a Captain in Sir George St. George's Regiment of Foot on 10th May 1689. He was wounded at Terra Nova on 30th August 1695 and his commission was renewed on 7th July 1702 after which no more appears to be heard of him.,
It seemed to me possible that this Edward Wolfe was identical with Edward Woolfe, Ensign to Col. Willobye's Company who had five daughters by his wife Margaret as recorded in the Parish Register of St Michan, Dublin, namely Anne, baptised 14 December 1676/7 and buried 10 January 1689/90, Margaret baptised 16 February 1677/8, Arabella, baptised 4April 1679, Jane buried 16 July 1684 in Mr Tighe's tomb in the churchyard and Frydaweed, buried 22 May 1687. The daughter Margaret could be identical with the wife of George Goldsmith. We know that Lieutenant-General Edward Wolfe had a sister Anne who married James; Burcher of Lyndhurst, Hampshire, and this might be a second daughter Anne, born after the death of the first in 1690. This would make her of the right age to have a son William Churches born in or about 1713.
Clear confirmation both of Daltons conjecture and my own has recently come to light in the series of documents registered in the Dublin Registry of Deeds of which abstracts are given below. These show that in 1686 Edward Wolfe of the City of Dublin, later a Major, had a lease of a moiety of the lands of Kilmurry and Kilmekanoge in the half barony of Rathdowne, County Wicklow. for the lives of himself, his wife Margaret and his son Edward and that on his death at some date before 1715 his son Walter Wolfe was substituted for him in the Lease, while in 1715. his daughter Margaret Goldsmith and her son George were also added to it.1
Dalton was prepared to accept Ferrars statement that Lieutenant-General Edward Wolfe was the grandson of George Wolfe of Limerick and therefore to regard Captain Edward Wolfe as the. latter's son. An alternative and not implausible theory was, however, put forward by the Reverend W. Ball-Wright, Vicar of Osbaldwick, near York, in an article in the Yorkshire Herald of 30th October 1909. He draws attention to a Petition preserved among the State Papers by one Jane Wolfe, widow of Lieutenant-Colonel Edward Wolfe who accompanied Cromwell to Ireland in 1649 but six months later died at Youghal, County Cork, leaving his widow with six small children (Calendar of State Papers, Domestic Series,, Commonwealth Volume VI, 16534, Page 423,110. 77). It would, however, seem chronologically unlikely that Captain Edward Wolfe, who appears as, a Lieutenant in 1686 and was not made Captain until two years later was a son of the Colonel, although he could be a grandson.
Mr Ball-Wright's article is quoted in a pamphlet on The Yorkshire Connections of General Wolfe by the Reverend Canon Arthur A. R. Gill, Rector of All Saints Pavement, York (nd. but c. 1934). Canon Gill writes: In several parts of Yorkshire I find traces of Wolfe's and I hope some future writer may he able to find the link. I have studiously gone through the Wills of many people of that name in different parts of the County. I had hopes especially of two, Nicholas Wolfe of Bridlington (Will 1679) and that of Edmund Wolfe of Buckthorpe near Stamford Bridge. In the latter case although I have much information, the Parish Registers do not help me beginning a little too late.
The Scarborough Registers. mention eight people of the name. 1 can not in any way agree to the Wolfe pedigree given by Ferrar in his History of Limerick, 1787, and my views are corroborated ,by Ulster King of Arms (T. U. Sadleir, Esq.) who has devoted much labour to solving many enigmas of the Wolfe family and has also been most kind in trying to solve mine of the same family I pin my faith nearly entirely to the views of the late Reverend W. Ball-Wright, of Osbaldwick Vicarage, near York, who had also devoted much time to the puzzle.
The problem which thus remains unsolved is clearly one of great difficulty. Nevertheless ample scope remains for further research. Upon the whole Ferrars story carries little conviction add the theory that an ancestor went from Yorkshire to Ireland with Cromwell and there settled, while maintaining links with his home, seems plausible.
The Arms, Three wolves heads erased ducally gorged with a martlet for cadency, which decorate the Beckles-Willson book and appear on a brass set up in 1910 in Westerham Church, are those of the family of Wolfe of Forenaghts and Baronrath, County Kildare, from which sprang the Viscounts Kilwarden. The ancestor of this family was one Richard Wolfe who appears from England and settles in Dublin in 1658 (The Wolfes of Forenagbts, Blackwall, Baronratb, Cc. Co. Kildare, Ireland, by Major R. Wolfe, 1885). I have found nothing to suggest either that James Wolfe was descended from this family or that he used these Arms. The Coat, Argent three wolves heads erased sable gorged with coronets Or, which has been used by families of Wolfe. appears in the fourteenth century armorial known as Calveley's Book (A. R. Wagner, A Catalogue of English Mediaeval Rolls of Arms 1950, p 63) as that of Sr. Hugh le Wolf de Com. Oxoniae, but this person has not been identified and it seems possible that the Coat is really one attributed in the fourteenth century to Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester in the time of William the Conqueror.
The Arms` which James Wolfe must, in fact, have used are those which appear on the Sea1 which has come down in the Wolfe-Aylward family from Anne, sister of Lieutenant-General Edward Wolfe, and wife of James Burcher. This shows the coat, a chevron between three wolves heads erased ducally gorged, impaling the Arms of Thompson of Long Marston (Per fess Argent and Sable a fess counterembattled between three falcons and counterchanged, which were differenced by the Kilham. branch with a Canton Gules) and must therefore refer to the marriage of Edward Wolfe, and Henrietta Thompson, the parents of James. This is an unrecorded Coat, a cross between that of Wolfe of Madeley, Shropshire and that of Wolfe of Forenaghts. The tinctures with which the Coat was used are unknown and since it is not officially recorded there has been no means of ascertaining them.
The Registry of Deeds, Dublin
Lease, 20 December 1723, between The Hon. Col. Edward Wolfe. then residing in London (eldest son and heir of Major Edward Wolfe, late of Kilmurry, Co. Wicklow, deceased) and Robert Adair, Dublin City.
Reciting lease dated 14 February 1686 where Arabella Stephens demised unto said Major Edward Wolfe, decd., by the name of Edward Wolfe of Dublin City the moyety of the towns and lands of Kilmurry (525a.) and the commons thereto belonging, and the moiety of the towns and lands of Kilmekanoge (36a.) both situated in the half barony of Rathdowne, Go. Wicklow, to hold during the lives of him the said Edward Wolfe, Margaret, his wife and Edward his son at the yearly rent of 33.12.0 for the first three years and 38.12.0 thereafter.
Further reciting that the said Major Edward Wolfe had since dyed and that the life of Walter Wolfe, second son of sd. Major Edward Wolfe was added in his stead. By this deed the sd.. Edward Wolfe, party thereto, in consideration of the sum of 650, demised unto said Robert Adair the above mentioned lands and premises.
39.2I8.25048. Reg. 24 Dec. 17.23.
Assignment, 28 February 1716, where-by Margaret Woolf, Kilmurry, Co. Wicklow, widow assigned to Thomas Humberstone. Dublin City, gent. half of the lands of Kilmurry and a moyety of 36 acres of the town & lands of Kilmeknoge, both situated in the half barony of Rathdown, Co. Wicklow to hold during the natural lives of Edward Woolf, Margaret Goldsmith & George Goldsmith
18.165.8767. Reg..2 March 1716.
Mortgage, 19th June 1721, whereby Margaret Woolfe, Kilmurry, Co. Wicklow, Widow, mortgaged to (in order to secure the sum of 100) Robert Adair, Dublin City the lands of Kilmurry (525a.) & Kilmeknoge (36a.) both sit. in Co. Wicklow to hold during the natural lives of Edward Woolfe, Margaret Goldsmith & George Goldsmith.
30.324A87.23. Reg. 4th Feb. 1721.
Deed, 8 March 1721, between Margaret Wolfe, Kilmurry. Co. Wicklow, widow, and Robert Adair, Dublin City
Reciting lease dated 1 2th March 1715 whereby John Stephens, Dublin City dernised unto sd. Margaret Wolfe the moyety of the lands of Kilmurry (524a.) & pt. of the lands of Kil meknoge (36a.) both sit. in the half barony of Rathdown. Co. Wicklow to hold during the natural lives of Edward Wolfe, son of sd. Margaret, Margaret Goldsmith dau, of sd. Margaret & George Goldsmith son of sd. Margaret Goldsmith & grandson of sd. Margaret Wolfe at the yearly rent of 55. The sd. Margaret Wolfe, In consideration of the sum of100 granted and released unto sd. Robert Adair the above mentioned properties.
3 3.250.20222. Reg. 12 March 172 1.
Lease, 25 March 1717, whereby Margaret Wolfe, Dublin City, widow, demised to Dennis & William. Doyle, Coolneskagh, Co. Wicklow farmers part or the lands of Killmurrayglancap, Killmaccannock, Bar, Rathdown, Co. Wicklow.
37.58.21382. Reg. 13 August 1722
Lease, 12 March 1715, whereby John Stephens, Dublin City demised to Margaret Woolf, Kilmurry, Co. Wicklow, widow, the moiety of the town and lands of Kilmurry (525a.) and of the moyety & half middle of 36a. of the town and lands of Kilmekenoge both situated in the half Barony of Rathdown and Co. of Wicklow, to hold from the 1st day of May then next for and during the natural lives of Edward Woolf son of the sd. Margaret Woolf, Margaret Goldsmith, dau. of sd. Margaret Woolf and George Goldsmith son of the sd. Margaret Goldsmith & grandson of sd. Margaret Woolf & the surveyors of them at the year rent of 55.
43.3 1.27153. Reg. 29th Oct. 1724.
Assignment, 2nd August 1754, whereby Major Walter Wolfe assigned to (in consideration of the sum of 74) Thomas Jackson, Dublin City, glassgrinder, a dwelling house sit. on the east side of Whitefriars Street, Dublin held by him from Elizabeth Smith, widow, by deed endorsed on lease of 1st May 1745.
171.161.114169. Reg. 22nd August 1754
Assignment, 18 July 1757, whereby Walter Wolfe, Dublin City assigned to Nathaniel Clements, Dublin City an annuity of 100 issuing out of a piece of ground situated in the north side of Henrietta St. Dublin.
186,424,125307. Reg. 27 July 1757.
Deed, 24 October 1746, whereby Nathaniel Clements, Dublin City granted to (in consideration of the sum of 1,050) Walter Wolfe, Dublin City an annuity or yearly rent charge of 100 issuing out of a piece or plot of ground situated on the north side of Henrietta St. Dublin.
123.221.84318. Reg. 25 Oct. 1746.
Deed, 18 July 1757, whereby Nathaniel Clements, Dublin City granted to (in consideration of the sum of 1,050) Walter Wolfe Dublin City an annuity of 100 issuing out of a plot of ground situated in Gardiners Mall, Dublin City.
189. 223.125 229. Reg. 19July 1757.
1. Information kindly furnished by Mr W. J. Wolfe of 17 Mount Pleasant, Cockfoster, Barnes, Herts., whose ancestor, William Wolfe born about 1720 is said by family tradition to have been a cousin of General Wolfe.
Photo stamped on the cover of this booklet is from a portrait reproduced in the Pictorial Life of Wolfe, by Mrs A. E. Wolfe-Aylward Plymouth, 1926.
Captain George Wolfe of Corbally, Co Limerick
The following is extracted from The History of Limerick by Henry Ferrar. Dublin: 1787 p351
Captain George Wolfe of the City of Limerick was proscribed by General Ireton . for his attachment to the royal cause. He fled to the North of England where he settled, and his grandson. General Edward Wolfe, was appointed colonel of the 8th Regiment of Foot, in the year 1745. He transmitted his virtues with additional lustre to his son Major General James Wolfe, whose memory will be ever dear to his country, and whose name will be immortalised in history.
General Ireton was Oliver Cromwell's son-in-law
by Edward McLysaght
WOULFE: vide. P. 284 supra.
Having regard to the circumstances we have been considering it would seem proper to give a place in this section only to those Anglo-Irish families which have produced one or more individuals prominently associated with some important Irish activity, whether it be political, military, scientific or cultural. Inevitably such a classification must be somewhat arbitrary and no doubt names win be omitted from the resultant selection which some readers will consider should have been included. It will be observed, for example, that the family of Wellesley (formerly Coney) is not among them: several of its members, notably the great Duke of Wellington, had very distinguished careers but their renown was won in the service of England or the British Empire and they contributed nothing to the welfare of Ireland and only indirectly, if at all, to her prestige.
WOULFE: The Woulfe's, or Wolfe's, are a family of Norman origin who first came to Ireland at the time of the invasion at the end of the twelfth century. In Irish the name is usually written de Bhulbh, but le would be more fitting than de since the Norman form is Le Woulf (the wolf). Though both influential and fairly numerous they never actually formed a sept on the Irish model, as did several of the Anglo-Norman invading families. From the beginning they settled in two widely separated areas. In Co. Kildare they became so well established that their territory near Athy, was known as Woulfe's Country; the Wolfe's of Forenaughts, Co. Kildare were still extensive landowners in that county and also in Co. Limerick in 1880. In modem times their homeland is in Co. Limerick, the second of their original settlements. They held extensive lands in the modem Counties Cork and Limerick, much of which was lost as a result of their participation in the Geraldine War towards the end of the sixteenth century. Two generations later they were identified with the resistance to Cromwell, two of the name being expressly exempted from pardon after the famous siege of Limerick in 1651. The name also occurs frequently in the records of that city up to that date. One of these, Capt. George Woulfe, was the great-great-grandfather of General James Wolfe (1727-1759), the hero of Quebec, who was thus of Irish (Limerick) descent. Distinguished Irishmen of the name have been numerous, including Rev. David Woulfe, S.J. (1523-IS78), Papal Legate, whose description of Ireland written in 1574 is of great interest; Father James Woulf, O.P., hanged after the Siege of Limerick in 1651; Peter Woulfe (1727-1803), mineralogist and inventor of Woulfe's bottle ; Stephen Woulfe (1787-1840), advocate of Catholic Emancipation but later an opponent of Daniel O'Connell all of the Limerick branch, as was Father Patrick Woulfe (d. 1933), author of Irish Names and Surnames. Arthur Woulfe (1739-1803), killed in the Emmet Rising, John Woolfe (b. c. 1740), a notable architect, and Rev. Charles Wolfe (1791-1823), author of the well-known poem
The Burial of Sir John Moore were all from Co. Kildare. Irish Woulfe's were also prominent in France at the time of the French Revolution both as military officers and churchmen.
While it can be said that Irish Woulfe's today are of the Norman stock dealt with above it should be mentioned that there is a surname Ulf, anglice Wolfe, which according to Professor Edmund Curtis is of Norse origin and pre-Anglo-Norman. There is also an indigenous Gaelic surname Mactire, belonging to East Cork, which was anglicised as Woulfe or Wolfe, mactire being the Irish word for wolf. A bishop Oonahan Mactire, probably of Cloyne, died in 1099, and another Mactire also appears in the Four Masters as tanist of Telfia in 1025, but there appears to be no record of this name in its Gaelic form since early mediaeval times.
Arms are illustrated on Plate XXVIL
The Wolfe Family in LimerickThe Woulfe family, settled in the Limerick area during the reign of Henry II (1154- 1189). They became one of the largest Catholic land owners, owning among other holdings, that of Richard Woulfe's (l629), 149 acres in the Corbally area up to 1641. Many members of the family became bailiffs for Limerick in the 15th century, and married into families who were Lord Mayors of Limerick. They also married into the Sarsfield family. So obviously they were part of the landed gentry of the time.
They appear to always have been a Catholic family and unfortunately during the Siege of Limerick backed the losing side. They also took part in the 1641 rising. As a result most of the Woulfe families were dispossessed (at least thirty of them were allowed to emigrate to the continent, some to Paris). Francis Wolfe, a Dominican friar, and James, Superior of the Franciscan friars were both hanged by General Ireton in 1651. Their brother George, a Captain in Sarsfield's Army, escaped to England. He changed his religion, settled in York and was the great grandfather of General Woulfe who was involved in the fall of Ouebec in 1759
General James Wolfe
The Hero of Quebec
Is he one of us?
This is a troubling and hotly debated question. There are several competing claims, and none can offer 100 percent proof.
Paul MacCotter says several authors, commenting on the ancestry of this famous soldier, claim Irish ancestry for him, usually as one of the Woulfes of Limerick City. (*See "Notes and Query" below) Such claims first occur in the early 19th century. The exhaustive researches of R.T. Wolfe of Kildare, however, do not uncover any evidence at all for this, and the most likely ancestry for the Major was as the scion of a minor Protestant Woulfe family of Dublin origins, although even this is not completely certain. It is not even certain if he was Irish!
But, Ferrar's history of Limerick, written in the 1740's states with confidence that Wolfe is descended from the Limerick city family.
Again, I've seen several versions of the General Wolfe story. Both the Limerick and the Kildare Woulfes claim him. A virulently anti-Irish biography on General Wolfe by Beckles Wilson published 1909 denies Wolfe's Irish roots - even going so far as stating there was probably not a drop of Irish blood in his veins. It has Wolfe's ancestors coming to Ireland in the 1400's. It then goes on to almost fanatically point out that none of those descendants ever married any Irish women over a period of 300 years.
Limerick Woulfe family tradition states that Captain George Woulfe was the son of James Woulfe who was Bailiff of Limerick. Captain Woulfe escaped from Cromwell's general, Ireton after the first seige of Limerick and went to York in the North of England. It should be noted here that many Irish rebels had ties to the Yorkists.
Now to R.T. Wolfes' "Forenaghts". He quotes from Sir Bernard Burke in "Burke's Landed Gentry." "The military achievements of one of it's descendants, Major-General James Wolfe, the illustrious hero of Quebec" Keep in mind, "Burkes" has been attacked in recent years as fantasy and even worse.
R.T. also clearly differentiates between the "New" English Wolfes in Kildare, and the older "Irish" Wolfes of Kildare.
In the appendix to the work, R.T. Wolfe attempts to get to the bottom of the mystery. He states that believes that General Wolfe was unquestionably Irish. Wolfe cites a History of Limerick written in 1765 (** see below, Ferrar's history of Limerick) and an 1860 book by Maurice Lenihen of Limerick called, "Limerick: It's History and Antiquities," as stating that General James Wolfe is descended from an Irishman, George Wolfe who fled Limerick to the North of England. R.T goes on to cite several other 18th and 19th century authors who indicate the General was descended from Catholic Limerick Woulfes.
He then cites several other histories that more or less reinforce the Limerick theory. And he too seems to lean toward that end. In a future edition of this chapter, I will include the entire text of the "Forenaghts" appendex.
The story from the "Aunt Dollie" letters says Captain George Woulfe had a son named Edward who became a Captain in the Army. Edward became a protestant, and probably at this time changed the spelling of the family name.
This Edward had a son also named Edward b1685 who became a Lt. Colonel in the English army. He fought for George the First against James the First in the first Jacobite revolt in Scotland in 1715.
Later, he took an interest in road-building. He was in his '50's when he married a young woman from York named Miss Thompson. He and his wife left York in 1726, the last year of the reign of George the first and moved to Westerham, Kent. There he purchased the property from the Earl of Jersey. It was there that Edward's son James was born.
In John Woulfe's ""Woulfe a Family History", We find James joining the English army at age 14. He later served with distinction in the War of Austrian Succession. In the second Jacobite uprising, he served in the Scottish campaign. It was at the battle of Culloden that the final claim of the Stuarts to the throne was decided.
Wolfe was later named second in command to Jeffrey Amhearst in the French and Indian wars in the colonies. He was promoted to Major General and Supreme commander of the British Forces after the capture of the Fortress of Louisberg, Nova Scotia. General Wolfe was mortally wounded in the attack on Quebec in September 1756.
So, what's the answer? Frankly, I lean toward the Limerick theory for obvious reasons. Several Limerick descendants are discussing a DNA test to settle it once and for all. I think that's the best course.
The DNA project is on hold until we learn for sure whether it will be of any value in this quest. General Wolfe had no children!
Courtesy of Michael Leo Woulfe (or in Irish, Micheal deBhulbh http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/mwoulfe/GeneralJ.htm 23 February, 2004
Notes and Queries
*I'm including a series of notes from a 19th century bound volume of "Notes and Queries." It contains answers to queries on General Woulfe's origins from a fellow identified only as J.P. from County Cork....
General Woulfe from Notes and Queries, March 20th 1852. Page 279 Titled "General Woulfe" (Vols. iv and v.,passim)
As everything connected with General Wolfe is entitled to notice, the following names and public positions of his direct or collateral ancestors may not be uninteresting to your readers. I lately furnished for you, from **Ferrars History of Limerick, a statement of the circumstances under which his great-grandfather, Captain George Woulfe, sought refuge in Yorkshire (I believe) from the proscription of Ireton, after the capitulation, in 1651, of Limerick, when his brother Francis, the superior of the Fransiscan Friars, not having been equally fortunate in escaping, was executed, with several others, excepted from the general pardon.
The family, of English origin, like the Roches, the Arthurs, Stackpoles, Sextons, Creaghes, Whites, &c., settled in Limerick between the 13 and the 15th centuries, and gradually obtained high civil positions, when their successful commercial pursuits enabled them to acquire landed property in the adjoining County of Clare, where nearly all the above-named English families equally became extensive proprietors.
1470 Garret Woulfe was one of the city bailiffs, as those subsequently called sheriffs were then named.
1476 Thomas Woulfe filled the same office, as did
1520 Thomas Wolfe, his son and namesake
1562 Nicholas Woulfe was bailiff
1567 John Woulfe ditto
1578 The same became mayor
1585 Patrick Woulfe was bailiff (but not in the intervening 1586)
1587 Patrick Woulfe was again bailiff
1590 Thomas Woulfe
1591 Richard Woulfe
1592 David Woulfe
1605 James Woulfe
From this date till 1613 scarcely a year passed without the dismissal of the chosen Catholic magistrates, and substitution of royal mandate of Protestants. In 1613, George Woulfe, grandfather* of the proscribed Captain of the same name above, then sheriff (the title assumed since 1609), with his colleagues, John Arthur and the mayor, David Creagh, was deposed for refusing the oaths of supremecy , &c. In 1647 Patrick Woulfe was sheriff; but from 1654, when the city surrendered to Ireton, until June 1656, Limerick was ruled by 12 English aldermen. In 1656 Colonel Henry Ingolsby became mayor, and the regular order of magistracy was subsequently pursued. I cannot at present trace the geneaology in strict deduction, although I believe it all might be collected from the subsisting papers of the family in the County of Clare; at least from Garret, the first-
named bailiff in the preceding list. In my boyhood I saw some pedigree of it in the hands of an antiquary named Stokes, but which now would be difficult to discover. If the present Sir Frederick A.G. Ousley, Bart., son of my old school fellow, the late Sir George, be in possession of the papers of his grandfather, Colonel Ralph Ousley, I think it likely that some documents relating to General Wolfe's family, in it's ancient line, will be found, as I recollect hearing Captain Ousley, a resident of Limerick, speak of them.
Courtesy of Michael Leo Woulfe (or in Irish, Micheal deBhulbh http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/mwoulfe/GeneralJ.htm 23 February, 2004
Notes and Queries article - no date - page number 136 Number 119.
Titled: General Wolfe (Vol. iv.,p.429.) To the inquiries of 3 relatives to General Wolfe, I can only answer that the northern English county to which his ancestor, Captain George Woulfe, made his escape in 1651 from Ireton's proscription, was understood to be Yorkshire. After his expatriation and change of religion, the family in Clare lost, in a great measure, sight of him and his descendants, until, like Epaminondas and Nelson, crowned with victory and glory at his death.
I may here be permitted to observe that your correspondent distinguishes me as J.R. (of Cork); but, whether with the single initials, or the local addition, the signature is mine, though latterly, to avoid all mistake, I append my locality.
Courtesy of Michael Leo Woulfe (or in Irish, Micheal deBhulbh http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/mwoulfe/GeneralJ.htm 23 February, 2004
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