“Charles D’Wolf Of Guadaloupe, his Ancestors and Descendents…the Rhode Island D’Wolfs…the Nova Scotian D’Wolfes and other allied families”

“…however obscure to recent generations had these facts become, it will be seen from the intercourse and correspondence of the Hon. Benjamin De Wolf of Windsor, Nova Scotia, with the Hon. James De Wolf of Bristol, R. I., from relations of Simon’s grandsons and their Rhode Island cousins, and other facts related in these pages, that the relationships of the several lines and their starting point at Lyme, Conn., were well known to our great-grandfathers. “Only three others of the name of De Wolf,” says the noble work of Professor and Mrs. Edward Salisbury, “have been discovered as living in America as early or earlier than Balthasar De Wolf—all three living in New Amsterdam: the first, Abel De Wolf, receiving a license for mining in the Catskill Mountains in 1659, Abraham De Wolf of whom nothing is known further than that he was in New Amsterdam in 166 1, and thirdly. Dirk De Wolf, who obtained exclusive privilege for making salt in New Netherlands in 1661.

“Among the members of the family who were thus,” as Mrs. Salisbury writes, “carried away from their birthplace in search of adventure or to better their fortunes,” were three cousins, Nathan, Simeon and Jehiel De Wolf, who followed twelve months later, the exodus of about two hundred emigrants who in 1760 went from Connecticut to repeople Acadia; to settle in Nova Scotia, whence the French peasants had gone forth in exile. Three cousins settled, and became progenitors of a numerous and influential branch of the De Wolf family. Of this filling of the places left vacant by Evangeline and her people by the sturdy New Englanders, the Rev. Arthur H. Wentworth Eaton, a descendant of Jehiel De Wolf, the emigrant to Nova Scotia, has written in touching words in one of the many Acadian ballads and poems of which he is the author. Five years in desolation the Acadian land had lain, Five golden harvest moons had wooed the fallow fields in vain. Five times the winter snows caressed and summer sunsets smiled On lonely clumps of willows, and fruit trees growing wild. But the simple Norman peasant-folk shall till the land no more, For the vessels from Connecticut have anchored by the shore, And many a sturdy Puritan, his mind with Scripture stored, Rejoices he has found at last, “the garden of the Lord.” There are families from Tolland, from Killingworth and Lyme, Gentle mothers, tender maidens and strong men in their prime. There are lovers who have plighted their vows in Coventry, And merry children dancing o’er the vessels’ decks in glee. They come as Puritans, but who shall say their hearts are blind To the subtle charms of nature, and the love of human-kind?

The blue laws of Connecticut have shaped their thought, ’tis true, But human laws can never wholly Heaven’s work undo. And where the Acadian village stood, its roofs o’ergrown with moss. And the simple wooden chapel, with its altar and its cross ; And where the forge of Basil sent its sparks toward the sky, The lonely thistle blossomed, and the fare weed grew high. The broken dykes have been rebuilt, a century and more, The cornfields stretch their furrows from Canard to Beau Sejour; Five generations have been reared beside the fair Grand Pre, Since the vessels from Connecticut came sailing up the Bay, And now across the meadows, while the farmers reap and sow. The engine shrieks its discord to the hills of Gaspereau; And ever onward to the sea the restless Fundy tide Bears playful pleasure yachts and busy trade ships, side by side. And the Puritan has yielded to the softening touch of time. Like him who still content remained in Killingworth and Lyme; And graceful homes of prosperous men make all the landscape fair. And mellow creeds and ways of life are rooted everywhere. The writer first knew of the Nova Scotia De Wolfs in early youth, meeting one of them with his own father, James De Wolf Perry, at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876. The writer’s father remembered his grandfather. Captain James De Wolf, telling him of cousins of the name living in Canada. Seeing the name De Wolf in the Canadian concession at the Exposition in 1876, where was exhibited a very beautiful line of carriages and other vehicles, he proposed introducing himself and the writer to the fine looking gentleman who was in charge. He proved to be Mr. John M. De Wolf, of Halifax, N. S., who is still living, and whose son, Mr. Frederick T. De Wolf, now carries on the business of carriage manufacture. Mr. De Wolf told Mr. Perry that he too had known of relationship with ” De Wolf in the States.” Neither of them, however, could furnish more definite knowledge of the connection. It was only after his father’s death that the writer obtained from an old letter, preserved among the papers of his great-grandfather, James De Wolf, a clue to their relationship. This letter was written to James De Wolf by Mr. Benjamin De Wolf, of Windsor, Nova Scotia, after his return from a visit to Bristol.

Many incidents of the visit of Hon. Benjamin De Wolf of Connecticut and of cousins, one of whom became later Mrs. Bartlett of New York (Appendix A), are remembered by Mrs. Middleton. Benjamin De Wolf, whose letter has been given, was the founder of the Windsor branch of the family. He was one of the most successful men of Hants Co., Nova Scotia, owned a tract of about eight thousand acres of land, and with one exception, was the highest taxpayer in Windsor. He was for many years High Sheriff of Hants Co., Member of Parliament 1785-9, and in the latter year appointed Justice of the Peace. He married the daughter of Dr. Ephraim Otis. His wife’s sister Susannah was the wife of William Haliburton of Windsor, the father of Judge William Hay Otis Haliburton. Benjamin De Wolf, not believing in slavery, emancipated all his slaves who, however, chose to remain in his service. By the emigration from Connecticut was settled the township of Horton, N. S. “One of the most attractive spots in Horton, near the mouth of the Cornwallis River,” says an article in the Acadian Orchardist, May 15, 1900, by Dr. James R. De Wolf, ” was the home of the most prominent members of the new community and was known as Mud Creek—the centre of the village was ‘Mud Bridge.’ In 1829, it is learned from the same article, this name having become highly obnoxious to the inhabitants, two young ladies, granddaughters of Judge Elisha De Wolf, with the aid of their uncle, postmaster of the place, succeeded in having the name changed to Wolfville. The name was accepted as appropriate from the former influence of the De Wolfs as well as the number still residing there.”

 

“We ought to keep the Dead before our eyes, and honour them as if they were still living”

 

Perry, Calbraith B. Charles D’Wolf Of Guadaloupe, his Ancestors and Descendants Being a complete Genealogy of the Rhode Island D’Wolfs, the descendants of Simon DeWolf, with their common descendants from Balthasar de Wolf, of Lyme, Conn. (1668) With a Biographical Introduction and appendicies on the Nova Scotian D’Wolfs and other allied families. New York, 1902. https://www.loc.gov/resource/gdcmassbookdig.charlesdwolfofgu00perr/