The Wolf Brothers

Corporal Adolphus P. Wolf

Adolphus Philip Wolf was born on June 11, 1841 in what is now called the Benjamin Stephenson Home at 409 South Buchanan Street in Edwardsville, Illinois. He married a woman from Troy, Albina Jane Kinder, on December 23, 1869. Albina passed away on October 1, 1942. After graduating from the Edwardsville school system, Adolphus Wolf moved to Philidelphia to study the coach making trade. Adolph was 20 years old when he enlisted in the Pennsylvania Infantry for only four months until his enlistment in the 1117th after returning to his home in Edwardsville. He was a member of the Edwardsville G.A.R. Post 461 and participated in many Regimental reunions. He became known as the oldest living Civil War veteran in Madison County where he lived and worked in the hardware business throughout his life alongside his two brothers who partnered him in the coal industry. He was Cashier and Vice President at the Bank of Edwardsville until the age of 92. He died on June 16, 1935 in Edwardsville. Letters from Adolphus Wolf are made available by the Madison County Historical Museum & Archival Library and can be seen here, most of which are addressed to his parents and his third brother, Fritz. Adolphus Wolf writes much about the scenery and weather around him during the war, as well as the ample free time he and other soldiers spent debating politics, playing chess and checkers, and regularly expresses his disappointment in those who doubt the President and lose faith in the Union as a whole.

Musician Otto E. Wolf

Musician Otto E. WolffOtto E. Wolf was the younger brother of Adolphus P. Wolf. Otto enlisted at age 15 and was the youngest soldier in Company F of the 117th Illinois Infantry. Otto served as a drummer boy. Following the war, he married Elizabeth L. Fiesler on April 4, 1873. He had five children with Elizabeth. He, and his brothers Frederick “Fritz” and Adolphus “Dolf” Wolf, partnered in the coal business and founded the Wolf Coal Mining Company which later became called the Madison Coal Company. He passed away on February 21, 1904 and is buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery where his brother Adophus is also buried in Edwardsville, Illinois. Otto’s letters are also made available by the Madison County Historical Museum at this website. Otto, like his older brother Adolphus, was a fervid Unionist. He believed that their infantry was lacking compared to others without fifers and enjoyed his position much more than other jobs, such as being a cook, a role he disliked greatly. He also writes letters to another brother, Theodore, expressing sympathy for his illness. From these letters, it is also known that the average pay for four months’ service was equal to $48.00.