Herman Wolfe, engineer of the Troy Steam Laundry at Port Huron, Mich., was born January 17, 1847, in New York City, a son of Ferdinand and Theodora (Trisch) Wolfe, the former of whom was a native of New York, the latter of Germany.
During the Civil war Herman Wolfe was one of the youngest patriots of the Northern army. He first enlisted in September, 1861, in the Forty-first N. Y. V. I., but when he came up to be mustered into service it was discovered that he was too young to stop a cannon ball and the officer directed him to go home and get a trifle more age. He obeyed and just one year later he again enlisted, this time in the One Hundred and Twenty-seventh New York, and was accepted. His regiment was assigned to the Army of the Potomac and was at Yorktown during the Peninsular campaign. It was ordered to Gettysburg, but when it reached that historic field the battle had been fought and won, so they were sent South by transport, under Gen. Q. A. Gilmour, and took an honorable part in the Black Water raid and the battle of Suffolk, the siege of Charleston and the Island campaign; they were also at Devaux Neck, on the Charleston & Savannah railroad. They were incorporated in the Coast Division Corps, and co-operated with General Sherman's army when it appeared in that locality. In February, 1865, after Sherman's army had passed on to Raleigh, the regiment returned to Charleston, and protected that city from further destruction, remaining there until June 30, when they were marched out of the city. On July 4, they boarded transports, on July 7, reaching New York City, where they were mustered out of service seven days later. The regiment was tendered a great reception by the citizens.
In September, 1865, Mr. Wolfe shipped as fireman on the Hudson river steamer Mary Powell, and in 1867 he joined the Quaker City as oiler, plying between New York and Charleston in the coasting trade. In 1870 he shipped as fireman in the New York harbor tug Only Son, following with a year in the George Burtbeck. In 1872 he entered the Coast Wrecking Company and came up on the lakes, locating in Port Huron and joining the steamer Rescue, on which he remained two years. In 1874 he took out a marine engineer's license and was appointed chief of the ferry boat John Pringle, the next year becoming chief of the side-wheel steamer Young America. He then stopped ashore and entered the employ of the Phoenix Iron Works Company, as machinists, and also working in the Chicago & Lake Huron railroad shops. In the spring of 1882 Mr. Wolfe again took up his lakefaring life as chief engineer of the lake tug Frank Moffat, running her two seasons, and then for four seasons engaged as chief of the ferry steamer Grace Dormer, of the Port Huron & Sarnia Ferry line. In the spring of 1888 he shipped as second engineer of the steamer Burlington, being advanced to the position of chief of the same steamer the next season and after leaving her served as chief of the steamer William Cowie. In the spring of 1891 he joined the steamer Leland as second engineer, closing the season as chief on the passenger steamer John Morley. His next boat was the steamer Empire, on which he remained one season as second and the next as chief. During the season of 1894 he was second on the steamer Cleveland, running her as chief the next year. In 1896 he was engineer on the tug Ella Smith, towing rafts. During the year of 1897 he was engaged to run the engine and plant of the Troy Steam Laundry in Port Huron.
On August 30, 1873, Mr. Wolfe was united in marriage to Miss Minnie E., daughter of August and Annie Drewing, of Port Huron. Their children are Charles R., Clara L, Lilly A., Harry O., Rudolph and Myrtle. The only society with which Mr. Wolfe is affiliated is the Woodmen of the World.
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This version of Volume II is based, with permission, on the work of the great volunteers at the Marine Captains Biographies site. To them goes the credit for reorganizing the content into some coherent order. The biographies in the original volume are in essentially random order.
Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.