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Wolfskill decendents

Replies: 7

Re: Wolfskill decendents

David Wolfskill (View posts)
Posted: 1046481593000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Wolfskill Heard Smith Reid Wolfskehl Hendricks
OK; I have a rather better idea of the nature of your query. :-)

I have heard a couple of slightly different, but unsubstantiated, versions of how the first "Wolfskill" in this particular line came to the New World; I'll quote one:

The immigrant Joseph Wolfskill (Wolfskehl in Ger.) had six
older brothers in Ger., no mention of sisters. All six were
impressed into the service of Frederick the Great in the
famous Potsdam Regiment. The oldest five were killed, the
sixth was badly wounded and escaped to home, and Joseph
fled to America to escape similar duty in the King's guard.
This story had been passed down in the family and was
verified in 1870 when a Doctor William Wolfskehl passed
through San Francisco on the way back to Germany and stated
to the family that his grandfather was the son that escaped
from the war and made it back home.

(I note that I sent a query to the person whose Web page had this, asking for more details regarding Herr Doktor Wilhelm Wolfskehl, but received no response to that query. I note further that in a biography of Frederick the Great that I skimmed indicated that he had disbanded the Potsdam Regiment shortly after his father's death in 1740.)

From one of the letters in the archives at UC Davis (dated 09 Aug 1927, from Edward "Ned" Wolfskill [son of John Reid Wolfskill] to Mrs. Josie Peterman [nee Mayfield]), it appears that Joseph (Sr.) learned the shoemaker's trade in Pennsylvania.

According to that same letter, Joseph (Sr.) & his wife (the former Margaret Smith) had 6 children: "1st. died in infancy, William, George, Margaret, Joseph, Peter. Peter with Mr. Hendricks, (Aunt Margarets husband died on their way to enlist in the U. S. Army of the Revolution. William (who was the father of Cousin Billey Wolfskill Cousin Jesse's father) was killed accidentallu in Kentucky. Joseph (my grandfather,) George, andOLD AUNT, (Margaret) moved to Missouri. OLD AUNT came to Missouri with my Grandfather Joseph Wolfskill and hisfamily. These two families lived in Howard County, Missouri."

Here's some attributed text with a fair amount of overlap of the above, cited from Jackie Couture, "William Wolfskill Kentucky Trapper" (pub. in "Madison County Connections," a pub. of Madison County (Kentucky) Historical Society, Vol. 2, No. 2:

William Wolfskill was born iin Boonesborough 20 March 1798.
His parents were Joseph Wolfskill, Jr. and Sarah Reid, who
were married in Madison County 20 July 1796. Sarah was the
daughter of John Reid, and Joseph, Jr. was the son of German
immigrant Joseph Wolfskill and his wife Margaret Smith.
Joseph and Margaret's other children were Margaret, Goerge,
Peter, and William.

According to family tradition, Joseph, Sr. came to America
in 1742 to escape impression into the service of Frederick
the Great. After spending about 25 years in Pennsylvania,
the Wolfskill family moved to Rowan County, North Carolina.
They remained there until about 1788 when the[sic] moved
to Madison County, Kentucky. Joseph and his family settled
near the mouth of Silver Creek. In 1805 Joseph posted a
notice in the "Kentucky Gazette" (a Lexington paper, as
there were no papers published in Richmond) that his wife
Margaret had left him and he was not responsible for her

Joseph, Sr.'s son, William, died in Madison County in 1796.
His widow Jane married John Heard 20 June 1797. Joseph
(the records do not specify a Jr. or Sr.) was guardian for
the children of william and Jane, but these children were
never named. Jospeh, Sr. died in Madison County about 1819.

Despite Joshua Hendricks' early death, it appears that Ned's "OLD AUNT" brought at least one child into the world: I saw a Web page iin which someone wrote of her "This M. Wolfskill is my gggggggrandmother, through my maternal granmother. I'm interested in hearing from anyone regarding this family history." [I wrote to her on 01 May 2002; I have no record of a response.]

George Wolfskill seems to have been married (at least?) twice, and fathered 11 children; most of this branch of the family appears to have settled in or near Missouri, from what I can tell.

I have no record of Peter having fathered any children before his death.

William's widow was left with 2 small boys; she apparently handed them off to her in-laws fairly quickly: she married John Heard Jr. on 22 Jun 1797. The boys apparently came to Missouri with the rest of the family. One of them was named William Joseph Wolfskill; I don't even know the other's name.

Joseph Jr. married Sarah Reid.; my records indicate that they had 13 children. Of these, the following came to California: William, Suzanna, John Reid, Mathus, Sarchel, and Milton. Elizabeth died within a week of 14 months of age. I have no idea what happened to Joseph, Smith, Stephen Jackson, or Joshua. The others, as far as I know, stayed in or near Missouri: Margaret and Mary (aka "Polly").

Iris Higbie Wilson wrote a book on William Wolfskill: William Wolfskill 1798-1866: Frontier Trapper to California Ranchero. One of my sisters has our family's copy, so I can't provide more information about it than an Internet search can turn up.

There is a set of 9 storage boxes of information at UC Davis, much of which is letters to or from Edward "Ned" Wolfskill (one of which is quoted above).

I am given to understand that the Southwest Museum, in Los Angeles, CA has some material from William Wolfskill's estate.

According to, the library of Eastern Kentucky University has some files on the Wolfskill family.

There is at least one "Wolfskill Cemetery" in Missouri.

I'm going to stop for now, but there are lots of stories about the folks who came to California.
SubjectAuthorDate Posted
Lisa Snider 1000525848000 
terry 1025241224000 
Terry 1037507122000 
kcslasjms 1042521173000 
David Wolfskill 1045848753000 
Lisa Snider 1046250101000 
David Wolfskill 1046481593000 
Lisa Snider 1046488645000 
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