George Wolf

Last updated
George Wolf
George Wolf.jpg
7th Governor of Pennsylvania
In office
December 15, 1829 December 15, 1835
Preceded by John Andrew Shulze
Succeeded by Joseph Ritner
Member of the U.S.HouseofRepresentatives
from Pennsylvania's 8th district
In office
Preceded by Thomas J. Rogers,
Samuel D. Ingham
Succeeded by Peter Ihrie, Jr.,
Samuel A. Smith
Member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born(1777-08-12)August 12, 1777
Allen Township, Pennsylvania
DiedMarch 11, 1840(1840-03-11) (aged 62)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Resting place Harrisburg Cemetery
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s)Mary Erb (1798–1833; her death)

George Wolf (August 12, 1777 March 11, 1840) was the seventh Governor of Pennsylvania from 1829 to 1835. On June 29, 1888, he was recognized as the "father of the public-school system" in Pennsylvania by the erection of a memorial gateway at Easton. [1]

Pennsylvania State of the United States of America

Pennsylvania, officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a state located in the northeastern, Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The Appalachian Mountains run through its middle. The Commonwealth is bordered by Delaware to the southeast, Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, Lake Erie and the Canadian province of Ontario to the northwest, New York to the north, and New Jersey to the east.

Easton, Pennsylvania City in Pennsylvania, United States

Easton is a city in and the county seat of Northampton County, Pennsylvania, United States. The city's population was 26,800 as of the 2010 census. Easton is located at the confluence of the Delaware River and the Lehigh River, roughly 55 miles (89 km) north of Philadelphia and 70 miles (110 km) west of New York City.



Early years

Wolf was born in Allen Township, Pennsylvania. His parents, George and Mary Wolf, had immigrated from Alsace, a then-province of the Holy Roman Empire, in 1751. [2] George Wolf was educated at a classical school, taught for some time, and then studied law. [1] He was admitted to the bar in 1799 and commenced practice in Easton, Pennsylvania. He became a member of the Democratic Republican Party at the start of Thomas Jefferson's administration, [1] and was appointed postmaster of Easton, which office he filled in 1802 and 1803. He was a clerk of the orphans' court of Northampton County, Pennsylvania, from 1803 to 1809. He was a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1814.

Allen Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania Township in Pennsylvania, United States

Allen Township is a township in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, United States. Allen Township is located in the Lehigh Valley region of the state.

Alsace Place in Grand Est, France

Alsace is a cultural and historical region in eastern France, on the west bank of the upper Rhine next to Germany and Switzerland.

Holy Roman Empire varying complex of lands that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe

The Holy Roman Empire was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western and Central Europe that developed during the Early Middle Ages and continued until its dissolution in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. The largest territory of the empire after 962 was the Kingdom of Germany, though it also came to include the neighboring Kingdom of Bohemia, the Kingdom of Burgundy, the Kingdom of Italy, and numerous other territories.

Wolf married Mary Erb (1781–1833) of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, on June 5, 1798. [2] The couple had eight sons and one daughter. [2]

Lancaster, Pennsylvania City in Pennsylvania, United States

Lancaster is a city located in South Central Pennsylvania which serves as the seat of Pennsylvania's Lancaster County and one of the oldest inland towns in the United States. With a population of 59,322, it ranks eighth in population among Pennsylvania's cities. The Lancaster metropolitan area population is 507,766, making it the 101st largest metropolitan area in the U.S. and second largest in the South Central Pennsylvania area.

U.S. House of Representatives

Wolf was elected without opposition to the United States House of Representatives in 1824 to the Eighteenth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Thomas J. Rogers. He was reelected to the Nineteenth, Twentieth, and Twenty-first Congresses. He took the protectionist side in debates on the tariff. [1]

United States House of Representatives lower house of the United States Congress

The United States House of Representatives is the lower chamber of the United States Congress, the Senate being the upper chamber. Together they compose the legislature of the United States.

18th United States Congress

The Eighteenth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C. from March 4, 1823, to March 4, 1825, during the seventh and eighth years of James Monroe's presidency. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the Fourth Census of the United States in 1820. Both chambers had a Democratic-Republican majority.

19th United States Congress

The Nineteenth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C. from March 4, 1825, to March 4, 1827, during the first two years of the administration of U.S. President John Quincy Adams. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the Fourth Census of the United States in 1820. The Senate had a majority of Jackson Men, while the House had an Anti-Jackson (pro-Adams) majority.

Governor of Pennsylvania

As member of the Jacksonian Democratic Party, Wolf defeated Joseph Ritner in both 1829 and 1832 to become the Governor of Pennsylvania. He lost the governor's seat to the Anti-Mason candidate Ritner in 1835, owing to the defection of a part of the Democrats, who voted for Henry A. Muhlenberg. [1]

Jacksonian democracy was a 19th-century political philosophy in the United States that expanded suffrage to most white men over the age of 21, and restructured a number of federal institutions. Originating with the seventh President Andrew Jackson, and his supporters, it became the nation's dominant political worldview for a generation.

Democratic Party (United States) political party in the United States

The Democratic Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party.

Joseph Ritner American politician

Joseph Ritner was the eighth Governor of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, elected as a member of the Anti-Masonic Party. He was elected Governor of Pennsylvania in the Pennsylvania Gubernatorial election, 1835, and served from 1835 to 1839. Controversy surrounding his 1838 electoral defeat led to the Buckshot War. In 1856, Governor Ritner was a delegate to the first Republican National Convention in Philadelphia.

As governor, Wolf persuaded the legislature to construct canals and impose new taxes for the liquidation of debts that had already been incurred on account of internal improvements. Wolf advocated the establishment of a general system of common schools, and by strenuous efforts accomplished this reform where former governors had failed. [1]

Later years

From 1827 to 1840, Wolf was a trustee of Lafayette College. [3] In 1836 Andrew Jackson appointed him as first Comptroller of the Treasury. Two years later President Martin Van Buren appointed him as Collector of Customs for the District of Philadelphia in a job swap with James Nelson Barker. He held this office until his death. [1]


Wolf Hall on the campus of Penn State University is named for George Wolf. Wolf Township in Lycoming County is also named for him, as is Wolf Street in Philadelphia. The Governor Wolf Building, built in 1893 as the first Easton High School in Easton, the George Wolf Elementary School in Bath, and the Governor Wolf Elementary School in Bethlehem are also named for Governor Wolf.

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  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain :  Wilson, J. G.; Fiske, J., eds. (1889). "Wolf, George"  . Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography . New York: D. Appleton.
  2. 1 2 3 Richards, Miles (2015-01-14). "Exploring History: Pennsylvania's 1st Governor Wolf". Pittsburgh Tribune Review . Retrieved 2015-05-25.
  3. Skillman, David Bishop (1932). The Biography of a College: Being the History of the First Century of the Life of Lafayette College. Easton, Pennsylvania: Lafayette College. Retrieved 4 March 2018.


U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Thomas J. Rogers,
Samuel D. Ingham
Member of the  U.S. House of Representatives
from Pennsylvania's 8th congressional district

alongside: Samuel D. Ingham
Succeeded by
Peter Ihrie, Jr.,
Samuel A. Smith
Political offices
Preceded by
John Andrew Shulze
Governor of Pennsylvania
Succeeded by
Joseph Ritner