The DeWolf Family of Bristol, Rhode Island - Part V
The DeWolf Family Biographies - Continued
(Scroll Down for Biographical Information and Background History)

1844 Stampless Letter to William Henry DeWolf from Charleston, SC

ames DeWolf's Son: William Henry DeWolf
John DeWolf's Son: "Northwest John"
George DeWolf's Clerk: George W. Coggeshall


William Henry DeWolf was born in 1802 in Bristol, Rhode Island to James and Nancy Bradford DeWolf. He married Sarah Ann Rogers on December 18, 1823. Sarah was born on August 27, 1802 in New Jersey. She was known locally as "Poor Sarah," because of her having to take in borders to maintain Linden Place after William declared bankruptcy. During William's ownership of the mansion, President Andrew Jackson was a guest at the home. William and Sarah had 8 children;  Rosalie - b. 1826, William Henry DeWolf - b. 1828, William Rogers DeWolf - b. 1833, Sarah Ann DeWolf - b. 1833, Mary DeWolf - b.1835, Catherine Dodge DeWolf - b. December 24, 1836, and Madeline DeWolf - b. 1838. William died on November 15, 1853 and Sarah died on March 5, 1864.


"Northwest" John DeWolf, a grandson of Mark Anthony DeWolf was born in Bristol, Rhode Island on September 6, 1779 to Simon and Hannah May DeWolf and was married to Mary Melville in 1817. He died in Dorchester, Massachusetts at the home of his daughter on March 8, 1872.

Northwest John left a diary of the trip on which he gained his nickname and fame called, "A voyage to the North Pacific and a journey through Siberia more than half a century ago" published in 1861.

In the summer of 1804, John was given command of the DeWolf's new 250 ton ship Juno, (jointly owned by his uncles James and Charles and cousin George). Captain John departed Bristol on August 13, 1804 headed for the Northwest coast via the Cape Horn to trade in furs. The Juno dropped anchor in Newette Harbor on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island on April 10, 1805.  Having been unsuccessful in trade at various ports in Canada, Captain John then set sail for the Russian settlement at Norfolk Sound in Alaska, arriving in port on May 7th. The Juno conducted successful trades in Norfolk Sound, Port Retreat and in several other locations. Their enterprise was aided by the Russian Governor Baranoff, with whom John had become friends. 

After acquiring a full cargo, John had the bulk of the furs transferred to the Mary, another American ship in company with Juno and on October 5th sold the Juno and the remainder of his cargo to the Russian American Company for the sum of Sixty Eight Thousand dollars in notes and cash with Thirteen Thousand to be paid in Otter Skins and the transfer of the Yermerk, a small Russian vessel of 40 tons to Captain DeWolf.

John dispatched the Yermerk and her cargo of otter skins under the command of his first mate, George W. Stetson to Canton, China and then wintered over with his newfound Russian friends. He traveled westward the following year and spent his second winter on the Kamchatka Peninsula. John then traveled across Siberia by horseback, buggy and boat, arriving at Moscow on October 8, 1807 and at St. Petersburg, Russia on October 21st

Captain John departed the Russian port of Kronstadt aboard a small Dutch vessel in November for England. At a port call in Elsinore, Denmark, they encountered the ship Mary out of Portland, Maine, Captain Grey in command. John transferred to the Mary and after a stopover in Liverpool, he arrived in Portland on March 25th and finally returned to Bristol on April 1, 1808 almost 4 years after he had sailed away on the Juno. (The initial fur trading venture of Captain John and the Juno netted the DeWolf family $100,000.00.)


George Coggeshall, the drafter of the 2nd George DeWolf letter to F. D. Ferni and Company was the son of Charles and Hannah Spooner Coggeshall. He was born in Bristol, Rhode Island in 1784 and is listed on the 1860 census for Grand Rapids, Michigan as a 76 year old retired merchant. A 1995 article from a Bristol paper states that, George Coggeshall drove a team to Michigan and was one of the founders of the town which is now known as Grand Rapids." It seems obvious that George was also affected by the General's bankruptcy.

Records for Grand Rapids show that the town was organized in 1838 and that George Coggeshall was elected in the first election held on May 1st of that year as one of the trustees and in the second election of 1839, he was elected President of the Board and was subsequently elected to the board six additional times through 1849 and as President for an additional three terms.

RI Historical Society
Stampless I
Stampless II

Stampless III
Stampless IV
Stampless V
Stampless VI
Brown & Ives Letters
The Hazard Family Letters
Joseph Tillinghast
Free Franked Letters
DeWolf Family Letters

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