Hidden Collections

Wolle Family Papers


Archival Description

Creator: Wolle Family
Title: Wolle Family Papers
Quantity: 12 boxes
Identification: PP Wolle
Language of Material: German
Location: Moravian Church Archives
Alternate View: View Moravian Archives Finding Aid

Scope/Contents

The Collection contains papers related to personal family matters, business affairs (including Jacobsburg Store, Oxford Furnace, Catherine Furnace, Chapman Quarries, Aerial Navigation, and Bethlehem Iron Company), and the involvement of the Wolle family in the Moravian Church. Most of the papers are in English, with only a few in German script.

Materials are organized largely under names of four persons:

John Frederick Wolle: Correspondence and early business papers
Bishop Peter Wolle: Church-related papers
Sylvester Wolle: Correspondence and business papers as Provincial Elder
Augustus Wolle: Correspondence and business papers
Genealogical memos and scrapbooks comprise a significant section of documentation.

These invaluable materials could be foundational for detailed future research into hitherto unstudied aspects of Bethlehem history.


Biography/History

The Wolle Family of the Bethlehem-Nazareth area descended from one John Frederick Wolle of central Europe through his son Peter (1745-1813), Moravian missionary to the West Indies. Peter's eldest son, named John Frederick Wolle (1785-1860), married Sabina Henry (1792-1859), daughter of William Henry of the Henry Gunworks at Boulton and settled at Tria (now called Belfast), Pa. In 1809 he became the storekeeper at nearby Jacobsburg. In 1821 he moved to manage the Nazareth Store, and then in 1824 became manager of the Bethlehem Store. John Frederick Wolle also engaged with members of the Henry and extended Jordan families in joint entrepreneurial projects such as land transactions and the search for iron ore with eventual establishment of blast furnaces.

John Frederick's brother Peter Wolle (1792-1871) became a Bishop of the Moravian Church. The Rev. Sylvester Wolle (1816-1873), fourth son of John Frederick, served as Provincial Elder in his later years, after service as a teacher, pastor, Presbyter, and Principal of the Ladies' Boarding School at Bethlehem. Augustus Wolle (1821-1878) sixth son of John Frederick, was a merchant and entrepreneur in Bethlehem. He donated land on which the present Lehigh University was founded, was a vital figure in early steps that developed into the Bethlehem Steel Corporation, and with older brother Francis Wolle developed a machine to make paper bags.

A strong and continuing sense of community responsibility appears to have been a heritage of the Wolle descendants as over a span of years various members preserved papers and items documenting the long-term effects of the family on commercial, civic, cultural and spiritual life in the Lehigh Valley.


Custodial History

Items were collected and donated primarily by Clarence Augustus Wolle and Aubrey Bevan Wolle, son and grandson, respectively, of Augustus Wolle. A large genealogical chart of seven generations of the Wolle Family clearly identifies relationships among descendants. Pictures and artifacts are moved into appropriate Archival collections, as are materials related more closely to Church records and to the history of the Bethlehem Store. This Collection was organized in 2010 by Pauline Fox.


Records

Wolle Family Papers
1. John Frederick Wolle II (1785-1860)
1.a. Correspondence
1. Correspondence from John Frederick Wolle's children
Date: 1822 - 1859
Physical Description: 1 folder
Scope/Content:
1. William Henry Wolle, 1822, 1834
2. Edwin Peter Wolle, 1833-1851
3. Frederick Wolle, 1834, 1841
4. Sylvester Wolle, 1833-1834
5. Francis Wolle, 1841, 1847, 1855
6. Maria Wolle Rondthaler, 1845, 1847
7. Augustus Wolle, 1845-1859
8. Elizabeth Wolle, 1850
Note: Names of children are listed in birth order.
2. Correspondence from various family members
Date: 1810 - 1848
Physical Description: 1 folder
Scope/Content:
1. Christian Jacob Wolle, brother, 1810; Samuel Henry Wolle, brother, 1815, 1833; Henry Jordan, 1832; Anna Rosina Wolle, mother, 1834, 1835
2. Peter Wolle, brother, 1815, 1833-1835
3. Nephew John Jordan, Jr., 1832-1848
4. Nephews James Henry, 1834, Selden T. Scranton and Evans Scranton, 1841
3. Correspondence from brothers-in-law
Date: 1810 - 1843
Physical Description: 1 folder
Scope/Content:
1. William Henry III, 1810-1843
2. J[ohn] Joseph Henry, 1815, 1829-1836
4. Incoming correspondence concerning settlement of estate of James Henry in Detroit, Michigan
Date: 1828 - 1858
Physical Description: 1 folder
5. Correspondence from non-relatives
Date: 1809 - 1842
Physical Description: 1 folder
Note: Letters are from Chr. Senseman (a testimonial), 1809; Nath. Michler, 1810; Emanuel Rondthaler, [Sr.], 1821; G. H. Goundie, 1837; J. Albright, 1834; Matthew Corr, 1835; and J. G. Herman, 1842.
6. Outgoing drafts and copies
Date: 1834 - 1855
Physical Description: 1 folder
Scope/Content:
1. Papers concerning settlement of estate of James Henry in Detroit, Michigan, 1834-1849
2. "Sketch" of letter to J[ohn] Jordan, Jr., 1841
3. Letter to [son Augustus], 1855
1.b. Financial Records and Business Papers
7. Deeds and legal agreements
Date: 1780 - 1844
Physical Description: Mostly good, some poor
Scope/Content:
1. Legal papers in which John Frederick Wolle is a party:
1.1. with storekeeper Nathaniel Michler of Jacobsburg, 2 copies, 1809; Commonwealth of Pennsylvania tavern license, 1813; with William Henry for 4 tracts of land, 1817; with John Stadiger, 1825; partnership with William Henry and John Jordan, Jr. in formation of Henry, Jordan, and Co. at Oxford Furnace, 1832; with Michael Weaver concerning water rights, n.d., incomplete; Bond with Jacob Wolle, 1844.
1.2. Deed, with William Henry and John Jordan, Jr., for 10 tracts of land, 1840. Held in flat file.
2.1. Business papers in which John Frederick Wolle is not named as a party, but Henry family members are usually referenced, 1780-1824.
2.2. "Draft for W. Henry" of diagram of land tracts #6-#18, n.d., incomplete. Held in flat file.
3. Deed of land from Samuel Rees to Isaac Sidman, 1792. Held in flat file.
8. Papers of business partnership Wolle and Kern, with Matthew S. Henry, at Catherine Furnace, N.J.
Date: 1833 - 1850
Physical Description: 1 folder
Note: Poster of 1840 auction, printed in both English and German, is held in Poster file.
9. Papers related to the settlement of estate of William Henry
Date: 1821 - 1841
Physical Description: 1 folder
10. Bills and Receipts
Date: 1782 - 1860
Physical Description: 1 folder
Scope/Content:
1. Bills and receipts of John Frederick Wolle, 1817-1848, 1860
2. Receipts for quarterly estate payments to Sabina Henry, 1833-1844
3. Business records of previous storekeepers Christian Heckewelder 1782 and 1793, and from John Jordan with Owen Rice 1814, predecessor of John Frederick Wolle 1815
4. Miscellaneous: certificate of membership of Widow's Society 1829; itemization of estate of Sabina Henry, 1848
11. Papers related to business matters and debts of Matthew S. Henry
Date: 1833 - 1840
Physical Description: 1 folder
63. Ledger A from Jacobsburg Store
Date: 1809 - 1822
Physical Description: 1 volume
Note: Transcription of index of customers is included.
64. Daybook A from Jacobsburg Store
Date: 1809 - 1811
Physical Description: 1 folder
Note: Entries are dated from September 15, 1809 to March 8, 1811.
65. Inventory of Jacobsburg Store, March 12, 1810
Date: 1810
Physical Description: 1 folder
1.c. Other
2. Peter Wolle (1792-1871)
12. "Select Narratives extracted from the history of the renewed Brethren's Church from the year 1722 to 1740" Translation of Jeremias Risler, Erzählungen aus der neuen Brüdergeschichte, and Geschichte der Missionen in den dänisch-westindischen Inseln #1-5, translated by Peter Wolle
Date: (ca. 1830)
Physical Description: 1 folder
13. "A brief sketch of the History of the United Brethren's Church," written or translated by Peter Wolle
Date: without date
Physical Description: 1 folder
14. Various sermons, preached by Peter Wolle
Date: 1841 - 1846, n.d.
Physical Description: 1 folder
15. Memorandums on prayer meetings and on the effects of preaching
Date: without date
Physical Description: 1 folder
16. Selection of Bible texts in English and German
Date: without date
Physical Description: 1 folder
17. Studies on the life of Jesus
Date: without date
Physical Description: 1 notebook
18. Comparison of congregational membership 1859
Date: 1860
Physical Description: 1 item
3. Sylvester Wolle (1816-1873)
3.a. Correspondence
19. Incoming correspondence
Date: 1856 - 1873
Physical Description: 1 box
Scope/Content:
1. A-Bi, 1861-1871
2. Bl-Bu, 1862-1872
3. C, 1861-1872
4. D 1861-1872
5. E, 1861-1873
6. F, 1862-1872
7. G, 1856-1872
8.1. Goepp, Charles, attorney, 1861-1871
8.2. _____, Max, attorney, 1862-1864
8.3. _____, P.H., 1863-1869
9. Ha-Hen, 1859-1869
10. Her-Hu, 1862-1871
11. I-J, 1862-1872
12. Jordan family members (Francis Jordan, Jordan & Brother, John Jordan Jr., Wm. H. Jordan, Francis Jordan Jr.), 1856-1868
13. K, 1858-1871
14. L, 1860-1872
15. M, 1861-1871
16. N-O, 1862-1869
17. P, 1860-1868
18. Ra-Ri, 1856-1871
19. Ro-Ru, 1862-1872
20. Incoming correspondence
Date: 1857 - 1872
Physical Description: 7 folders
Scope/Content:
1. Sa-Sh, 1858-1871
2. Si-Su, 1862-1870
3. T, 1863-1870
4. U-V, 1863-1868
5. Wa-We, 1861-1872
6. Wi-Z, 1857-1872
7. Miscellaneous unidentified or incomplete, 1854, 1863-1872
21. Outgoing correspondence, drafts and copies
Date: 1863 - 1870
Physical Description: 1 folder
Note: Recipients include Rev. H. Bachman, John Beehn, J.F. Frueauff, James A. Greene, Br. Hagen, Br. Hauser, J.B. Hiester, Major Pliny Jewett MD, Saml. Kemmerer, Francis A. Oppelt, Br. Reichel, Br. Reinke, Br. Spaugh, and Br. Warman.
3.b. Financial Records and Business Papers
22. Account book with First National Bank of Bethlehem
Date: 1863 - 1867
Physical Description: 1 item
23. Receipts of contributions to Bethlehem Sustenation Diacony
Date: 1856 - 1865
Physical Description: 1 folder
24. Receipts from publishers, including J.B. Lippincott & Co., and A.C. Clauder, and subscriptions to newspapers and magazines
Date: 1856 - 1868
Physical Description: 1 folder
25. Receipts from Jordan and Brother
Date: 1862 - 1865
Physical Description: 1 folder
26. Receipts for taxes
Date: 1862 - 1873
Physical Description: 1 folder
27. Receipts for gas and water utilities
Date: 1863 - 1865
Physical Description: 1 folder
28. Receipts and notices concerning investments in stocks
Date: 1863 - 1869
Physical Description: 1 folder
Note: Companies include Central Railroad Co. of New Jersey, Bethlehem Iron Company, Bethlehem Water Company, Chapman Slate Company, Lehigh Valley R.R. Company, and bridge companies.
29. Other bills and receipts
Date: 1856 - 1866
Physical Description: 1 folder
Scope/Content:
1. A-F, 1861-1865
2. G-L, 1862-1865
3. M-S, 1858-1866
4. T-Z and miscellaneous financial memos, 1856-1865
4. Augustus Wolle (1821-1878) and Family
4.a. Correspondence
30. Incoming correspondence to Augustus Wolle
Date: 1838 - 1874
Physical Description: 1 folder
Note: Included is reply from T. Leinbach concerning permission to propose marriage to his daughter Cornelia, 1843. (See folder 31.1 for request.)
31. Outgoing correspondence of Augustus and Cornelia Wolle
Date: 1843 - 1890
Physical Description: 1 folder
Scope/Content:
1. Includes original and transcripts (3 copies) of letter from Augustus Wolle to "Traugott Linebach" requesting permission to propose marriage to Cornelia, 1843. (See folder 30 for reply.)
2. Letters to their children from Augustus and Cornelia, 1855-1873, from Cornelia 1890.
3. Letters to their children from Augustus and Cornelia en route to Cleveland, 1871
32. Incoming correspondence to Cornelia Wolle
Date: 1844 - 1874
Physical Description: 1 folder
Scope/Content:
1. from Augustus, 1844-1874
2. from others, 1845-1874
3. from "Aunt Hartman", sister of Cornelia's mother, ca. 1863
33. Correspondence to Augustus Wolle during his travel to Europe
Date: 1855
Physical Description: Mostly good, some poor
Scope/Content:
1. from Cornelia and Emily
2. from James H. Wolle and John Frederick Wolle
3. envelopes
34. Correspondence to Cornelia from Augustus during his travel in Europe
Date: 1855
Physical Description: Mostly good, some poor
Scope/Content:
1. Complete papers
2. Incomplete and unidentified papers, and envelopes
35. Incoming correspondence to Augustus Wolle concerning Civil War matters
Date: 1862 - 1866
Physical Description: 1 folder
Scope/Content:
1. Official replies and notice of exemption from military service
2. Letters from soldiers and former employees
36. Incoming correspondence to Augustus and Cornelia from their children
Date: 1861 - 1879
Physical Description: 1 folder
37. Correspondence among the children of Augustus and Cornelia Wolle
Date: 1866 - 1890
Physical Description: 1 folder
38. Incoming correspondence to Clarence Wolle
Date: 1869 - 1919
Physical Description: 1 folder
Note: Clarence Augustus Wolle (1848-1927) was the second son of Augustus Wolle. Many of the letters are from Clarence's brother George Henry Wolle (1864-1931). Correspondence is dated 1869-1887 and 1918-1919. Some envelopes are included.
39. Incoming correspondence to Aubrey Bevan Wolle
Date: 1887 - 1925
Physical Description: 1 folder
Note: Aubrey Bevan Wolle (1898-1977) was the first son of George Henry Wolle, youngest son of Augustus Wolle. Letters are dated 1887, 1889, 1925.
4.b. Financial Records and Business Papers
40. Papers concerning legal matters of Stephan Nicolaus, Adolph Hartman, and Abby Shippen
Date: 1794 - 1805
Physical Description: 1 folder
41. Deeds, land tract diagrams, and U.S. passport
Date: 1831 - 1855
Physical Description: 1 folder
Scope/Content:
1. Draft of survey of tract of land for heirs of George Ihrie, 1831
2. Draft of Mountain Tract land, 1835
3. Deed for sale of land from P. H. Goepp to Augustus Wolle, 1847
4. Deed for sale of land from Philip H. Goepp to Augustus Wolle, 1851
5. United States passport for Augustus Wolle, 1855
Note: These items are held in flat file.
42. Receipts
Date: 1840 - 1868
Physical Description: 1 folder
Scope/Content:
1. Various receipts, 1840-1868
2. Receipts for settlement with William Chapman of Chapman Slate Company, December 1, 1864-April 1, 1865
43. Legal agreements
Date: 1845 - 1874
Physical Description: 1 folder
Note: Among these papers are Rules to be observed by employees of Augustus Wolle, the terms of organization of Chapman Quarries, and subscription for Aerial Navigation enterprise.
44. Papers concerning promotion and patent of machine to make paper bags
Date: 1852 - 1862, 1878
Physical Description: 1 folder
Scope/Content:
1. Incoming correspondence to Francis Wolle, 1852-1857
2. Copies of outgoing correspondence from Augustus Wolle, 1861, 1878
3. Promotional papers, 1855, 1862
Note: This machine was a joint project of brothers Francis (1817-1893) and Augustus Wolle.
45. Legal papers concerning machine to make paper bags
Date: 1855 - 1861
Physical Description: 1 folder
Scope/Content:
1. Agreements, 1855-1861
2. Printed transcript of court hearing, 1861
Note: This machine was a joint project of brothers Francis and Augustus Wolle.
46. Papers concerning the Bethlehem Iron Company
Date: 1857 - 1867
Physical Description: 1 folder
Scope/Content:
1. Incoming correspondence to Augustus Wolle, 1857-1867
2. Outgoing correspondence from Augustus Wolle, May 1857, March 1860
3. Correspondence from John Fritz to Augustus Wolle, March 1859-June 1860. John Fritz was a reputed ironmaster in Johnstown, Pa., whom Augustus Wolle invited to become General Superintendent of the Bethlehem Iron Company.
4. Draft of Act of Incorporation, n.d.
5. Agreement between Bethlehem Iron Company and The Lehigh and Lackawanna Rail-Road Company.
6. Recollections of Clarence A. Wolle concerning early days in formation of Bethlehem Iron Company, 1902. Incomplete.
Note: Agreement of 1865 is in poor condition.
51. Supplementary papers concerning manufacture of paper bags
Date: 1853 - 1886, ca. 2000
Physical Description: 1 folder
Scope/Content:
1. Samples of bags, and specifications of the machine, 1853-1886
2. Supplementary historical papers: 1866, 1869, ca. 2000
4.c. Other
5. Documentation
47. Correspondence of other family members
Date: 1784 - 1875, 1918
Physical Description: Mostly good, some poor
Scope/Content:
1. Incoming correspondence to Edwin Peter Wolle (1812-1889), son of John Frederick Wolle, from uncle Bishop Peter Wolle, brother William Henry Wolle, brother George, and cousin Edwin Jordan, 1833-1841
2. Correspondence of other family members, including early letters from Peter Wolle (1745-1815) to Nazareth Hall,1789, and from Joseph Horsfield to Sarah Horsfield 1814.
48. Copies of Memoirs of Wolle Family members
Date: 1786 - 1911
Physical Description: 1 folder
Note: Memoirs concern the following persons: William Henry (1729-1786), Peter Wolle (1745-1813), Anna Rosina Geyer Wolle (1761-1845, 2 copies), Johanna [Grier] Stephan (1772-1848), Susannah David Bartow (1775-1843), John Frederick Wolle (1785-1860), Eliza Horsfield Wolle (1792-1867), Mary Connelly (1792-1884), Edwin Peter Wolle (1812-1889), Maria Wolle Rondthaler (1819-1893), Augustus Wolle (1821-1878), Anna Rosina Wolle (1841-1842, 2 copies), Benezett Edwin Wolle (1845-1847), and Herbert William Wolle (1848-1911). Two printed paper-cover booklets were moved into the Archives Book Catalog: "To the memory of William Henry," published 1919; and "The Christian in Earnest," vol. 1 no. 9, containing the obituary of Rev. Arthur Henry, published by the Free Methodist Camp Meeting, Philadelphia, 1913.
49. Miscellaneous papers related to family members
Date: 1812 - 1912
Physical Description: 1 folder
Note: Papers include essay by Maria W. Rondthaler, 1858; birthday poem for Anna Rosina Wolle, 1819; notice for funeral of Anna Rosina Wolle, 1845; funeral lists for "Father Leinbach" and for C. Elizabeth Hartman; marriage invitation, 1897; memos; and an account of sea voyage made by Peter and Anna Rosina Wolle in 1812, with transcription; and a letter from Eugenia Mary Wolle Wilde to her son John, 1918. Photocopies of clippings concern Lehigh University Commencement (including Clarence A. Wolle) 1868, and William Scranton, 1912.
50. Birthday books
Date: ca. 1850, 1879
Physical Description: Fair, some pages missing
Scope/Content:
1. Birthday book, probably belonging to Sabina Henry Wolle, ca. 1850. Cover is loose.
2. Birthday book inscribed "John F. Wolle from Cousin Mary Christmas 1879", probably belonging to J. Fred Wolle (1863-1933).
52. Notebooks of Philip W. Wolle (b. 1893) concerning "Library Lists" of his grandfather Francis Wolle
Date: 1949
Physical Description: 1 folder
Scope/Content:
1. Francis Wolle's Library, Part I
2. Francis Wolle's Library List, Part II
3. Francis Wolle's Library List, Part III
4. Francis Wolle's Library List, Part IV
53. Notebooks of Philip W. Wolle (b. 1893) concerning family history
Date: 1949 - 1957
Physical Description: 1 folder
Scope/Content:
1. Bethlehem Bach Clippings, Part 5
2. Biographical Notes on Francis Wolle, Part 6
54. Large charts diagraming seven generations of descendants of Peter Wolle (1745-1815) and Anna Rosina Geyer Wolle (1761-1845)
Date: 1957
Physical Description: 1 item
Note: Chart was prepared by Aubrey Bevan Wolle, with some later updates and additions. Of the four copies , plus one photocopy, one is complete and in good condition. The others may be partial, and one is in poor conditiion. All are held in flat file.
55. Scrapbook Vol. I "Bethlehem Miscellaneous Clippings"
Date: 1909
Physical Description: fair
Note: These clippings concern Bethlehem history such as biographies and educational/industrial development.
56. Scrapbook Vol. II "Bethlehem Celebrations and Bach Festival"
Date: 1909
Physical Description: 1 item
57. Scrapbook Vol. III "Miscellaneous Clippings"
Date: 1909
Physical Description: 1 item
Note: Missing
58. Scrapbook Vol. IV "Miscellaneous Clippings"
Date: 1909
Physical Description: poor
59. Scrapbook Vol. V "Miscellaneous Clippings"
Date: 1910
Physical Description: fair
Note: Most of these clippings concern American history.
60. Scrapbook Vol. VI "Miscellaneous Clippings"
Date: 1910
Physical Description: fair
Note: Most of these clippings concern "Local & Worldwide Events, Contemp. Fashions etc."
61. Scrapbook Vol. VII "Miscellaneous" clippings
Date: 1912
Physical Description: fair
62. Scrapbook "Local Clippings"
Date: 1912 - 1923
Physical Description: fair
Note: Scrapbook contains "Typewritten Anecdotes, Pamphl. on Bethl. Water Supply, Nazareth, Allentown & some clippings from 1923."
66. Records of Augustus and Cornelia Wolle family
Date: [ca. 1900]
Physical Description: 1 folder
Note: Headings are Parents, Births, Marriages, Deaths, and Children. Four detailed pages.
67. Poster in honor of Peter C. Wolle
Date: 1989
Physical Description: 1 folder
Note: Peter C. Wolle (1931-2009) was honored by the Patent Trader and NYNEX as "Volunteer of the Month", December 1989.