All posts for the month March, 2016

Christ Wolf Brewery 1873-1875


Christian Wolf Beer Garden, Hazel and Lee Streets, From the County Atlas of Ingham, Michigan, 1874

According to the available records there were two Christ Wolf’s living in Lansing in 1870, Christian Wolf a farmer who lived on the corner of Elm and Lee Streets and Christian Wolf managing a saloon on South Washington and living with his sister-in-law on St. Josephs Street. I believe there was only one Christian Wolf living in Lansing in 1870. You need to bear with me on this it gets confusing.

The Michigan Gazetteer 1863-1864 listed Christ Wolf as operating a brewery in Lansing’ Middle town. The Michigan Gazetteer 1867-68 listed Wolf, C & Brother (Christian and Jacob) as operating a saloon Washington Avenue. In 1864 Christian Wolf enlisted in the 5th Regiment Michigan Infantry and served for one year. His brother Jacob oversaw the management of the salon. Jacob passed away on January 2, 1870. The 1870 Census records two Crist Wolf’s in Lansing; both were born in Württemberg, Germany on or about 1833 or 1839.

The Lansing City Directory, 1873 listed Christian Wolf as running the Wolf & Roberts Saloon on Washington Avenue and lived with his widowed sister-in-law[?], Mary A. Wolf on St. Josephs. The second listing for Christian Wolf in the Lansing City Directory, 1873 has him operating a Lager Beer Gardens on the corner of Elm and Lee Streets. The County Atlas of Ingham, Michigan, 1874 tells us that C. Wolf operated a Beer Garden. In all probability the Christ Wolf who operated the Brewery in Lansing in 1863 was the same Christ Wolf who operated the Beer Garden on Elm Street as well as the saloon.

The Lansing City Directory 1878 listed a J.C. Wolf as owning a saloon at the corner of Michigan and Grand Avenues. While the Mudge’s Directory of Lansing City, 1878 records a J.C. Wolf as operating a saloon at East Michigan Avenue and the bridge and a Chris Wolf as a farmer living at the corner Lee [Grand] and Elm Streets. The J.C. Wolf who is listed is Julius C. Wolf a completely different person.

The Christian Wolf who operated the saloon on South Washington and later East Allegan passed away on May 13, 1880, of inflammation of the bowels. Christian was born in Württemberg, Germany in 1839 and just when he immigrated to the United States is unknown. With the start of the Civil War; Christian enlisted in the 2nd United States Sharpshooters Company B. In late 1864 Company B was incorporated into the 5th Regiment Michigan Infantry. After the war Wolf returned to Lansing where he owned a saloon with his brother Jacob. Christian married Miss Elizabeth Folger in the 1850s. The couple had five children; Christene, Caroline, Emela, Flora and Christian.

“Chris. Wolf died on Thursday night, and on Friday his saloon, near the 2nd ward engine-house, was closed, and crape placed on the door. Between 11 o’clock A.M. and 3 o’clock P.M. of that day some person broke into the saloon from the rear and stole several boxes of cigars, a quantity of liquors and what change the till contained, and a brass knuckle, — a relic of the army days of the deceased. That fellow would steal the pennies from the eyes of a corpse, if he wasn’t watched, or if he wasn’t fuddled.” (LRW 5/19/1880)

So why is this important? Because the above Christian Wolf served in the Civil War, from the brass knuckles reference. Elizabeth Wolf who lived at Lee [Grand] and Elm Streets is listed as a widow, in the 1880 Census, in the 1870 Census she was married to Christ. Wolf. Later Elizabeth filed a claim for a Civil War widow’s pension after the death of her husband Christian. This links the Christian Wolf who operated the Beer Garden to the Christian Wolf who operated the saloon. Just remember the census is not always accurate. Christian could have been staying with his sister-in-law after working at the saloon when the census taker arrived, while later he was working at the Beer Garden when the census taker visited. There is no record of a Christian or Christ Wolf after 1878 in the Lansing area or in Michigan based upon census data.

Wolf Beer200

Image from the Lansing City Directory 1891

The story of Julius Wolf is far different. Born in Germany in 1850 the date of his immigration to the United States is unknown. He was married to Florence; the couple had four sons, Charles F.A., Albert E., Adolphus H., and Julius E. Wolf. Their father, Julius continued in the saloon business until about 1890 when he opened the bottling company at 221-223- E Shiawassee. The bottling works was one of the largest in Michigan and bottled a variety of kegged beer for distribution in Mid-Michigan. Julius C. Wolf died in Saginaw on June 2, 1914.

Next the Peninsular Brewery

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