Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Wolf, George

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WOLF, George, governor of Pennsylvania, b. in Allen township, Northampton co., Pa., 12 Aug., 1777; d. in Philadelphia, Pa., 17 March, 1840. He was the son of a German emigrant, was educated at a classical school, taught for some time, and then studied law. Attaching himself to the Republican party at the beginning of the administration of Thomas Jefferson, he was appointed postmaster at Easton, and afterward clerk of the Northampton county orphans' court, remaining in that post till 1809. In 1814 he was elected to the state house of representatives. He was elected to congress without opposition, taking his seat on 9 Dec., 1823, and was returned at the two succeeding elections, taking the protectionist side in the debates on the tariff, and serving till 3 March, 1829. In that year he was elected governor. After inducing the legislature to prosecute the construction of canals and impose new taxes for the liquidation of debts that had already been incurred on account of internal improvements, he urged the establishment of a general system of common schools, and by strenuous efforts accomplished this reform where former governors had failed. He was once re-elected, serving six years as governor, and was then defeated as a candidate for a third term, owing to the defection of a part of the Democrats who voted for Henry A. Muhlenberg. In the following year President Jackson appointed him first comptroller of the treasury. He entered on the functions of this office on 18 June, 1836. Retiring on 23 Feb., 1838, he was in the same year appointed collector of the port of Philadelphia, and held that office till he died. He was recognized as the “father of the public-school system” by the erection of a memorial gateway at Easton, which was unveiled on 29 June, 1888.