* Genealogy of the Wolfskill Family *
(version January 27, 2018)
Please email corrections to Mike Clark


  1. Joseph Wolfskill was born about 1774, possibly in North Carolina, and moved to the famous Kentucky settlement of Boonesborough with his father, said to be a German-speaking immigrant also named Joseph, in the late 1770s. He grew up and married in Boonesborough, one of the first white settlements west of the Appalachians, but then moved his wife, Sarah Reid, and several children in 1809 to Missouri, tradition has it at the invitation of Daniel Boone, and settled at the fort of Capt. Sarshel Cooper (killed in 1815) in what later became Howard County. There Joseph and Sarah had more children, raising a large family, several of whom, later headed west to California, two as mountain men, others during and after the Gold Rush of 1848/49. Joseph died in Howard County in 1839, and presumably Sarah died there also.

    children - WOLFSKILL
    (click here for more history on William Wolfskill and his brothers)
    William Wolfskill (1798-1866) was born Mar. 20, 1798 in Boonesborough, Madison Co., Kentucky; and headed west as a young man to New Mexico where he became a mountain man trapping furs out of New Mexico. He became a Mexican citizen, taking the name Guillermo Guisquiel, and blazed trails and explored throughout the southwest and California, eventually becoming one of the pioneer settlers of Los Angeles, California in the early 1830s. He settled down with Maria de la Luz Valencia about 1833, with whom he had two children. After she left him for another man, he married Maria Magdalena Lugo on Jan. 12, 1841 in Calif. Maria Lugo had been born May 11, 1804 in Santa Barbara, Calif. As William settled down in Los Angeles, he became one of its most prominent citizens, and he is often credited with introducing the growing of wine grapes and orange trees to southern California. Maria died on July 5, 1862 in Los Angeles, Calif. and William died there Oct. 3, 1866. Both are buried in the Calvary Cemetery in East Los Angeles.

    Margaret Wolfskill (1799-1821?) was born on Oct. 24, 1799 in Madison Co., Kentucky. She married John M. Reid (d. 1849) on July 8, 1820 in Howard County, Missouri, and probably died either during or soon after the birth of her son Alfred Reid towards the end of that same year.

    Elizabeth Wolfskill (1801-1802) was born March 12, 1801 in Madison Co., Kentucky; and died a little girl on May 6, 1802.

    Suzanna Wood Wolfskill (b. 1802) was born Oct. 30, 1802 in Madison Co., Kentucky; and married her second husband Isham Roberts on Jan. 1, 1824 in Howard Co., Missouri. She and Isham followed her brothers to California, where she probably died in Winters in Yolo County, as that is where her husband died on June 13, 1878. She did not have any children from either marriage.

    John Reid Wolfskill (1804-1897) was born Sept. 11, 1804 in Madison Co., Kentucky, and followed his brother William west in 1838, first to New Mexico and later to California. William, who had Mexican citizenship, helped John in 1842 obtain from the Mexican government a grant of land on Putah Creek, near the pioneer settlement Winters in Yolo County. John's common-law wife Carmalita (Carmel) Lucero Tapia (1812-1851), who had been born in 1812 in Santa Fe, New Mexico and whom John never married, came with him. They had one son together at Putah Creek, Edward Wolkskill (1850-1939), who was known as Ned. Carmalita died at the ranch in 1851, not long after Ned's birth, afterwhich John married his second wife Susan Cooper on Jan. 10, 1860 in Colusa, Calif. Susan, who had been born March 25, 1827, gave John several children, and many of their descendants today are connected with the town of Winters. John died May 28, 1897 in Winters, and Susan died there Jan. 15, 1906. Both are buried in the Winters Cemetery with several of their children. (click here for more history on John Reid Wolfskill)

    • Edward "Ned" Wolfskill (1850-1939), the only child of John Reid Wolfskill and Carmalita Tapia, was born Oct. 8, 1850 at Putah Creek in Yolo County; and married Annie Bollinger (1850-1891) of Missouri on March 25, 1871 in neighboring Solano County. Ned, along with other family members, wrote several letters with infomation about the family that Ned, late in his life, donated to the University of California at Davis, in association with a donation of land to the University by his half-sister Frances. Ned's daughter Aldanita Susan Wolfskill (1884-1958) was a reasonably well-known opera singer for a few years in San Francisco. Ned died on July 21, 1939 in San Francisco, and is buried with his wife Annie in the Winters Cemetery.

    • Frances Wolfskill (1866-1934), one of Ned Wolfskill's four half-sisters, bequethed 107 acres of land to the Department of Pomology (i.e., fruit cultivation) at the University of California at Davis in her will. She had two husbands, first Samuel Taylor, with whom she had five children, and second Lawrence Wilson. She died Dec. 14, 1934 in Silveyville, which is near Vacaville in Solano County.

    Joseph Wolfskill (b. 1806) was born Oct. 7, 1806 in Kentucky; and married Sallie Read about 1827.

    Mary Wolfskill (1808-1896) was born April 24, 1808 in Madison Co., Kentucky; and married Tobias Cooper on Jan. 1, 1832 in Howard Co., Missouri. Tobias died March 2, 1854 in Saline Co., Missouri, and Mary died July 29, 1896 in Miami Co., Missouri. She and Tobias had several children.

    Mathus (Matthew, Mathias) Wolfskill (1810-1891), who follows:

    Smith Wolfskill (b. 1810) was born Aug. 11, 1810 in Missouri.

    Stephen Jackson Wolfskill (b. 1811) was born Oct. 11, 1811 in Madison Co., Kentucky, and died on Oct. 15, 1891 at Mankas Corner.

    Joshua Wolfskill (b. 1812) was born Nov. 12, 1812 in Madison Co., Kentucky.

    Sarchel (Sarshel) Cooper Wolfskill (1818-1887) was born Feb. 23, 1818 in Howard Co., Missouri, and named after his settlement's first leader Capt. Sarshel Cooper, who was killed at Cooper's Fort in 1815. He married Margaret Ann Cooper (b. April 12, 1829) on Aug. 9, 1849 at Cooper's fort, afterwhich they followed Sarchel's brothers to Calilfornia, via the isthmus of Panama in 1852, and settled in Solano County in the settlement of Silveyville, which is known today as Dixon. Sarchel died there Oct. 29, 1887, as did Margaret on Dec. 5, 1918. Both Sarchel and Margaret are buried in the Winters Cemetery. They had several children.

    Milton Wolfskill (1819-1906) was born Jan. 28, 1819 in Arrow Rock, Missouri, and married Mahala Ashcraft, the sister of his brother Mathus' wife, on Sept. 19, 1844 in Howard County, Missouri. She died in Missouri in 1847, afterwhich Milton in 1848 came to California in a mule train with a large party of gold seekers. He married his second wife Anna S. Sweany, who had been born in Missouri also, on Feb. 20, 1860 in Solano County, California. They later moved to Texas, then returned to Los Angeles, where Milton died on June 6, 1906. Anna died there April 20, 1922. At least two children were born from Milton's first marriage to Mahala, and Milton and his second wife Anna had several children as well.



    The Wolfskill Brothers (from left to right) - William Wolfskill (1798-1866), John Reid Wolfskill (1804-1897), Mathus Wolksill (1810-1891), and a photo of one of the Wolfskill brothers that is identified as John R. Wolfskill, but is probably either Milton Wolfskill (1819-1906) or Sarchel Wolkskill (1818-1887). The photo on the far right shows Milton and John Reid Wolfskill with their wives in 1890 at a family reunion. Clicking on any of the photos leads to a more detailed view.


  2. Mathus (Matthew, Mathias) Wolfskill (1810-1891) was born Aug. 11, 1810 in Howard Co., Missouri; and married Permelia Ashcraft on Sept. 1, 1831 in Missouri. Permelia was born Feb. 10, 1810, and was the sister of Mahala Ashcraft who married Mathus' younger brother Milton. Mathus and Permelia lived in Missouri for forty years, until May 16, 1850 when they and their surviving children took a wagon across the plains to follow Matthus' brothers William and John to California. They arrived at John's ranch on Putah Creek in Yolo Co. on September 30th of that year. and lived there until the fall of 1866 when they moved to just north of Mankas Corner in the Suisun Valley of Solano Co., Calif. where their son Joseph had bought a 700-acre Ranch, portions of which his descendants still own. Mathus and Permelia owned a smaller plot just east of Joseph's property. Permelia died in Mankas Corner on Jan. 21, 1876; and Mathus died there Oct. 15, 1891. Both are buried in the Rockville Cemetery in Solano County, California. The children of Mathus and Permelia follow. Several of their descendants still live in Fairfield and Suisun.

    children - WOLFSKILL

    John W. Wolfskill (1836-1913) was born Aug. 1836 in Missouri; and married Susan B. Moore, with whom he had three children. He died Dec. 14, 1913 in Los Angeles, Calif. His daughter Edith Irene Wolfskill (b. May 1880) disappeared July 14, 1929, and her body was found in a dry creek bed not far from Mankas Corner almost two months later. Murder was suspected, but never proved. She was considered crazy, having spent time in San Francisco and South Pasadena sanitoriums or similar facilities prior to her disappearance. Her story was followed closely over a three-month period in the Woodland Daily Democrat. His two sons were Matt Asby Wolfskill (1870-1949) and Ney Wolfskill (1872-1936). Matt married Irma Douglas (1871-1953), but had no children. Ney never married.

    Joseph Cooper Wolfskill (1843-1937), who follows:

    Amanda Wolfskill, who died a little girl in Howard Co., Missouri.

    Sarah Wolfskill, who died in 1902.


  3. Joseph Cooper Wolfskill (1843-1914) was born Nov. 23, 1843 in Howard Co., Missouri. He came west with his father to California in a covered wagon during the Gold Rush and lived at first on the ranch of his Uncle John Wolfskill on Putah Creek in Yolo County. He bought 230 acres of the Wetmore Ranch in the Suisun Valley of Solano County on Sept. 16, 1866 from Benicia investor Samuel Grey. Although Gray had owned the property, Gray's brother-in-law Henry Wetmore ran the ranch and had a stable business that serviced the stage stop at nearby Mankas Corner. Joseph and his father Mathus moved their families to the Wetmore ranch in 1866, and planted wheat and a small orchard. Initially, they lived in Wetmore's old house, but Joseph in 1885 built a large two-story Victorian-style house that still stands. He married Mary J. Blake (b. 1856) in 1889, and became widely respected as a fruit grower, also gaining fame for raising championship race horses. He was well known as a member of the Democratic party and served one term in the California State Legislature. He was also a close friend of Christley Manka, who ran the store at Mankas Corner, and he administered Christley's estate when Christley died in 1888. Joseph himself died Sept. 28, 1914 in Suisun Valley, and Mary died there Oct. 7, 1937. Both are buried in the Rockville Cemetery in Solano County, California. The children of Joseph and Mary follow.

    children - WOLFSKILL

    Mathus Reid Wolfskill (1890-1975) was born Sept. 10, 1890 in Calif. He was known as "Reid" and married Nelda Lavina Thomas, who was born Oct. 6, 1891 in California. Mathus died July 9, 1975 in Suisun Valley, Solano County, Calif., and Nelda died there Sept. 10, 1981. Both are buried in the Rockville Cemetery. Reid and Nelda had no children.

    Jarena Loraine Wolfskill (1893-1997) was born June 10, 1893 in Suisun Valley, Solano County, Calif; and married Ernest Cicero Armstrong (1877-1959) in 1920. She lived in the old Armstrong house, just across from the store at Mankas Corner. She lived to over one-hundred years old, and died Dec. 8, 1997 in Solano Co., Calif. Both Jarena and Ernest are buried in Rockville Cemetery. Jarena and Cicero had three daughters - Ruth C. Armstrong (b. 1920), Mary L. Armstrong (b. 1922), and Dorene Armstrong (b. 1924).

    Clarence Cooper (Judge) Wolfskill (1895-1978), who follows:


  4. Clarence Cooper "Judge" Wolfskill (1895-1978) was born on April 22, 1895 in California; and married Lulu Myrtle Neitzel on Nov. 29, 1923 in San Francisco, Calif. Lulu was born on July 16, 1898 in Calif. Judge died on July 24, 1978 in Solano County, Calif. and Lulu died on Dec. 15, 1982 in Napa County. Both are buried in the Rockville Cemetery in Solano County, California. The children of Clarence and Lulu follow.

    children - WOLFSKILL

    Joseph Clarence Wolfskill (1926-1999), who follows:

    Dolores Wolfskill (1931-2016) was born on Feb. 6, 1931 in San Francisco, Calif; and lived her later years in Mankas Corner, Calif. on land once owned by her great-grandfather Mathus Wolfskill. She married Vernon "Ducky" Russell (1926-1995) of Fairfield with whom she had two children - Diane Russell (b. 1946) and Richard R. Russsel (1949-2008). Both Richard and Diane married and have children and grandchildren. After Ducky passed away her companion at Mankas Corner was "Ken" Chauncey Bruce Kinnaman (1929-2009), until he passed away on Nov. 13, 2009 in Fairfield. Dolores died on May 30, 2016 in Fairfield, and she is buried in Rockville Cemetery.


  5. Joseph "Joe" Clarence Wolfskill (1926-1992) was born on April 28, 1926 in San Francisco, Calif., and and married Mae Rita Huck, who had been born on June 16, 1928 in Yolo Co., Calif. Joe died on Dec. 12, 1992 in Fairfield, Solano County, Calif., and Mae died there on Feb. 4, 1999. Both are buried in Rockville Cemetery. The children of Joseph and Mae follow.

    children - WOLFSKILL

    Renee Wolfskill was born on May 21, 1953 in Napa Co., Calif. She married Joseph W. Calbert on May 26, 1973 and she has a daughter named Janice.

    Bradley Elwin Wolfskill was born on Jan. 5, 1955 in Napa Co., Calif; and married Bonnie Richart, from whom he is now divorced. They have one son, Bradley Joseph Wolfskill, who was born on Oct. 20, 1988 in Solano Co., Calif. Brad still lives on the Wolfskill ranch, north of Mankas Corner.



  • Conti, Kris Delaplane, 1995, Wolfskill family set tone for Solano's future, Vacaville Reporter (newspaper), July 16, 1995.

  • Michael A Milliken's Home Page on Rootsweb.com

  • Chronology of Land Ownership - Bella Vista Ranch extracted from the Solano County Archives Deed Index

  • Harmon, John, B., 1906, "Waterman vs. Smith" in Reports of Cases determined in the Supreme Court of the State of California, v. 13, p. 373-422.

  • The Murder of Irene Edith Wolfskill reported in the Woodland Daily Democrat and other newspapers

  • Excerpts from letters written by Ned Wolfskill

    Below are two archived letters at the University of California at Davis written by Edward "Ned" Wolfskill, who was the son of John Reid Wolfskill.

    The first is an excerpt from a letter from Ned to a cousin, Mrs. Josie Peterman, dated August 9, 1927, Winters, CA.

    "... This nephew was the son of John Wolfskill, who was also one of Uncle Mathus' children. You probably know that Uncle Mathus married Miss Permelia Ashcroft of Howard County, Missouri and came to California in 1850. Aunt Permelia Wolfskill, raised me from infancy I having lost my mother when I was but three months old...."

    The second is a letter from Ned to a different cousin, Sue Amick, dated October 15, 1929.

    "...Now concerning the relationship between myself and Edith Irene Wolfskill, whose remains were found in the bed of the Creek not so far from her home. She was the daughter of John Wolfskill, and John Wolfskill was the son of Mathus Wolfskill and Permelia Wolfskill, Permelia Wolfskill was a sister of Mrs Elizabeth Hickerson the mother of Uncle Hoss, Hickerson. Mrs Mathus Wolfskill was an Ashcraft. - Permelia Ashcraft) Uncle Milton Wolfskill, married an ashcraft also- Mahala Ashcraft- she was a sister of Permelia and Elizabeth, Mahala died in Missouri. Her son Sash came to California, with my Uncle Sash Wolfskill and his family. Uncle later married again here in California, and raised quite a family. There are two of Uncle Milton's children living---one in New Mexico, one in Los Angeles, California, So Edith's father was my 1st cousin...."

  • Notes on the Wolfskill Family of Suisun Valley collected from various sources

  • Tombstone photos and transcriptions on

    Wolfskill family virtual cemetery




by Janet & Michael Clark

This history is an evolving document.
Despite our best intentions it probably contains mistakes.
Please let us know if you spot any by sending an email to Mike Clark



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