From "History of Wheeling City and Ohio County, West Virginia and
Representative Citizens," by Hon. Gibson Lamb Cranmer, 1902.
Typed by Carol Taylor Lanza.
AUGUST ROLF, who has been prominently identified with various business interests in Wheeling since 1846, is not now actively engaged in any one line of business, but is a director and officer of a number of concerns. He was born in Hanover, Germany, August 13, 1828, and is the only living of 11 children born to his parents. He has gone twice to Germany on visits, the first time in 1883, when he found nearly all of his brothers and sisters alive, and again in 1892, when he was accompanied by his wife. Upon his second visit to his native land he found all had died but one brother, and he died later in 1896. Mr. Rolf is a son of Henry Rolf, who was a glass blower by trade.
August Rolf learned the tailors' trade in Germany. He also obtained a good primary education, and then came to this country in 1846, when eighteen years of age. He located in Wheeling and was first employed as a journeyman in the tailor shop of Mr. Kammerer, on Tenth and Main Streets. In 1850 he went to New Orleans and there followed his trade for two years, after which he returned to Wheeling. Upon his return he was engaged in the restaurant and saloon business for a period of thirty-three years, with good results. He was first located where the store of Joseph Speidel Grocery Company now is on Main Street. In the "fifties" he was 1st Lieutenant of Company C, known as the German Rifles, in the state militia, and participated in the hanging of John Brown at Charleston. Governer Weiss had called out the militia, and Companies B and C responded, being under battalion commander Major Loring, who was under General Wheat. He served as 1st Lieutenant of Company C, and in 1861 enlisted with his company, becoming a part of the 2nd Reg. W. Va. Vol. Infantry. He served as first lieutenant under Capt. Edward Plankey. He had closed up his business in Wheeling when he enlisted, and until 1863 acted as adjutant of the regiment, when he resigned and returned home. He opened a saloon and restaurant on Main Street, but was later obliged to move, as the building was to be torn down. He moved to Center Wheeling, between Twenty-first and Twenty- second Streets, where he was located about a year, and then to another location where he remained for fifteen years. When the Grand Opera House was erected, Mr. Rolf opened the Phoenix Restaurant and Saloon, a fine establishment, which he conducted until 1884, when he sold out. He has not since actively engaged in business, but is a director and the treasurer of the German Fire Insurance Company, of Wheeling; a director of the National Bank of West Virginia, at Wheeling;; a director of the Wheeling & Elm Grove Railroad Company, and since 1884 has been active manager of Wheeling Park. He was one of the organizers of the German Fire Insurance Company, of Wheeling, and also of the German Bank of Wheeling. He was a member of the board of county commissioners and president of the gas board.
Mr. Rolf was united in marriage, November 5, 1860, with Lena Wagner, who died April 1, 1864, leaving one son, George, who is with the Fostoria Gas Company, of Moundsville. The subject of this sketch was again married, January 5, 1865, to Mary Rodenbergh of Columbus, Ohio, who died November 27, 1900. Their children were: William A. And Mary C., twins, the latter dying at the age of two weeks; and Amelia C. William A. Rolf resides at Pittsburg and is assistant secretary of the National Glass Company. Amelia C. Rolf married Albert L. Meyer, who is secretary and treasurer of the George R. Taylor Company, of Wheeling. The business of this company was established by George R. Taylor in 1844, and conducted by him until 1888. It was sold to Whitehill Brothers, who conducted it for a time. The George R. Taylor Company was incorporated by Mr. Taylor, John Truschel and N. Riester, and was reorganized in 1890 by Albert L. Meyer, William A. Rempe and George E. Johns, with the following officers: Mr. Johns, president; Mr. Rempe, assistant manager; and Mr. Meyer, secretary and treasurer. The place of business is at No. 1150 Main Street, the building extending through to Market Street. It is a three story building, which was erected and is owned by Mr. Taylor. They employ 40 people, and conduct the only strictly dry goods store in the city. Mr. Meyer was born in Wheeling in 1864, and is a son of Charles F. Meyer, an early resident of this city. Albert L. Meyer spent nineteen years in the employ of George E. Stifel & Company. Mr. And Mrs. Meyer make their home with Mr. Rolf at No. 33 Fifteenth Street, where he owns two fine homes side by side. He also owns another property at No. 63 Fifteenth Street. Socially Mr. Rolf is a member of the Arion Association, the Wheeling Turners' Society, and the Opera House Orchestra. His portrait is shown on a preceding page.