The Islands: Wolfe Island

Wolfe Island:
Frontenac County


Wolfe Island faces Ontario, Canada to the North and NY, USA
to the south. It is the largest of the 1000 Islands.
On the east is the St. Lawrence River; on the west is
Lake Ontario. There is a ferry to Kingston in Canada
and to Cape Vincent in the USA.
It has an area of 54.38 square miles.
Nearby islands are Garden Island, Howe Island.

Wolfe Island (48 sq mi/124 sq km), SE Ont., central Canada, at head of L. Ontario, at entrance to the St. Lawrence, opposite Kingston, 18 mi/29 km long, about 6 mi/9 km wide; 44°12'N 76°26'W. Largest of the Thousand Islands. Heavily wooded until the end of 19th cent., now intensively cultivated; popular resort. Just S is U.S. border. Village of Marysville on NW shore. Ferry from Kingston.
From:The Columbia Gazetteer of North America. 2000.

Loads of maps of Wolfe and Kingston area.

Wolfe Island Map-recent
Slow to load

for link to 1880 map of Wolfe.

Also see Maps and Directions section of the site.


The earliest known inhabitants of the isle were the Point
Peninsula Indians who resided there from about the time
of Christ until 800 AD. They lived in a predominantly
fishing village. Relics of pottery, arrowheads and
tools have been found.

After the Point Peninsula Indian came the Owasco
tribe of New York and Southern Ontario. Thirdly
was the Pickering people. These also fished.

In 1300, AD the first Iroquois appeared and
remained even after the first white men settled
the island.

It is assumed that the first white man to set
foot on the island was Samuel de Champlain and his men,
also his party of Huron braves. They were returning
from Sackett's Harbour in the winter and crossed the island.

King Louis XIV of France referred to the island
as Ganounkouesnot in the seigneury he granted to
LaSalle on May 13, 1675. Ganounkouesnot is an Indian
word roughly translated to "long (island) standing up"
The French referred to the island as Grande Ile, however
the name Long Island was used until relatively recent
times. It is unknown if the name came from the
translation of the Indian or the French name.
Wolfe Island has been the official name since July 16 1792.

In 1687 the land was granted to James Cauchois,
on his death the land was passed on to his daughter,
Madelain Curotte, and then to her son James Francois
Curotte. He entered the priesthood and it
then went to his two half- brothers.

The Curottes sold the land to David Alexander
Grant and Patrick Langan in the beginning of the 19th
century. Around this time the United Empire Loyalists
were making their way north, and some settled on the

Grant was married to Marie Charles Joseph Le
Moye de Longueuil, better know as the Baroness de
Longueuil. A letter dated Montreal 29 Sept., 1800
from David Alexander Grant and P. Langan states “We
purchased the Grande Isle on the 6th May, 1795. From
Michel and Amable Curot, to whom the Island devolved
by right of Descent, and soon after we caused it to be
surveyed, erected a Dwelling House and placed Settlers
on the Island, who are now improving it.” Upon the death
of Grant in 1806, the land was passed to his son,
Charles William Grant, the 4th Baron de Longueuil. His
daughter owned a large part of the island at her death
in 1894. The other owner of the island, Patrick Langan
died in 1813, his portion of the land went to his
daughters, Julia, Charlotte and Marie. Little is known
of the heiresses.

The Grants and Barons de Longueuil lived on the
Island until 1825 when they moved to Kingston. A last
note, the Baroness de Longueuil gave the land for the
Anglican Church and Rectory on the Island.
The Barony de Longueuil still survives in Europe.

Smiths 1846 Canadian Gazetteer:
"A large Island situated in the north-eastern extremity of Lake Ontario, near the entrance of the River St. Lawrence. Its western portion is opposite the town of Kingston. It is a long, irregularly shaped island, having numerous small bays running into it. It forms a township of the Midland District. In Wolfe Island 24,449 acres are taken up, 6,152 of which are under cultivation. Wolfe Island is well settled, and contains some good farms. There is one saw mill on the island. Population : 1,289. Ratable property in the township : £17,323."


See Early Settlers and Immigration as well.

Land was leased at one shilling per acre per year in 1813.
During the first decade of the 19th century,
about fifteen families lived on the island, not
including the Indians that remained.

The Indians were very peaceful, they supplied the
settlers with brooms and baskets and other items, as
well as information on the making of sugar and maple syrup.

Life for the first settlers was not easy. Land had
to be cleared for homes and fields. The fields must then
be cultivated. There was little time for pleasure. The
main social events at this time were bees, such as barn
raising, ploughing and logging.

The most common house was made of wood, six logs
high, with a sloping roof. Holes cut into the
wall were windows and doors, which were covered in cold
and bad weather. Fireplaces of stone were built on
one wall, with a large hole in the roof as a
chimney. It was used for heating and cooking.

The settlers mentioned but unnamed in the letter of
Grant and Langan appear to have been Richard Davis, his
wife and family. He was supposedly a drummer in Sir John
Johnson’s regiment of which Langan was
Lieutenant. Other settlers were the three son of Lewis
Mosher who was a Loyalist of Landsdowne.


See: Island Censuses

From Stats Canada:
(For Wolfe twp-contains garden island?)
Population 2001: 1,142
Population 1996: 1,180
Population 1991: 1,097

Contact Stats Canada for more information on statistics.


1823-15 families
1826- 276
present- over 1300 full-time residents
doubles in summer

Info from census, Cosgrove book, 1846 Smiths Gazetteer.
Please email me if you have numbers for any other years



The oldest cemetery is actually an Indian burial ground
on the south side of the island.



Churches Main link

See the new schools main page: see the side bar on the Islands main page!


Island Vital Records


Paul Gillespie notes that the Archives Department at
Kathleen Ryan Hall, Queens University has the land
records for Wolfe Island available on microfilm, as
well as the original "Accounts Book" kept by James
Kirpatrick, the lawyer for C. W> Grant who once
owned 1/3 of the island. The Accounts Book contains
names of people who rented or purchased land from Grant,
usually giving precise dates.
They can be found under the "Kirkpatrick Papers",
Collection #2269, Volume 69.

Also see (offsite)- Land Records Part 2-Township records


Island Photos Main

New! Under Island People-Wolfe island skaters & hockey club!

If you have photos of houses, haying, people etc to
share please email me.



Article from Whig Standard on Anniverary of Wolfe Islander Ferry


Wolfe Island Post Office info
Click on A at left side to see info on Post masters and their terms in office.

Petition from Freeholders and Inhabitants of Wolfe Island 1836
Thanks Tina!!

How Gender Influences Work on Wolfe Island-an Essay
This contains some neat info about jobs
on the island from 1851-1901.

TENANTS & ACREAGE 1878- Surnames

You can search for info on your surnames
or for a tenants map of Wolfe Island.
Note: Wolfe Island is in Frontenac County
Township Wolfe Island
Atlas date is 1878

1880 Atlas online-Wolfe Island

Also see the Island Links Page


Island Researchers

Island Forum


-County of a Thousand Lakes: The History of the
County of Frontenac 1673-1973-Chapter 14 The Island
Much on Wolfe Island.

-Out of the Past... Wolfe Island Sketches
by K. Jean Richardson, 1965.

Forgotten Leaves of Local History-Kingston
pages 52-56; Wolfe Island History

Wolfe Island Past and Present
by Winston Cosgrove, 1973


Includes books etc for:
Wolfe Island
Howe Island
Garden Island
(I don't have these books, just letting you know they exist!!)

NOTE: Check out the following for resources that
can be purchased at a good price...
Kingston Genealogical Society
or the Ontario Genealogical Society
and Russ Wallers Books
which I highly recommend!


I am always looking for more information.
If you have any info, books, pamphlets, pictures you
would like to share please contact me.

The Islands: Wolfe Island

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Jen Wylie nee Hoeltzel