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Arthur Wolff

Arthur Wolff, Union Officer

Arthur Wolff, MD, was born in France and immigrated to the US. In 1861, he joined the Union Army during the Civil War and served at Ft. Brown in Brownsville, Texas. After the war, he settled in Brownsville and served as a doctor during the yellow fever epidemic of 1882. To prevent the spread of yellow fever, Dr. Arthur Wolff was appointed quarantine
officer and almost caused an international incident when placed a Mexican army officer in quarantine.

Dr. Arthur S. Wolff, died in 1904. He is buried at the Hebrew Cemetery. Dr. Wolff was born in Lyons, France in 1824.  He received his medical degree in Paris and was appointed surgeon in the French Army.  He moved to London and, licensed as a physician, practiced medicine in London.  He married Sarah Ansell, whose cousin lived in New York.  In 1859, they settled in New York, where he lectured on military medicine at the College of Physicians and Surgeons. 
In 1861, he was appointed surgeon in the Union Army.   Dr. Arthur Wolff served as assistant surgeon at Ft. Brown during the Civil War, became a local practicing physician in Brownsville and was very active in the treatment of the citizenry in the yellow fever epidemic of 1882.
A quarantine to prevent the spread of yellow fever was proclaimed by the Governor of Texas, and Dr. Wolff was appointed as Texas Quarantine Officer of the Brazos Santiago station at the mouth of the river.  Since maritime trade for Matamoros also passed through Brazos Santiago,
Dr. Wolff was authorized by Mexican authorities to enforce the quarantine for Mexico as well. 
Soldiers from both countries were quartered near the mouth of the river, with instructions to obey the Texas Quarantine Officer, Dr. Wolff.
Doctor Wolff was, in fact, the officer of both Republics, and enforced the regulations to stop the spread of yellow fever with great satisfaction, until a Mexican Colonel, who traveled from Veracruz (where yellow fever prevailed), was placed in quarantine.
This unprecedented act, the arrest and detention of a Colonel in the Mexican army, on Mexican soil, by an officer in the quarantine service of Texas, touched the national pride of Mexico and its Army.  For some time patriotic indignation arose almost to the extreme of a revolution.
The situation was defused by the appointment of a Mexican physician stationed in Bagdad on the Mexican side of the mouth of the river.
Dr. Arthur S. Wolff, wife and children settled in Brownsville and they were active in the small Jewish community.  Dr. Wolff practiced medicine for many years and died in Brownsville in1904.  His grave and the graves of his family can be seen in the rear of the Hebrew Cemetery.

Obituary: Dr. Arthur S. Wolff Dead

Died, on Sunday, October 30, 1904, at the family residence in
the city, Dr. S. Wolff, aged 88 years, 8 months and 18 days.
Dr. Arthur S. Wolff was born at Lyons, France, in 1819, and
was the son of Dr. Simeon Wolf, who was a noted Paris
physician and Mrs. Esther Wolff.
Dr. Wolff was educated at the famous Montpelier school
compares, where he remained 4 years, taking the degree of
Bachelor of Letters, with honors, having been awarded 2 medals
for proficiency. He then studied medicine in Paris at the
Academy of medicine and surgery, taking the required 9 years
course, and taking the degree of M. D. P.
He immediately thereafter entered the French army in the
official capacity asserted. In 1846 he went to Algeria with the 3 rd
Regiment of the French Zonaves, and remain there till after the
battle of Mascara, returning on 10 January, 1847. For services
rendered in this campaign Dr. Wolff was decorated with the
cross of the Legion of honor. At the expiration of his 3 years’
service he retired from his position in the Army and went 1 st to
Holland. He here but matriculated (enrolled in college) at the
University of Leyden and ticket 2 nd ° in medicine from this
institution, then went to London, England, where he engaged in
private professional practice, after taking the required English
In 1850 he was married in London to Mrs. Sarah Ansell. There
his 3 children, Carrie, Arthur and Blanche, were born. His son,
Arthur, is also a physician, and is now Bacteriologist of the
Board of Health of Hartford, Connecticut. In 1959 Dr. Wolff
immigrated to America, coming to the state of New York. Since
coming to this country he has been actively employed in
professional work, the greater part of the time in different
capacities as a government official. He was appointed in 1861
surgeon to the Fifty-Fifth Regiment of New York volunteers,
attached to the Third brigade, but on reaching Washington was
assigned to duty to Lincoln Hospital. He was later transferred to
the duty at Carter’s hospital, where he remained after the battle
of Gettysburg. He then served for a time with the Fifth Corps
under Gen. Sykes, but was soon ordered by Surgeon General
Hammond to return to Carter’s hospital, where he served until
1863. He was appointed physician to Clinton prison, New York,
in 1867, and remained there for four years, when he resigned.
During his residence at the prison, his daughter, Leah, was born.
In 1875 he removed to Texas, locating in Brownsville, where
he has since resided.
In the ministration of 1877 – 79 he was appointed by Gov.
Hubbard state quarantine officer at this place, which position he
has held continuously from that time, being Dean of the quarantine service. In his capacity as quarantine officer, Dr.Wolff has rendered much valued service to the community during the yellow fever epidemic of 1882, and other epidemicscin this vicinity and in other distant parts of the state. Dr. Wolffcwas a member of many medical societies and filial orders. He vwas an officer of the Legion of honor, and Odd Fellows, having

filled the office of noble grand, and was a French Mason.
He was one time president of the northern New York Medical
Association; was a permanent member of the New York State
medical Society; a member of the Vermont State Medical
Association, a member of the American Medical Association,
Health Association, Medico – Legacy Society of New York, and
Texas State Medical Association.
During a residence of almost 30 years in Brownsville, Dr. Wolff
has made a great number of warm friends, who regret very
much his death. Having lived more than four score years and
seen many shifting scenes, and rendered the last assistance to
many younger than he, and witnessed the shades of death
demise at first saw the light long after he had reached man’s
estate, he now sleeps in peace, a useful life well spent, and duty
always done, even under the most trying circumstances. He is
survived by his wife, three daughters and one son as follows;
Mrs. S. J. Zanders, of Brooklyn, N. Y.; Dr. Arthur J. Wolff,
Hartford, Conn., Mrs. Blanche R. Loew, Brownsville, Mrs.
Bernard L. Kane, Brownsville. He also leaves a grandson, Dr.
Harry K. Loew, of Brownsville, to whom and the many friends
the Herald offers the sincerest sympathy.
The funeral at the Hebrew Cemetery took place this morning
at 10 o’clock from the family residence on Washington Street,
and was attended by a large group of sorrowing friends, to pay
the last tribute of respect to one whom all delighted to honor.
The pallbearers were Judge Russell, Judge Forto, Dr. Fred
Combe, Capt. Kelly, Louis Kowalski and Dr. R. E. B. Bledsoe.