Carolyn Therese Kobbé
Carolyn Therese Wheeler Kobbé (1861-1954)
Carolyn Wheeler was born on 8 August 1861 in New York State. She was the daughter of George Minor Wheeler and Marion (Maria) Bailey Lang. They were married in Boston on 14 May 1853.
According to the 1880 U.S. Federal Census, Carolyn had four older siblings, William, Mabel, Fannie, and Anna, and three younger siblings, Virginia, Susan and Rosalind.
Carolyn married Gustave Kobbé (son of William August Kobbé and Sarah Lord Sistare) on 11 November 1882 in St. Mark’s Church by Rev. Dr. Rylance. Their marriage was announced two days later in the New York Evening Post.
Gustav wrote for many newspapers and magazines, including The Musical Review, The New York Sun, The Century, Scribner’s The Forum, and North American Review. He was also the author of many books, mostly focusing on classical music and great composers.
In 1905 Carolyn and Gustav were living in Manhattan NY. By this time they had five children: George Minor Wheeler (21), Beatrice (18), Hildegarde (16), Virginia (14), and Carolyn (12). They also had two domestic servants: Ellen Healy and Mary Flannigan.
Tragically, Gustav died as a result of a boat accident on 27 July 1918, in Islip NY. In her book, My Spiritual Pilgrimage Carolyn wrote about the incident:
It was one of those rare days in summer, a gentle breeze blowing and a clear sky overhead. My husband said, “Good-bye, I’m going out in my sail-boat for a quick little sail.” ...He never came back… The driver of an army hydroplane misjudged his landing and cut across my husband’s boat. It was instantaneous. It was all so sudden and unexpected. For months afterwards I was like a sleep-walker, moving but not seeing or hearing. Then I realized that in order to live I must find some kind of help; but where?
After much soul searching, and faith seeking during a vacation in Europe, Carolyn converted to Catholicism after her husband’s death. She took on the name Therese as her Catholic name, becoming Carolyne Therese Kobbé.
After her initial trip to Europe Carolyn returned often. In 1923 Carolyn applied for a passport to go to Europe with her 13 year old grand-daughter, Carol Stevenson, with the purpose of “education of grandchild”.
Carolyne wrote the book, My Spiritual Pilgrimage: An Attempt to Help Those Who Want to Find Peace and Happiness in this Changing World, which was published in 1935. The book highlighted her trips to Europe and her redemption through her Catholic faith. UPEI’s Provenance copy of the book includes the following inscription:
To Bishop Kelly with the humble respects of Carolyn Therese Kobbé - 1936
Bishop Francis Kelley was the Bishop of Oklahoma City, and was born in Vernon River, Prince Edward Island. A significant portion of UPEI’s provenance collection were books signed by authors to Bishop Kelley.
Carolyn died in Long Island, NY, on 23 August 1954 at the age of 93. She is buried in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn NY, in section 90, lot 44.
1880 United States Federal Census. Census Place: Scarsdale, Westchester, New York; Roll: 947; Page: 288C; Enumeration District: 125
1895 New Jersey State Census. New Jersey Department of State. 1895 State Census of New Jersey. Trenton, NJ, USA: New Jersey State Archives. 54 reels.
1905 New York State Census. New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 27 E.D. 11; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 7
1910 United States Federal Census. Census Place: Babylon, Suffolk, New York; Roll: T624_1081; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 1338; FHL microfilm: 1375094
1920 United States Federal Census. Census Place: Garden City, Nassau, New York; Roll: T625_1127; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 19
Find a Grave information on Carolyn Wheeler Kobbé
New York Evening Post. 13 November 1882. Newspapers and Periodicals. American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts. Call number: 485767
New York State Death Index. New York Department of Health; Albany, NY; NY State Death Index. Certificate number: 45366
State Population Census Schedules, 1905; New York State Archives; Albany, New York; Election District: A.D. 27 E.D. 11; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 7
Town and City Clerks of Massachusetts. Massachusetts Vital and Town Records. Provo, UT: Holbrook Research Institute (Jay and Delene Holbrook).
U.S. Passport Application for Carolyn Wheeler Kobbé. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 2373; Volume #: Roll 2373 - Certificates: 343850-344349, 03 Oct 1923-05 Oct 1923
Who’s Who in New York City and State: a biographical dictionary of contemporaries. Fifth Biennial Edition, 1911. Page 565.
Photo from Carolyn's 1923 U.S. Passport application. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 2373; Volume #: Roll 2373 - Certificates: 343850-344349, 03 Oct 1923-05 Oct 1923