Wolverine's life began in Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada, sometime between 1882 and 1885, a couple of weeks before the 19th of April. The mutantwho would come to be known simply as "Logan" was born James Howlett, the illegitimate son of Elizabeth Howlett(who was married to John Howlett, owner of a large estate) and the Howletts' grounds-keeper, Thomas Logan. As a boy, James was notably frail and prone to bouts of allergic attacks. He was largely neglected by his mother, who had been institutionalized for a time following the death of her first son, John Jr., in 1897. James was constantly under the pressure of his grandfather, Mr. Howlett, who believed that James required constant punishment by a strong hand, in order to be raised properly. "Firm, but fair," was what Mr. Howlett said to justify his abusive actions.
James spent most of his early years on the Howlett Estate grounds with two playmates that lived at the estate with him: Rose O'Hara, a red-headed Irish girl who was brought in from town to be a companion to young James, and a boy nicknamed "Dog", Thomas Logan's son (and James's half-brother). The children were close friends, but, as they reached adolescence, the abuse inflicted upon Dog warped his mind. Dog made unwanted advances towards Rose, which James reported to his father. In retaliation, Dog killed James' puppy, leading to the expulsion of Thomas and Dog from the estate.
Thomas, in a drunken stupor and armed with a shotgun, invaded the Howlett Estate with his son and attempted to take his former lover Elizabeth with him. John, Sr. attempted to stop him and Thomas shot him in the head, in cold blood. James had just entered the room when this occurred and his mutation finally manifested: bone claws extended from the backs of his hands and he attacked the intruders with uncharacteristic ferocity, killing Thomas and scarring Dog's face with three claw marks. Already an emotionally disturbed woman since the death of her first son, Elizabeth, completely unhinged, drove James away and took her life immediately afterward with a blast from Thomas' gun.
Rose fled the estate with James in tow, hiding in a shed. James experienced his heightened senses for the first time telling Rose that he could smell apple dumplings.
Dog falsely reported to the police and James' grandfather that Rose had murdered John, Sr. and Thomas. Rose led James to his grandfather's house, but Mr. Howlett simply ordered them to flee by train, with cold, cruel eyes, but still used his influence in town to help the pair escape, due to blood ties. Rose then fled the estate with James, who appeared to have been deeply traumatized and his healing factor had somehow driven the trauma from his memories, leaving him partially amnesiac.