For over 150 years, Milwaukee has been home to a large community of people of Polish descent. The Milwaukee Polonia Project hopes to show the interweaving, intertwining family trees that resulted in this community. It is hoped that, eventually, all the families can be connected to one another. The Milwaukee Polonia Project is also a means to explore our common history and celebrate our shared heritage.


Monday, May 28, 2012

Featured Profile #14 - Edmund T. Czaskos

Captain Edmund Theofil Czaskos (1896 - 1966)

Capt. Edmund Czaskos from the Milwaukee Journal, May 22, 1919
Edmund Czaskos was one of the earliest war heroes of the Milwaukee Polish Community.  He was born in Milwaukee on May 13, 1896, the oldest child of Jakob Czaskos and Catherine (Piotrowski) Czaskos.  His mother came from an one of the earlier Polish families to settle in Milwaukee, and she had actually been born in Milwaukee in about 1873.

Edmund was raised in Milwaukee.  He attended the Ss. Cyril and Methodius Elementary School and South Division High School. On June 21, 1916, at the age of 20, Edmund enlisted in the Fifth Wisconsin National Guard Regiment.  At the time, the United States was still trying to retain its neutrality in the Great European Conflict.  A more pressing need was on the southern border with Mexico.  In March of that year, the Mexican revolutionary, Pancho Villa, had attacked Columbus, New Mexico in a raid for war supplies.  In response, President Woodrow Wilson had dispatched, General "Black Jack" Pershing and 5,000 troops to Mexico on the Mexican Expedition to get Villa, dead or alive.  Edmund, along with the rest of the Fifth Wisconsin, was sent to the border in support of that Expedition.  The Expedition never succeeded in its primary mission, and General Pershing and the rest of the troops were redeployed once the U.S. entered the war against Germany in April, 1917, but in the meantime, Edmund had used his time well and had been promoted to sergeant.

Edmund returned to Wisconsin where he helped recruit a "Polish Battalion"  for the service.  He was promoted to Second Lieutenant, and with the rest of the Fifth Wisconsin National Guard, was sent to Waco, Texas where they trained and reorganized into the 128th Infantry Regiment of the 32nd Infantry Division.  During that time, Edmund was promoted again, to First Lieutenant in Company D.

Having completed its training and reorganization, the 128th was shipped to France by March, 1918 where it was thrown into the thick of the fighting.  In a short period of time, it fought in the campaigns of  Alsace, Aisne-Marne, Oise-Aisne and Meuse-Argonne. The tenacity of its fighting was so marked that the French called the 128th Regiment "Les Terribles."  The 32nd Division was the first to penetrate the German Hindenberg Line and ever since its shoulder patch has born the distinctive red arrow piercing a line as a recognition of that accomplishment.

Edmund Czaskos, and the rest of Company D, were in the thick of the combat.  The ferociousness of the fighting is no better illustrated than by the fact that only eight men of Company D returned to Milwaukee with Edmund Czaskos.  Two were still in France, but the rest were either in hospitals recovering from their wounds or were buried oversees.

At least part of the honors awarded to the 128th can be attributed to Edmund Czaskos.  On August 1, 1918, Edmund was involved in an assault of the Germans near Cierges in the Battle of Chateau-Thierry.  Showing extreme valor, he managed to capture two machine guns and four Germans manning them. For his actions, he was awarded Croix de guerre by the French government and a Citation Star by the U.S.  He was also promoted to Captain and put in command of Company D.  Like most of the men in his unit, Edmund did not make it through the war unscathed. On August 31, 1918 when Company D was thrown into action against the strong German defenses on the Juvigny plateau, Edmund took seven shrapnel pieces and multiple bullet wounds to his left arm and side.  In his own words, Captain Czaskos describes the circumstances in which he received those wounds and the death of one of his Company mates:

"After the Chateau Thierry drive, where Leslie [Chapman] distinguished himself very much, we were sent to the Soissons front.  On the second day of our attack, which was August 31, we were ordered over the top at 4 p.m.  We had pierced the enemy lines for about a kilometer and after a severe fight took the town of Juvigny from the enemy.

"Going past the town, we came to a sunken road, and Leslie helped me to get over.  We had advanced about twenty feet when the Germans opened up a heavy machine gun fire.  I received nine bullets through my shoulder and side.  Leslie was hit about the same time, but was shot through the heart and died instantly.  I called to him but he did not answer, and crawling over to him I found he was dead.  I do not remember more, for when I next came to I was in the hospital and I am sure that Leslie is buried where he fell."

The injuries that Edmund received in Juvigny kept him out of action for the next two months.  Although he returned to Company D in time to take part in the fighting of the Argonne Forest in November, 1918, he was still receiving treatment for his wounds after the War.

Returning to Milwaukee, Edmund became active in politics and community organizations.  He eventually rose to become the Milwaukee County Register of Deeds in 1935-36.  However, his main occupation was as the owner and operator of Edmund's Shade Shop at 1407 W. Mitchell Street.  His mother and his brother Joseph were also involved in that operation.

Edmund married Eleanore (Peggy) Rogalska, the sister of George F. Rogalska, who was a private in the HQ Company of the 128th Infantry.  He was killed in action on August 2, 1918.  Edmund and Peggy do not appear to have had any children.  Edmund died in Palmetto, Florida in 1966.  He is buried in Calvary Cemetery along with other Rogalska family members.

Relation to Nearest Featured Profile (Hattie Baranowski, Featured Profile #12):  brother of sister-in-law.

Path From Nearest Featured Profile:  Hattie Baranowski > brother, Dr. Stanley Baranowski, (Person of Note described in Hattie Barnanowski's profile),  > wife, Eleanore (Czaskos) Baranowski > brother, Edmund Czaskos.

Also, Alice (Polewczynksi) Czaskos, sister-in-law of Edmund, is the sister-in-law of Winifred (Domachowski) Polewczynski, daughter of Joseph Domachowski, Featured Profile #5.

Sources (page references on newspapers on Google New are to the page on Google News):

"Bowman Quits Register Post," Milwaukee Journal,  November 11, 1935,  p. 1

"Bowman Shows Czaskos the Job,"  Milwaukee Journal, November 22, 1935, p. 21

"Chapman Only Auburn Boy in Thirty-Second Division,"  Auburn (NY) Citizen, November 11, 1919, p. 13

"Edmund T. Czaskos," Milwaukee Journal, April 15, 1966, pg. 16

Edmund T. Czaskos entry at Military Times Hall of Valor

"Takes Foe Guns; Wins High Honor," Milwaukee Sentinel, May 22, 1919, pg. 3.

Thirty-second Division (National Guard) on

Monday, May 21, 2012

Featured Profile #13 - Walter P. Celichowski

Walter P. Celichowski (1877-1958)

Walter Celichowski was an early, but significant, merchant in Milwaukee's Polish community.  He was the sixth of at least eight children born to Wincenty Celichowski and  Ludwika (Ryterski) Celichowski who appear to have been married in Smogulec, Poland in 1863.  Walter was born June 13, 1877, and he, along with the rest of his family, immigrated to the United States in 1886 when he was nine years old.  His father, who was a mason by trade, quickly found work at the Pabst Brewery.

Unfortunately, Walter's father died just a year later at the young age of 49, leaving his wife and eight children.  It is not known how the family made ends meet, but they managed to not only survive, but to prosper.  Walter's older brother Bronislaus spent six years at Marquette College (now Marquette University) and then entered the St. Francis Seminary.  He was ordained in 1898 and at one time or another would serve as the pastor of St. Hedwig's, St. Casimir's and Ss. Cyril and Methodius Churches.

Walter spent his early years at St. Hyacinth's School and then also went on to Marquette College.  After graduation he became a clerk at T.A. Chapman & Co.  After several years, he became a clerk at the Milwaukee County Register of Deeds.  He spent a year there and then served a year at the office of the State Treasurer in Madison.  In 1901, he returned to Milwaukee to open a men's clothing store.  That first store was on the corner of Brady and Warren Streets.  He married Josepha Baranowski soon after in August, 1902, then next year, he took on another new partner, this time in business.  His brother-in-law, Dominic Gapinski, joined the business, and they moved the store, now known as "Celichowski & Gapinski" to Third and Mitchell.  In 1907, they moved again, this time just down the block to 476-478 Mitchell Street, where it grew to become the second largest men's clothing and furnishing store on the south side.

In 1908, the management of the store changed suddenly when Dominic Gapinski was shot and killed while trying to foil a robbery of the Skarb Sobieski Building and Loan Foundation.  (See the blog entry up-coming the week after Memorial Day for details.)  It may be at this point that Walter brought his older brother Casimir, into the business.

The store moved at least one more time to 738 W. Mitchell.  Walter Celichowski continued to operate the store until the Great Depression forced its closure.  (It was then sold to another up-and-coming self-made Pole, Myron L. Mayer, who would also operate a men's clothing store there and who would later be known as the "Mayor of Mitchell Street.")

In 1934, Walter became president of the State Savings and Loan.  He would continue to hold that position until the year of his death, at which time, his son Stanley took over the position from him.  The association would later change names and then in 1969, as American Savings and Loan, merge into First Federal Savings and Loan.  During his tenure as president of the Savings and Loan, Walter also served as the state president of the Wisconsin Building and Loan League and on the County Board of Public Welfare.

After leading a full and varied life, Walter Celichowski died in Milwaukee on August 2, 1958.

Relation to Nearest Featured Profile (Hattie Baranowski, Featured Profile #12):  brother-in-law
Walter Celichowski was also the father-in-law of Ray Buivid.  

In addition, Bronk Hibner, Walter's nephew, married Esther Fons, daughter of Louis A. Fons, Featured Profile # 7, and his niece Eleanor (Baranowski) Fons married the son of Louis A. Fons, Alois Fons.  Just to round out the picture, Louis A. Fons' son Louis R. Fons married June (Baranowski) Fons, who was a first cousin to Eleanor (Baranowski) Fons through Eleanor's father, Walter Baranowski.  There is no known connection between Walter Baranowski and Hattie Baranowski although it seems likely that there is one to be found.

Casimir Celichowski, brother of Walter, married Anna (Czerwinski) Celichowski, niece of Roman Czerwinski, Featured Profile #10. She is the daughter of John Czerwinski who will be the subject of an up-coming Featured Profile.

Path From Nearest Featured Profile:  Hattie Baranowski > sister, Josepha (Baranowski) Celichowski > husband, Walter Celichowski

Sources (page references on newspapers are to the page on Google News):

"American Savings to Join First Federal," Milwaukee Journal, January 27, 1969, p. 16

"Board Change Clears Hurdle," Milwaukee Journal, January 12, 1951, p. 16

"Building, Loan Parley Opens Tuesday," Milwaukee Sentinel, October 10, 1938, p. 3.

"Fr. Celichowski Had Served Three Milwaukee Churches," Milwaukee Sentinel, Jan. 1, 1952, p. 1.

"Polish Immigrant Became 'Mayor of Mitchell Street,'" Milwaukee Journal, May 16, 1966, p. 4.

Watrous, Jerome Anthony, Memoirs of Milwaukee County, Vol. 2,  for Walter Celichowski, see pg. 883. 
For Bronislaus Celichowski, see pg. 125.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Typical Mother

A heartfelt Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers!

The following article ran on page 1 of the Milwaukee Journal on September 17, 1921.  What was atypical about Mrs. Kalupa, was the number of her children.  Her hard work, dedication and devotion to her children is pretty typical of all mothers in my experience.

Individuals Not Yet Connected:

Constantia Kalupa
Mrs. Albert Peksa

Monday, May 7, 2012

Status Update - May, 2012

Well, I'm sorry to say that I'm still working my way through the database, checking the information.  It is fairly mind-numbing work which is way I can't do it full time.  I also want to add new families to the tree so that the tree continues to grow.  That is why I have been splitting my time between clearing the database and adding new names.  Hopefully, the database will be cleared shortly, so that I can spend my full time just adding new names.  Now, here is the information for April:

Family Names Added Since Last Update:

Number of Profiles Added Since Last Update:  441

New Intra-Connections:  (Lucht to Fons):

58)   ....Joseph Domachowski > daughter, Winifred (Domachowski) Polewczynski > son, Carl Polewcynski > wife, Gertrude Budzisz > brother, Ralph Budzisz > son, PRIVATE Budzisz...

59)  ....Winifred (Domachowski) Polewczynski > husband, Henry Polewczynski > sister, Alice (Polewczynski) Czaskos > husband, Joseph Czaskos > sister, Eleanore (Czaskos) Baranowski > husband, Stanley Baranowski > sister, Irene (Baranowski) Czerwinski > husband, Roman Czerwinski > brother, Arthur Czerwinski > wife, Anna (Michalek) Czerwinski > mother, Rosalia (Wnuk) Michalek > mother, Anna (Brzezinska) Wnuk > brother, Jan Brzezinski, daughter, Anastaszja (Brzezinska) Michalski > son, Bennedick Michalski....

60)  .... Thomas Jagodzinski > daughter, Hedwig (Jagodzinski ) Pryba > husband, Martin Pryba > sister, Victoria (Priebe) Slosarski > son, Stanley Slosarski > wife, Sylvia Fons > father, Stephan Fons ....

61)  ....Hedwig (Jagodzinski) Pryba > brother, Anton Jagodzinski > wife, Blanche (Kintop) Jagodzinski > brother, Alois Kintop > wife, Martha (Slosarski) Kintop > brother, Stanley Slosarski....

62)  ....Martha (Slosarski) Kintop > brother, Stanley Slosarski > to his wife, Sylvia (Fons) Slosarski > father, Stephen Fons (1)....

63)  ...Joseph Andraszczyk > sister, Marth (Andraszczyk) Schulist > daughter, Caroline (Schulist) Kupsik > husband, Joseph Kupsik > second wife, Regina (Kapczynski) Kupsik > brother, Andrew Kapczynski....

PCN:  9.33

Historical PCN Data: 

May, 2012:  9.33
April, 2012:  16.67
March, 2012:  16
February, 2012:  12.8
January, 2012:  19

Newly-Discovered Changed Names

Dluszkowski to Dowske
Hejak to Haydock
Kaniewski to Kaneski
Lukaszewski to Lukas
Maliszeski to Malison
Napierala to Napier
Pacholski to Patch
Slosarski to Raye
Zielinski to Green and Greene