Sunday, September 14, 2008


Daily Mining Gazette 18 October 1929, p. 13

School Children Aid Priest in Beautifying Work.
Sacred Heart church, through the enterprise of the Rev. Fr. Humbert, has taken steps toward beautifying the old Hecla Cemetery, which in the early days was the Catholic burying ground for this section. Old fences are being removed, mounds leveled, and as far as possible the place is being put in a presentable condition.
School children are aiding Father Humbert in this work, but as there is no fund available, the improvements will be necessarily limited.
If the weather permits a Libera service will be held on Oct. 27, with a procession from the church to the cemetery, following a sermon and prayer in observation of the Feast of Poor Souls, November 2.
The cemetery came into existence about the time of the opening of the Calumet and Hecla mine here, although no records are available because of the destruction of the church. Research has shown that the parish now known as Scared Heart was organized here in 1868 by the Rev. Fr. Hacker.
In 1869 a church 40 by 90 feet was built at a cost of $14,000 for the parish, which numbered about 1,200 souls. A parsonage was built the following year at a cost of $1,800.
Father Jacker was succeeded by Fathers Ela, Brown, Burns, Mazina, Menard, Kenny, and Shebul; Father Shebul leaving in 1876.
From this the date of the establishment of the cemetery can be fixed with some accuracy, although no exact information as to the identification of unmarked graves is available. There was no cemetery organization at that time, burial permits being granted by the sexton, who kept no record aside from his own memory.
Although the title to the land rests with the Calumet and Hecla Mining company, the cemetery is part of the Sacred Heart parish.
Where possible it is planned to mark the graves, although only records entered since 1892 are available for this purpose, and death has carried away nearly all of the pioneers who might have remembered anything about the earlier graves.
The Hecla cemetery and the Calumet Protestant cemetery were the first burial ground in this vicinity, the latter lying about one quarter mile east of the Schoolcraft cemetery north of Albion. May bodies are buried there, but as in the case in the Hecla cemetery , there are no records.
Subsequently the Schoolcraft cemetery was used, until the Lake View association came into existence in 1894. Since then few burials have been made in these older cemeteries.
Sacred Heart parish has improved the old cemetery at Eagle Harbor, and in the future will probably undertake the improvement of the old Catholic cemetery at the Cliff mine.

Josephine Kruszka and Children

Cousins Virginia Hartselle and Tony Bausano both have this Kruszka family portrait in their collections. Tony's photo is identified as: John, Catherine Staniszewska, Anna, and Valeria Kruska
Virginia writes:
Josephine Kruszka with children (she would be my great grandmother)
One of the girls is my grandmother Walerja Kruszka who later married Joseph Rasimowicz and then Andrew Madajewski. One of the other girls is Annie Kruzska who later married John Szatkowski (Tony Bausano's grandparents).
The young man is John Kruszka. I believe the baby is another son whose name I do not know.

Is the unknown woman John's mother Catherine Staniszewska?
The marriage record of Annie Kruszka and John Szatkowski reads:
Groom name: John Szatkowski
Groom age: 34 year:
Groom birth year: 1877
Groom birth place: Germany
Bride name: Annie Kruszka
Bride age: 28 years
Bride birth year: 1883
Bride birth place: Germany
Marriage date: 04 Oct 1911
Marriage place: Calumet, Houghton, Michigan
Father of groom name: Tom Szatkowski
Mother of groom name: Catherine Staniszewska
Father of bride name: Math Kruszka
Mother of bride name: Josephine Maczynska

Additional relatives: Film number: 2342693Frame number: Digital GS number: 4209154
Image number: 130Reference number: v 2 p 779 rn 566Collection: Michigan Marriages 1868-1925 accesses via

Kowalski Burials at Lake View


Anton, age 52, death 21 June 1911; burial 25 June 1911
Sec E, Lot S1/2-85 Director: Ryan

John, age 80; death 8 October 1921; burial 11 October 1921
Sec B, Lot NE 1/4-2

Stanley age 79,
Seneca Location, Section C-2
Lot N1-3-70, grave 1
Director: Crowley

Mrs. Frances , age 60, death 12 May 1967; burial 15 May 1967
Grave 2
Director: Crowley

William, age 49
Section V, Lot E 1/2 35, Grave 3
Director: E-C

Pioneer Taken By Death

Mining Gazette
October 11, 1921

John Kowalski Passes at Home of Daughter in Laurium

John Kowalski, aged 80, a pioneer Copper Country resident, died at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Mary Walski of Ameek street, Saturday evening at 7 o'clock, of ailments due to old age.

The late Mr. Kowalski is survived by the widow, three sons and three daughters. They are: Joseph, Walter, Michael, and Mrs. Joseph Adamski of Detroit. Mrs. Stanley Mizerek of Muskegon, and Mrs. Walski of Laurium. Thirty one grandchildren and three great grandchildren survive.

Mr. Kowalski was born in Poland and had been a resident of this country for over half a century. He was an employee of the Tamarack Mining Co. for thirty-five years.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday morning from the Polish church Rev. Fr. Hudat will officiate and interment will be in Lake View (cemetery).

Mrs. Mizerek arrived here Sunday evening to attend her father's funeral, with the other children, with the exception of Joseph were expected to arrive last evening from Detroit. Joseph Kowalski is unable to come , having buried his sixteen -year old daughter yesterday.

Virginia (Rasinowich) Hartselle writes......

June 7, 2008 (in response to the article Polish families hightlighted in talk)
I read the Mining Gazette every day here at my home in Florida, thanks to computers.

I am also a child of a Polish father, born in Calumet. My Dad's father was killed in the Osceola Mine fire on September 1895, his name was Joseph Rasimowicz, because of the difficult name, he was listed as Joseph Rasec, as one of the 30 or so miners killed in the mine fire. They could not put the fire out so they sealed the mine shaft to stop the fire and the men were found on the ladders trying to walk our of the shaft. My Dad was born in January, 1896, after his father 's untimely death in the mine fire, this he never knew his father and I never knew my grandfather. There is a sign up by the old Osceola Mine, and a few poor rocks piles left, which I visit each and every summer when I return to Calumet to visit. My grandmother's maiden name was Polish also, Valeria Kruscka, she was 16yrs old when my Dad was born- she later married again and had 9 more children- she married Andrew Madajewski- they lived in Calumet, actually there were a lot of neighborhoods with different names.
Swedetown was one of them and a lot of Polish people lived in Swedetown, some Polish names I can think of right off hand are , Macynski, Baranowski, Szatkowski, besides the Madajewski's- there were many more Polish miners in Calumet. They had their own Polish Catholic Church and a Polish Catholic School- I don't know the exact name of the church and school but St. Paul's Church in Calumet has that information, just ask Jan in the office. The Polish Church and School burned down in the early 1900s- I do know that my Dad went there until he was thru the 5th grade and in those days you left school and my Dad worked underground from the time he was 13 yrs old into he was in his 60's except when he was in the National Guard (Home Guard) and fought Pancho Villa at 17 yrs of age at the Mexican boarder and then fought in Europe in World War I in France. Upon his return he went back into working in the mines- mainly Ahmeek mine. My maiden name changed a little in spelling from Rasimowicz to Rasinowich.

I have pictures if my grandmother and grandfather Rasimowicz wedding and then when my grandmother remarried to Madajewski (right) they are by the same folks that the picture in the newspaper was made by- if you want any more information please call me. I loved my heritage , love my hometown of Calumet, my brother and I have been delving into our genealogy an d it is hard to get it all when some if it is in Europe but I go up to Calumet every summer, this year it will be for the Air Force Base reunion in August, Calumet Air Force Base where my husband was based, and then I will be up there for my 60th Class Reunion from Calumet High at the Miscowabik Club the following weekend. I still have family up there and loads of friends- although I have lived in Florida for 46 years I am so proud of where I am from and another Yooper and I have a UP picnic each March in Florida.

Virginia (Rasinowich) Hartselle

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Native Copper Times September 17, 1895

Just in case you haven't seen this article in the Native Copper Times, I'm sending this to you. I posted this several years ago on the MIHOUGHT listserv. Anthony Jozwiak died in this same accident. His name is listed as Zeswick. Two years or so later, his two sons died in a mining accident. There is more on my blog about it.

Jeff (Antaya)

The Native Copper Times September 17, 1895
"The Osceola Tragedy"

Or in other words the fire in the Osceola, which resulted in the most appalling loss of life-no less than 30 human beings having perished- men and boys who went into the mine, some of them over 3000 feet deep, on hte morning of Sept. 7th, without any feeling that their end was near- went down to do their respective duties, and for the last time- only to be brought up lifeless, is an occurance that appeals to the stoutest hearts, bringing home to us all the awful risks aken by those who delve underground, and pleading strongly for the position The Times has ever occupied, viz: That miners and other underground workers should be well paid. Most of the victrims of this terrible event leave widows and orphans or parents who were largely dependent upon them, and the circumstances and conditions of the bereaved ones should be given the most careful consideration, and that at the hands of the company within whose mine the calamity occurred.

Just think of it- no less than 25 bodies brought up Thursday last and two on the following day. One was found at the first level; three near the tenth level; two at the twelth level; thirteen in the neighborhood of the fourtheenth; four at the fifteenth and one each at the seventeenth and eighteenth levels, all in No. 4 shaft, and only a short distance from where they were working, which would seem to indicate that they had received no warning that the mine was on fire- a circumstance which demonstrates the necessity of our mines putting some alarm device whereby all men underground be given warning, simultamously; and it appears that if this could have been done at the Osceola, few if any lives would been lost.

The body of Robert Johns- making 28 in all- was recovered Saturday between Nos. 4 and 5 shafts at the 17th level, and Monday morning the bodies of the last two victims- Peter Mahlstrom and Walter Dahl were recovered. They were found at the 17th level between Nos. 3 and 4 shafts, and were partially hidden by a plank.

Fourteenth of the victims were buried Friday- the funerals of Capt. Rich. Traubath, Thos. H. Curtis, Rich. Grenfell and William Bryant were held form the M.E. church, under the auspices of One and All Lodge, Sons of St. George and Court Robin Hood, A.O. of F.; those of Michael Schutte, A. Verbonitz and Michael Vuk from the Austrian church; those of John Matson, Mich'l Johnson and Issac Harra from the Finnish Lutheran church and those of Michael and Joseph Slota, Andrew Rosinski and Joseph Rassetz from the Polish church.

The remains of the following were intered Saturday- Anton Zeswick, Alex Daniell, Peter Strangard, John Cudlip, Peter Peardon,F. Lander, Jr. Steve Ristoway, Jas. Williams, M. Polchak.

Sunday the following were laid at rest- Wm. H. Donald, James D. Harrington, Barney Heiner, Richard Bickle, Robt. Johns.

The last two of the victims to be found, Peter Mahlstrom and Walter Dahl, were interred this morning.

An inquiry into this fearful tragedy is to be held before coroner D. T. Macdonald, with the following jurors- all said to be residents of Osceola township, if not employees of the Osceola Mining Company; Messrs. Victor Petersen, Peter Stangard, Dan Howard, Lawence Illinitch, William Mille and John Stephens. The jurors have viewed the bodies of the victims and the taking of testimony was to have commenced today. A searching investigation is promised, and certainly the terribleness of the tragedy demands that it should be most searching and thorough.

We noticed that Postmaster M. R. Redmond, of Hancock, has already began the solicitation of aid for the bereaved widows and orphans, and that a meeting is to be held at Calumet this week to take steps in the same direction. The circumstances of the terrible disaster, and the needs of the bereaved ones are such as to call the substantial sympathy of all- that best of all sympathy, expressed in dollars and cents."

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Jozef Rasimowicz 1865- 1895

Jozef Rasimowicz died in the Osceola mine fire 7 Sept 1895. His son Joseph was born four months later on 4 January 1896 to his teenage wife.

Mine Inspector Report
Accident 23. - One of the most terrible mine accidents in the history of the Copper Country resulting in the loss of thirty lives occurred at the Osceola Mine - September 7th.

At about 11:30 a.m. while the whole of the day shift men were under ground fire was discovered in No. 3 Shaft at the 27th level. Capt. Richard Trembath with a party of men trying to extinguish the fire which had caught in the lagging at the back of the shaft. As there is no timber in the drifts or stopes of this mine it seems that this is the only place that a fire could possibly have caught. How it originated is and probably always be a mystery.

The only solution seems to be that it must have caught form a candle or snuff thrown there carelessly by some of the men or boys. Capt. Edwards after locating the fire leaving Capt. Trembath and his men to fight the fire with buckets went to the surface for hose to attach to the pump in the shaft and to report the fire to the officials. Upon his return to No. 4 Shaft the smoke was so thick he was told by a party of men who had just come up that it was impossible to descend either No. 3 or No. 4 Shafts. There were other outlets - Shafts No. 1 - 2 and 5. Capt. Edwards at once sent men down these to warn all the men under ground of their danger and order them to come to the surface. Skips were kept running in shafts 4 and 5 to give the men assistance in getting out. The skip continure to run in No. 5 bringing load after load of men up until about three oclock.

In the meantime a searching party had been sent down. They went to the bottom of the mine and in to the different levels as far as possible but failed to find anyone. Owing to the smoke and gas they were unable to approach No. 3 or 4 and the thirty men given up as lost as no living being could exist in them at that time. Another attempt was made to descend No. 4 but it was found utterly impossible to do so. After careful consideration when it was known that no human being could be alive in the mine at about 4:30 oclock Shaft No. 3 was closed over in the hope of checking further progress of the fire.

It was then ascertained that thirty men had perished in the mine - viz: Capt. Richard Trembath - Richard Bickle - Thomas Curtis - Alexander Daniel - Richard Grenfell - James Williams - Frank Lander Jr. - Michael Johnson - Isaac Harrio - Peter Strandgaard - John Matson - Andrew Rosinski - Michael Schultz - Joseph Rasec (Rasimowicz) - Steve Oriski - Michael Slotta - Joseph Slotta - Mike Voak - Veno Verbenz - Steve Ristivick - Fred C. Peardon - John Cudlip - William Bryant - Barney Hellner - James D. Harrington - Anton Zeswick - William H. Donald - Robert Johns - Peter Malmstrom and Walter Dahl. Most of these men were old and experienced miners and their loss of life was doubtless due to the fact that they thought that owing to there being so little timber in the mine that there could be no fire of consequence there. Thus although there was ample time for all to have made their escape by Shafts 1-2-and 5 their assurance of their safety made them careless and thoughtless. Some after being warned even stayed to eat their lunch.

Then instead of trying to reach the surface by the comparatively clear Shafts 1 - 2 and 5 they attempted to ascend the smoke filled No. 4 and were soon overcome and perished.As soon as it was possible to enter the mine the work of recovering the bodies began. Thirteen were found the following Thursday and the last recovered the Monday following. The bodies were all discovered in or near No. 4 Shaft scattered between the 4th and 17the levels. An inquest was held at Osceola by Coroner Macdonald on the 12th - 13th and 17th days of September.

Twelve witnesses were submitted to a thorough examination by the Coroner - Jury and Prosecuting Attorney Streeter. The facts given above was clearly proven. The jury brought in the following verdict: That the deceased came to their deaths by suffocation caused by smoke and gas from a wood fire originating in 27th level of No. 3 Shaft Osceola Mine on the 7th day of September 1895. The cause of said fire unknown. We believe that this fearful loss of life is due to the fact that deceased did not realize the seriousness of their danger although from the evidence given this jury we find that said deceased were duly notified.

We exonerate the mine officials from all negligence in this sad affair. Before leaving this it seems proper to me to attempt to make some explanation as to how the unfortunate men were caught in the fatal trap which caused their death when an easy and sure escape was open through No. 5 Shaft. They undoubtedly thought that No. 4 being a down-cast that there they would find the clearest and safest means of exit. Under ordinary circumstances this would have been the case. But part of the immense volume of smoke in the No. 3 which had been changed by the heated air from a down-cast to an up-cast found its way through the upper levels to No. 4 Shaft and this being downcast the smoke and gas were borne swiftly down upon the men while they were making their way to the surface - extinguishing their lights and suffocating them then and there as fully described in the testimony of Mr. Cocking allowing them neither to go forward nor giving them time to go back.

Had they not felt assured of a sure and safe passage to the surface through No. 4 they certainly would not have delayed as they did in some cases. It will be remembered that some after being warned even stopped to eat their lunch. This delay was no doubt due to the fact that they thought that No. 4 was and would remain a clear passage and they could ascend it at their leisure.

Walerja Kruszka wed Jozef Rasimowicz 30 Oct 1894
Groom name: Joseph Rosimowicz
Groom race (on document):
Groom age: 29 years
Groom birth year: 1865
Groom birth place: Poland
Bride name: Waleria Kiruszka
Bride race (on document):
Bride age: 18 years
Bride birth year: 1876
Bride birth place: Poland
Marriage date: 30 Oct 1894
Marriage place: Red Jacket, Houghton, Michigan
Father of groom name: John Rosimowicz
Mother of groom name: Victoria Rosimowicz
Father of bride name: Mike Keruszka
Mother of bride name: Munciski Keruseka
Film number: 2342498 Frame number: Digital GS number: 4207821 Image number: 29Reference number: v 1 rn 318-1/2Collection: Michigan Marriages 1868-1925

A Copper Miner's Son

The Keweeenaw peninsula of northern Michigan , jutting up into the greatest fresh-water lake in the world, held a treasure of copper in the form of pure metal, conglomerates and other deposits. Early in the 19th century the investors and prospectors began exploitation of these riches, leaving most of them poorer, a relatively few lucky investors, and a legacy of stories and history that will keep researchers busy for a generation. My father was born there, in Red Jacket, (Calumet) , Michigan in 1889. I found the record of his baptism safe in the files of St. Paul's church , typed on a 3x5 card which the Catholic fathers had salvaged from St. Anthony's when it had been "desanctified".

Grandfather Peter Himanek had immigrated from Eastern Europe in 1881 in answer to the ads telling about the great opportunities to work in the mines, met a 16 year old Josephine Tomalka and raised a family of nine in a company house, working for Calumet & Hecla copper mine. When the miners struck in 1913 our entire family packed up and took a train to Detroit, most of the men finding work in the salt mines under the city. My sister and I were born there at the end of World War I.

This powerful story of Polish copper miners held no interest for me as a young man- I actually turned away from most of my father's accounts; snow up to the second floor windows; working 3000 feet under the earth,; going to work in the mines as a 16 year old lad; giving the paycheck to the family; company paternalism; etc. One day, fighting to think of a birthday gift for my wife, an ad for Family Tree maker came my way, changing everything. Starting my own file was easy and an amazing picture started to take shape. In the library at Sarasota there was actually a book that had a list of boats with passengers and there was my grandmother, only 7, her parents, and her four siblings. Finding this piece of information recorded in 1881 by the captain of the ship named Utopia with the correct names of two grandparents and aunts and uncles that I remembered from childhood times in Detroit, Michigan was strong stuff for a neophyte genealogist. I was hooked.

My career interest centered upon Archaeology and pre-history of Man. Genealogy is a part of the historical research which seems so important to me. Our personal life-span on earth is a small part of our biological evolution and cultural development this everything we learn about our origins helps to explain and enrich the time we are given. Genealogical research also gives credit and honor to those who worked and died caring for us, perhaps it atones a little for the disrespect we should to our old folks as they tried to tell us that they too had once "been there, done that".

I am always seeking information about the following named relatives: Himanek, Tomalka, Wilde, Latus, Manthei, Mauritho, and Hegemeister.

John E. Heimnich
Punta Gorda, Florida

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Michigan Copper Country Club of Milwaukee

This photo was included in Mary Skiba's album, who was Leon Olejniczak and Catherine Krawczyk's second daughter. Leon was the oldest Olejniczak brother that worked in the copper mines in Calumet. I believe that the photo was taken in the 1920's. Unfortunately, I have not been able to identify a single person, and the "Club" was not a registered organization. I assume that the sign was made by one of the ex-miners, andthe group was embarking on a journey to visit old haunts. Given the rail system at the time and the need for labor, quite a few of the Calumet miners resettled in Milwaukee.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Ruins of the church in Chojnica

A set of photos from a photgrapher who has recorded trips to abandoned and forgotten places including: Abandoned factories, forgotten cemeteries, ruins, closed hospitals, old palaces and residences.

Ken suggests: There are better color photographs of the ruins of The Church of St. John's Beheading at Chojnica on the following website: .
The ruins were used as a backdrop in part of a Jerzy Hoffman film, "With Fire and Sword" (Ogniem I Mieczem), which is set in 17th century Poland during the Cossack uprising.

Kenneth Olen writes...........

Some Polish Marriages in Calumet

The records of the Calumet, Michigan marriages of my grandfather and his brothers and sister were posted on The Polish Pioneers of Calumet, Michigan website on 14th February 2008. These marriages illustrate that some of the descendants of the Olejniczak, Krawczyk, Tomczak, and Wojtkowiak families became intertwine. Because I had additional genealogical information on the various families, it was relatively easy for me to identify and establish these relationships, even though several names were spelled phonetically or misspelled.

A review of these marriage records suggests how tight the Polish community might have been in Calumet. In my case two of the Olejniczak brothers, Leon and my grandfather Frank, married sisters, Catherine and Victoria Krawczyk. Their brother John married Stanislawa Tomczak, who was a cousin to the Krawczyk sisters. A study of the marriage certificates, including attention to the names of the parents of the bride and groom and the names of the witnesses, provided strong suggestions as to possible family ties.

The names of the parents on the marriage certificates for the Olejniczak brothers and sister, i.e., Leon (m. 21st August 1896), John (m. 30th September 1899), Frank (m. 11th May 1904) and, Agnes (m. 25th October 1899), were Stephen Olejniczak and Mary Kubiak (Kubick in the case of Frank’s record). The Krawczyk family name did not fare as well on these records. Catherine’s marriage certificate indicated that her family name was Krafchyk, and Krofczyk was reported on Victoria’s marriage certificate. Both certificates suggest that their father’s name was Wm., where in fact it was Walenty.

The mother of the Krawczyk sisters was Magdalena Wojtkowiak. Magdalena’s sisters, Josephine and Mary, were married to Michael Frankowski and John Tomczak, respectively. Michael Krawczyk, Victoria's brother was witness to her marriage toFrank Olejniczak. As mentioned above the daughter of John Tomczak and Mary Wojtkowiak, Stanislawa, married the other Olejniczak brother John. Witnesses to the marriage of John Olejniczak and Stanislawa Tomczak were Melchior Rybicki and Agnes (not Rjnerku) Olejniczak, my grandfather’s sister. About a month later Melchior and Agnes married in same church in Red Jacket.

Leon Olejniczak's wife Catherine Krawczyk died 1st May 1911 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Leon returned to Calumet, probably with his family, and married 4th June 1912 a widow, Agnes Furyon Tomczak, who married first 20th February 1900 to another John Tomczak, son of Joseph Tomczak and Antonia Silorska. Following the miner’s strike in 1913 Leon moved his family to Detroit. Prior to 1910 Leon, Frank and John Olejniczak, Walenty Krawczyk and Michael Frankowski and their families moved to Milwaukee, and Melchior Rybicki and Agnes Olejniczak moved their family to East Chicago, Indiana.

The three Wojtkowiak sisters that immigrated to Calumet all married in Chojnica, Oborniki Co., Poznan, Poland (Posen, Prussia): Magdalena married Walenty Krawczyk 28th Jul 1872, Josephine, married Michael Frankowski 14th Nov 1875, and Mary married John Tomczak 23rd Nov 1879. A fourth sister, Catherine, stayed in Poland and married Walenty Goraczniak 17th Feb 1885 in Chojnica. The Tomczak’s were the first to immigrate to Calumet in 1885. The Frankowski’s followed in 1889, and the Krawczyk’s arrived in 1891.

The village of Chojnica no longer exists as it was absorbed into the Biedrusko Military District. It was in Oborniki County in Poznan Province, just north of the City of Poznan, west of the river Warta. During the German occupation Chojnica was also known as Schweinschade.

The Olejniczak’s were all born in Chladowo, Gniezno Co., Poznan, Poland. At the time of their immigration Chladowo was in Posen, Prussia and also known as Klondau. My grandfather immigrated to Calumet via Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1902. The details of Leon, John and Agnes’ immigration have yet to be discovered.
Kenneth Olen (