Thursday, December 30, 2010

Helen Dubinski, Expert Marcelling, Permanet Waving, and Haircutting

Brother Tom found this flyer in some of mom's archives. I find the item curious, what with Helen's last name being spelt differently from the way mom taught us chillins. It could simply be a case of the typesetter spelling the name phonetically. I do know that Helen's uncle Daniel used the Dubinski spelling instead of the Dziubinski version.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Clara Gruetzmacher Lang, Real Estate Investor

I just found an interesting bit of information about Clara Gruetzmacher (1857-1930s), daughter of Louis and Matilda. She married Henry Lang in 1876, but he died fairly young. They were living in Indianola during the 1880 census. She eventually moved to California, remarried there and died there sometime in the 1930s.

It seems that after the Great Fire of 1877, she constructed what became known as the Clara Lang Building, at 2109 Strand. This building was designed by the architect, John Moser, to be four stories tall and made from pressed brick and artificial stone trim. The building is clad in one of the legendary cast-iron storefronts that Galveston is famous for. The 1900 Storm destroyed the upper floors, which were removed, leaving the building as a two story building, still standing.

As mentioned in an earlier post, the address of 2109 Strand was also the home of Ritter's Restaurant and Saloon, and on the 2nd floor, the printing offices of Clara's older brother Paul Gruetzmacher (1852-1905).

William Ritter, the owner of the saloon, lived at 1814 21st St., which was adjacent to the home of Mattie Gruetzmacher Hubner (1859-1949), Clara and Paul's little sister. This can only suggest that the Gruetzmacher and Ritter families were close friends. Certainly, the German community in Galveston was a close-knit group, but perhaps this relationship was even closer.

Perhaps these families were related. I haven't any proof of that. Ritter's wife is only known to me at this time by her first name, Margaret. In the 1900 census, his wife was named Elizabeth, which may be the same woman as Margaret, or perhaps a second wife. This Elizabeth drowned in the 1900 Storm, and Ritter married again (for the 2nd or 3rd time) in 1902. Perhaps Ritter's wife Margaret (or Elizabeth) was a Gruetzmacher. Much more research will need to be done.

 It is still unknown to me at this time how long Clara Gruetzmacher Lang owned her building. Some references suggest other buildings owned by her. I will eventually check the early Galveston deed records for additional facts about her investments.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fresh Bread

For the past several days I have been reading various rememberances of bread. All about the feel, the look and the taste of Wonder Bread, and all its gooey-gummy homage to American middle-class mediocrity. And also about the fresh bread pavilions in your neighborhood Kroger's or HEB, what with its attempts to provide "artisan" bakery goods for the modern family. And while these bakeries provide accessible breads for the hard-pressed Ozzie and Harriet, they seldom match the tastes of the neighborhood Daniel's Bakery of my youth. 

Daniel's Bakery was a small family-run operation that provided Dad his occasional indulgence of pumpernickle bread. Oh, they made more then that! Donuts, and pasteries, French baguettes and Italian loafs, sourdoughs and ryes. But pumpernickle was Dad's favorite, and mine.

I remember him usually bringing home two loafs at a time, wrapped in a plain brown bag. One loaf went on top of the refrigerator, while the other went on the cutting board. Mom or Dad would slice into that heavy brown bread with the utilitarian, one-size-fits-all, kitchen knife. While there may have been other knives in the house, I can only remember the wooden-handled smooth-edged with a 8 or 9 inch blade. It once was a good inch thick at the butt, but has, the last time I saw it, almost the look of a filet knife, narrowed down by years of sharpening.

But I digress.

After the pumpernickle had been sliced, Dad would slather a gob of butter (though probably margarine on our budget) across the small butt-end piece, which was, in his eyes, the filet mignon. While the heel was to most the least desired piece, a throw-away scrap to some, it was Dad's preferred slice. It's not like he was taking the heel because he was saving the rest for the family. I'd don't remember there being much interest in the bread amongst us kids, at least not until later. I think he actually liked the crunchy chewy texture of the heel, much like a good Chibatta-style loaf.

I don't remember the bread being used any other way. I don't think Mom or Dad ever schmeared jam or preserves on a slice. I never saw them toast a piece. My memory was of the bread, and butter. That's it. A slice of pumpernickle, cut off one piece at a time, and a pat of butter. Plain and simple.

As I grew up, after Mom had died, Dad would share his pumpernickle with me. Whether I liked it for itself, or was simply hungry (which I always was), I don't know. Maybe it was the desire to break bread with the Old Man, a chance to sit quietly with Dad and talk, during a period when all our lives were topsy-turvy. For whatever reason, I liked, and still do like, that thick bread made with rye and white flour, suffused with cocoa and molasses, and spiced with caraway seeds.

The smell and taste of a good slice of pumpernickle, slathered with a dollop of real butter, recalls the Old Man, and a calm point in our everyday lives, a time for reflection and a time for planning the day or week ahead.

I think I know what I'm having for dinner...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Clara Gruetzmacher (1857-1930s)


Clara Gruetzmacher was born about 1857 in Prussia to Louis Gruetzmacher and Matilda Schuler. She arrived in Galveston aboard the ship "Fortuna" out of Bremen, in either June or November of 1858 with her mother and 3 siblings.

On the 1860 census, she is found with her parents at Hollandale (renamed Navasota), Grimes Co., Texas, about 3 years old.

In the 1870 census, Clara is aged 13 and living with her mother Matilda and her siblings at Galveston, probably at 324 Market Street, which I think was between 18th and 19th Streets.

On April 24, 1876 in Galveston, Clara married Henry Lang, who was born about 1848 in Galveston to John Lang (1807-1859) and Christiana Ungerer (or Ongerry) (1823-1867). John and Christiana Land are both buried in Indianola

It is interesting to speculate how these two people met. Henry was most likely living in Indianola before 1860, which would be before the Gruetzmacher's had even moved to Galveston. Had he met her when he came to Galveston on business? Or did he have family still in Galveston, and they met through those relations?

Around 1877 Clara and Henry had a child, Sarah M. Lang. Her birth location is unknown at this time.

In the 1880 United States Census for Indianola, Calhoun Co., Texas (Page Number 303D), we find that Clara, her husband, and child:
Henry M. LANG Self M Male W 31 TX. Bookkeeper GER. GER.
Clara A. LANG Wife M Female W 23 GER. Keeps House GER. GER.
Sarah M. LANG Dau S Female W 3 TX. TX. GER.

The 1890 US census was destroyed by a fire, so there are no record of this family in this time period.

In 1875, the city of Indianola, located on Matagorda Bay, was then the county seat of Calhoun Co., and had a population of 5,000. On September 15 of that year, a powerful hurricane struck, killing between 150 and 300 and almost entirely destroying the town. Indianola was rebuilt, only to be wiped out on August 19, 1886, by another intense hurricane, which was followed by a fire.

It is currently unknown to me when and where Henry Lang died, but it must have been sometime between 1880 and early 1900's.

I have found no record of Henry and Clara Lang in the 1900 census. It is unknown if Henry Lang was even alive then. Neither Clara or Henry are listed in the lists of the dead from the 1900 Galveston Storm. Where Clara (and Henry, if still alive) were living from the destruction of Indianola in 1886 to 1901.

On September 4, 1901 in Galveston, Texas, Sadie Mathilde Lang, the daughter of Clara and Henry, married Oscar Andrew Tryon of Crockett, Texas. Family tradition says that she died in childbirth. She was certainly dead before June of 1909 when her husband remarried.

Oscar Tryon married for the second time on June 17, 1909 to Viola B. Bilger, in Chicago, Illinois. His occupation in 1911 and 1913 was listed as a "Telegraph Operator" and in 1915 as a "Test Board Man", whatever that is. They had several children.

Grace Newton told me that Clara died in San Francisco in 1924 or 1930. I believe Grace was mistaken as to the location, as a letter exists from Clara living in Los Angeles. I have not been able to verify her death date, as yet.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

F. Missler, Bremen Wallet




Several years ago I purchased a ticket and document wallet given by the F. Missler company of Bremen and Galveston to one of his emigrant clients. While this item never belonged to one of out Gruetzmacher's, I suppose there is a chance that they might have received one similar to this.

Freidrich Missler was the biggest ticket agent in Bremen, and shipped emigrants out from Germany to Canada, the U.S., South America, and South Africa in the late 1800's and early 1900's.

He usually gave emigrants a small cloth folding ticket and document wallet to hold their ticket and other papers. That wallet has a picture of a steamship on the front (see the picture above), and the name "F. Missler" in large letters. On the back of the wallet his Galveston address at 210-212 21st Street, around the corner from The Strand.

The picture above is taken from another wallet similar to mine, only mine is rather dirty and doesn't photograph very well.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Gruetzmacher Print Shop on the Strand


Frank Heizer sent me the photograph below showing Ritter's Saloon and Cafe immediately after the 1900 Galveston Storm. His e-mail got my juices flowing, and I did a little research into the family legend that it was the Gruetzmacher's printing presses that crashed through the ceiling into Ritter's Cafe, killing several customers.

First off, I checked my records for the location of Paul Gruetzmacher's shop, finding it located at 2109 Strand (on the 2nd floor), circa 1896, which was the last confirmed date I have. After that date, Paul is mentioned in the city directories as a printer, but gives no business address.

I was able to confirm with the Rosenberg Library that Ritter's was also located at 2109 Strand, and not on Mechanic street, as had been stated in at least one report. According to the Sanborn Insurance maps for 1899 Galveston, the address of 2109 Strand was assigned to the second building from 21st street, on the south side. In the photo below, this is the 4-story dark-colored building with the large pile of wreckage in front. The top floors were blown away by the 100-120 mph hurricane winds. This building is still standing, and is the (now) two-story building painted green (Newton Green!) in the modern photo, above.

To give you an idea of where this building is, it is located across and down the street from The Old Strand Emporium, which has been a fixture on the street for at least the last 35 years.

So, now we know that it may have indeed been Paul Gruetzmacher's printing presses that fell through the ceiling of Ritter's Cafe the afternoon of the storm, resulting in the first fatalities of the deadly hurricane. One first-hand report had called it "a strongly-built brick building, which was thought to be very safe" As the wind increased in velocity, "a blast of wind tore the roof from the building, collapsing the ceiling onto the ground-floor dining room. Desks, chairs and presses from the printing shop on the second floor crashed onto the diners."

One of these days, I will pore through the daily Galveston newspapers just prior to the Storm to see if I can find any mention of Paul Gruetzmacher's shop being open. I think there is a good possibility that the presses on the 2nd floor at 2109 Strand were indeed Paul's.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Gruetzmacher Homestead


This is a recent photograph of 1910 Avenue N in Galveston, Texas. According to the realtors, the building was built in 1886. Which is just about the time the Gruetzmacher family lived there, so I suspect they were the original builder/owners. The family lived there during the 1900 Storm, when Papa Gruetzmacher drilled holes into the floor to allow water to rise into the house rather than the water raising the house off its foundations. The high water essentially 'anchored' the house in place, while so many of their neighbors houses were swept away by the flood tide.

The house, which is currently a multi-apartment house, was listed for sale this summer for over $165,000. The listing says the house is 4,915-square feet. A 1-bedroom, 1-bath, 700-square foot downstairs apartment, with window air, is currently available for $400.00 a month. Fresh paint and quiet neighbors!

Market Street, Galveston, circa 1910

(click for larger view)


Postcard view of Market Street in Galveston, circa 1910. Notice that Purdy's Book Store, which used to house Louis Gruetzmacher and Bro., Printing, is on the right side of the street.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Andy [Story 1]

At the Jennifer/Adam wedding this evening Christopher passed along a story that I had never heard of (or dis-remember).

It seems Andy was on the road with a traveling sideshow-type outfit. Apparently this was before the war, but when exactly is a guess. I am unaware that dad was ever part of a traveling sideshow.

The sideshow would travel from town-to-town by train and featured a boxer who would take on all comers. Some sort of betting was going on, with the boxers 'backers' taking bets against the townie's brawlers.

Each time a local champion got into the ring, the traveling pugilist would give him a knuckle sammich. And each time the odds tilted more in the 'ringer's' favor. Eventually, a stranger would climb into the ring and the bets were made, with the townfolk laying down their money that the traveling pro would be the winner.

The fight would commence, and while the pro put up a valiant effort, the stranger ended up the winner and the townies ending up the losers, money-wise. Seems the stranger was part of the sideshow troupe, and was let off the train before the town limits. He would walk into town, hours after the troupe had arrived, and the locals never figured him as part of the sideshow gang.

Night after night, town after town, the stranger would always beat the pro, and the sideshow would end up with the local gamblers money, having conned them with the fixed fight.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Antoinette Gruetzmacher

Antoinette Gruetzmacher was born September 28, 1854 in Germany (Hamburg, Havelburg Province, Prussia, by tradition), the daughter of Louis Gruetzmacher and Mathilda Schuler, according to her death certificate.

In the 1870 census she is listed, as Anna, age 15, with her parents and siblings in Galveston.

She is listed in the June 1, 1880 census, as Antonette, age 25, with her mother and siblings at 75 W. Winnie Street in Galveston.

In the Galveston City Directory for 1888-89, "Miss Antonia", while living with Matilda Gruetzmacher, her mother, and is working as a dressmaker for E. D. Garratt & Co.

In the next edition of 1890-91, she is listed as a seamstress, and is again living with her mother at 71 Winnie.

Antonia's last listings in the City Directory comes in the 1891-92 and 1893-94 editions, living at 2619 Winnie, which I believe was her mothers home before her death.

Antonia married Alfred Olson in Galveston on April 19, 1893.

Alfred had previously been married (August 17, 1886) to Anna Bolliman (b. ca 1862; d. December 24, 1890), and they had two children: Ida Celeste Olson (b. November 19, 1887; d. December 6, 1933); and Arthur Alfred Olson (b. January 6, 1890; d. December 17, 1939).

Antoinette and Arthur had only one child together, Olga Anita Olson, born November 19, 1894, in Galveston. Olga died April 18, 1966.

Antoinette is listed in the 1900 census with her husband Alfred (a grocer), and children Celeste, Arthur, and Olga.

Antonia Gruetzmacher Olson, age 87, died November 21, 1941 at John Sealy Hospital after fracturing her hip 5 days earlier. She had fallen on the floor of her home at 1901 27th Street, Galveston. She was buried at Evergreen Cemetery on Novemeber 22, 1941. [Info from death certificate.]

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Paul Gruetzmacher



Paul Gruetzmacher at age 32 in 1888.

Paul Gruetzmacher was born in Germany around November of 1852, to Louis Gruetzmacher and Matilda Schuler. His burial certificate states he was born in Havelberg. He arrived in Galveston after June of 1858 with his mother and 3 siblings on board the ship "Fortuna" from Germany.

Paul is listed in the 1860 census with his parents at Hallendale in Grimes County, Texas. I have found no information about Hallendale.

By the 1870 census, with his father Louis having died of disease in the Civil War, his mother had moved the family to Galveston.

In the 1872 and 1874 Galveston City Directories, Paul is listed as living with his mother at 324 E. Market Street. By 1876 they are located at the corner of 19th Street and M 1/2.

From 1872 through about 1878 he is employed with (or quite possibly in partnership with) A. Stein & Co. A picture of this partnerships streetfront operation exists in Grace Newton's scrapbooks. The photographs shows a signboard reading "Paul Gruetzmacher & Co." directly above a sign for "A. Stein and Co." Grace's notes place the print shop on Mechanic, above the stationers.

From this information, I suspect that the photograph above was taken from 1872 to 1878, when Paul was partners with Stein. I believe Aunt Grace was in error as to the location, as the city directories never locate Paul's (or Louis') print shops on Mechanic.

In researching the location, I dug out my copy of "The Galveston That Was" by Howard Barnstone (1966), and found the picture above (and several more) of the "Willard Richardson Building" that was built in 1858. Located at 2217 Market Street, it was demolished around 1964. Upon close comparison of architectural details, especially the windows, I believe that this building was in fact the true location of Paul's first print shop in Galveston.

The building later was utilized by a series of bookstore's, first as Bacon's (with a job printer as co-tenant), next as Purdy's, from 1909 until 1930, and lastly as Henry's Bookstore from 1945 to 1963.

Barnstone describes the building as "One of the most luscious of the iron fronts to be built anywhere...." The iron front for Richardson's building came from the Philadelphia foundry owned by Sanson & Farrand.

Around 1876 Paul married Augusta Altmann, the daughter of William Altmann and Augusta Needemann.

In the June 5, 1880 census, Paul and his family consists of his wife Augusta, and children Clara and Mattie. His mother-in-law Augusta is also living with them. The 1880-81 City Directory shows the family living at 610 Avenue K. Paul now has his own store, Paul Gruetzmacher & Co., Books and Stationery, located at 125 Strand, between 22nd and Tremont (23rd) streets. His brother Louis also works there.

The 1881-82 edition of the City Directory shows Paul and family are now living at 607 Avenue K, between 12th and 13th streets, on the south side of the block.

In the 1882-83 City Directory, Paul is shown working at the William Terry & Co. print shop with his brother Louis.

The Galveston Daily News for October 4, 1885 reports that P. Gruetzmacher is on the arrangement committee for the Galveston Lodge No. 774, Knights of Honor which is celebrating their anniversary.

According to the 1886-87 edition of the City Directory, brothers Paul and Louis have their own print shop, Paul Gruetzmacher & Bro., located at 171 E. Strand (old street numbering), between 21st and 22nd streets. The family has moved again, this time to 611 E. Avenue I, between 12th and 13th streets.

Soon, Paul is working for Clarke & Courts printing concern, according to the 1888-89 City Directory. The family has moved once again, this time to a house on the north side of E. Avenue N, between 19th and 20th. This location is the final home for the family, 1910 Avenue N, which survives the 1900 Storm and, as of 2010, is still standing.

The Galveston Daily News for February 14, 1889 has an advertisment for Paul Gruetzmacher, Job Printer, Strand near Center, Telephone 84. And by the time of the 1890-91 directory, Paul has his own print shop over 2109 Strand (new street numbering), between 21st and 22nd streets.

In The Galveston Daily News for May 7, 1893, (and other dates) there is an advertisment for "Paul Gruetzmacher of the Tenth Ward is a candidate for Alderman at Large Election June 6, 1893. Respectfully solicits your vote and support."

In the June 12, 1893 issue, The Galveston Daily News calls him Alderman at Large Paul Gruetzmacher, so he obviously won the election. Over the next few years, until June of 1895 when he was either voted out or did not run for reelection, he is mentioned in the newspaper along with his fellow city aldermen.

Paul Gruetzmacher announces in the paper that he is now with Knapp Bros., Stationers and Printers, Center and Mechanic. --The Galveston Daily News, January 24, 1896. Paul is called a printer in the 1896-97 city directory, as well as the 1898, and the 1899-1900 edition, but there is no mention whether he was working for someone else, or if he again had his own shop.

In the June 7, 1900 census, Paul and his family, consisting of his wife, Augusta, and their children, Clara, mattie, Augusta, Pauline, Emilia, Otto, Paul, Edward, Arthur, and Edith, are living at the house at 1910 Avenue N. The census reports that Paul owns the home.

Next door the the Gruetzmacher's, at 1906 Avenue N, is George Maguire, a clerk in the telegraph office. Could this have been how Matilda Gruetzmacher and Andre' Hutt Newton met? Even in 1900, the telegraph world was probably a small one, and Andre', as the son and nephew of telegraphers, may have visited Maguire as a courtesy of the Newton telegraph clan.

One of the classic reports of the 1900 Storm is that a print shop collapsed over a bar during the early hours. While this would be a terrific family legend, I doubt that this shop belonged to Paul Gruetzmacher.

Frank Heizer has recently provided me with the following information: "At the lunch hour, as the wind increased in velocity, the first deaths occurred. At Ritter's Cafe and Saloon on Mechanic Street, a popular lunch spot for businessmen, a blast of wind tore the roof from the building, collapsing the ceiling onto the ground-floor dining room." --Houston Chronicle, Aug 28, 2000.

And from the book "The Great Galveston Disaster" by Paul Lester, 1900, Alexander Spencer tells about his father being at Ritter's Cafe, where he was killed. Stanly Spencer was sitting on a desk, with his hands clasped over his head, a favorite position of his, talking to Mr. Lord and a Greek, named Marcleitis. "Ritter's cafe was a strongly-built brick building, which was thought to be very safe, but, unfortunately, it was at the foot of a short street leading to the wharf. This gave the wind from the Gulf full sweep against it. There were several other men in the cafe, and one of them said: 'Why, did you all know there are just thirteen people in this room?' Papa laughed, and remarked that he was not superstitious. Just then the crash came, killing five of the thirteen. In the floor above the cafe was a large printing establishment. A beam hurled down by the weight of the presses above struck papa, killing him instantly."

The last listing for Paul Gruetzmacher in the City Directory was in the 1903-4 edition, where he is called a city solicitor for the Hatch, Millis & Co. firm. Was this a type of lobbyist?

Paul died at his home at 1 A.M. on December 2, 1905. He was suffering from cancer of the larynx. He was buried the next day at Cahill's New Cemetery, which was later renamed Lakeview Cemetery. There is a good-sized family plot reserved for the Gruetzmacher's there, with a low cement border surround. On one edge of the surround the family name is carved in relief. There are no headstones within, as of the 1980s.


























Friday, July 9, 2010

Eaton Memorial Chapel



I have no idea which church the Gruetzmacher's attended in Galveston. But I ran across this postcard today and thought "that ain't no chapel". When I think of a chapel, I think of small. Really small. I think of Sister Mary Elephant (or whatever) telling Sidney Portier (in that thick German accent) that she wanted him to build a "shappell".

This ain't no shappell.

The Eaton Memorial Chapel was designed by architect Nicholas Clayton in the Gothic Revival Style. It was erected in 1878-82. After the city-wide fire of 1885, the chapel was used by St. Paul's German Presbyterian Church.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Paul Gruetzmacher & Co.'s Galveston Printshop


Reece sent me some photos from Aunty Grace's scrapbooks this past week. Among the portraits of a bunch of Gruetzmacher's [What is the collective term for this? A Gaggle of Geese. A Pride of Lions. A Grinch of Gruetzmacher's, maybe?] was a cabinet photograph of Paul Gruetzmacher & Co.'s storefront in Galveston. Grace's notes place the print shop on Mechanic, above the stationers. I date the picture from before 1900 for two reasons. As far as I know, Paul never re-opened his printing business after the 1900 Storm. And, looking at the picture, it appears to have gone through the storm with some rather heavy water damage.

In the Galveston City Directories for 1872 through 1878, Paul was in business with A. Stein & Co. (whose name is below Paul's on the storefront sign). The location of this store is not in my notes. From 1880 to about 1882 "Paul Gruetzmacher & Co., Books and Stationery" was located at 125 Strand between 22nd and Tremont (23rd) streets. From 1882 to 1885, Paul worked for another printing outfit, but soon went independent again in 1886 as "Paul Gruetzmacher & Bro., Book, Job & Comm. Printing" at 171 Strand (later re-numbered 2109) between 21st and 22nd. He is listed at that location to about 1895-95, and until 1900 simply as a printer, with no location provided. After the 1900 Storm, Paul is mentioned in the 1903 Directory as a City Solicitor with Hatch, Millis & Co.

From this information, I suspect that the photograph above was taken from 1872 to 1878, when Paul was partners with Stein. I believe Aunt Grace was in error as to the location, as the city directories never locate Paul's (or Louis') print shops on Mechanic.




In researching the location, I dug out my copy of "The Galveston That Was" by Howard Barnstone (1966), and found the picture above (and several more) of the "Willard Richardson Building" that was built in 1858. Located at 2217 Market Street, it was demolished around 1964. Upon close comparison of architectural details, especially the windows, I believe that this building was in fact the true location of Paul's first print shop in Galveston.

The building later was utilized by a series of bookstore's, first as Bacon's (with a job printer as co-tenant), next as Purdy's, from 1909 until 1930, and lastly as Henry's Bookstore from 1945 to 1963.

Barnstone describes the building as "One of the most luscious of the iron fronts to be built anywhere...." The iron front for Richardson's building came from the Philadelphia foundry owned by Sanson & Farrand.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Kingdom of Galicia

Beginning in the 1880s, a mass emigration of the Galician peasantry occurred. Caused by the backward economic condition of Galicia where rural poverty was widespread, the emigration began in the western, Polish populated part of Galicia and quickly shifted east to the Ukrainian inhabited parts. Poles, Ukrainians, Jews, and Germans all participated in this mass movement of countryfolk and villagers. Poles migrated principally to New England and the midwestern states of the United States.

A total of several hundred thousand people were involved in this Great Economic Emigration which grew steadily more intense until the outbreak of the First World War in 1914. The war put a temporary halt to the emigration which never again reached the same proportions.

Galicia was the easternmost part of Austria and also the economically least developed part of that country. Its level of development was higher than that of European Russia, but well behind Western Europe. In 1873, the Polish economist Stanislaw Szczepanowski described Galicia as one of the poorest regions in Europe. On a more informal level, the poverty was expressed in a Polish nickname for Galicja and Lodomeria: Golicja i Głodomeria, loosely translated as Naked- and Hunger-Land. In 1888 the average income per capita did not exceed 53 Rhine guilders (RG), as compared to 91 RG in the Kingdom of Poland (ruled by Russia), 100 in Hungary and more than 450 RG in England at that time. The taxes in Galicia were relatively high and equalled to 9 Rhine guilders a year (ca. 17% of yearly income), as compared to 5% in Prussia and 10% in England.

No country of the Austrian monarchy had such a varied ethnic mix as Galicia. At the turn of the Twentieth Century, Poles constituted 78.7% of the whole population of Western Galicia, Ukrainians 13.2%, Jews 7.6%, Germans 0.3%, and Armenians, Czecks, Slovaks, Hungarians, Roma and others 0.2%.

Religious denominations were fewer, with the Poles being Roman Catholic, the Ruthenians (now mostly calling themselves Ukrainians) belonged to Ruthenian Greek Catholic Church, and the Jews belonging to the branch of Orthodox Judaism known as Hasidism.

The average life expectancy was 27 years for men and 28.5 years for women, as compared to 33 and 37 in Bohemia, 39 and 41 in France and 40 and 42 in England. Also the quality of life was much lower. The yearly consumption of meat did not exceed 10 kilograms per capita, as compared to 24 kg in Hungary and 33 in Germany. This was mostly due to much lower average income.

Thus, due to the hunger, cold and ethnic oppressions the Galician peoples were forced to look for refuge in America and elsewhere. With the abolishment of serfdom in 1848, immigration became possible. For travel across the border local authorities issued provisional passes or permits.

The journey to America was long, costly, and tedious. The majority of emigrants came from remote villages. Peasants began their journey with teams of horses or on foot, to get to the nearest railroad station. In the case of Athanasius, he may have boarded the train at Chabowka, which had rail service since 1884. Zakopane did not get a rail line until 1899, long after he left.

In the 1890s there were many instances of people using rafters’ passports to travel up the nearby Wisła (or Vistula) River all the way through Poland, passing through Krakow, Warsaw, Toruń, and Gdańsk, where it emptys into the Baltic Sea. From there the traveler would head for Hamburg for ships passage to America or elsewhere.

As the extent of emigration increased, the regulations were changed to discourage removal. In the case of men of military age, immigration was outright banned.

In Galicia raids were usually conducted most often at railroad stations. Agents posted there observed the travelers, and if there was even the slightest suspicion of illegal emigration they seized the persons suspected and turned them over to police commissioners. Their documents legality were thoroughly checked, as well as their financial means and their status in regard to military service.

Toward the end of the 19th century, when the wave of emigration reached its greatest height, the partitioning powers introduced more and more restrictions—but the number of emigration permits issued differed more and more from the actual state of affairs. In the years 1886-1890 the Prussian border was closed to emigrants from Russia and Galicia. Issuing passports was limited to a minimum.

In mid-1893 the Galician governor’s office issued a circular, instructing officials to use all legal and moral means to keep people from emigrating without good cause. The campaign included clergymen, teachers, and military policemen. In the years between 1870 and1890 even the newspaper Gazeta Lwowska printed articles that were intended to discourage emigration, giving false information on numerous ship sinkings and other catastrophes on the ocean. The authorities even confiscated letters from abroad, which touted the New World lands of milk and honey.

Dziubinski Info


Brother Tom provided a photograph and some newspaper clippings to me the other day which offered new (to me) information about the Dziubinski's. The photograph is of Emil Dziubinski in 1931 with his Holdingford High School classmates. (I have the full picture, with names, available to those interested.) Emil was Irene's older brother who died in the October, 1931 car accident in Wisconsin. In that same accident, Irene's mother Anastasia (or Nettie, as she was affectionately known), was also killed and sister Helen lost her leg.

In one of the other clippings Tom discovered is the obituary for Irene's father Athanasius. It says that he was "born in Nowysak, Poland" and "grew up and attended school in Zakopony, Poland". Nowy Sacz is both a town and county in southern Poland, very near the border of present-day Slovakia. Further southwest is Zakopane, also a village in Nawy Sacz county, sitting almost on top of the border.

In the 19th century, Zakopane was the largest center for metallurgy in Galicia — and later with that of tourism. It grew greatly over the 19th century, as more and more people were attracted by its salubrious climate, and soon developed from a small village into a climatic health resort with 3,000 inhabitants in 1889, eight years before Athanasius immigrated to America.

I wonder why Anthansius, situated in a apparently prosperous if not down-right booming town, would decide to head off to America. The obituary notes that in addition to being a farmer, he was also a cabinet maker. As a 23-year-old with such a marketable skill, I am trying to imagine what influences pressured him to leave Poland.



Just prior to his birth in 1874, Galicia, as this area of southern Poland was called, was de facto an autonomous province of Austria-Hungary, with Polish and, to a much lesser degree, Ukrainian or Ruthenian, as official languages. The area had been racked by the Austro-Prussian War, peasant insurrections, political revolutions and military actions in response. Galicia was now subject to internal arguments between Vienna and the Poles in the west and the Ruthenians and Ukrainians in the east.

I had always assumed Athanasius has immigrated to America to get away from the ongoing military situation. And while that may have been a part of his decision, it was the economic situation of Galicia that was most likely the main impetus for such a drastic removal. I will discuss the economics in the next posting.