I was born and grew up in Toledo, Ohio in a neighborhood known as the Kuschwantz. The neighborhood was predominately settled by Polish immigrants, starting in the early 1880s. The Kuschwantz was one of two large Polish neighborhoods in Toledo, the other was Lagrinka. Lagrinka was settled a bit earlier than the Kuschwantz, starting in the 1870s. Kuschwantz began settling about 1880.
Both neighborhoods were centered around a few Catholic parishes–Lagrinka was centered around St. Hedwig’s and then later added St. Adalbert’s. Kuschwantz was centered around St. Anthony’s parish first, then added St. Stanislaus. Somewhat later, Nativity parish and St. Hyacinth also were added as Polish parishes in the city.
Many of the earliest Polish immigrants to the city came from the region of Poznań or from the Kuyavian-Pomorskie region from villages such as Gorzyce and Zydowo or from larger cities such as Bydgoszcz starting in the early 1870s. These areas were controlled by Germany after the partition of Poland in the late 1700s. Later waves, in 1890 and later came from the Russian-controlled partition of Poland. I have history with both regions. My mother’s family came here quite early from the Poznań and the Kuyavian-Pomorskie regions. I have found members of my great-grandmother’s family here as early as 1871 from the village of Gorzyce. My father’s father came and went to the US from eastern Poland a few times. His parents finally came to the US to stay in 1923, with my father born the following year. Some members of my father’s family preferred to go back to Poland as well, they were not happy with life in the US, despite the hardships in Poland with the fight for independence and the establishment of the Second Polish Republic and then the iron curtain. My father’s family came from small villages known as Gowoworo, Tomasze, Borowice, and Czerwin in the Mazowieckie region.
I want to tell their stories. I’ll be profiling some of my direct, and not-so-direct but interesting ancestors and the Polish Americans who lived in the region, as well as finding history and stories that surrounded their lives because I want to understand what they experienced, what they may have done, what their social lives were like.
Unless stated otherwise, all parishes, cemeteries, streets, specific places discussed are all located in Toledo. Some of these stories may extend beyond Toledo, and when required, I will point out the location if it is outside of Toledo.
If you wish to share a story here, feel free to contact me. I’d be happy to share your story! (You will retain ownership and copyright of the materials, and I share only what you tell me to share.)
I do not have comments on this website enabled. It takes a lot of time to moderate, approve comments, and to clean up after bots, spam, and trolls. Contact me directly with comments, questions, or content to share.
-Donna Mierzejewski McManus