About Toledo's Kuschwantz
The area of Toledo known as Kuschwantz was a Polish neighborhood in south Toledo near the intersection of Junction and Nebraska Avenues. It was roughly bounded by Detroit Avenue and a railroad line. The neighborhood was originally settled by German immigrants in the early 1870s. Poles fleeing Bismark-ruled Poznan soon followed in the mid- to late- 1870s. Poles from Poznan and Prussia settled here because of the familiarity they had with the customs and language with German immigrants. The area was originally known as Lenk's Hill. As it became more heavily populated with those who identified themselves as of Polish extraction, it became known as "Kuschwantz," which means "cow's tail," because it generally followed the path of a railroad line and its boundary at the railroad line was shaped like that of a cow's tail.
The earliest Poles in Toledo worshipped at St. Peter and Paul Parish on St. Clair St. and some very early records for Polish marriages, births, and burials can be located through their records. I have located a marriage record for my 2nd great-uncle, Lawrence Rochowiak, in St. Peter and Paul's Parish in 1875.
Catholic Poles began to build parishes in the region, beginning with St. Hedwig in Lagrinka in 1874. St. Anthony's in the Kuschwantz soon followed, originally opened in 1882. St. Anthony's still stands at the intersection of Nebraska and Junction Avenues (although it is no longer in use and is no longer even in oratory status). Excellent historiesof the Polish parishes in in Toledo is located on The Toledo Polish Genealogical Society's website.
My family lived in the Kuschwantz for many years. My mother's family came from the Poznan region beginning in the late 1870s and early 1880s and were members of St. Anthony's and St. Stan's parishes. My father's family came from an area of Poland nearer to Russia, in 1923 (Czerwin, Tomasze, and Borowce). They too settled in the Kuschwantz neighborhood and eventually helped to build St. Hyacinth's parish.
What I have hoped to do here is to present what research I have done on some of the residents of the Kuschwantz and Toledo's Polonia, their genealogy and their lives, as well as some history of Toledo's Polonia. My mother's family (Plenzler, Przybylski, Rochowiak) was very large and I've been fortunate to have been able to trace many of her ancestors in Poland and have quite a bit of documentation on them. My father's family (Mierzejewski)I have not been quite so successful with, yet. The surname is relatively common in Poland and records from the regions they came from are not as easily accessible. There is an added twist in my father's family--my grandmother was a Mierzejewska before marrying my grandfather. This esearch will be ongoing for quite some time.
Stay tuned. There will be updates and new information posted here over time. Please contact me if you have updates, corrections, or material that you would like to share. If you share information or stories about your Toledo Polish ancestors, please know I can't pay you except with gratitude and will acknowledge all materials and media to the contributors.
Anastasia Przyblski Plenzler
Joseph and Eva Plenzler, marriage 8 November 1879
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