Derdowski was not, at the time that he emigrated, under threat of arrest. He was broke, but he always had been broke and he always would be broke. His precise reasons for emigration are still the subject of much speculation, but it seems to me that he felt he had exhausted his possibilities in German Poland. America offered a growing Polish diaspora along with financial opportunities and other freedoms he would never know in his homeland. In America he could start again, make a fortune, win new fame... and start a family. He had already identified his future bride, Joanna Lubowieczka of Gostomie. Once he had established himself in the new land Joanna would come over to become his wife. In the spring of 1885 Derdowski mortgaged his share of his inheritance for 300 crowns and took the big step.
The missing part of Derdowski's happiness soon appeared in the person of his beloved Joanna, who arrived from Poland in October 1887. On October 29 of that year Father Byzewski united them in marriage in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Mr. and Mrs. Hieronym Derdowski took the train to Winona, where they were met at the Milwaukee Road station and conducted to their new living quarters over the Wiarus offices at Second and Carimona. And there I will leave them for the time being. But I have a modern side note to pass along.
I gleaned most of this information from articles in a book I found, quite by chance, and purchased at The Book Shelf in downtown Winona this spring. I could not wait to get out to the corner of Second and Carimona to visit the site of the Derdowskis' first home. But there was no two-story building within a block of that intersection. Could the author, Dr. Leo Ochrymowycz, have confused something? Doubtful. But I could not doubt the evidence of my eyes, either. Further research turned up a Wiarus office with upstairs living quarters at 329 East Third Street. But 329 East Third Street is not on the corner of anything, and Dr. Ochrymowycz had definitely said "corner." Then, a picture from The Kaszubian Community of Southeast Minnesota caught my eye. A publication from the Wiarus press clearly stating that it had been published "Second and Carimona."
I started searching again. This time I started looking through Winona city directories, and found that there had been a pharmacy at 579 East Second Street in 1906. It was later the Marouschek grocery. Searching for "579 East Second" at the Winona Newspaper Project turned up an an article dated September 6, 1887 stating that the city had granted "Mr. Frank Drowskowski" (that is, Frank Drazkowski, president of the Wiarus) to move his business to that location.
Dr. Ochrymowycz had been right all along - but what had happened to the two-story building on the corner of Second and Carimona? It turns out that the Marouschek grocery had been leveled by a gas main explosion in January 1919.