Monday, April 8, 2013

Jozef Milanowski

Jozef Milanowski (1840 Wiele - 1885 Winona)
Anna Katarzyna Govin (1846 Osława Dąbrowa - 1925 Winona)

Jozef Milanowski was born circa 1840 to Hipolit and Franciszka nee Zabinska Milanowski. He arrived in New York on 4 August 1860 aboard the sailing ship "Elise Rabike" but does not seem to have been traveling with his father, who emigrated at about the same time, remarried in Winona, and ultimately moved to Portage County.  Anna Katarzyna Govin (alternative spellings abound) was born on 10 November 1846 to Antoni and Wiktoria nee Breza Govin.

No record exists of Jozef and Anna's marriage exists, but their first child, Mary Barbara, was born in Winona on 29 December 1861. The new mother herself had just turned fifteen. Eight of their nine children survived until adulthood: Mary Barbara Bambenek (1861-1932); Aleksander "Alex" Milanowski (1867-1897); William Milanowski (1874-1903); Roman Milanowski (1876-1903); Hieronim "Jerome" Milanowski (1878-1940); Leonard Milanowski (1880-1945); Franciszka Joanna Milanowski (1883-1964); Joseph Milanowski, Jr. (1885-1912).

The Milanowski family operated a grocery store at 557 East Second Street until Jerome Milanowski's death in 1940. Jozef was very involved in the Democratic Party, not just at the ward level but the city level, and he served two terms as Fourth Ward alderman. He was seeking a third term at the time of his sudden and unexpected death on 4 April 1885. As the two clippings from the Winona Daily Republican show, Jozef Milanowski enjoyed a status in Winona's public life which belies the all too familiar "dumb Polack" stereotype. Indeed, even the pastor from the Luxemburgian-American town of Rollingstone preached a sermon at Jozef's funeral: in German, no less.

Alex Milanowski seems to have taken up his father's place both in the family business and in politics. He was elected Fourth Ward school director in 1888 at the age of just twenty-one. He remained politically involved until his premature death on 30 December 1897.

Frances Milanowski graduated from Winona Normal School, and was a long-time elementary school teacher and benefactress of Saint Stanislaus Kostka church. There is much more information about her at the Smiles in Boxes blog.

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