My manifest research with the Mierzejewski name is slowly (painfully slowly) producing a few small but possibly important results.

An unusual find I had was for a Joseph Mizejewski. The surname is spelled differently, depending upon the source. I’ve located eight Josephs through Ellis manifests with either the variant surname of MIERZEJEWSKI or MIZEJEWSKI.  The latest list of Mierzejewskis located through the Ellis Island manifests is here. I cannot quite ascertain which of the Josephs I have located on the manifest research is the one who ultimately landed in Toledo; but I have found what I believe to be the manifest information for his wife, Jozefa and son Joseph. It appears as if this branch of the family had resided in Pittsburgh for a time about 1904 (look at the manifest data and filter it based on dates). While I transcribed Jozefa’s last residence as Gumowo, I am beginning to ponder the possibility that the last residence is Goworów. Goworów would make some sense as it was the birthplace of my great-grandfather, Jan Mierzejewski (Wladyslaw’s father) and I could not locate a Gumowo.

Some research into the matter brought an unusual death to my attention.

While researching the name in Toledo, I came across a death record from St. Adalbert’s parish for  Joseph Mierzejewski, his death certificate (in which the surname is spelled MIZEJEWSKI), and some census data from 1920 (two pages: see here and here). The census data reflects an address on Maple Street although the later data (death certificate, parish death record, and news story below) reflects an address on W. Hudson Street. However, I’m 99% certain this is the same Joseph Mierzejewski. The two addresses are less than a half-mile apart, with St. Adalbert’s parish nearly equidistant from the two.

When I had read the death certificate, the cause of death startled me: “third degree burns over body,” with the contributory cause explained as “accidental explosion.”  In the section (bottom right corner) that asks for any external causes such as violence, the corner explained “public place, explosion in bonfire on public dump.” I scratched my head over that one! A bonfire is one thing. A bonfire in a dump though?

So I took a look through some archived newspapers and did find a small article from the Toledo News-Bee dated July 29, 1930 that helps bring some light to the matter. I’ve transcribed the story below the image.

Toledo News-Bee 29 July 1930, Death of Joseph Mizejewski

Toledo News-Bee 29 July 1930, Death of Joseph Mizejewski

BLAST ON CITY DUMP FATAL TO TOLEDOAN

Joseph Mizejewski Dies of Burns Received July 5

An explosion of undetermined origin July 5 on the Manhattan boulevard city dump had claimed the life of Joseph Mizejewski, 58, of 31 W. Hudson street.

Mizejewski died Monday night at Flower hospital of burns received when his clothing caught fire.

Coroner Frank G. Kreft was investigating Tuesday to learn the cause of the blast.

Mizejewski was standing in the dump watching rubbish burn when an explosion at the edge of the flames threw a sheet of fire around him. Children [playing] nearby helped him extingu[ish the] flames.

Note that in the news story, the surname is spelled MIZEJEWSKI.

Joseph’s death notice was published in the News-Bee the same day.

Joseph Mizejewski, Toledo News-Bee Death Notice 29 July 1930

Joseph Mizejewski, Toledo News-Bee Death Notice 29 July 1930

MIZEJEWSKI, JOSEPH–Aged 58 years, husband of Josephine. Monday, July 28. Funeral Wednesday, July 30, from his residence, 31 W. Hudson St., at 8:30 and in St. Adalbert’s church at 9 a.m. Interment Calvary cemetery. Urbanski mortuary.

I have little other data on Joseph but am deeply curious to discover whether or not he is a relative through my great-grandfather, Jan. His death certificate indicates only that his father’s name was Joseph and that he was born in Poland. No mother was named on the death certificate. If you have any further information or can lend some insight, please let me know. Drop a comment here or an email.

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