When stumped with research or feeling that I need to take a break from specific persons or families, I often browse the online newspapers archived through Google. It’s fascinating to read about the worlds in which our ancestors survived–to connect their lives and backgrounds to historical events or find interesting tidbits that affected their societies and ways of life.

These past few days, I stumbled on a tragic story that affected the entire Polish community in Toledo, particularly the St. Anthony’s parish community. On Sunday, May 3, 1903, a large group of Poles from the Toledo area traveled via railroad to Detroit to attend a festival at St. Joseph’s church in Detroit. Many of these travelers were from St. Anthony’s parish. It seems as if none of the victims were part of my family; but no doubt, my family would have known many of them. Perhaps someone reading here will recognize a name and be able to make a connection to their family.

After a day of festivities, the group gathered at Canfield St. in Detroit about 8p.m. to return to Toledo.  Although this was not a regular stop for the train, it seems as if it was a stop scheduled for that day in anticipation of the large gathering for the festival. However, according to michiganrailroads.com:

“This was not a regular station stop and the train apparently did not send out an employee to flag the track.  At 8:30 p.m., a GTW train from Chicago was heading for Brush Street station.  It was most likely No. 8.  The crew knew nothing abut the train at Canfield Avenue until they were right on top of it and had no chance to stop the train in time.  Hearings showed that the crew on the excursion train were all “off the extra board” and not acquainted with the area and took too much for granted.”

Many persons were injured or killed in this train wreck, nearly all of whom were parishioners of St. Anthony’s. The Toledo News Bee on May 4 and May 5 followed the events and provided the names of the injured and killed. I’ve provided links to the archived stories. While the copy is not perfect, it is fairly readable and too big of a job to transcribe for here. However, here is a list of names that of those injured or killed as was posted in the May 4 edition of the News Bee. (I’ve transcribed the names below, but have not transcribed the description of injuries. Unless noted, victims were from Toledo–a few victims from Detroit were also listed in the article.)

Train accident victims, Toledo News Bee, 04 May 1903

Train accident victims, Toledo News Bee, 04 May 1903

The Dead

  • Frank Rozinski, age 25, 1465 Vance street
  • Watson Ludwick, aged 22, Junction avenue and Forrer street
  • Joseph Shafranski, aged about 26
  • Mrs. Frank Rozinski, 1465 Vance street or Helen Rodzwiecz, aged 19, 3017 Warsaw street
  • Stanislaus Orzechonski, aged 9, 1226 Campbell street
  • _________ Sabieialski, aged 10
  • Helen A. Palicki, aged 22, married, 45 Bronson street

The Injured

  • Mrs. Frank Otremba, aged 20, 826 Detroit avenue
  • Joseph Wozniak, 24, laborer, 1525 Buchanan street
  • Joseph Nitz, 18, laborer, 1306 Nebraska avenue
  • Joseph Kazruske, 18, 1132 Blum street
  • Rose Adamski, 20, 1267 Blum street
  • John Bush, 626 Hancock avenue (East Detroit)
  • Sadie Williams, 2140 Glenwood
  • Joseph Szaruleta, 407 Junction avenue
  • Joe Shafranski, 1109 Campbell street
  • Joe Picard, aged 12, 341 Superior street
  • Unidentified man
  • Mrs. Annie Urbaytis, about 25 years old, 2926 Lagrange street
  • John Malkoski, about 35 years old, 1115 Campbell street, was leading 10-year-old daughter who cannot be found
  • Mary Shafranski, 113 Campbell street, had baby in arms when hit and baby is missing
  • Joseph Jakrziski, 1000 Dubois street (Detroit)
  • Peter Orzechonski, 1226 Campbell street, his wife and two children, Mrs. Orzechonski dangerously and may die
  • James Powlocyk, 1215 Hamilton street
  • Mike Broski, 1715 Austin street
  • Chester Palicki
  • Stanislaus Sarnowski, 1307 Hamilton street

On May 5, the News Bee published an updated list of victims.

Toledo News Bee 05 May 1903 Railroad accident victims

Toledo News Bee 05 May 1903 Railroad accident victims

The Dead:

  • Joseph Szaruleta, 407 Junction avenue
  • Walter Ludwick, of Junction avenue
  • Frank Rozinski, 1465 Vance street
  • Mrs. Frank Rozinski, 1465 Vance street
  • Mrs. Helen Palicka, Lagrange street
  • Anthony Popek, aged 24 years, Tecumseh street
  • Ladislaw Sobieralski, boy, 13 years old
  • Stanislaus Orzechowski
  • Frank Jablonski, married, Campbell street
Toledo News Bee, 05 May 1903, railroad accident victims

Toledo News Bee, 05 May 1903, railroad accident victims

Toledo News Bee, 05 May 1903, railroad accident victims

Toledo News Bee, 05 May 1903, railroad accident victims

The Injured

  • Mrs. Mike Stelmaszak, 1417 Forrer street
  • Baby Orzechowski (injured head, and article states that it was predicted that the child would die)
  • Mike Broski, Langrange street, age 18
  • Joseph Szafianski, Campbell street, married
  • John Malkowski, Campbell street
  • Miss Helen Rodziewiez, Lagrange street
  • Rosa Adamski, Blum street
  • Mrs. Frank Otremba, Detroit ave. (of Toledo)
  • Salomea Witkowska, Blum street
  • John Krynski, Forrer street, 18 years old
  • Vincent Pawlaczyk, 1215 Hamilton street
  • Peter Orzechowski, Campbell street
  • Mrs. Peter Orzechowski

The stories provided by the News Bee are incredibly detailed. I encourage anyone interested in this story to read it directly from the the news archive. Reading these scans sometimes is difficult (I so empathize–I have poor eyesight so I want to transcribe whenever possible, but the job is too big to do so for a blog post)–but the stories would provide some genealogical detail for family members. I’ve posted a few of the pictures of the persons involved in this accident as well below.

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Rozinski

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Rozinski

Mrs. Helen Palicki

Mrs. Helen Palicki

Joe Wozniak

Joe Wozniak

Helen Rodzwiecz

Helen Rodzwiecz

Yes, I’m posting this a few hours early for Geneablogger’s Tombstone Tuesday, and I am still working on that Rochowiak research. I just thought I’d take a break and post more of the photos I had from Calvary.

Below are the parents of Stanley Hejnicki, spouse of Eva Przybylski Hejnicki. Note that the first names provided on the stones are the Polish variants of the names, Agatha and Frank.

Agatha and Frank are buried together here:  Graves: 1886 and 1887, Range or Lot: 12, Section: 3 in Calvary.

Agatha Pawlaczyk Hejnicki, grave, Calvary Cemetery (mother of Stanley Hejnicki)

Agatha Pawlaczyk Hejnicki, grave, Calvary Cemetery (mother of Stanley Hejnicki)

Frank Hejnicki (grave, Calvary Cemetery, Father of Stanley Hejnicki)

Frank Hejnicki (grave, Calvary Cemetery, Father of Stanley Hejnicki)

Below is the grave for another Andrew Przybylski. I have not connected this Andrew to my great-grandparents, but because this one kept popping up when I first started researching my great-grandfather, I thought I’d post his grave here and see what may come.

Andrew Przybylski, grave Calvary

Andrew Przybylski, grave Calvary

This Andrew is buried here in Calvary: Grave 3040, Lot: 5, Section: 32.

The bit of research that I’ve done for this younger Andrew Przybylski led me to his death certificate, that indicates his parents were Frank Przybylski and Katrazyna Zielinski. Because of the year of his birth, 1887, it may be possible that this Andrew is a nephew to my great-grandfather. Yet another area of research in the future (does that not seem like a theme that I have always have going?)–however, each Frank Przybylski that I’ve found thus far that could be of my great-grandfather’s generation does not seem to line up. I do know my great-great-grandparents were named Josepha and Valentine, per the marriage record located for Andrew and Frances’ marriage.

And finally, one last photo for tonight. This person’s surname is not directly related to my family; but I was amazed at how well preserved this stone was at nearly 100 years old. So I took a photo of it. It is remarkably easy to read when compared to the stones of others I’ve photographed such as John and Eva Plenzler.

Tombstone, Francis Weslowlski, Calvary Cemetery

Tombstone, Francis Weslowski, Calvary Cemetery

This is the grave for Franciszek Wesolowski, buried here: Grave: N-1/2, Lot: 12, Section: 22.

Eva is the youngest child of Frances Rochowiak and Andrew Przybylski. Born May 14, 1893, she was a twin to Adam. Eva and Adam were baptized May 15, 1893. Adam survived only to the age of  five months, passing away October 10, 1893, just months before his father’s (Andrew Przybylski) death.

Stanley was born September 2, 1892 in Posnen per his World War I draft registration card. He was the son of Frank Hejnicki and Agata Pawlaczyk.

It appears that Eva lived most of her life at the home at 1637 Vance Street. Adam’s burial record reflects this address, as does the 1910 census and the 1920 census. In 1910, she was residing at the residence with her mother, Frances Rochowiak, sister Anastasia, and Anastasia’s first  husband, Stanley Lawecki. After her marriage to Stanley Hejnicki, she remained at the residence.

Eva and Stanley were married October 14, 1914 in St. Stanislaus Parish. The marriage produced four children:

  • Leonard, born 1916, died 1973.
  • Virginia, born 1920, died 1978.
  • Delphine, born 1926, died 1988.
  • Agnes (no birth date or death date found).

Delphine also married a Przybylski. Agnes joined the Felician Order (Sister Agnes Rita).

Stanley passed away August 4, 1934 due to heart disease and was buried through St. Stanislaus Parish. He was buried at Calvary Cemetery on August 8. His burial record through Calvary is transcribed below:

No. 335027
Name: Stanislaus Hejnicki
Residence: Vance Street
Age: 41
Cause of death: Heart disease
Date of Interment: Aug. 8
Grave: 2825
Range or Lot: 22
Section: 32
Undertaker: Gasiorowski Bros.

Eva passed away February 21, 1979. Her obituary, published February 22, 1979 in the Toledo Blade reads:

Mrs. Eva L. Hejnicki, 85, formerly of the 1600 block of Vance Street, died Wednesday in the Sacred Heart Home for the Aged, where she had lived six years. She was the widow of Stanley Hejnicki. Surviving are her daughters, Sister Agnes Rita Hejnicki, CSSF, and Mrs. Delphine Przybylski. Services will be at 9:30 a.m. Saturday in St. Stanislaus Church. The Rosary will be recited at 7 tonight in the Sujkowski Mortuary.

Eva was buried through St. Stanislaus church and buried in Calvary Cemetery. Eva’s burial record from Calvary is transcribed below:

No.: 83632
Name: Eva L. Hejnicki
Residence: Form. 1600 Bl. Vance St.
Age: 85
Cause of Death: Prov. Death Cert.
Date of Interment: 2/24/1979
Grave: 8
Range or Lot: 83
Section: 48
Funeral Director: Sujkowski
Remarks: 457

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 251 other followers