Stanislaus Markoski: 9 Olive and Beyond

The Markoskis, their unmarried children and Doris and husband John returned to Holyoke, Hampden country, MA in 1936. This time they are listed with Americanized names: Stanley and Joan. They rented a house in a more residential part of Holyoke: 9 Olive Street, yet it wasn’t too far from the old neighborhood and their church.

In addition to Max and Doris, the other Markoski children began marrying and starting their own families. Stephen, who remained behind in Springfield when the family moved to Brooklyn, married Josephine L. Paneled by 1933. Robert, having graduated Williams College, married Ingrid Benson and started his teaching career under the new surname Marr at Vermont Academy by 1935. I suspect that Anita, like her younger brothers, met her future husband while in Riverhead, Suffolk County, NY; she married Stephen Hornyak in Manhattan, NY on November 14, 1936. Just a month later, Charles married his high school sweetheart Janet M. Benjamin on December 22 in Manhattan as well. (I assume that Charles must have been on winter break from Williams College.). Last (and definitely not least!), my grandfather Bruno married my grandmother Viola Alice Biliunas in Riverhead on November 27, 1937.

Viola Biliunas + Bruno Markoski, flanked by their wedding party (no other Markoski’s here). Author’s collection.

Despite the new households being set up, Stanislaus and Johanna kept their doors open to their family. Bruno and Viola spent 1939 and 1940 at 9 Olive. From 1936 to 1941, Doris and John were in and out of that home, together and Doris separately (for some reason, but not permanently). (I have to note here that in 9137, Doris and John had moved to Norwalk, Fairfield County, CT – where I’m living now! What a surprise that was to me!)

Being in the midst of the Great Depression, Stanislaus’ employment at this time was uneven. In 1936, he worked for the WPA. (I wish I knew in what capacity!). Once 1939 rolled around, employment was more steady. The city directories until 1942 listed him as an “inspector” in Chicopee Falls. Since the 1940 Census listed him as a sweeper in a rubber factory, I suspect that he was back at Fisk Tire.

From 1943 until 1945, Stanislaus was an inspector then a janitor at “WP&M Corp”, which was back in Holyoke. I haven’t found out what WP&M stood for or what the company was; I’ll have to ask about that on Facebook.

The 1946 city directory shows “Stanley” and “Joan” as “removed to New Jersey”. To me, this is an even bigger mystery than Brooklyn. If they did in fact move to New Jersey, it would have to be in connection with Doris or Anita, but I cannot confirm it one way or another. One thing I can confirm is that they eventually lived with Doris in Riverhead. Stanislaus somehow became bedridden, and it was at this bedside that my mother visited with him.

In 1949, Stanislaus passed away and was laid to rest in Mater Dolorosa Cemetery in South Hadley, Hampshire County, MA. Johanna was not to join him for another two decades, and we’ll look at her story next time.

Stanislaus Markoski: Where Did He Go?

We last saw the Markoski family leaving the farm in South Hadley, Hampshire County, MA around 1931. The Holyoke-South Hadley-Chicopee directory said they “removed to Brooklyn”. This was news to me and didn’t seem to fit what I knew about the family. Yet, Stanislaus and Joanna didn’t return to the Holyoke area until 1936, so they had to be somewhere! I had to cast my research net a little wider and view them in the context of their whole family.

The children were growing up and beginning to live their own lives. Oldest son Max moved back to Holyoke about 1928, which is when I assume he married Catherine Harazmus. Stephen began work as a rubber worker (I assume at Fisk in Chicopee) about 1927 then moved to Springfield in 1931. Robert, an outstanding athlete in high school, began attending Williams College in Williamstown, Berkshire County, MA in 1930. Doris worked as a “tuber” in an auto tire factory (probably Fisk) and Anita was a waitress. Youngest sons Bruno and Charles started high school in South Hadley and got involved in sports like their older brother.

It was in October 1931 when my grandfather Bruno’s life changed dramatically. While playing football for Central High School in Springfield (why he was there, I don’t know), he had a terrible injury that gave him a serious concussion and hospitalized him at Wesson Memorial Hospital. As a result, he took some time of from school, presumably to fully recover.

I imagine that the combination of Bruno’s hospital bills and other effects of the Great Depression had an impact on Stanislaus’ and Johanna’s finances, and perhaps they could no longer sustain the farm. This is only a guess. But what would make them move to Brooklyn or anywhere other than the Holyoke area?

Brooklyn Bridge! Courtesy Wikipedia.

First of all, despite me not being able to find them in any records there (yet, anyway), the Markoskis did spend some time in Brooklyn. Apparently my grandfather told my mother that this period of his life is when he became a New York Yankees fan. He’d said he was able to see them play–and this was when both Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig were on the team!

As far as why they moved, I may never know for sure, but I believe it may have something to do with daughter Doris. Sometime in the early 1930s, she married John Miezianka. I was told that my grandfather lived with her in Riverhead, Suffolk County, NY (in eastern Long Island) to finish high school. I recently found out that Charles went to high school there as well! (And both met their future wives there.). It only follows that Stanislaus and Johanna lived there too.

Both Bruno and Charles had a successful time at Riverhead High. Because of his injury and subsequent time off, Bruno graduated later (1934) and was president of his class. I imagine that being older than his fellow classmates gave him a certain maturity that they looked up to. Charles graduated the year before and was secretary of his class, involved in sports and drama and was the class poet. Charles, like Robert, was able to go to the college prep school, Deerfield Academy and later to Williams College (I assume on athletic scholarships). My grandfather, whose sports career was long over, went into the working world.

After about five years in New York, the Markoskis returned to Holyoke, but their lives were to be much different from their first arrival there.

Great-Grandfather Stanislaus Markoski: What I Know

 

[Edited March 8, 2017 to correct marriage place.]

For the past nearly three years, I’ve written about my father’s side of the family. Here is where much of the low-hanging fruit is, though I can’t say I’ve exhausted everything on that side, especially descendant research. We can always come back to that later.

Now it’s time to look to my maternal ancestors, which are much, much harder to trace back. They are all Eastern European! The paternal side is Polish and the maternal side is Lithuanian. I decided to start with my grandfather’s father, Stanislaus Markoski. Because he is somewhat of a brick wall, my pace is going to be slower and more analytical.

Stanislaus Markoski is the name of my great-grandfather that I grew up knowing. However I’ve seen his first name also recorded as Stanislaw, Stanislawa, and later (in the 1920 census and directories from 1936 onward), Stanley. His last name has also been spelled Markocki, Markowski and Markocka. This makes for very challenging record-searching! Here, we will just call him Stanislaus.

If Stanislaus himself was certain of his birthday, it was November 24, 1875 (according to his World War I draft registration) in Polish Austria. His parents, according to his American marriage record, were John Markoski and Marie Pytel. He had black hair, grey eyes and was medium weight as an adult. He was considered to have a sixth grade education.

Stanislaus immigrated to the United States sometime around 1893-1894. On either June 30 or July 1, 1896, he married Johanna Gazda in Holyoke, Hampden County, MA.

Holyoke, Hampden County, MA is where Stanislaus spent the majority of his adult life. There was a period in the late 1920s when he and his family were living in nearby South Hadley, Hampshire County, MA and a brief time after 1931 when they lived in Brooklyn, Kings County, NY (which was complete news to me!). His occupations included a textile mill labor, butcher, laborer in a paper mill, ticket agent for a steamship company, farmer, and a sweeper in a rubber mill (we’ll revisit all those more slowly later).

Holyoke, MA in 1900. Courtesy Library of Congress.

Holyoke, MA in 1900. Courtesy Library of Congress.

Though he died when my mother was just a little girl, my mother remembered him as having a collection of smoking pipes (like his son, my grandfather, did) and he would give her a nickel each time she would visit. Stanislaus died in 1949 and is buried at Mater Dolorosa Cemetery in South Hadley.

Great-Grandfather George Edmund Pleau

When I first started delving into my family, perhaps my most elusive ancestor was my great-grandfather, George Edmund Pleau. I knew that he was my great-grandmother’s third husband and that he died when my grandfather was just a boy. Both my grandfather and father were named for him and supposedly were all part of a “long line of George Pleaus”, according to my grandmother. My grandfather had almost no information on his father’s family.

My aunt Cherie (known to our family as Cheryl) managed to determine that George was from Rochester, Monroe County, New York. Since my in-laws live close to that area, I had offered to do any on-site research for her. She adamantly refused my offer. At this point, I think she felt quite possessive about this family line, so I left it alone until after her death.

Once she had passed away, however, I began my pursuit, as I explained in About. The following is a basic outline of George’s life, based on my best information:

  • Born on December 27, 1875 in Rochester, NY to George Pleau and Emma LeClair, who were originally from Quebec.
  • He was the third child and second son in the family. His older siblings were Napoleon Charles and Cordelia. His younger siblings were Albert Joseph, Eugene Jule, Evelyn L., Ida (who died during childhood), Ella Jane, and Lucy (who also died during childhood).
  • His family moved often within the heart of Rochester.
  • Attended Our Lady of Victory parochial school, where he began to perform in musical plays.
  • Worked primarily as a shoemaker like his father and sometimes as a musician; particularly playing the piano.
  • Married Agnes Jeanette Kowiak on July 19, 1899 in Rochester.
  • Between 1900 and 1910, two children were born to him and Agnes and subsequently died.
  • In December 1910, he and Agnes bought a home at 17 Lochner Place in Rochester, which does not seem to exist anymore.
  • As of 1918, he had dark hair and brown eyes.
  • In 1918, he and Agnes appeared to be separated. He lived with his sister Evelyn.
  • Moved to Lynn, Essex County, Massachusetts in 1919. The 1920 Census shows that he was a shoemaker boarding at Catherine Beard’s house at 41 Buffum Street. My theory is that, after the death of both his parents and in the face of his failing marriage, he probably felt he needed to get away from Rochester. I know that Lynn was even bigger in the shoe industry than Rochester, so perhaps it had more job opportunities.
  • Sometime before early 1921, he met widow Bertha (Colomy)(French) Spratt.
  • On November 22, 1921, his son (my grandfather) was born to him and Bertha.
  • In June 1922, he sold the deed to the Rochester house to his wife Agnes.
  • On July 22, 1922, he and Bertha were married in Bath, Sagadahoc County, Maine. She claimed it was her second marriage, and he claimed it was his first.
  • In October 1922, the Supreme Court in New York issued a final decree of divorce in favor of Agnes, the plaintiff. (Yes, you are reading this timeline correctly!)
  • By June 1925, George and his little family moved to Brooklyn, Kings County, NY. He worked as a shoemaker.
  • In 1927, they moved to Baltimore, Baltimore City, Maryland. He worked as a shoemaker and then as a salesman.
  • On the afternoon of March 4, 1932 he was struck by a car while walking at the corner of Harford Road and Glenmore Avenue, not far from where he lived on Mary Avenue.
  • On March 15, 1932, he died from his injuries in St. Joseph’s hospital.
  • On March 18, 1932, his funeral was held at E.I. Fanning & Son, with religious services at Church of the Messiah (an Episcopal church). He was buried in Baltimore Cemetery without a gravestone.

As you can see, I found a lot of information on George, primarily thanks to online city directories, census information and newspaper articles. What I don’t know is what he was like as a person. Was he funny? Did he sing tenor or bass? (My guess is bass, based on my grandfather’s voice.) Did he love his family? Maybe I’ll find out someday.