1892 Polish Detroit Notes Monday, Oct 16 2006 

[Disclaimer statement] The information in this post was taken from Polish Detroit and the Kolasinski Affair by Lawrence D. Orton. In some cases the text was copied from the book, but most of it was paraphrased by me. You should not assume any information you find here is true. These are my working notes for a novel (a work of fiction) that I am writing and nothing more. If you want good, solid, well researched information on the subjects mentioned here you should get a copy of Polish Detroit and the Kolasinski Affair by Lawrence D. Orton (ISBN 0814316719 Wayne State Univ Pr (1981)). [End of statement]

1892

June 5, 1892 Fr. K imports a bishop (from Russian Poland) to bless the cornerstone of the new church. Mieczyslaw Hordniecki  turns out to be an unconventional bishop with an unconventional ceremony. His back is kept to the thousands of onlookers and he doesn’t address the group because he doesn’t speak Polish. It turns out the pseudo-bishop was actually a deposed priest from the Chicago area who carried out the ruse and was later exposed by the Evening News.

1891 Polish Detroit Notes Monday, Oct 16 2006 

[Disclaimer statement] The information in this post was taken from Polish Detroit and the Kolasinski Affair by Lawrence D. Orton. In some cases the text was copied from the book, but most of it was paraphrased by me. You should not assume any information you find here is true. These are my working notes for a novel (a work of fiction) that I am writing and nothing more. If you want good, solid, well researched information on the subjects mentioned here you should get a copy of Polish Detroit and the Kolasinski Affair by Lawrence D. Orton (ISBN 0814316719 Wayne State Univ Pr (1981)). [End of statement]

1891

April 23, 1891 Rail workers on Detroit’s trolley system go on strike p.515 Almanac.

 May 4, 1891 Detroit Polonia celebrated the 100 year anniversary of Poland’s 3rd of May constitution (they celebrated on the 4th because the 3rd was on a Sunday and was a solemn observance). A parade was organized at St. Josaphat and proceeded to St. Albertus and then out of the Polish quarter and downtown. Those from SHM were invited to participate but without banners of Christ. Fr. K drew the line and refused to allow his flock to join in the festivities because he felt his status was threatened. The procession consisted of 20,000 marchers and ended back at St. Josaphat where a picnic was held into the evening hours. Polish neighborhood homes lit candles in all their doors and windows.

 June 1891 Fr. K and his first lieutenant Frederick Raeder had a falling out for reasons unknown. Raeder came after him with a shotgun and Fr. K pressed charges. Raeder claimed the situation was misunderstood and he was released p. 102 in shame and vowed revenge. He wrote and published a manifesto denouncing Fr. K. and the News preprinted it. (Manifesto details p.102)

 June 13, 1891 Anna Clara Lipa was born and baptized at SHM.

 As fallout from the manifesto, Fr. K’s assistant, Fr. Prowdzicki claims K deceived him and left the parish. He was secluded in the seminary where he did penance for his bad judgment.

 July 16, 1891 Fr. K creates a clever ruse to avoid getting a bishop to bless the laying of the cornerstone for the church. P.115. Money is getting tight and K can’t pay the construction workers regularly. Work becomes intermittent and he pleads with his flock for more sacrifice, even mortgaging their homes.

 August 1891 Fr. K attempts to meet with a cardinal in Baltimore to make peace with the church. He is refused. In September he confided that he had given the cardinal a list of conditions under which he would submit to bishop foley. Bishop Foley just laughed.

After that, Fr. K kept a low profile while work on the church continued.

1890 Polish Detroit Notes Monday, Oct 16 2006 

[Disclaimer statement] The information in this post was taken from Polish Detroit and the Kolasinski Affair by Lawrence D. Orton. In some cases the text was copied from the book, but most of it was paraphrased by me. You should not assume any information you find here is true. These are my working notes for a novel (a work of fiction) that I am writing and nothing more. If you want good, solid, well researched information on the subjects mentioned here you should get a copy of Polish Detroit and the Kolasinski Affair by Lawrence D. Orton (ISBN 0814316719 Wayne State Univ Pr (1981)). [End of statement]

1890

February 1890 Fr. K lures Fr. Wiktor Prowdzicki from Buffalo, NY to be his assistant at SHM.

July 4, 1890 The Evening New proclaimed that Fr. K violated Catholic practices p.104

July 13, 1890 Ex-Kolachy send a letter to the Archbishop of Krakow asking for a statement to the effect that K doesn’t have the right to perform the duties of a priest. A similar letter was sent to a cardinal in Rome. But those who might have been swayed to leave Fr. K had already done so and the remaining devotees were too emotionally committed to believe any evidence coming from hostile ecclesiastical authorities.

July 25, 1890 Fr. K signs building contract for the new Sweetest Heart of Mary church which would be the largest church in the Detroit archdiocese. Description p.100

September 27, 1890 An open letter from Kolachy states the 2,870 families of SHM parish will continue to build their new church.

A description of K’s emotional hold over his flock is given p.107. From p.108… Sunday News, “ religion is as necessary to the hard lives of these people as the oxygen of the atmosphere”.

A description of the rivalry between parshioners of SHM and St. Josaphat’s is given p.109.

Fr. K’s second attorney was Feliks Lemkie.

November 9, 1890 Fr. K is tried in court for an assault charge made against him by Jozef Skupinski. K’s lieutenant, Frederick Raedar took the blame claiming he did it. Charges against Fr. K were dismissed.

December 21, 1890 The new St. Casimir Church is dedicated. The coverage switches from 1889 to 1890 on p.100;

1889 Polish Detroit Notes Monday, Oct 16 2006 

[Disclaimer statement] The information in this post was taken from Polish Detroit and the Kolasinski Affair by Lawrence D. Orton. In some cases the text was copied from the book, but most of it was paraphrased by me. You should not assume any information you find here is true. These are my working notes for a novel (a work of fiction) that I am writing and nothing more. If you want good, solid, well researched information on the subjects mentioned here you should get a copy of Polish Detroit and the Kolasinski Affair by Lawrence D. Orton (ISBN 0814316719 Wayne State Univ Pr (1981)). [End of statement]

1889

January 19, 1889 Anton Dlugi was arrested on the basis of an affidavit issued by Wayne County Circuit court. Albert Punkey had accused him with the paternity of his 17 year old daughter’s child (born fall 1887). Claimed his daughter was seduced by Dlugi while a student at his school. The child died shortly thereafter. (p.92)

January 23. 1889 Fr. K administers first communion to 250 children of Kolacky. He converted the rear of his house on Beaubien street to a chapel. He starts his maverick flock. The bishops threatens excommunication to any who participate or received sacraments from Fr. K. Kolachy tell him to stick it. Frederick Raeder becomes Fr. K’s spokesman and Kazimiriez Nowak becomes treasurer… reports $17,000 raised by mid January for a new church for Fr. K.

Fr. K marries many in his home. P.95

Early February Fr. K announces the building of a new church to be called Sweetest Heart of Mary. It is build in 4 months. Ground floor is a chapel which seats 1,000 upstairs are 4 classrooms and K’s living quarters. 3 large bells installed.

March 5, 1889 The bishop relives Fr. Bronikowski of his pastorate at St. Albertus… attendance is falling.

March 10, 1889 John A. Lemke is ordained a priest by Bishop Foley at St. Albertus, son of Jan Lemke he is the first native born of Polish descent to become a priest. He is assigned as an assistant at St. Casimir.

March 11, 1889 The bishop names Rev. Kazimierz Rohowski (German) as the new pastor of St. Albertus.

March 11, 1889 Dlugi brought charges against Fr. K claiming he was slandered in speech Fr. K gave on Feb. 10th in which K accused him of having “by fraud and deception” misappropriated large sums of money from the Polish people. Also he brought charges for monies owed him (relatively small amounts).

Fr. K was living at 624 Beaubien at this time. (address)

March 12, 1889 Fr. K was arrested and his supporters vied for the honor of posting his $1,000 bail.

April 3, 1889 The Kolachy then retaliated by charging Dlugi with several money-owed suits (small amounts) meaning to harass him to get him to leave town.

April 12, 1889 Dlugi’s suits against Fr. K were heard in court and testimony was taken for 10 suits against Dlugi. Frequent digressions and interruptions (p.93) in court had the case continued for a week.

April 17, 1889 The judge ruled that the money raised from the picnic for Fr. K rightfully belong to K and Dlugi had to pay him an additional $153. Action on the other suits by and against Dlugi were continued.

May 12, 1889 Sunday News reported Dlugi had fled the city and was “on the Atlantic”. He’d forfeited the $1,000 bond posted by his friend Jan Hansz.

June 1889 Bishop Foley authorizes a new Polish parish to be built on the western fringes of the Polish community at Hastings and Freemont (Canfield). It will be called St. Josaphat.

June 10, 1889 The new church, Sweetest Heart of Mary is complete and Fr. K is escorted from his home on Beaubien to his new quarters at the church, in a magnificent carriage drawn by a pair of elegant horses which the press described as a “gift” from his flock ($1,000). Fr. K says his first mass in the new church.

A description of Fr. K’s elaborate new quarters and pet birds on p.97.

July 28,1889 The cornerstone is laid for the new St. Casimir Church at 23rd and Myrtle.

August 1, 1889 Karolina Lipa was born and baptized at Sweetest Heart of Mary Church.

October 6, 1889 Bishop Foley blesses the cornerstone for St. Josaphat and the new church opened its doors in February of the following year (1890).

1888 Polish Detroit Notes Monday, Oct 16 2006 

[Disclaimer statement] The information in this post was taken from Polish Detroit and the Kolasinski Affair by Lawrence D. Orton. In some cases the text was copied from the book, but most of it was paraphrased by me. You should not assume any information you find here is true. These are my working notes for a novel (a work of fiction) that I am writing and nothing more. If you want good, solid, well researched information on the subjects mentioned here you should get a copy of Polish Detroit and the Kolasinski Affair by Lawrence D. Orton (ISBN 0814316719 Wayne State Univ Pr (1981)). [End of statement]

1888

**January 1, 1888 Sophia Lipa was born.

**May 14, 1888 Stanislaw and Karolina Nowak were married at St. Albertus Church.

**June 7, 1888 Fr. Kolasinski returns to Detroit and makes an appearance in front of Anton Dlugi’s school on the corner of Riopelle and Canfield. (Dlugi was the leader of the unreconciled Kolasinski remnant). 4,000 people showed up to greet him. He spent most of the day going house to house among his followers. He told them he was not coming back to stay at present but he hoped to in the near future.

5,000 showed up for the Kolasinski picnic which took place at Burns Grove about 1.5 miles beyond the toll gate on Gratiot.

October 7, 1887 Anton Dlugi conducts a parade in the rain for Kolachy supporters. He was a good agitator and flamed the unrest of the Kolachy who were gullible and believed him when he said that he had met with the new Bishop Foley and that all would be well (which they took to mean Kolasinski would be reinstated.)

December 1, 1888 The new Bishop makes his second foray into the homes of the Kolasinskiites and successfully undermines Dlugi’s efforts.

[p.83 describes the dirty lives of the Poles as written in the Sunday News (early Dec 188?)]

**December 8, 1888 Fr. Kolasinski stepped through the gates of the Michigan Central depot at 7:30pm. He had returned. After dinner at Dlugi’s schoolhouse on Riopelle he met with a reporter from the Sunday News.

 

Chapter 4………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

December 9, 1888 Some 3,000 of Fr. K’s followers stood for hours outside the Dlugi house waiting to see him. Inside he conferred with his “lieutenants”.

Dlugi had been collecting money from Kolachy who were contributing to a fund to build a new church should Fr. K return. Dlugi opened the account in his own name (Wayne County Savings Bank). Fr. K and Dlugi had a clash of personalities and goals.

December 11, 1888 One of Fr. K’s lieutenants, Stanislaw Paszczykowski, filed a suit in Wayne County court to block Dlugi from taking possession of Kolachy funds. Dlugi denied that the funds were for a church and said they were his earned from school tuition and for religious services he performed. The court granted an injunction and he couldn’t touch the funds.

**December 15, 1888 Fr. K did meet with the Bishop at the Episcopal residence. (Looking daper p.86). Fr. K asked for a hearing and to have his case reopened. The bishop told him no, the case is closed and showed him to the door. It was a brief visit.

Dlugi had gotten a good deal of prestige and recognition for his efforts while Fr. K was in exile. He couldn’t adjust to a subordinate status and this caused problems between him and Fr. K. By the end of December and early January the rift became public and Fr. K dismissed Dlugi as school master and banished him from his fold.

1887 Polish Detroit Notes Monday, Oct 16 2006 

[Disclaimer statement] The information in this post was taken from Polish Detroit and the Kolasinski Affair by Lawrence D. Orton. In some cases the text was copied from the book, but most of it was paraphrased by me. You should not assume any information you find here is true. These are my working notes for a novel (a work of fiction) that I am writing and nothing more. If you want good, solid, well researched information on the subjects mentioned here you should get a copy of Polish Detroit and the Kolasinski Affair by Lawrence D. Orton (ISBN 0814316719 Wayne State Univ Pr (1981)). [End of statement]

1887

March 20, 1887 [Fifth Riot] Rumor had it that St. Albertus would reopen with a new Pastor. The Kolachy and Dabrowchy crowds gathered and a skirmish developed. Once again the police were called to get involved to disperse the crowd.

A few days later is was determined by the Dabrowchy and police that the way to end the rioting Kolachy was to land their leaders in jail.

**March 24, 1887 The police conducted night time raids arresting Kolachy Poles in bed and locking them up.

March 29, 1887 [John (Jan) Lipa died and was buried at Mt. Elliott Cemetery (need to veryify this).]

March 30, 1887 The arrested Kolachy came up for indictment in court. After 3 days of testimony, Justice Miner indicted all of them on the charges of rioting and assault and bound them over for trial. Only 3 came up with bail.

April 4, 1887 [Catherine LIPA died and was buried at Mt. Elliott Cemtery (need to verify this).]

**April 23, 1887   Bishop Borgess issues a decree that excommunicates all Poles not reconciled with the church. It was read at Mass at the Felician convent and printed in the German press the same day.

May 3, 1887 Borgess’ decree of excommunication is printed in the English press the same day that his resignation of the Detroit diocese was made public.

[p.73 cites 7 categories of offenders for excommunication. P.74 cites the 3 steps an excommunicated individual must take to be reunited with the church.] No reports of anyone doing this.

May 10, 1887 Bishop Borgess leaves office.

May 19, 1887 (Ascension Thursday) [Sixth riot] A Kolachy crowd (>1,000) gathers once again in front of the parish rectory wanting to expel the new pastor Fr. Bronikowski on rumors that Kolasinski was returning. The crowd was made up mostly of women who were forcibly dispersed by men until the police arrived.

June 1887 Fr. Wladyslaw Sebastyanski began six missions a day in an effort to reunite the Polish factions. He was a great orator and out Kolasinskied Kolasinski. The effort creschendowed on June 24 with 8,000 in attendance and almost every Kolachy present he appealed that they were all Poles and should they not occupy the church together? Yes! Was the reply.

June 24, 1887 Fr. Bronikowski spoke to a large crowd outside the church waiting for it to open. He announced it’s opening and when the crowd rejoiced he extolled the Kolachy to reconcile themselves or leave. About 3,000 people were in the vicinity of the church and the police were called again. 75 showed up. About 1pm Bronikowski opened the doors of St. Albertus that had been closed since Dec. 3, 1885. With virtually no violence, about 6,000 packed the church in harmony. No mass was said because the church was till under edict but Sebastyanski gave a sermon.

June 25, 1887 The temporary Bishop Joos formally lifted the edict and mass was said that same day. After that calm prevailed in the Polish community for a time.

1886 Polish Detroit Notes Monday, Oct 16 2006 

[Disclaimer statement] The information in this post was taken from Polish Detroit and the Kolasinski Affair by Lawrence D. Orton. In some cases the text was copied from the book, but most of it was paraphrased by me. You should not assume any information you find here is true. These are my working notes for a novel (a work of fiction) that I am writing and nothing more. If you want good, solid, well researched information on the subjects mentioned here you should get a copy of Polish Detroit and the Kolasinski Affair by Lawrence D. Orton (ISBN 0814316719 Wayne State Univ Pr (1981)). [End of statement]

1886

p.57 discusses the charges of immorality against Kolasinski in Poland (Zofia Czymara), revealed in January 1886. Zofia came with Kolasinski to New York and later followed him to Detroit where he installed her as mistress in his house but introduced her as his sister. Then she suddenly disappeared and he claims she went back to Poland.

January 25, 1886    [John (Jan) LIPA was born and baptized at St. Albertus Church.]

Kolasinski pretty much went into seclusion and was not seen for weeks (2) at a time through February and early March.

March 10, 1886 The bishop initiated steps to remove Kolasinski from the parish residence (beginning of Lent).

March 19, 1886 The civil trial against Kolasinski commenced. The jurors heard both sides and after ½ hour of deliberation they decided in favor of the complainant and Kolasinski was given 5 days to vacate the church premises. The bishop relented to avoid the fear of more violence and gave Kolasinski until April 4th to leave.

April 5, 1886   Father Kolasinski moved out of the residence reportedly to go to Berea, Ohio to visit his brother (also a priest) but actually he went to a pastoral post in the Dakota Territory with his exeat (defined on p. 60) in hand dated April 9, 1886 granted by Bishop Borgess. Supposedly he got the exeat when he gave his promise to the bishop that he would never return to Detroit if he were given the document clearing him of censure.

He did return to Detroit however, 2.5 years later.

July 8, 1886 The trial for Jan Lewicki began and lasted a week. When it ended in acquittal the Poles were unhappy and distrustful of the system. Afterwards the bishop suggested that he might reopen the church if the congregation would confess its guilt and promise amendment and obedience to ecclesiastical authority. It didn’t go over well.

August 16, 1886 [Fourth riot] (day following the bishop’s announcement) a large crowd of Kolachy gathered in front of St. Albertus. When the doors didn’t open as expected the crowd vented its wrath on the Felician Convent across the street, threatening sisters and throwing stones at the orphanage windows. The bishop drafted an edict of excommunication for the rebellious faction of St. Albertus parish but then he decided not to put the edict into action.

December 16, 1886 (1.5 years after laying the cornerstone) Dabrowski opened the first Polish seminary in the U.S. (SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary).

[The St. Albertus school was closed early on in the troubles and the children were taught by the Felician sisters at the convent. The children of the Kolasinski followers attended a private school on Riopelle run by Antoni Dlugi.]

1885 Polish Detroit Notes Monday, Oct 16 2006 

[Disclaimer statement] The information in this post was taken from Polish Detroit and the Kolasinski Affair by Lawrence D. Orton. In some cases the text was copied from the book, but most of it was paraphrased by me. You should not assume any information you find here is true. These are my working notes for a novel (a work of fiction) that I am writing and nothing more. If you want good, solid, well researched information on the subjects mentioned here you should get a copy of Polish Detroit and the Kolasinski Affair by Lawrence D. Orton (ISBN 0814316719 Wayne State Univ Pr (1981)). [End of statement]

1885

July 4, 1885 In spite of adverse economic conditions, the new St. Albertus Church opens on schedule. P. 36 PDKA.

October 1885 After 2 years of receiving complaints against Rev. Kolasinski including moral turpitude and charging excessive fees for performing funerals, marriages, etc., Bishop Borgess asks Kolasinski for a complete accounting. Kolasinski agrees but does not follow through.

November 1885 The Bishop orders Rev. Kolasinski to turn over all of the parish financial records.

November 29, 1885 During the sermon of the Mass, Rev. Kolasinski delivers a passionate denunciation to his accusers. After Mass he is confronted by the Bishop’s man but he refuses to hand over the parish books. P. 38 PDKA

November 30, 1885 Rev. Kolasinski meets personally with the Bishop and still refuses to turn over the parish financial books. So the Bishop suspends Kolasinski as a priest. P. 40 PDKA. Later the same day he appointed Rev. Jozef Dabrowski to be temporary pastor of St. Albertus.

From PDKA p. 41: “The overwhelming majority of the parishioners at St. Albertus Church were unaware of the gravity of the crisis developing between the priest and the parish elders on the one hand and the priest and his bishop on the other. The times were not good economically, and many of the most recent, unskilled immigrants had great difficulty obtaining even irregular unemployment as day laborers. But they were members of the “finest Polish Church in America” and their pastor’s elegant office and manner and his adherence to the ways of the old country provided them with a sense of familiarity and security in this strange new land. Understandably then, the news that the German Bishop (Borgess) had suspended “their” priest and directed him to leave the diocese brought anger to the Polish parishioners.”

December 1, 1885 [First Riot] Fr. Dabrowski attempted to say the 6am Mass at St. Albertus. When he ascended the altar to begin Mass he was seized and held by one man and bodily ejected from the church by a group of women. “Out with him! We want our own priest!” was their cry. Within a few minutes the church was emptied and the doors locked.

The excited parishioners, whose numbers quickly swelled as new of the incident spread, continued to mill about outside the church. Then the police were summoned and about 7am the scene got ugly. One woman rushed upon the police using an umbrella as a weapon and was taken off to the station. The confrontation continued for some time and then Fr. Dabrowski reappeared only to be charged once again by the women. By 9am Captain Mack of the Gratiot Ave police station decided to disperse the crowd. When the police charged a wild scene ensued. Woman fought like tigers using umbrellas and their fists against the police. After a 20 minute melee the fight was over and the police gained control. The crowd began to disperse but some small groups of Poles still lingered. Fr. Kolasinski then arrived and told the people, “Go home. I am here now and will remain your advisor while this trouble lasts.” Then he held out his hands and the women gathered around and eagerly kissed them and then left for home contented. P. 42 PDKA.

December 2, 1885 [Second Riot] When Dabrowski and his assistant Jaworski again made their way from the Felician convent to St. Albertus’s Church to celebrate early Mass, they were escorted by 6 policemen. The crowd was even larger than the day before and composed mostly of women who “hissed and tooted and liberally pelted the priests and police with chunks of mud and bits of gravel”. Twice the priests were forced back from the entrance by the enraged women who “bit and clawed and slapped like the very devils” before police were able to clear a path into the church. Within the church, the sacred walls resounded with cat-calls and shouts of anger” and the scene was bedlam. When a group of women made a rush toward the altar, the two priests and their escort were forced to escape into the vestry where they awaited the arrival of additional police. Finally with over 30 policemen in the aisles, Dabrowski and Jaworski went through the motions of celebrating mass, despite the intense shouting. But when the two priests left the church they were once again pelted with stones and other missiles. Though he would nominally remain pastor of St. Albertus for over a year and a half, this was the only time Fr. Dabrowski actually celebrated mass there.

As on the previous day, Kolasinski arrived a couple of hours later and stood before his flock at the entrance to the parsonage where he was still living. Again he advised his people to disperse to their homes. “The people crowded about thim and bestowed all manner of endearing treatment upon him, even to kissing his hand and the clothes that he wore.”

Just as the day before, a hostile crowd (estimated at a1000) milled around Z

oltowski’s home and store on Hastings Street. The grocer (who was among Kolasinski’s accusers) took the precaution of boarding up the building and remaining out of sight. P.44 PDKA

December 3, 1885 A crowd of predominantly women gathered for early Mass at St. Albertus once again but Fr. Dabrowski made no attempt to say mass and the crowd dispersed.

Kolasinski who still had the church keys in his possession made no attempt to defy the bishop and hold serviced himself. He continued to urge his supporters to remain peaceful.

Kolasinski retained attorney John B. Corliss.

On the same date, the Evening News carried a front-page report to the effect that, in addition to the charges of insubordination and mishandling parish funds, the bishop had in his possession two notarized affidavits containing accusation of sexual misconduct by Kolasinski. The newspaper had obtained the details of the charges, surprisingly, from Kolasinski himself who reportedly had been apprised of them by the chancery.

First affidavit made by Tomasz Z

oltowski alleged that the priest had had “illicit intercourse” with a certain Franciszka Danielska who had confessed the matter to Fr. Gutowski of St. Casimir’s Church.

The second affidavit was brought by Emil Niedomanski and alleged intimacy between the priest and the daughter of a Polish family on Dubois Street.

Kolasinski denied the charges and discovered that Zoltowski had bribed Danielska to sign the affidavit. She and Z

oltowski later retracted their charges. P. 47 PDKA

Bishop Borgess refused to give Kolasinski a hearing until he surrendered everything in connection with the church to him. He was immovable and unwilling to negotiate.

Kolasinski refused to surrender the parish financial books (but did show them to a reporter for a newspaper) until a formal ecclesiastical investigation of the charges against him was undertaken because the books were his only defense.

December 4, 1885 (Friday) Bishop Borgess made an official decree of interdiction on St. Albertus Church banning all further religious functions.

p.48 PDKA describes the tenacity of the Polish women to go to the church daily to keep other priests from saying Mass.

December 17, 1885 Kolasinski met with Bishop Borgess but no resolution to the conflict could be found. The priest insisted that the charges against him were unfounded and that he must be reinstated before a formal investigation was conducted. The bishop refused to alter his stance.

***A sharp polarization of attitudes was emerging within the Polish community. The Galicians became identified as “Kolachy” and the Prussians as “Dabrochy”.

From the Evening News…

The people who caused the exciting scenes… were all Galicians. There are about 500 families of these people in the parish. They have come principally during the past two years of Fr. Kolasinski’s pastorate. They represent the poorest class of the Polish people in Detroit, and in this respect they hold he same position as they did in their native province of Cracow. … Cracow is also the native place of Fr. Kolasinski. Hence the affiliations of the priest and this portion of his congregation are complete. Their condition in their native country was one of abject slavery. Without a master they would not feel content, and so they render to Kolasinski the same homage which formerly they gave t the nobleman who allowed them to till his land in Europe and in return provided for their existence. That they still retain many of their customs and habits is quite evident. The practice of kissing his hands and garments is a tribute they formerly paid to their masters. I signifies nothing in this free country except they most abject subjection of the people and a repulsive vanity in the priest who accepts it.

December 22, 1885 The Free Press reported that a gang of about 50 ruffians threatened to beat up Fr. Dabrowski and staged an ugly demonstration outside the home of Jan Lemke (who was outspokenly pro-Dabrowski). P. 50 PDKA.

December 24, 1885 Father Dabrowski said mass at the Felician Convent for about 50 people. About the same number of Kolachy were outside and made jeers. The police came and the people dispersed without a fight.

December 25, 1885 About 4am parishioners began to gather outside St. Albertus expecting the church to be opened for Christmas morning mass (even though it was advertised that it wouldn’t be). By 5am the crowd was estimated to be 800 men women & children. The crowed swelled to several thousand and when the doors didn’t open for the Christmas morning mass the crowd decided to march downtown to the Episcopal residence to demand that mass be allowed to be said in their church.

The group broke into sections for the march and all converged on the bishop’s residence about 9am.

The bishop ignored the crowd and left by the back way to say mass at St. Joseph German Church as he had planned. When the crowd heard of this they took it as a rejection and set out to confront the bishop at St. Joseph church, their number then about 3,000. When they arrived there they were rebuffed by church members and told to go to their own church. Rebuffed at every turn, many of the women began to cry, hurt and frustrated were they that they were barred from celebrating the day of Christ’s birth according to their religious training. The men consoled them and they walked back to St. Aubin and Fremont and dispersed.

By 2pm a crowd of about 400 reassembled at St. Aubin and Willis in front of the saloon and grocery owned by Jan Lemke and his sons. For several hours verbal abuse was directed at the house and from time to time objects were thrown at it. About 5pm a youth aged about fifteen ran up to the Lemke’s door and kicked it. It was immediately opened and one of Jan Lemke’s sons, Bazyli came out holding a revolver, while others were seen standing behind him. He fired 4 shots into the crowd. One hit Jan Lewicki striking him above the left eye and killing him instantly. Another shot grazed a woman standing nearby.

The police then forcibly entered the house and arrested everyone except the elder Lemke since no one would admit to the killing. The dead Pole was in his mid twenties and left a pregnant wife. Lived in a shanty on Garfield. He was not aligned with either Dabrowski or Kolasinski. He was an unskilled day laborer.

December 26, 1885 A crowd of about 2,000 gathered at the church and moved on to the nearby house and grocery of Tomasz Zoltowski throwing stones, bricks, and frozen mud breaking all the windows. After a time, Z

oltowski appeared at an upstairs window and fired 2 shots from a Winchester into the air. A police presence of upwards of 100 men couldn’t dissipate the crowd but was able to move it to another street.

Lay Catholics blamed the bishop for the mob scene on Christmas Day saying that if he had given an audience to the Poles who came to his residence the violence could have been avoided. He countered by having his representative reveal that Kolasinski had been tried for immorality charges previously in Poland.

Kolasinski kept a quiet profile not appearing in public during this time. He did grant interviews to the press who he charmed.

December 29/30, 1885 A cororner’s inquest could not determine who shot Jan Lewicki so but it was determined that Bazyli, his brother Aleksander, and August Steiber fired shots so all were charged. They were tried about 6 months later and all were acquitted.

The New Year came in relatively quietly in the Polish neighborhood and there were no more riots during the time Kolasinski remained in residence.

1884 Polish Detroit Notes Monday, Oct 16 2006 

[Disclaimer statement] The information in this post was taken from Polish Detroit and the Kolasinski Affair by Lawrence D. Orton. In some cases the text was copied from the book, but most of it was paraphrased by me. You should not assume any information you find here is true.  These are my working notes for a novel (a work of fiction) that I am writing and nothing more. If you want good, solid, well researched information on the subjects mentioned here you should get a copy of Polish Detroit and the Kolasinski Affair by Lawrence D. Orton (ISBN 0814316719 Wayne State Univ Pr (1981)). [End of statement]

1884

February 14, 1884  Kolasinski and parish committee members sign a contract to build a new church (even though they did not yet have the Bishop’s approval).

May 1884  Bishop Borgess finally gives his approval for Rev. Kolasinski to build his church.

May 1884  The New York Stock Exchange collapses resulting in panic and a 2-year depression. High unemployment. P. 35 PDKA.

1883 Polish Detroit Notes Monday, Oct 16 2006 

[Disclaimer statement] The information in this post was taken from Polish Detroit and the Kolasinski Affair by Lawrence D. Orton. In some cases the text was copied from the book, but most of it was paraphrased by me. You should not assume any information you find here is true.  These are my working notes for a novel (a work of fiction) that I am writing and nothing more. If you want good, solid, well researched information on the subjects mentioned here you should get a copy of Polish Detroit and the Kolasinski Affair by Lawrence D. Orton (ISBN 0814316719 Wayne State Univ Pr (1981)). [End of statement]

1883

February 6, 1883  St. Albertus committee members write a letter to Bishop Borgess about concerns about Rev. Kolasinski plans to build a new church too expensive for the parish. A few days later Rev. Kolasinski wrote the Bishop claiming parishioner interference.

« Previous PageNext Page »