The American Pilewski Family

The following information was collected by my son, Michael John Pilewski, and much of it comes from his researching of microfilmed copies of records at the Mormon Genealogical Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Wladyslaw Pilewski appears to have been the first Pilewski to have emigrated to America from Poland in 1892 or 1895. He went by a variety of names: Wadis, Wallace, Walter, and, as we discovered only recently, Philip. He was born in 1859, 1861, 1863, 1869, 1870, or 1871, and in March or May, depending on the source. He was born in Skepe, grew up in Plock, and traveled to America via Bremen and Baltimore, Maryland. He established himself in Oil City, Pennsylvania, where he worked on the railroad his entire life. In 1893, he married Katarzyna Buriak, also called Katerina, Katia, or Catherine. On 25 October 1911, Wladyslaw filed a declaration of intention to become a United States citizen. He is described as being 5 feet 5 inches tall (165 cm), weighing 145 lbs (66 kg), and having brown hair and gray eyes. Waldyslaw and Katarzyna had four children: Michael, Leo, Joseph, and my father, John Walter Pilewski. On 15 September 1923, Wladyslaw was killed in an accident while working on the railroad.

The younger brothers ofWladyslaw, Maryan (1879 - 1955), and Ignacz (1891 ?), came to Oil City in 1906 and lived with their brother for a few years. Ignacz disappeared around 1910, but Maryan remained in Oil City. Mary an, later called Marion, was born in Skepe. He received his education and compulsory training in the Russian Infantry during the Russian-Japanese War of 1904. Together with his 16- year-old brother, Ignacy, he traveled to the United States on the S.S.Amerika, leaving Hamburg, Germany on 20 June 1906 and arriving in New York City on 1 July 1906. The two brothers are listed together on the passenger record and were carrying $54. Maryan was unable to read or write, but Ignacy was literate. Maryan was first employed by the Oil City Boiler Works as a laborer in 1906. On 3 May 1923, Maryan filed a declaration of intention to become a United States citizen. On the application, he is described as being 5 feet 7 inches (170 cm) tall, weighing 135 lbs (61 kg), with gray hair and brown eyes. Since 1917, he had been employed by the Oil Well Supply Company as a laborer in the foundry. He retired in 1945 and died ten years later.

Another brother of Wladyslaw, Jan Pilewski, was born in Skepe on 26 January 1889. He came to the United States at the age of 18, traveling via Bremen and New York. He called himself John Pilewskie. In Oil City, Pennsylvania, he found work with the Pennsylvania Railroad. He was employed as a section foreman until his retirement in 1961. Two years after his arrival in the United States, he married Ewa Soboczynska. On 16 June 1915, John filed a declaration of intention to become a United States citizen. The declaration describes him as being 5 feet 6 inches (168 cm) tall, weighing 158 lbs. (72 kg), and having brown hair and blue eyes. His wife, Ewa, was unhappy and tragically homesick for Poland. The couple did travel back to Poland together at least once via Danzig on 17 September 1920. However, Ewa immediately returned to her hometown of Kukowo, taking her unborn child with her, and remained there until her death from tuberculosis a few months later. One year later, John remarried. His new wife was Thecla Amelia Huefner of Bavaria. On 17 September 1970, when he was 81 years old, John fell from a ladder while painting his house, and died three days later.

We have limited information on the other brothers who came to America.

Franciszek (1861-1936) traveled back and forth between the United States and Poland. Pawel (1873-?) emigrated to the United States 26 February 1900 and found work as a laborer in Hyde Park, New York. Stefan was born in 1883 in Koczewo and emigrated on 13 January 1909 to Oil City, Pennsylvania. Edmund (1896-early 1950s) emigrated on 4 November 1913 to Oil City, Pennsylvania, and then moved to Buffalo, New York.

Norbert Pilewski

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