Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.


Morning Star, October 7, 2007, pg. 12

You are invited to come to my annual Riverside Cemetery tour on Sunday, October 14 at 1:30 pm. This year we will be featuring the Catholic Section of the cemetery. The tour will begin at the former fishpond in the center of the cemetery. Take the middle entrance off M-99 to get there. Admission is free and is open to all ages. Tour program booklets will be available at a nominal fee. This event is sponsored by the Community Enrichment program of the Albion Public Schools. The list of names we will be featuring is published on the www.Albionmich.com website. Just click on my name on the right and then scroll down to the news release on my page.

One person we will be featuring will be John Klimkiewicz (1883-1953), a Polish immigrant who worked 46 years as a molder at the Albion Malleable Iron Company. John was typical of the hundreds of southern and eastern Europeans who came to make Albion their home in the early 20th century as they started their new life here in America. Those who came from predominately Roman Catholic countries such as Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, and Poland generally became members of our local St. John’s Catholic Church and some of their descendants are still members there today.

A native of Lagow, Poland, John arrived in America at New York on the ship Amsterdam on May 15, 1907 and went right to work at the Malleable. He worked there the rest of his life for a total of 46 years, until his retirement in July, 1953--just five months before his death.

John married Ludwika Romanowski (1884-1956) in Marshall on December 5, 1908. Their marriage began with a bizarre twist, and this is where their Catholic faith played a part. The Marshall Chronicle reported at the time: (I’ve corrected the spellings here) “John Klimkiewicz and Miss Ludwika Romanoswki of Albion, who were married last Saturday, by Justice Hayes in Marshall may be married again. Both are Catholics and it is against the rules of the church to be married in Advent or Lent. Advent began November 30 and expires with Christmas. The couple could not wait till Christmas and consequently had the knot tied. Another wedding may occur after Christmas. Mr. Hayes did not know they were Catholics until after he had married them. They are legally married as far as the state is concerned. The church however recognizes no marriages not performed by the priest.”

Despite this initial “snag,” their marriage was quite successful, and the couple raised several children. John and Ludwika lived at 910 N. Albion St., in the heart of “hunkytown” as it became know. There are still descendants living in our area today. If you are descended from John, or others I will be featuring, please show up at the tour and be ready to say some nice things to our crowd of attendees about your ancestor when we get to their gravesite.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a photograph of John upon his retirement from the Malleable in 1953.

John Klimkiewicz (1883-1953)

Next: OCTOBER 1907

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