HISTORY AND EARLY MEMORIES OF
THE MARTIN ZUKOWSKI FAMILY
Clark County, Wisconsin
Contributed by Robert K. Zukowski
The Zukowski Family
Sitting in the forefront, L > R: Frances, Frank, Tillie & Martin
Standing in the rear: John, Emily, Peter, Jennie, Louis, Mary & George
Grandpa Maciej (Martin) Zukovski, an only child, was born on May 15, 1851, in Komarowka., Poland. He married Franciszka (Frances) Kalicki, who was born in Poland., birthplace unknown., on September 8, 1855. They were married in Poland in 1878. To this union eleven children were born. Two sons., Paul and Peter., died in Poland. They later named another son Peter. All the children were born in Poland except the eleventh one.
Poland was partitioned for the first time in 1772. Russia took a slice in eastern Poland, Austria took the middle, and Prussia took land in the west. To the north was the Baltic Sea. Poland was subsequently partitioned again in 1793, 1795, and for the last time in 1939.
Grandpa Martin as a young man worked in the salt mines in the Russian sector of divided Poland. He was allowed home on break to visit his family. He vowed never to return. He packed up his family of eight children and along with Grandma left at night for the Prussian sector hiding in the marshes by day and traveling at night. The Russians were out looking for him since he was absent from his work in the salt mines. Grandpa at this time was fifty years of age., and Grandma was forty-five. It was early summer in the year 1901.
It is unknown how passage to the United States to Ellis Island was paid for. It is also unknown how the parents managed to keep their eight children fed and quiet as they made their way. It can be assumed that Divine Providence guided their way and kept them safe and sound.
Somehow the family made it to Thorp., Wisconsin. Grandpa bought a farm five miles north of present-day Thorp. It was in Taylor County and later was known as the Wyszowaty farm. Tillie was born there in 1901.
Grandpa and his sons worked in a sawmill called Whipple Dam across the Taylor County line on the north fork of the Eau Claire River. After working at the sawmill for five years and faming also., the farm was sold and another farm purchased about six miles northeast of Thorp in the Township of Withee, Section 25, near Pineland School. That farm was situated on what today is known as Pine Road. They farmed here for several years. Today that farm is in the Marek name.
The Lombard Tavern & Grocery Store
Life was significantly changed one day when Grandpa Martin stopped for a drink at what was called Lombard. The Soo (Sioux) Line Railroad authorities named it Lombard. It had a siding for loading logs and lumber. There was also a siding at Sterling one mile farther east of Lombard. Bogumill's Tavern was on Lombard Corner., also known as Bogumill's Corner, located three miles east of Thorp on what is now County X. The Lombard siding consisted of a store, a tavern, and a farm. One of the customers who chanced to be in the tavern when Grandpa stopped suggested that he (Grandpa) buy the place. Grandpa asked Mr. Bogumill if he would sell, and Mr. Bogumill said., "Sure." They agreed on a price. Also in the tavern at the time was a Mr. Anyzewski, a well-to-do man. Grandpa asked Mr. Anyzewski right then and there for a thousand dollars as a down payment to give to Mr. Bogumill.
The Martin Zukowski family moved to Lombard in 1916. The oldest, son, George, along with his family, tended the business for a few years with Grandpa and then bought his own fare a mile north of Lombard.
Original Zukowski Home at Lombard before it burned to the ground (circa 1931)
The establishment had been known as "Lombard Store & Tavern" up to that time. From 1916-1925 it was called "Lombard Store & Tavern, M. Zukowski & Sons." From 1925 until Grandpa died in 1938 it was known as "Lombard Store & Tavern, M. Zukowski & Son," the son being Louis. Grandpa was predeceased by Grandma fifteen years earlier in 1923.
There was nothing but prosperity in the Lombard venture. Grandpa ran the till. Uncle Louie ran the store and tavern. The sons which were home at the time did the field work and loaded logs and bolts. The daughters along with Grandma took care of the domestic duties and also most of the milking. They all had their specific jobs and did them well.
Grandpa was an aristocratic man wearing Sunday clothes everyday. He always wore a suit with a vest highlighted with a gold chain complete with watch and fob, After suffering so in the salt mines he deserved to have some luxury. It is said he was diabetic., but he still lived to a good age. Grandma was a very gentle woman whose day started at 3:30 AM to begin the homemade bread process. She was a good cook serving tasty, substantial meals. Her death at age sixty-eight left a huge void in the family.
Disaster which later led to fortunate circumstances of improvement occurred when the old barn burned down from spontaneous combustion caused by the crop of' millet stored as hay. Grandpa rebuilt the barn and silos which are still standing today as are the machine shed and granary.
The house and tavern burned down also in 1931 or 1932 at which time the new house-grocery store-tavern were erected. It was during the time of the Great Depression, and the new structure cost $11,000.00. It consisted of two stories with a spacious living room with a fireplace and adjoining sun room, a very large kitchen., an extra large dining room, a sewing room, two baths, and several bedrooms. The main entrance was accented by large, white pillars outside which led to a foyer which opened onto both the upstairs and to the living room. The floors always shone like glass, and the furniture was of excellent quality. The tavern and grocery were connected while maintaining separate entities. All in all the entire edifice was fit for royalty.
New Zukowski home/grocery store - July 1940
Photos courtesy of Dorothy Zukowski Sutton
At Lombard the family had four house dogs who were a bit uncomfortable around children. Their names were Chi-Chi, Topsy., and Coala who was as sleek and black as coal. The fourth's name cannot be remembered. Outside lived a Border Collie for bringing home the cows for milking. His name is also not remembered. Sparky, a German Shepherd, stayed behind the bar with Uncle Louis during the day. At night Sparky was tied up outside where he performed as a terrific watchdog.
By 1929 all the sons and daughters were married and gone except Louis, Emily, and Tillie. The three stayed home to run the business and farm along with their father. Emily died in 1936 as the age of thirty-six. Grandpa Died in 1938 at age eighty-seven leaving Louis and Tillie to continue the venture along with hired men.
One such hired man was Mike Kalicki, nephew of Grandma and cousin to all the Zukowski offspring. Mike was the farm boss and stayed with the family at Lombard beginning in 1919 when he returned home from the Army serving overseas in World War I. Mike and cousin Peter left together for the War, and by the grace of God both returned. Mike was employed the longest of any hired help. He worked until 1954 when the business was sold to Berlie and Ethel Jennings. Mike then moved to Schiller Park, Illinois.
The second longest hired hand at Lombard was Ed O'Konski. Another man who worked briefly was interestingly enough an Indian by the name of Jim Mustache. His Indian name was Chief Running Elk, member of the Turtle Clan of the Chippewa Tribe which holds annual powwows at Black River Falls. He later settled in Hayward, Wisconsin, with his Polish wife. Grandson Robert (Peter's son) and family came upon Jim Mustache while touring the Indian village at Hayward where Jim happened to be one of the guides. What a small world to meet him after all these years! Chief Running Elk perched his bonnet on Robert's head and together they posed for a picture. Running Elk had a great admiration for Polish people in general as his experience as a hired hand at Lombard had been very positive.
In 1954 Louis and Tillie moved to a house on Lake Wissota in Chippewa Falls. They also maintained a lovely home on Long Lake in Iron River, Wisconsin. Uncle Louie died in 1957 at the age of sixty-eight. Aunt Tillie then sold the property on Lake Wissota and bought a home on East Rusch Street in Thorp., Wisconsin, where she lived until her death in 1967 at age sixty-five.
1920 Uncle Louie with white suspenders and dark tie behind the bar at Lombard Tavern. Customers probably from the Sterling sawmill one mile east of Lombard.
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