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                        John and Veronica Pankowski

John Pankowski was born in Poland on October 26, 1877.  John's wife Veronica Gminski was born in Germany 
on October 9, 1879.  

The Journey to America 
 In 1883, when she was four years old, Veronica immigrated to the United States with her parents, John and 
Augusta Gminski.  In 1885, when he was eight years old, John immigrated to the United States with his parents, 
John and Josephine (Jozefa) Pankowski.  

Their Church The Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Cleveland, Ohio (from the book; People of 
Faith, published by the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. 
The Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish was founded in May 1894 by Father Anton F. Kolaszewski, a former 
pastor of St. Stanislaus Parish.  Bishop Horstmann relieved Father Kolaszewski of his pastoral duties in 1892, 
and when the church refused to reinstate him as pastor, Father Kolaszewski and approximately twenty percent 
of his former parishioners decided to form an independent church.  Despite warnings and later 
excommunication, the community proceeded with its plans.  By June, land had been acquired for a church and 
acreage was secured for the parish's cemetery.  

Father Kolaszewski and the editor of the Polish-language newspaper, Jutrzenka, called for the establishment of 
a new religious denomination.  To be composed of dissatisfied Catholics, regardless of nationality, the body 
was to be called the American Catholic Church.  On the morning of August 19, 1894, the first Immaculate Heart 
of Mary Church was dedicated.  That afternoon, while returning from the cemetery's dedication, the members 
of Immaculate Heart Parish confronted a crowd of parishioners from St. Stanislaus Church.  A riot broke out 
and two supporters of Father Kolaszewski were injured.  During the next few days, the new community hosted a 
convention of independent Polish clergy,the nucleus of the American Catholic Church.  

John and Veronica's Marriage 
John Pankowski and Veronica Gminski were married in the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Cleveland 
Ohio by Father Kolaszewski, on September 14, 1896.  John was 18 years old, Veronica was 16 years old.  

The Church Fire (from the book; People of Faith, published by the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. 
In May 1908 the church and school sustained a major fire that came close to destroying the property.  Many 
church records were lost in this fire.  In contrast to this tragedy, the efforts of the Diocesan Administrator, 
succeeded in bring Father Kolaszewski and his congregation into the Cleveland Diocese.  On September 15, 
1908, the parish property was transferred to the Diocese and Father Kolasewski resigned his pastorate.

John and Veronica's First Child
On June 26, 1897, John and Veronica's first child, Mary Elizabeth was born.

The House on South Willson
The June 5, 1900 Census listed John and Veronica's address as 239 South Willson, Cleveland Ohio.  They 
owned this home on South Willson.  John worked as a Laborer in a Blast Furnace.  Veronica ran the household 
and took care of their two year old daughter Mary Elizabeth.  Both John and Veronica could read and write and 
both spoke English.  

Three More Children
On November 8, 1900, Ann was born, on February 9, 1906, Joseph was born and on May 14, 1912, Helen Eve 
was born.

The Divorce 
Sometime after the birth of their daughter Helen, John and Veronica were divorced.  The city of Cleveland 
recorded their divorce and then lost the divorce record.

John's Death
On April 17, 1917, at age 39 John Pankowski died of Tuberculosis Pneumonia.   His doctor listed exhaustion as 
a contributing cause of death.  At the time he died John was living with his father, John at 6919 Fullerton 
Avenue.  He was buried at St. Mary's, E 71, Cuyahoga Hts Ohio.   

Mary's Wedding
Daughter Mary married Henry John Peter Nettgen on October 15, 1919.  

Sharing a Home with Another Widow
The January 19, 1920 census listed Veronica's address as 4271 East 96th Street.  Veronica was now forty-one 
years old.  She worked at home as a seamstress.  Her daughter Ann was nineteen and working as an assembler 
in an Auto Parts Company.  Son Joseph was thirteen and daughter Helen was seven.  They lived with Tillie 
Spenser and her six children. 

Veronica's Death 
On December 20, 1947, Veronica died.  The doctor didn't know what she died of but thought it was probably a 
Coronary Occlusion.  She was 68 years old.  She was buried at St. Mary's, E 71, Cuyahoga Hts Ohio.