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 1881, when she was a year 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 ____________________
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 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.
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.
The above information on the Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish was taken from the book; People of Faith, published by the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Nettgen Genealogy (http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~dnettgen)
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