Sunday, April 23, 2017

The Czachorowskys | From Prussia to Chicago: Paulina Czachorowsky

The Czachorowskys are a conundrum. They seem to simply 'appear' in Chicago around 1868. Claiming to be from Prussia I have yet to determine their actual origins. Or their point of entry into the United States. Or why they chose Chicago. As I set out to research one family I discovered others. Curiosity getting the best of me, this turned into the study of five Czachorowsky families living in Chicago c. 1870.  It is my hope with this series to make some discoveries to either link these families together, or prove they are not related. This is a real-time research project, I have not worked on this cluster before. I plan to share my discoveries and my frustrations in hopes that more eyes on the evidence will result in some sound conclusions. Join me as I explore these families, maybe we'll make some discoveries together!

her life and times

"Born under a bad sign
Been down since I began to crawl
If it wasn't for bad luck, you know I wouldn't have no luck at all"

Paulina Czachorowsky 'spinster' sister of Anton, decided to leave her homeland of Neu Szwederowo, Prussia at the age of 33 and try her luck in America. Her brother and family were planning to start a new life in a place called Chicago, Illinois. 

Departing Hamburg, Germany
The group boarded a large sailing ship named the "Shakspeare' owned by the Robert M  Sloman shipping company. They departed on August 6th 1868 from Hamburg, Germany and arrived 34 days later, on September 9th 1868, in the port of New York. From there the group; Paulina, her brother Anton and his wife Maria, children Franz, age 7; Pauline, age 3; Maria, age 2; and Bernhard, age 9 mos; plus Anton's mother in law, Anna; somehow made their way to Chicago.

Arriving in New York, New York
The extended family settled in a house on south Morgan. And began to adapt to life in their new homeland.

Paulina did not have to wait long to find a husband. On June 22nd 1871 she married a very recent widower named Nicholas Ballmann. The couple married at St Frances of Assisi church on 12th street, a quick streetcar ride from Anton's home on south Morgan.

The marriage was perhaps bittersweet, and a foretelling of life to come. Nicholas had lost his wife to complications of childbirth 4 months earlier. Then, just two weeks before the wedding, Nicholas buried the infant son of that birth, who was only 5 months old. This was Nicholas' seventh child, the wedding necessary, perhaps. Paulina became a new bride and instant mother to Nicholas' six remaining young children; John, age 9; Joseph, age 7; twins Hubbard and Anna, age 5; Mary, age 3; and Nick, age 2.

The large family resided on Barber Street - just five blocks from brother Anton's residence. Paulina undoubtedly began immediately to manage the household and children so that husband Nicholas could resume his own responsibilities. As things began to settle into routine for this new family they, like the rest of the Czachorowskys, had an unasked for front row seat to the Great Chicago Fire that raged for almost two days later that year, in early October 1871. Miraculously everyone survived. Perhaps the family had suffered enough loss for one lifetime already .....

c 1880 Chicago Street Scene
In April of 1872 Paulina gave birth to her first child, and the family added a daughter, Juliana, to the brood. In late 1873 or early 1874 Paulina became pregnant for the second time. While busying herself with preparations for the new child, due in late summer 1874, her first child, Juliana died. The family buried their little sister on July 25th 1874. Eleven days later Paulina gave birth to her second daughter, Helena. Another bittersweet moment in Paulina's life.

On January 3 1877 Paulina gave birth once more, to her third daughter, Margaret. The Ballmann household now consisted of eight children! The two older boys by this time may have been employed outside the home, so many mouths to feed!

This time of calm would not last, unfortunately. Fate was not done with the Ballmann's. The entire decade of the 80's brought it's share of happiness and heartache.

Union Station Chicago c. 1880
The summer of 1881 was particularly cruel for Paulina and Nicholas. First, on May 16th baby Margaret died. The family buried her with the others in St Boniface cemetery. A little over three weeks later they buried son Hubbard, a young man of 15. Paulina's brother Anton buried a child that summer also.

1884 opened with son John marrying Delia Kelly on the 10th of June. That joy was short lived as son Joseph was buried in August of 1884. He was 20 years old.

Chicago World's Fair 1893

The family buried John's wife Delia in September of 1888. She was 25 years old.

Son Nick was wed to Matilda "Tillie" Hasse on January 22nd 1891. Surely a happy occasion! Not to be - John, nick's brother and young widower of Delia, died and was buried in February 1891, three weeks after his brother's wedding.

Nicholas' time came on the 12th of March 1896. Paulina, buried him with all the children at St Boniface cemetery. He was 61 years old.

Peering in to the new century, hope and optimism on the horizon, Nick Jr and his wife Tillie gave Paulina a granddaughter in August of 1897.

Daughter Helena "Helen" married William Vincent between 1900 and 1910. Paulina is last found in the 1901 Chicago city directory. The next time she shows up is on the 1910 census, residing with Vincents.

Paulina in the 1899 Chicago City Directory - John came back from the dead!

1910 Census - Paulina with daughter Helena and son in law William Vincent

It looks as thought the dawn of the 20th century brought a time of calm and relative peace to Paulina and the remainder of her family. Paulina continued to reside in the home of Helen and Vincent until her death

Paulina died August 7th 1921 and is buried with the rest of her family at St Boniface Cemetery in Chicago. She was 85 years old.


Paulina Czachorowsky b. 7 Sep 1835 Prussia
                                       d. 9 Aug 1921 Illinois
                                       m. 22 Jun 1971 Nicholas Ballmann - widower

step children:

  • John Ballmann b. abt 1862 d. 17 Feb 1891 m. to Delia Kelly (no issue)
  • Joseph Ballmann b. abt 1864 d. 15 Aug 1884
  • Anna Ballmann b. abt 1866 d. UNK (twin)
  • Hubbard Ballmann b. abt 1866 d. 8 Jun 1881 (twin)
  • Mary Ballmann b. abt 1867 d. UNK
  • Nick Ballmann b. Apr 1868 d. UNK m. Matilda Hasse
  • Henry Ballmann b. Jan 1871 d. 12 Jun 1871

Paulina's natural children:
  • Juliana Ballmann b. 11 Apr 1872 d. 25 Jul 1874
  • Helena Ballmann b. 5 Aug 1874 d. 17 Jan 1943 m. William Vincent (no issue)
  • Margaret Ballmann b. 9 Jan 1877 d. 16 May 1881

until next time .............

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