52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 26 – 2019
I always wondered about my family’s naming patterns. Some families name their children in a certain sequence, honoring grandparents, aunts and uncles, my family sporadically sprinkles family names. My Maternal grandfather, Michael Martin was the first child of William and Teresa (Fitzgerald) Scieszinski, born January 1905. Michael is a family name on both sides, also the name of his maternal Grandfather. Martin, was the name of his paternal great grandfather. Piecing together family history is much like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, the edges are clean, however, the middle gets muddy.
Stories were told that my Grandfather’s paternal great-grandfather, Martin Ciskey, was buried alive in a well accident, date unknown. As I pieced together family history documents, my grandfather’s paternal great-grandmother, Catherine Augusta (Barks) Ciskey is listed as a widowed, head of household in the 1880 federal census. She is living with her sons August and Michael, his wife Kate, and their 2-year-old daughter Mary. At that point I know Martin died before 1880. Catherine Augusta is also listed in the 1885 Iowa state census, still living with her two sons and now three grandchildren. (Her oldest son Michael would die of Typhoid Fever in August of 1885 at the age of 36, leaving a widow Catherine (Kate) age 26 and 4 children.)
Known Timeline Martin Ciskey
- 1848 – birth son Michael (Ciska) in France (location per 1880 Census)
- 1853 Feb. 6 – birth daughter Mary in Germany
- 1855 Feb. – birth son Augustus in France or Germany ( Per multiple Census records.)
- abt 1858 Immigration – lived in Ohio, Indiana & Illinois before settling in Iowa.
- 1870 Feb. 5 – Rock Island, IL daughter Mary married Anistasius Scieszinski
- 1870 Aug. 15 – daughter Mary listed in Federal Census in Rock Island, IL with husband Anistasius. Martin not listed.
- 1870 Aug. 20 Wayne, Township, Monroe County Federal Census, Martin not listed.
- 1871 daughter Mary, her husband Anistasius and newborn son Frank (born Jan 7, 1871 in Rock Island, IL.) move to Wayne Township, Monroe County, Iowa.
- 1875 Dec. 22 – Monroe County Iowa, son Michael married Catherine Cullinan, daughter of Pierce & Martha (Donnelly) -married Aug. 14, 1854 in Jackson County, Ohio, living in Monroe County, IA for 1870 Aug. 20 Census)
- 1880 Federal Census Wayne Township, Monroe County, Iowa – wife Cathirine Augusta Barks listed as widow, living with sons, daughter in law and granddaughter, Mary.
Newspapers would provide the clue as to when Martin died; I’m lucky that I have my cousin Deb, who scans old Iowa newspapers for family clues!
Iowa Voter, Knoxville, IA – November 17, 1870
From the same paper (The Albia Union, last Thursday) we learn that on the 5th Inst. an old German named Cisky, three miles north of Melrose, Monroe County, was buried alive by the caving in of a well while he was at work in it. He died before he could be extricated.
Tama County Republican, November 24, 1870, ALL OVER IOWA
On the 5th inst a well in Wayne township, Monroe county, caved in on the owner, a German named Cisky, and buried him alive. Of course, he was dead when rescued. –We learn from the Union.
Dubuque Daily Times, Sunday, Nov 13, 1870
A German named Cisky, in Monroe County, had just finished a well, forty feet deep, on the 5th inst. He was taking out the temporary wooden curb and stoning up the wall, commencing at the bottom, when a portion of the curb fell in, letting three or four feet of clay, with the boards, fall nearly twenty feet upon him, covering him entirely up. He called for his son for help, and his son went down the rope but could not relieve him. When help arrived, the clay was falling in at a frightful rate, and the young man was raised and curbing put in. The old man lived for two hours, and then could be heard to breathe no more. The work progressed from noon to eight o’clock in the evening, when the body was found and drawn out of the clay, a horrible sight, and carried in and laid upon the door of his nice new house, just built.
The Jackson Sentinel; Maquoketa, Thursday, November 24, 1870 A correspondent of the Albia Union says, that “Saturday, Nov. 5th, a Dutchman by the name of Cisky, living three miles north of Melrose, Monroe county, had an open well thirty-nine feet deep, which had been caving in some during the heavy rains while he was digging , and he had put in a temporary curb. On Saturday morning he went down and commenced the wall, and had laid one round of stone, when the curb gave way, letting three or four feet of clay, with the boards fall near twenty feet upon him, covering him entirely up. He called to his son for help, and his son went down the rope, but could not relieve him. When help arrived, clay was falling in at a fearful rate, and the young man was raised and curb put in. The old man lived two hours and then we could hear him breathe no more. The work progressed from noon until 8 o’clock in the evening. When the body was found by Mr. Pierce Cullinan, and just about the time he found him, there was a chunk of clay fell on him and knocked him down, so he tied a rope around under the arms of the corpse and drew him out of the clay. Then Mr. Cullinan was raised, and then the corpse came dangling out, a horrible sight, and was carried in and laid upon the floor of his new house, just built.
The Albia Union-Republican, Thursday, February 6, 1941
Scieszinski Couple Celebrate Seventy-First Anniversary
Melrose Pair Still Hale and Hearty
Mr. and Mrs. A. Scieszinski are celebrating their 71st wedding anniversary today at their home in Melrose. They have lived in Melrose for the last 16 years and in Monroe County for 70 years. Mrs. Scieszinski will observe her 88th birthday tomorrow*. Her husband will be 95 years old May 3.
Neither of the pioneer couple was born in this country. He was born in Poland while his wife’s birthplace is in Germany. She said she was “very much” against Hitler.
After coming to the United States when she was five years old, Mrs. Scieszinski moved to Ohio, Indiana, and then to Illinois with her parents. She was married in Rock Island, Ill., where her husband worked in the coal mines.
In 1871 they took up an 80-acre plot in Wayne Township. This was gradually expanded to a 1,100-acre farm. A log cabin with oak floors provided the first home in this county for the pioneers. It was a one room cabin with a kitchen built on. Only one window was in the house, but it had a pane of glass in it.
Seven children of the couple are living and five are dead. About 40 grandchildren are also living. Oldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Scieszinski is Frank, 69, of Melrose. Ed, 49, of Janesville, Wis., is the youngest one. Children of the couple who still remain in Melrose are Frank, Joe, Will and Dan Scieszinski and Mrs. Charles Leonard. A daughter, Mrs. Ed McLamar, lives in Ottumwa. Mr. Scieszinski owns no land now, since he has turned it ever to his sons to farm.
* Mary Frances Ciskey born February 6, 1853
Copyright © 2019 by Tamarah Rogers Van Wyk, Reflections on Family History – Family Legend, all rights reserved