Anthony Leszczynski was born on June 16, 1828 in Sanok, Galicia; that part of Poland taken in the partition of Poland by Russia, Germany and Austria-Hungary. He enlisted on November 15, 1848 in I Company, Infantry of the Polish Legion. This Legion was made up of young Poles from Galicia and Hungary recruited by the Hungarian patriot Lajos Kossuth, and became a part of his army in the attempt to liberate Hungary from the Austro-Hungarian Empire of Franz Jozef. Anthony was promoted to company adjutant, and served until the latter part of December, 1849. Following the defeat of Kossuth the remnants of the Polish Legion sought refuge in Turkey. He was honorably discharged December 30, 1849 in Szulma, Empire of Turkey.
Anna Skibowna, the daughter of John Skibo and Elizabeth Maleonka, was born on July 24, 1830 in the village of Grania, Galicia. Together with several young ladies who were engaged to members of the Legion, Anna journeyed to Szulma, where she and Anthony were married on May 18, 1850 by Rev. Joseph Niewiadomski, the Chaplain of the Polish Legion. When the Turkish government was pressured by Austria-Hungary to surrender the Polish refugees, the Turkish Emperor made it possible for them to emigrate to the Americas.
Anthony and Anna came to New York State in 1851 and farmed there until 1858-59. To them were born Sabina, Alex, Anthony, and Frank. The latter two died in childhood. In 1859 the family moved to a farm near River Rouge, Michigan. Here were born Joseph, John, Peter, and Edward. These children were baptized in St. Mary's Church, Detroit, Michigan. Sometime in the early 1870's, Anthony built and operated a grocery store in Wyandotte, MI. The family resided on the second floor. On the night of August 22, 1876 fire completely destroyed the building. Anna and the children were rescued, but Anthony lost his life. He was buried in Wyandotte on August 24, 1876.
Anna moved to Detroit where she opened a grocery store in the vicinity of Sacred Heart and St. Albertus parishes. It was here that the children were raised and obtained their education. The boys all worked and contributed to the family effort. Joseph learned the clothing business in a Detroit store. It was he who heard of an opening for a clerk in Jenk's general store in Harbor Beach, Michigan. After he worked there for several years, he suggested to his mother that Harbor Beach appeared to be a choice place to open a competitive store. She sold her business in Detroit, and the family moved to Harbor Beach. They opened a general store, with Joseph, John, and Alex as partners, forming the firm Leszczynski Bros. They operated in the Puddock building. In 1886 (February 10th), Joseph Leszczynski married Margaret Emily Carroll at St Stephen Church in Port Huron, Michigan. They had 6 children. Francis Carroll was born 3 Dec. 1886 in Sand Beach, MI. Joseph Stanislas (Stanley), was born 14 June 1890 in Sand Beach, MI. George Albertus was born 5 June 1892 in Harbor Beach, MI. Mary Sabina was born 24 April 1894 in Sand Beach, MI. Marguerite Alice was born 16 Oct 1896 in Sand Beach, MI. Agnes Leonora was born 21 April 1898 in Sand Beach, MI. In July of 1904 Joseph Leszczynski purchased the old Jeremiah Jenks home next to his store from the Nims family. The home was built by Jeremiah Jenks in 1878.
In 1910, Joseph Leszczynski purchased his brothers' interests and remained at that location as the J. Leszczynski store.
Also in 1910 (January 30th) Anna passed away at the age of 83. She is buried in Harbor Beach. In 1911 Joseph built a new 2-story brick building on Lot 1, block 24 of the 1890 plat of Sand Beach, located at the northeast corner of State and First streets, directly across from his business establishment. The new store was called "The Daylight Store". It first opened on April 6, 1911 and over 2,000 people passed through the main entrance during the day and evening. On June 15th, 1921 the store was destroyed by fire at an estimated loss of $75,000. Joseph immediately established a new store in the old site across the street in the Puddock Building. He rebuilt the store on the site of the burned building. The new store opened on November 4, 1921. The Leszczynski home was badly damaged by the fire and it was necessary to tear it down. Much of the building material was salvaged and was used in the construction of the new store and residence. The new residence was built north of the store on S. First street. In October 1928, Joseph Leszczynski retired from business and the store closed. The building became the H.J. Smith store (formerly Smith & Polewach), with the post office occupying the west half of the building. The Post Office remained until 1962, when the store became the Polewach. In recent years it has been Smith's Department Store and Weber's Kitchen & Bath. Now it is Napa Auto Parts. The home is currently the office and rooms of the Harbor Beach Times.
My grandfather George (3rd son of Joseph & Margaret) married and raised his family in Wyandotte. Joseph and Margaret lived most of their lives in Harbor Beach.
Most of this information is from the Harbor Beach Times. My parents visited Harbor Beach a few years back and made copies of a lot of their articles. Also, some information was taken from the Polish Eaglet (Polish Genealogical Society of Michigan). Lots of it came from personal knowledge of my father and his siblings.
submitted by: Margaret (Leszczynski) Hans