Martin Milewski -- 1850-1931        

Dad's sister, Ursula, wrote this memorial for their grandfather. Mom found it in her files as she was going through the family papers after Dad died.

Dominic Moleski's parents were Martin Milewski and Elizabeth Perszyk. Martin was born to Andrew and Eustinia Milewski, circa 1850, in the part of Poland taken over by Russia in the partition of Poland in 1795, and spoke Russian as well as Polish. His parents were serfs on an estate where Martin became the stable boy.

When he was about 15, he was beaten by his master for forgetting to lock the stable door one night, although no horses had been stolen. So he and his family fled to France, and when they had managed to eke out the fare for passage in a sailing ship, they left for the new world, ending up in the U.S.A. in the vicinity of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Elizabeth's family, the Perszyk's, were presumably from the same area in Poland and had come to the Milwaukee area also. Dominic said that his mother was born in the U.S.A. After Martin and Elizabeth were married, they came up to Canada, settling on a homestead near Renfrew, Ontario, near Ashdad, circa 1874.

The family first appears in the Canadian census of 1881, with four children--Josephine, age 6, John, age 4, Peter, age 3, and Francis, age 1.

Sometime after 1881, Martin's parents, Andrew and Eustinia Milewski, came to live with him and his family on the farm at Ashdad. They appear in the Canadian census of 1891, along with Martin and Elizabeth and their children at that time--Josephine, 16, John, 14, Peter, 12, Albert, 9, Ellen, 7, Felix 3, and Dominic 9 months. Francis, shown in the 1881 census, had died at age 4.

The present [i.e., 1990] owner of the family farm, Patrick Rekowski, remembers Andrew and Eustinia being at the farm. Every called them Stark and Starka, Polish for Grandfather and Grandmother. Pat Rekowski's family lived on a farm adjoining the Milewski place. Andrew had taken him fishing when he was a youngster, around 1915.

He also remembers his father, John Rekowski, telling him that when Martin was leaving for the gold rush to the Yukon in 1898, he came to him and gave him some money to give to Andrew and Eustinia whenever they needed it.

Martin took Peter to the goldfields, but Elizabeth had John and Albert, who were young men then, to hep run the farm. Elizabeth remained on the farm for a while with the other children, and then moved to Renfrew with the younger ones around 1900.

Martin and Peter's journey to the Yukon was not successful. They managed to get to Lake Bennett with all their supplies and build a boat there. But going down the Yukon River they ran into rapids and lost everything, lucky to get out alive themselves. Without supplies, they could not go on to Dawson, so they made their way to Sitka, Alazka, where they worked for some months until they earned the fare to return home.

Martin was a keen prospector all his life and Pat Rekowski recalls that he has found numerous old test holes all over the farm. Martin was also interested in growing apples and in 1981 there were still several old apple trees remaining on the farm, with grafts that he had done at the turn of the century.

After Martin and Elizabeth separated, he left the farm and wandered Northern Ontario prospecting for gold. He was in Timmins in 1925 for several months, working at one of the mines, but did not stay. He returned in 1928, destitute and ill, and lived with Dominic and his family for a year.

When Dominic and family left for Sudbury in 1929, his son Felix took him to Renfrew to live, where he died in 1931. Elizabeth had died in Renfrew in March of 1919.

From memories of and research done by Ursula M. (Moleski) McEwen
Ganges, British Columbia, Canada
January 1, 1990

8 April 2015

Was googling and notice your article about Paddy Rekowski and the Moleski husband and I recently purchased the Rekowski farm and are currently the 5th generation Rekowski to own it.

The farm referred to in the letter posted is also still in the Rekowski name as Paddy left it to his two brothers Stan and Tom. And parts of the original farm are still standing today. Once the weather warms up and we lose some snow, I will go take a few pictures of the place for you.

Thanks for posting that letter I read it to my father in law Tom and he loved it.


Kim Rekowski
Wife of James Patrick Rekowski