Sunday, April 7, 2013


          One of my maternal great grandfathers was Charles Stachowiak.  He was the son of Valentine (discussed in a previous post) and Josephine Kowalski (Kowalczyk) Stachowiak.  Charles was born in Posen, Poland on 20 Jul 1872.  Valentine and Josephine immigrated to the US with their children in 1882.  Charles married Anna Szukalski (whose parents were Paul Szukalski and Constance Budzbanowski Szukalski) on 3 Jul 1894 in Manitowoc County in Wisconsin.  It was probably in Anna's hometown of Newton, Wisconsin.

          According to the "Memoir's of Milwaukee County" edited by Jerome Anthony Watrous, Charles became first an apprentice and then served as a tinner journeyman. He started a business in his own name as a tinner in 1898, which was a good thing since he had 2 small children by then and another on the way.  [Another post will be devoted to both Anna and their children.]  In the 1900 census, his occupation was listed as tinner.  In the 1910 census, his occupation was listed as retail merchant for hardware and proprietor of a hardware store in the 1920 census.  According to this book, Charles was the "first Polish tinner to engage in business for himself" and at the time (1909), the only one in Milwaukee.  So, my big question is "why did he move to Van Nuys, California in the late 1920's with most of his children"?  He was the only one of Valentine and Josephine's children to move away from Wisconsin.   All of Charles and Anna's children followed them to California.

           Charles bought a house on 6939 Van Nuys Boulevard and opened a tinsmith shop next door. I am not sure if he moved before or after the stock market crash in 1929.  He definitely was living in Van Nuys for the 1930 Census.  He listed his occupation as sheet metal worker and owned his store.  In the 1940 census, he listed his occupation as "sheet metal for building construction".  He worked 52 weeks and earned $1200 at the age of 68.

For more details about Charles Stachowiak and other Polish Americans who lived in Milwaukee, visit

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