HOME - Front Page
Heritage \ People \
View Military Section.

Ludwig Danielewski (1846-1903)
(aka. Louis Daniels) First Polish resident of Bay City.
by Marvin Kusmierz (December 2002 / Updated Feb. 2008)

Born 1845, Zyrkowo, Poland
Died April 24, 1903, Bay City, MI
Spouse: Allice ?
Sons: Constantine A. (abt. 1874), Osmond A. (abt.1879), Cyril, Anthony & Matelsi.
Daughters: Florence & Bessie.

St. Stanislaus Kosta original church about 1875.
1st St. Stanislaus Kostka Church built in 1875.

Louis is considered the first Polish settler in Bay City arriving in 1867. He is also credited as an important founder of the St. Stanislaus Kostka Society which was instrumental in establishing the St. Stanislaus Church.

He left his home of Zyrkowo, Poland at the young age of 18 heading for England where he learned the skills of tailoring. He left England for the United States, initially settling at New York before moving to Bay City where he found work in the tailor shop of Francis H. Blackman that was located at 108 Water Street.

Ludwig was counted in the 1870 Michigan Census taken on June 16th. His last name appears as "Daniels". It is not known if this is a recording error or if Louis decided to shorten his name. The record shows:

Dwelling #560, Daniels, Ludwick, age 27, male, white, work - Cutter in clothing store, born in Poland.

The actual recording can be viewed at [Line 31/Roll#662/471R]. In either case, city directories subsequent to 1870 confirm that Louis kept Daniels as his last name.

1873-74: Ludwig Daniels, Water Street, between 10th & 11th streets, boards with P.J. Parrot. (Blackman's tailor shop is shown at 108 N. Water, McCormick Block.)

1875-76: Ludwig Daniels, 106 Water Street, Merchant Tailor, residence west side of Washington, between 10th & 11th streets. (It appears Louis may have had his own tailor business at this time as both a business and residential address are listed. If so, it would have been next to Blackman's shop or he may have operated his shop separately an extension of it.)

The 1880 Michigan Census shows Ludwig living in the 4th Ward of Bay City, is now married with two sons:

NameRelationSexAgeBirth PlaceOccupation
Daniels, LudwickHeadmale33Prusia Pol.Merchant Tailor
Daniels, Allice L.wifefemale29MichiganKeep House
Daniels, Constantine A.sonmale6MichiganAt Home
Daniels, Osmond A.sonmale1MichiganAt Home
Sangmuier, Katieotherfemale22MichiganServant
  • Reference FamilySearch.org [NA Film #T9-0571, pg. 409c]
  • 1900 Census data contributed by Kathy Czuba (Feb. 2008):

    Address: 1115 Fourth St., Bay City, MI.
    NameRelationSexBirthAgeBirth PlaceOccupation
    Daniels, LudwikHeadmaleAug. 184653Russia Pol.county clerk
    Daniels, AliceWifefemaleJan 185749Michigan--
    Daniels, OsmondSonmaleJul. 188218MichiganTailor
    Daniels, FlorenceDau.femaleOct. 188218Michiganclerk, Co. Office
    Daniels, BessieDau.femaleSep. 188217Michigan--
    Daniels, MetelskiSonmaleJul. 188613Michigan--
    Daniels, CyrilSonmaleAug. 18927Michigan--
    Daniels, AnthonySonmaleAug. 18972Michigan--

    Shortly after he arrived in Bay City in 1870, he began a letter campaign urging Poles living in Detroit, Chicago and New York to move to this bustling city where opportunities for a good life was possible. These are people that he most likely knew from the old country or met when he came to America:

    Bajak, Albert, 1871
    Bajerski, John, 1871
    Baran, Michael, 1871
    Boczek, Casimir, 1870
    Breski, John, 1871
    Bukowski, Felix, 1871
    Bukowski, Joseph, 1871
    Bukowski, Stephen, 1870
    Dalecki, John, 1870
    Dardas, Lawrence, 1871
    Drzezdian, August, 1871
    Gierszewski, Andrew, 1870
    Glaza, Frank, 1870
    Glaza, John, 1871
    Glaza, Stephen, 1870
    Glaza, Vincent, 1870
    Goik, Joseph, 1871
    Goik, Paul, 1870
    Gwizdala, James, 1870
    Gwizdala, Luke, 1871
    Gwizdala, Paul, 1871
    Gwizdala, Vincent, 1870
    Kabat, Albert, 1871
    Kabat, Martin, 1871
    Kazyak, James, 1871
    Kazyak, Vincent, 1871
    Kica, John, 1871
    Kostus, Andrew, 1870
    Kozlowski, Frank, 1870
    Krawczak, John, 1870
    Kula, Jan, 1871
    Lochinski, Frank, 1871
    Madajski, Joseph, 1870
    Mroczkowski, Cajetan, 1871
    Musial, James, 1871
    Musial, Paul, 1871
    Myszynski, John, 1870
    Nowakowski, John, 1870
    Nowakowski, Simon, 1870
    Pawlanty, Albert, 1871
    Piesik, Andrew, 1870
    Plecki, John, 1871
    Przybylinski, Anthony, 1871
    Ryczek, Albert, 1870
    Ryczek, Andrew, 1870
    Rydlewski, Joseph, 1870
    Sikorski, Michael, 1871
    Skory, Anthony, 1871
    Skory, Louis, 1871
    Smialek, Stanislaus, 1870
    Stefanski, Stephen, 1871
    Styn, John, 1870
    Styn, Joseph, 1871
    Tafelski, Felix, 1871
    Talaska, Frank, 1870
    Talaska, John, 1870
    Talaska, Joseph, 1870
    Twork, August, 1871
    Welter, John, 1870
    Wilkowski, John, 1870
    Witbrodt, John, 1871
    Witbrodt, Joseph, 1871
    Wrobel, Charles, 1871

    Excerpt from the History of Bay City, Michigan - 1875.


    About three years ago an extensive Polish emigration set in to Bay City and its adjoining territory, and it seems that those of this nationality at present in the place alone amount to 200 families. The emigration hither has been aided and encouraged greatly by the efforts of Mr. L. Daniels, the manager of the custom department in the story of F.H. Blackman & Co. Mr. Daniels has been so attentive to the wants o the newly-arrived that he is looked upo by all his country people in Bay City as their chief advisor, and to a large extent their guardian. The fact that the Polish language is spoken by none but the Poles, and few of them having any knowledge of English, rendered it necessary that as soon as their numbers would justify the step, an attempt should be made to build a separate place of worship for them. This design was fostered by Mr. Daniels, and to secure the organization necessary to accomplish the object, he induced his countrymen to form themselves into a society. This association was formed on the 8th of February, 1874, with Mr. Daniels as President, each member agreeing to pay a certain sum each month to form a fund for the building of the contemplated church. But this would have taken a long time to accomplish, while in the meantime their number was increasing. Accordingly Mr. Daniels set to work to build a church at once. He procured subscriptions from most of the prominent fellow-citizens, and Mr. Wm. D. Fitzhugh, with the liberality in such matters for which he and his father and brothers are so noted, gave a site for the church consisting of eight lots on the corner of Lincoln avenue and Twenty-second street. A contract for the building of the church ws let last July, to Mr. Neil Mahoney, after plans by L. A. Pratt, architect, both of this city. The building is now completed, and will be consecrated by Rt. Rev. Casper H. Borgess, Bishop of Detroit, on sunday, the 13th of December next,(1874). The building will cost about $4,000, is a very neat and taseful edifice, and is located on a very fine site, and convenient to those who will worship there. Mr. Daniels has had the entire control and responsibility of the work, and of providing the money for it, and his countrymen in Bay City owe him a very great debt of gratitude.

    Most immigrants struggled with the English language. It was particularly difficult for the Polish immigrants whose alphabet is dramatically different affecting sounds, as an example, a Polish "W" sounds like an English "V". Early immigrants found it easier settle in ethnic groups out of necessity for survival among English speaking communities. And, for the Poles in Bay City, it was the south end of city.

    Louis was quite fluent with the English language which proved to be most helpful as the leader of this small but growing Polish community. From 1870 to 1874 about 100 Polish families came to the Bay City area, and most lived in the south end of the city. Louis was able to speak on behalf of the needs of these Poles. He had developed relationships with many well to do people of the community through his tailoring skills. And, when the Poles began building their own church many leaders in the community contributed to their effort to complete St. Stanislaus Kostka Church which opened in 1892.

    Louis involved himself in civics affairs for he sincerely appreciated his adopted country and community. The following are quotes from St. Stanislaus Kostka Church Centennial (1874-1974):

    "In 1895, he became a candidate for City Treasurer and was elected and re-elected for another term. Before his second term expired, he was nominated for County Clerk on the Republican ticket and was elected and re-elected in the next election of 1900. In 1902, he received the nomination for the third term. He was defeated in this election. He again opened his tailor shop, after the expiration of his term of office, in 1903. However, he did not continue in business very long. One day he was suddenly taken ill while in the shop, and he died shortly afterwards on April 24, 1903 at the age of 58."

    "He was buried from St. Stanislaus Church on April 28, 1903. It was not the one he helped to build, but the present twin spired edifice, Father Edward Kozlowski, with whom he formed a close friendship, conducted the funeral service."

    The story of Louis Danielewski is not unique for the immigrants of this time -- America was becoming an industrialized nation and they came from all parts of Europe seeking work and a better life. They played an instrumental role the building of American communities giving future generations a heritage to take great pride in. What is unique is our lack of understanding of our heritage, of how much of what we enjoy today is directly related to the sacrifices they made.

    Updates to history page:

    Feb. 2008: Data from 1903 obituary contributed by Jim Petrimoulx:

    • Ludwig's father, Constantine Danielewski, was a member of an old Polish nobility. The obituary says during the Polish rebellion of 1863 Constantine was an officer and Ludwig, about 18 years olds at the time, served under him. The rebellion was crushed and his father lost his entire estate as both fled from Poland.
    • Regarding Ludwig's immigration to the U.S., the obituary states he served with the New York Rifles, a volunteer organization, during the U.S. Civil War. If true, Ludwig would come to the U.S. some time before 1866 as the Civil War came to and end in 1865.
    • Additional information provided by the obit includes:
      • Served two terms as city treasurer beginning in 1895.
      • Served two terms as county clerk, elected in 1898 and 1900. He was defeated in a third attempt by John G. Buchanan.
      • Served two terms on the police commission.
    • The obituary as says that Ludwig was well educated having studied for the priesthood, and besides Polish and English, he also spoke German, French and Volapuk {Wikipedia Definition].

    Feb. 2008: Census & burial data contributed by Kathy Czuba:

    • Ludwig Daniels, although a member of St. Stanislaus church, was buried at St. Patrick's cemetery. Also buried near him is his oldest son Constantine O.
    • Interestingly there are three burials at St. Stanislaus cemetery under the surname Danielewski - Antoni, Mary and Joseph. These persons were found in the 1900 Census living at 310 S. Henry St. under the Daniels surname:
        Name: Relation / Born / Birth Place / Immigrated / Occupation
      • Anthony: Head / Jan 1856 / Poland-? / 1870 / Livery Stable Prop.
      • Mary: Wife / Mar. 1857 / Bohemia / 1868 / --
      • Joseph: Son / Apr. 1878 / Arkansas / -- / Breakman R.R.
      • Martha: Dau. / May 1880 / Ohio / -- / Operator Telephone
      • Stanley: Son / Jun. 1893 / Michigan/ -- / Stationary ?
    • Anthony is about the same age as Ludwig, and it would seem a reasonable assumption that they are either brothers or cousins.

    June 2009: Danielewski genealogy history contributed by Fran Lada.

    • Begins with Ludwig's father, Constantine - with notes for baptisms, marriages, etc. {VIEW PDF FILE}

    Ludwig Danielewski

    Ludwig Danielewski
    This picture appeared in the Bay City Times on Feb. 28, 1937. Name of man circled was listed as Ludwig Daniels? Could this picture have been from an earlier date and is the subject of this history page? Notice the man holding two pistols, this would seem kind of odd for 1937.
    Obituary 1903
    Polish History & Genealogy
    St. Stanislaus Church
    People Referenced
    Daniels Family:
    Alice (wife)
    Constantine A. (son)
    Osmond A. (son)
    Florence (dau.)
    Bessie (dau.)
    Metelski (son)
    Cyril (son)
    Anthony (son)
    Daniels Family #2
    Mary (wife)
    Joseph (son)
    Martha (dau.)
    Stanley (son)
    Other Names:
    Blackman, Francis H.
    Buchanan, James G.
    Danielewski, Constantine (father)
    Koslowski, Edward (Rev.)
    Parrot, P.J.
    Sangmuier, Katie

    (See immigrant listing for additional names.)
    Subjects Referenced
    Bay City, MI
    City treasurer
    Civil War
    Clothing store
    County clerk
    McCormick Block
    New York
    New York Rifles
    Polish nobility
    Polish rebellion
    Republican ticket
    Russian Poland
    St. Patrick's cemetery
    St. Stanilaus cemetery
    St. Stanilaus Kostka Church
    St. Stanislaus Kostka Society
    Zyrkowo, Poland
    The Evening Press
    Bay City & West Bay City
    Tues., Mar. 7, 1882:

    To be Seen at L. Daniels' Leading Merchant Tailoring Establishment.

    There is no doubt but that L. Daniels, the pioneer and popular merchant tailor, Union Block, foot of Center street, is the leader in fashions in this city for gentlemen's garments. He is continually receiving new patrons and always retains the old by his superior styles, fit and workmanship, and every year can be noticed a great increase in his business for these reasons. All his goods are of the latest patterns and he is this spring showing some very elegant new designs just out imported novelties. He is crowded all the time with orders for spring overcoats, dress, business and other suits and garments, for this city and other cities and towns all over northern Michigan. Gentlemen should call early to have orders for their spring wear and they will not regret taking them to Daniels, the leading fashionable tailor of the city.
    Article Sources
    St. Stanislaus Kostka Church Centennial (1874-1974), brochure.
    Bay County Story - Footpaths to Freeways, book, by Leslie Arndt.
    City Directories, Polk publishing.
    Bay City Tribune, Apr. 25, 1903. Obituary contributed by Jim Petrimoulx (Feb. 2007).
    1880 & 1900 Census data contributed by Kathy Czuba.

    PEOPLE HISTORY: Help Us If You Can - Contribute an article on a historical personality.