By Charles Ciechanowski-Chinoski-Chase
Joseph Leo Chinoski
Joseph Chinoski was born November 2, 1894 in the community of Parisville, Paris Twp, Huron County, in the “Thumb” region of Michigan. He was the younger of the two sons of Peter Chinoski (1863-1938) and Catherine (Katarina) Lemanska (1870-1898). His only sibling was his older brother Edward Peter who was born December 17, 1888.
Joseph’s mother died when he was only 3-1/2 years old. Initially after her death, he moved in with his grandparents Ambrose (Ciechanowski) Chinoski and Frances Polk-Chinoski. Grandma Frances was especially important at this time to help Joseph and Peter get over the trauma of losing their mother at such an early age. By 1900, as shown in the 1900 Census for Paris Twp, Huron Co. MI, Joseph was living with his father Peter and his older brother Edward, on their father’s farm.
The 1910 census has Joseph being listed with the Anthony Kowalski family in Minden Twp, Sanilac County, MI. Mr. Kowalski was the owner of a hotel. Joseph is listed as a “hostler” in the hotel barn. A hostler is a person who stables and cares for horses.Supposedly Joseph only had about a 4th grade education—at St. Mary’s School in Parisville. The farm needed to be worked, and Joseph had to do his share of chores. Even though he had a limited education, he demonstrated excellent intelligence. Later in life, he stressed to others the importance of education.
On June 5, 1917, Joseph signed his WW-I Draft Registration Card. At that time he lived at 955 Harper, Detroit, MI. and was a Body Finisher at the Cadillac Motor Car, Co. The papers show he had Blond hair and blue eyes, was of medium build and was a little stout.
The great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 killed between 20 and 40 million people. During Joseph’s passage to France, many soldiers died on board his ship. Joseph claimed that chewing tobacco on board ship saved his life.Joseph enlisted/was inducted into the U.S. Army on June 15, 1918. He was a private in the Army. His basic training included facilities at 1) University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, 2) Camp Hancock and 3) various facilities in France. He sailed for France September 22, 1918 and returned to the U.S. January 22, 1919. He was discharged from the US Army on February 1, 1919.
No listing for Joseph Chinoski was found in the 1920 census. However, he apparently lived at this time with his father on Gratiot Avenue near Roseville, MI.
Marion Katherine Łukowiak
Marion Łukowiak was the 5th of 13 children born to Valentine -Walenty- Łukowiak (1866-1946) and Katherine -Katarzyna- Rosinska (1869-1925). Marion was born 16 March, 1898 in Detroit, MI. At the time of her birth, (based on the 1898 City Directory for Detroit) the Łukowiak family lived at 890 Dubois Street.
By the time of the 1920 census, Marion was still living with her parents and 10 siblings, but their home was now located at 877 Trombly Street. By this time, two of her siblings, Frank and Andrew, were deceased. The siblings living with Marion, in 1920, were Stella, Joseph, Celia, John (also known as Heine), Antoinette, Frances, Edward, Eleanor and Leonard. Leonard would pass away 5 months after the 1920 census was taken. Supposedly Marion had about an 8th grade education, which she would have completed around 1912. The 1912 City Directory indicates the Łukowiak’s lived at 847 Trombly Street, which, apparently, also served as a grocery store for Marion’s father, Valentine. By 1913, this same address, owned by Valentine Łukowiak, was identified by the City Directory, as a pool hall. Supposedly, the pool hall was on the first floor, and the family lived on the second floor. Dubois and Trombly streets run perpendicular to each other and, today, would intersect near the junction of Interstate Highways 94 and 75.
In 1920, Marion was working in a cigar factory as a cigar maker. Since her older sister Stella had the same occupation, they probably worked at the same factory. Nearby to their home was the large American Eagle Tobacco Factory which was located at 778 Dubois, and might have been their place of employment. At this time in history, Detroit used to be one of the country’s largest producers of cigars and other tobacco products. In 1920, Detroit had about 65 tobacco factories, down from a high of about 240 around the year 1900.
Joseph and Marion
It is not clear how they met, or how long they knew each other, but on October 25, 1921, Joseph Leo Chinoski married Marion Katherine Łukowiak. They we married by Father Stanislaus Bortnowski who was the Pastor of The Immaculate Conception Catholic Church (1919-1981) in Detroit. Their Best Man was William Chinoski (son of August & Mary Chinoski) and the Maid of Honor was Cecilia Łukowiak, sister of Marion. In the record of marriage, the occupation of Marion was: Cigar Maker; and of Joseph was: Salesman.
Joseph and Marion
Shortly after their marriage, Joseph and Marion moved to a farm house at 238 Wolfe Road in Clinton Township, Macomb County, MI. Their property was located between Gratiot Avenue and M-97. The house burned down around 1921/1922 and they had to move into the chicken coop. The chicken coop is where their first child, Geraldine Marie, was born August 14, 1922. Subsequently, a new house was built on the property—this home had a wall phone with a hand crank. In this home, their second child, Joseph Leon, Jr., was born on 21 January, 1925.
In the mid-1930s, the family moved to 8626 Marcus Ave. in the Harper-Van Dyke region of Detroit. The neighborhood was located between Van Dyke and Gratiot Avenues. The 1930 census shows the Chinoski family living in the Wolfe Road home. The census also shows that living with Joseph, Marion and their two children was Peter, Joseph’s father. The occupation for Joseph is shown to be auto factory laborer—working for Chrysler. Peter was retired and was 66 at that time. A third child, Llewalyn Catherine, was stillborn on 7 February, 1933.
Staying within the neighborhood, the family moved to 8920 Fisher around 1936 or 1937. The phone number at this home was 4191, which was a party line. One could get pretty good at snooping in on the conversations of those sharing your line. Eventually, the number was expanded to include the prefix “OL” (standing for Olive), and thus ended the party line system. The head of the household, Joseph, was a factory worker, primarily working as a lathe operator. Toward the end of the 1930s, Joseph lost his job at Chrysler and had to do odd jobs until full time employment could be regained.
Author: Charles Chase