Michal Grabiec: Husband of 3 Wives, Father of 24 children, 56 Grandchildren 225 Great Grandchildren and 114+ Great Great Grandchildren and counting…
The only known picture of Michal Grabiec (1920)
Michal Grabiec could have been one of your ancestors, considering he produced a total of five-hundred-fifty five (555+) known descendants in 128 years. He was born on January 9, 1850, in the village of Tuszyma, about seven miles from Niwiska, Poland. When he was a teenager, his parents lost their land and were forced to leave Tuszyma. His birth was just two years after the population in Galicia was released from serfdom and several peasant revolts in the next few decades likely were the reasons for the move to Niwiska.
Michal married Krystyna Kloda on September 9, 1871, in the church at Niwiska. Krystyna’s dowry consisted of 14 morgues of land (approximately 8 acres) on which Michal built a typical farm house. It consisted of square log walls, thatched roof, and a clay floor. The house had one large room, a loft, a narrow pantry and a combined tool and grain storage area.
The main room of the house had two windows for light and a large, white brick, wood burning oven and stove. This was their only source of heat in the cold winters. There were three beds, a large table with two long benches, a couch and a good sized trunk. Comforters and pillows were kept in the trunk and under the couch.
The loft inside the house was used for sleeping, and although it had no furniture, hay and straw were used for bedding. This type of bed was said to be quite comfortable and was typical for the peasants of that time. A ladder was used to access the loft.
Michael’s first wife, Krystyna was nineteen when they married and only live until was thirty-five. Her death came a year after the birth of her seventh child, Karolina.
Michal married within the next year as he had seven children to raise and found a good helpmate and spouse in Frances Kolis who was only twenty-one years of age when she married Michal. She produced eight children in less than fifteen years. She passed away at age 36.
Michal’s third wife, Anna Fugiel was just twenty-three when she married fifty-four-year-old Michal. She produced nine children in the next fifteen years. Michal’s last child was born when he was seventy years old. Anna died at age sixty-two as a result of TB and malnutrition during the Nazi occupation.
Michal lived until he was seventy-seven years old. Needless to say, he was a man who displayed youth and vigor well into his old age. He was considered a strong, hardworking and good man by those who knew him. He was a farmer his entire life but loved to hunt even though it was illegal to do so most of his life. He was an expert bee keeper, grew grain and had a large vegetable garden. He always owned one or two dairy cows, some chickens, and horses for plowing and pulling the wagon.
In his last years, Michael was very sick and would only allow his daughter Zofia, his eighteenth child to care for him. He died on September 6, 1927, and is buried in the parish cemetery in Niwiska.