Major Ludwik "Louis" Chłopicki h. Nieczuja

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Major Ludwik "Louis" Chłopicki h. Nieczuja

Polish: Ludwik Chłopicki h. Nieczuja
Also Known As: "Baron"
Birthplace: Krasne, woj. bracławskie, Poland
Death: 1869 (79-80)
El Paso, Woodford County, Illinois, United States of America
Immediate Family:

Son of Tadeusz Chłopicki h. Nieczuja and Katarzyna Chlopicki
Brother of John Chlopicki h. Nieczuja

Managed by: Private User
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About Major Ludwik "Louis" Chłopicki h. Nieczuja

A Fight For Freedom That Failed.

Ludwik Chlopicki was born in the city of Krasne, Poland, October 17, 1789,14 the son of Thaddeus and Catherine Chlopicki. Thaddeus was a brother of a famous soldier, General Jozef Grzegorz Chlopicki, who became the Dictator of Poland in the early days of the 1830 Revolution against Russia in the fight for a free and independent Poland.

Ludwik was of the landed gentry and held the title of Baron, not Count, and he entered the army artillery and engineering corps in 1815. He occupied himself with mathematics and drawings, and because he spoke French, German and English in addition to his native language, he progressed rapidly. By 1817 he was a lieutenant, but because of his estate and family affairs, he applied for and received a discharge in 1820.

The fight to free Poland from Russian rule began November 29, 1830, with an attempt on the life of the Grand Duke Constantine, despot ruler and brother of Czar Nicholas I. Constantine escaped and fled, and the Polish Officer's Training Corps in Warsaw organized and gathered over 80,000 troops and 6,800 horses. It is probable Ludwick Chlopicki's part in the revolution was more political than military because of his uncle's high position and wide experience in European military and governmental circles. By the spring of 1831 we find Ludwik organizing infantry and cavalry units with Kurowski and Olszewski, and by May they joined Nagorniczewski's troops and took the city of Bar.

Powerful Russian armies soon forced their retreat under General Kolyski into Galicia. From there Ludwik Chlopicki, then a major in the Revolutionist cause, went through to Warsaw and signed the act of participation in the Revolution for citizens of Podolia and Ukrania and participated in the election of representatives of these areas in the Warsaw Diet. Major Chlopicki then returned to troop duty and participated in the final phases of the campaign against Russia with Ramorin's Corps, finally being forced to surrender in Galicia.

His sixty year old uncle, General Chlopicki, had early given up the struggle, resigning as Poland's Dictator on January 23, 1831. There is evidence this act did not please the younger men who had instigated the revolution, and that it estranged his nephew. The better judgment of the old General early realized the utter hopelessness of this war against so powerful a nation, and he escaped any severe punishment by the Russians, living a retired life until his death in 1854.

Thousands of the patriotic Poles were exiled into Siberia. Ludwik and a group of the minor aristocracy managed to get into Austria, where once more these angry men who had lost all their lands and property fomented revolution against the Russians in Poland, then partitioned. Austria was a party to the bad peace, so they imprisoned Ludwik and the others for violating Austrian neutrality; thus the second try at a revolution under General Zaliwski was put down before it got well under way. Ludwik was imprisoned first at Lemberg, then Brunn and finally in crowded cells at Trieste.

With lands seized, money gone and families exiled, scattered or estranged, 235 imprisoned patriots were put aboard the United States frigates Guerriere and Hebe on November 22, 1833 after both France and America had offered them a haven. The Chlopicki group, choosing America, thus found themselves destitute and bound for a new land, a new language and banished forever from home, friends and families. The exiles were delayed in the Mediterranean for weeks and some attempted to jump ship, but all finally arrived in New York on March 31, 1834, "with nothing but sad recollections of the past, and hopes for the future, the still unconquered sons of adversity (who) wish to become of service to the people of these United States."

Ludwik Chlopicki was not a member of the Committee of Nine petitioning Congress for aid, but he and John Prehal became the sole agents for the whole group in the selection of lands granted them by Congress in an act approved by President Andrew Jackson on June 30, 1834. Only Chlopicki seems to have arrived in Illinois on September 7, the Chicago Historical Society having a brief mention of his residence in Chicago during the balance of 1834.

Major Chlopicki selected lands in Townships 44 and 46 in the Rock River valley near Rockton, Illinois. The act said he might select lands in any three adjacent townships, but he selected land in only Rockford and Rockton townships, omitting Owen in between them,19 since the Poles wouldn't need all three townships and settlers were already in Owen. Unused to American terms at that date, by the simple exclusion of Owens Township land, the Major unwittingly violated the land grant act of Congress. It is possible he believed he was doing the government a favor by not accepting all that was offered, but his act caused legal difficulties and delay which was fatal to the settlement.

The thirty American settlers already on the land by squatters rights or regular title used every reason they could think of to keep out the Poles. In addition, certain Indian camps were still in that vicinity and this was frightening and discouraging to the exiled strangers. Only a few Poles ever attempted to settle their lands in the face of the legal and physical difficulties.

Major Ludwik Baron Chlopicki was a brilliant man, but he was at his wits end; he was having trouble with Congress, with the land office, the squatters and Indians, and finally to his great grief, with his compatriot Poles who had scant means of self-support in the early days of their arrival. He felt he had failed them in their most trying hour. On April 15, 1838, he resigned as their agent and John Rychlicki succeeded him. The troubles continued and the Poles never received the land Congress had granted them. Another act cancelled their grant and authorized the public sale of their lands which was held on November 3, 1843.

By that time the exiled Poles had scattered to the four winds and had gone to work in dozens of American occupations. Many were found later in St. Louis, Chicago, Louisville and Cincinnati. From among them came engineers and writers and a number of soldiers in the American Civil War even though many were advanced in age at that date. Felix Paul Wierzbicki, M. D., was the author of one of the first books to be published in English in California (1849).

Others of these Poles were later found from Texas to Canada, where one is reported to have become a Baronet.

Arthur L. Waldo, a writer on Polish historical subjects who lives in Phoenix, Arizona, says that Ludwik, who used the Americanized word Louis in this country, spent eighteen or twenty years in St. Louis, and that there is some belief that he contracted an unhappy marriage there. He also says that the eminent Polish historian Haiman told him that the whirlwind courtship of a certain Miss Englemann was definitely by Major Ludwik Chlopicki, who overplayed his hand and did not get the charming German maiden. This story is told in the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society: "Belleville Germans look at America," by Ada M. Klett, (March, 1947).

Numerous El Paso people of an early day have stated that Chlopicki came here from Peoria after the railroad was completed in 1856, but there is no record of any Peoria residence or property ownership, and no historical record can be found of his ever being in Peoria. Waldo is no doubt correct in stating Chlopicki lived in St. Louis during the missing years of 1835 through 1855. George Bestor no doubt knew him in St. Louis and brought him to Peoria to make the arrangement by which the Count came to El Paso to live in Bestor's house, run a restaurant for his living and possibly keep an eye on Gibson and Wathen's lot sales to make certain Mr. Bestor's railroad got its full and proper cut.


About Ludwik Chłopicki h. Nieczuja (Polski)

Bohater PSB, oficer Powstania Listopadowego (1830-1831), podporucznik armia Królestwa Polskiego (1819).

CHŁOPICKI Ludwik - Wszedł 1815 do korpusu inż. jako konduktor, 2 kwietnia 1817 ppor. saperów, 14 lipca 1819 por., Luty 1820 dymisja „dla interesów familijnych”. Wiosną 1831 wspólnie z Kurowskim i Olszewskim zorganizował w powiatach Winnickim, jampolskim i mohylewskim oddział kawalerii i piechoty, 5.31 połączył się z oddziałem Nagórniczews-kiego i zajął Bar. Pod naciskiem Rosjan wycofał się z partią gen. Kołyszki do Galicji. Przedostał się do Warszawy, 8 lipca 1831 por. Legii Nadwiślańskiej, przeszedł 16 wrzesnia 1831 z Ramorino do Galicji. Po upadku powstania schronił się w Krakowie, 1833 usunięty przez Austriaków, wysłany przez Triest do Ameryki. Organizował kolonie rolnicze dla Polaków w stanie Illinois. Mieszkal w Chicago jedynie miesiac w 1834 roku a pozniej osiadl na swojej farmie (darowiznie ziemi przez Rzad Amerykanski) w powiecie Woodford w stanie Illinois - 125 mil od Chicago.

Zrodlo: Robert Bielecki, Słownik biograficzny oficerów powstania listopadowego

Daty i nazwiska rodzicow wedlug danych: The Polish Academy of Sciences biography of Ludwik Chlopicki, vol. 3, Krackow, 1937, as edited by Bronislaw Pawlowski, who sites numerous Polish authorities for his work.

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Major Ludwik "Louis" Chłopicki h. Nieczuja's Timeline

October 17, 1789
Krasne, woj. bracławskie, Poland
Age 79
El Paso, Woodford County, Illinois, United States of America
Age 79