The sky was brilliant and clear as Michael Grzegorski, his wife and five children set off for midnight Mass on Christmas Eve 1918. He urged his children to look up at the central Wisconsin sky. “Look at the stars in the sky and see if you can find the Star of Bethlehem,” he said. As the children scanned the heavens, they at first didn’t notice that their father had fallen silent. Within a few moments, however, the family realized that Michael had lost consciousness.
The family rushed back to the farm in the Town of Carson, but it was too late. Michael Grzegorski quietly died of heart disease at age 43. His death was a shock, but perhaps in time the family took comfort in how peacefully he died as they rode toward St. Bartholomew Catholic Church in Mill Creek.
Michael was born on 3 September 1875 in Poland. He emigrated to America in 1903 and moved to Portage County sometime prior to 1918. Like so many pioneer couples, Michael and Antonia Grzegorski had been through their share of tragedy. In late October 1918, they buried 4-year-old son John, who died of influenza. Close to 200 people in the Stevens Point area succumbed to the influenza that swept the United States in 1918. In September 1910, the Grzegorskis lost their infant son, Teador, while they were living in Chicago.
We don’t know what became of the Grzegorski family, for they were not listed on the 1920 U.S. Federal Census or genealogy documents from subsequent years. For now, the last we have are the dying words of Michael Grzegorski: “Look at the stars in the sky and see if you can find the Star of Bethlehem.”
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