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Koscialowski, Napoleon

Born: 1812-05-16 Warsaw, Poland

Died: 1859-05-30 Washington, D.C.

Napoleon Koscialowski was a Polish military officer, bodyguard, revolutionary, exile, engineer, surveyor, and architect. Born into the Polish nobility, Koscialowski attended military school and, upon graduation, served three years in the personal bodyguard of Czar Nicholas I of Russia. He quit this unit to join the Polish side in the Polish-Russian War of 1830-31. At the end of the war, Koscialowski fled to Austria, where he was arrested and imprisoned. After several years in prison, he and others made their escape and fled to the United States. Koscialowski found work as an artist in Albany, New York, before moving to Massachusetts to become a teacher at the Northampton Female Seminary. By 1839, he was living in Jacksonville, Illinois, where he became a farmer. In November 1839, he married Mary Ann D. Chenoweth, with whom he had five children. In 1843, Koscialowski and his family moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where he started a surveying and engineering business. When the Mexican War commenced, Koscialowski volunteered for service in the Third Missouri Regiment, becoming captain of a company called the Kosciuszko Guards. The U.S. War Department dissolved the Third Regiment in September 1846, but Koscialowski volunteered again in September 1847, raising a company to help the U.S. defend the Santa Fe Trail against Native Americans. From September 1847 to June 1848, Koscialowski served as captain of Company E, Santa Fe Trace Battalion of the Missouri Volunteers, taking part in Alexander W. Doniphan's Expedition to Santa Fe. After leaving the army, Koscialowski and his family moved back to Jacksonville, where he resumed work as a surveyor and civil engineer. He began a brief career as an architect, working on the Illinois Asylum for the Education of the Deaf and Dumb and other public works projects. In 1850, Koscialowski was working as a surveyor and owned real property valued at $1,500. After 1850, Koscialowski appears to have deserted his family and headed for the east coast, living first in New York and later in Washington, DC.

James D. Lodesky, Polish Pioneers in Illinois, 1818-1850 (Bloomington: Xlibris, 2010), 241-44; Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Morgan County, 12 November 1839, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; William E. Connelley, A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans (Chicago and New York: Lewis, 1918), 1:138; Charles K. Gardner, A Dictionary of All Officers, Who Have Been Commissioned, Or Have Been Appointed and Served, in the Army of the United States, 2nd ed. (New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1860), 552; William Elsey Connelley, Doniphan's Expedition and the Conquest of New Mexico and California (Kansas City, MO: Bryant & Douglas, 1907), 150; Illinois Journal (Springfield), 19 September 1849, 3:6; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Jacksonville, Morgan County, IL, 187; Petition of Samuel D. Lockwood and Others to George W. Crawford.