Franciszek "Frank" Pellowski was born on January 26, 1829 in the hamlet of Szwedzki Ostrów to Antoni and Brygida (Glywa) Pellowski. A century and a half earlier, the native Kashubians had destroyed a detachment of invading Swedes on this spot, hence the name "Swedish Island." When he reached the age of eighteen, he was drafted into the Prussian army and served for two years. Anna Kajzer was born July 23, 1837 to Marcin and Marianna (Wrycza) Kajzer in the hamlet of Kaiserhutte, now better known as Gostomko. When she was old enough, she started working in the ceramic factory (which exists to this day) in Lubiana. They were married on June 23, 1857 at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Koscierzyna. In 1859, the Pellowskis traveled to Hamburg with their infant son Alojzy and embarked for America on July 9 on the sailing ship Donau. Alojzy did not survive the voyage, but on July 12, Anna gave birth to a son named Jakub. Born at sea and killed by a lightning bolt at the age of seventy-seven, Jakub was destined to thrive in the New Country.
The 1860 US Census found "Frank" and "Hannah" in Dubuque, Iowa with their infant son "Jake." From there, they moved to Winona, and in 1865 they moved to a farm in "Hungary Valley," in Trempealeau County, Wisconsin. The Pellowski family's experience there is wonderfully captured in our kinswoman Anne Pellowski's novels First Farm In The Valley, Winding Valley Farm, and Stairstep Farm, all of which are still (thankfully) in print. Young Jake worked on the farm spring, summer, and fall; in the winter he worked as a lumberjack in the pine forests of Northern Wisconsin. In 1880 he formally declared his intent to become an American citizen, signing his name "Jak Pellowski." On January 31, 1883, he was married at Sacred Heart-Saint Wenceslaus Church in Pine Creek to Franciszka Zabinska, born November 1, 1863 in Winona to Antoni and Marianna (Sójkowska) Zabinski.