Monika Brom 1893 Pine Creek - 1896 Pine Creek

At some point before 1890, Martin J. Brom, son of Bohemian settlers, married Wincentyna Tandeska at Sacred Heart-Saint Wenceslaus Parish in Pine Creek. They had met in Mentor, SD where he was a music teacher. Wincentyna was the daughter of Kashubian Polish farmers who had originally settled in Pine Creek but had later sought their fortune out West. Martin and Wincentyna's third child, Monika, was born on May 6, 1893 and passed away on August 19, 1896. Her grief-stricken parents buried her on the hill behind the church with an unusually detailed headstone.



The inscription reads "Monika, daughter of Martin Brom and Wincentyna Tandeczka," with her birth and death dates. Interestingly, it is in Polish. Significantly, Martin's first name is given as the Polish "Marcin." No doubt Martin continued to speak Bohemian with his immediate Bohemian family. But young Monika's gravestone proves that her father had assimilated to his wife's Kashubian Polish language and culture. In Winona, Kashubian Poles always had a sense of being "other," and of being looked down upon by the Yankees, the Germans, and the Irish. But in Pine Creek, the Kashubian Polish culture reigned supreme, and the handful of Swiss, Alsatians, and Bohemians who lived there all spoke, went to church, and went to school in Polish - at least until the 1930s.