Today in 1923 my great uncle Edmund Alajko was born. It was winter in Buffalo, New York. The high was 15 degrees Fahrenheit with a low of 3. There was about 14 inches of snow on the ground since the beginning of the month.
Homes in the Polonia area of Buffalo where his father, Jozef, and his mother, Bronislawa lived usually had a central coal stove in the kitchen or dining room. They would have brought Edmund home to a very cold home. I grew up in the 70s in a home with heat in both rooms, it left those rooms very hot but any other room very cold in the winter. We had giant goose down comforters plus other blankets to stay warm in bed. Many times I would wake up and see my breathe in the morning. There must have been some worry in those first days at home.
Buffalo New York Birth Index 1923
I borrowed this video from my Uncle David. He collected family photos, scanned them and made this video. If you have connections to the Polish East Side of Buffalo you may know someone.
On February 13, 1843 Edmund Alajko reported for induction into the army. He was selected under board 597 ward 6.
He officially enlisted on February 6, 1943 for the duration of the war plus six months. He was listed as 71 inches tall and 157 pounds. He was single at the time of enlistment.
T/4 Edmund Alajko ended up in Silver Creek after returning from overseas on Jan. the 18, 1946 onboard the George Washington at New York. A year later the ship was decommissioned.
- Jamestown Post Journal: January 21, 1946
- The Buffalo Evening News: February 16, 1943 page 25
- National Archives and Records Administration. Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946 [Archival Database]; ARC: 1263923. World War II Army Enlistment Records; Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 64; National Archives at College Park. College Park, Maryland, U.S.A.
During my research into Uncle Munda I found out he was a volunteer firefighter in the Lancaster and Depew area. These are some of Buffalo’s eastern suburbs. The fire department liked to post weekly updates in the local paper about their members. I was able to find some information about my uncle.
April 11. 1963 it was announced that in December the Central Hose companies sent two bowling teams to Jamestown, New York for a fireman’s tournament.
January 2, 1964 the mayor and town board of the Village of Lancaster were thanked by the central hose companies of the fire department with a bouquet of flowers. The card was signed by secretary Edmund Alajko.
On April 14, 1966 Lancaster, New York volunteer fire department elections were announced. Edmund Alajko was re-elected secretary of Central Hose Company 4.
Just prior to Christmas 1970 my uncle was promoted at the Shelly’s meat packing company.
- Lancaster Enterprise: Thursday, December 24, 1970
- Lancaster Enterprise: Thursday, April 14, 1966
- Lancaster Enterprise: August 31, 1972
- Lancaster Enterprise: January 2, 1964
- Lancaster Enterprise: April 11, 1963
In 1959 here was a murder in Buffalo. A sadly common occurrence here. The difference with this murder is my Uncle Munda was selected for the jury. What I could not believe is the names and addresses of the jury was listed in the paper. Especially, with a murder case where people may want to tamper with a witness or jury member.
This does help me learn where he lived in 1959. In 1955 he was living in Hamburg as listed in the 1955 grand jury article. By 1959 he had moved to Depew which is where I remember him living in the 1980’s.
Due to the nature of the case it took ten days to get the jury selected.
Edmund became the jury foreman and announced the guilty verdict before the court on October 23 after only 2 and a half hours of deliberation. It was an all male and I expect mostly if not all white jury spent very little time to find three black men quilty. I think I would have felt better about that if more time was spent looking over the case.
- Buffalo Currier Express October 8, 1959, page 7
- Buffalo Evening News October 8, 1958 section III, page 43
- Buffalo Currier Express October 24, 1959, page 1
When my Uncle Munda was 32 he was selected for grand jury duty. This is some of the public service that marked parts of his life. This would not be his only time as member of a jury.
Some things I learned were my uncle was not an elected official or public employee at the time. There was a new law in 1959 that prohibited those positions were unable to be on a grand jury.
- Buffalo Evening News October 31, 1955, second section, page 19