Dr. Antoni Lenkiewicz and his wife Anna at the Grand Canyon.
With this city during the War of Independence are linked together the last days of General Kazimierz Pulaski's life (1745-1779). There, in October of 2000, will probably be conducted the last and most solemn funeral of the hero of both the USA and Poland.
The highest value that Pulaski always invoked in his bearing was God, Honor, Freedom, and Independence. It is significant that Pulaski put so much empasis on the word "independence." Before the Bar Confederacy, this word was not even used in the Polish language.
Not even defeats and betrayals, the sentence of death, emigration, intrigue and untimely quarrels among his compatriots could break our hero, nor make him despair in his cause, reality, and trust in the goodness of humanity.
Pulaski's achievements for Poland are much greater than are those for the United States. As a matter of fact, Pulaski was the first who showed us, with a legionary force, the way to regain independence. He was the first who died fighting for your independence and our's. He was an example of self-sacrifice, unshaken faith, and heroism for the sleepy Poles who were overwhelmed by disasters.
Mortally wounded near Savannah and the place of his eternal rest -- as it appears to be -- the life of Kazimierz Pulaski ended on October 15, 1779, unfulfilled and mostly unknown in a land far from Poland.
In spite of many theories and somewhat dubious sources, it was generally accepted that Kazimierz Pulaski was mortally wounded on October 9, 1779, during the siege of Savannah, and then, several days later, was carried on the brig "Wasp." It was never proven that he died on the Wasp, after setting sail, and his body buried at sea.
In my book, "Kazimierz Pulaski," I questioned this idea, because, in the French and Polish traditon, the custom of burial at sea was very rare. It happened only if land could not be seen on the horizon . It is certain that the Wasp sailed to Charleston and always was in sight of land.
This is how, as I guess, he became interested in General Pulaski's remains and wanted to find out where they were buried. He did research in American documents for almost 50 years. Along the way he found a letter, written by the captain of the Wasp on October 15, 1779, revealing that an American officer had died the same day on his ship removed for burial in the ground along Thunderbolt Bluff. The ship's purser told his family that he made a coffin for Pulaski's body. The people who lived on the bluff told the grandson of Jane Bowen, who owned Greenwich plantation in 1779, where Pulaski's body was buried.
Thus, Edward Pinkowski solved the mystery of Pulaski's grave. Still, for years, the new information, as solid as a rock, was stubbornly rejected. Few believed that Pulaski was buried on Greenwich plantation.
His bones were dug up in 1852 and moved to a vault under the Pulaski Monument in Savannah. When the vault was opened in September, 1996, they found Pulaski's bones in an iron box with his name on it.
How could one even think that Americans buried their hero in the middle of Savannah and later completely forgot about this?
The authorities did not know yet that Edward Pinkowski, the son of a Polish immigrant from Wizna who arrived 1906 in the United States, is not only a very inquisitive man, but also one with the ability to get to the bottom of a problem. He decided to devote his time and money, almost $50,000, to prove by a mountain of evidence that General Pulaski's bones were in Savannah and wanted other evidence, if it was available, to satisfy the public. When they found the iron box, inscribed with Pulaski's name, they saw the bones of a man, no more than five feet, three inches in length, pieces of the original coffin, a holy cross, and hand-made nails.
In this matter soon obstacles and difficulties multiplied because mitochondrial DNA is inherited only through the straight female line (from mother to daughter, etc.). The elementary condition was to find remains of Kazimierz Pulaski's mother or one of his sisters. There were five sisters: Anna -- canoness in a Warsaw institution; Malgorzata -- wife of Adam Skilski; Monika -- wife of Stanislaw Rohozinski; Jozefa -- wife of Marcin Slawoszewski, and Paulina -- wife of Antoni Suffczynski.
I also conducted the search for the graves of these Pulaski women, but so far without positive results. The search can be continued, but already we can assume that what Edward Pinkowski discovered and settled is credible.