Bielawski, (Kazimierz) Casimir
February 27, 1815 - March 3, 1905
Captain in the Austrian Army, engineer
Captain, engineer in the Austrian Army; angered by the attitude of the Vienna government after the Galician Massacre of 1846, resigned from the ranks of the occupiers' army and went into exile. Arriving in America he became a draftsman for the Federal Land Office in San Francisco, California, shortly after the outbreak of the Gold Rush. He held this position for 45 years and was considered the most important person in that office because he personally conducted the greater part of a survey of the old Spanish grants in the state, and because of his excellent memory was the best authority on deeds to real state in California. "His experience and knowledge were even more valuable," said Helena Modrzejewska who met him there, "because he was thoroughly honest. He could have made a fortune, but he was very scrupulous and never took advantage for private gain of the opportunities given to him by his official position." Though he was rather radical in his views and an atheist, he was a very devoted Pole and to the final days of his life he took an active part in the patriotic movement and in the small Polonia community in California. In 1863 he tried to obtain money to assist the [January] Uprising in his homeland. In 1877, on behalf of the Polish Society in California, he signed a mandate for Count Wladyslaw Plater to "represent Poland among the nations and peoples of Europe" during the Russo-Turkish War. He was among those who helped Modrzejewska take her first steps in America. She wrote that he was "gentle, generous to a fault, very rigid in his convictions and very loyal to his friends" among whom was Captain Rudolf Korwin Piotrowski, the prototype for Zagloba [the character in Sienkiewicz's novels]. Poles, as well as Americans, in California gave him the greatest of respect. Most likely it was during his wanderings that he married an English Lady, a very fine woman.
Sources: Boleslawita, B., Z Roku 1867 Rachunki [From the Year 1867, an Accounting] Poznan, 1886, II p. 120,126; Osada, St., Historia Zwiazku Narodowego Polskiego [A History of the PNA] Chicago, 1905, p. 81-82; Memoirs and Impressions of Helena Modrzejewska, New York, 1910, p. 305 308; "Zgoda," Chicago, 25 V 1890.
Author: Mieczyslaw Haiman
From: Polski Slownik Biograficzny, Vol. II, p. 37-38
Translation: Peter Obst, Oct. 10, 2009.
Casimir Bielawski was an army engineer. He arrived in California in 1853 and for 45 years worked in the United States Land Office in San Francisco, where he reached the position of principal draughtsman with a salary of $2,000 dollars per year in 1862. With two others, he co-authored un 1865 the Topographical and Railroad Map of the Central Part of California and Part of the State of Nevada which, up to the present, is the basic map for this area. On this occasion, he obviously was able to name the highest mountain in the san Francisco-San Hose area as Copernicus Peak (4,372 ft.) in honor of the famous Polish astronomer. [Today most travel maps mark only Mount Hamilton (4,209 ft.) about 2 miles southeast of Copernicus Peak.] Fellow cartographers gave recognition to his professional and civic achievements by naming a peak west of Los Gatos Bielawski Mountain. The Great Polish actress, Helena Modjeska mentions him gratefully in her memoirs as one of the San Francisco Poles who had been helpful in bringing her to the stage in San Francisco.
From: Polish Americans in California 1827-1977 and Who's Who, edited by Rev. Jacek Przygoda; PAHA, Los Angeles, 1978, p. 36-38.
Bielawski, Kazimierz - born on February 27, 1815, in Malopolska [Little Poland]; died March 3, 1905, in San Francisco; traveler geodesist. Served as a captain in the Austrian army which he left in 1846 after the Slaughter of Galicja and came to the United States. He worked for 45 years in San Francisco in the Federal City Government where he was a draftsman and surveyor of the old Spanish land grants. He was remarkable in his honesty. He was active in Polish organizations and sought to aid the January Uprising (1863-64). In 1877 he signed, as representative of the Polish Society of California an authorization for Wladyslaw Plater, so that he could represent Poland among the nations and peoples of Europe during the Russian-Turkish war. In 1895 he published (with J. D. Hoffman and J. Polt) a map of California and Nevada Topographical and Railroad Map of the Central Part of California and Nevada. His name was given to the peak Mount Bielawski in Santa Clara County, California.
Sources: Polski Slownik Biograficzny [Polish Biographical Directory] vol. 2, Krakow, 1936; Wielka Encyclopedia PWN [The Great PWN Encyclopedia] vol. 4 Warsaw. 2001; S. Osada Historia Zwiazku Narodowego Polskiego [History of the Polish National Alliance] Chicago 1905; Memoirs and Impressions of Helena Modrzejewska New York 1910; J. A. Wytrwal, Poles in American History and Tradition Detroit, Michigan, 1969.
Author: Kazimierz Dopierala
From: Encyklopedia Polskiej Emigracji i Polonii, ed. by Kazimierz Dopierala, Oficyna Wydawnicza Kucharski, vol. 1, Torun 2005, p. 201.
Translation: Peter Obst, Sept 5, 2009.
Bielawski, Casimir, Captain
Engineer. Born in 1815 in Poland; captaIn-engineer in Austrian Army till 1846; left army in 1846 when he saw how the Austrian government murdered the Polish nobility. In 1850 came to U.S. and settled in San Francisco, Cal. Engaged as an engineer by U.S. Land Office for surveying in California; worked there for 45 years; was considered the greatest authority on real estate titles in State of California, from 1889 to 1900. Surveyed old Spanish grants in California. The State of California has named one of the mountains in the Santa Cruz Range, Mount Bielawski in honor of Captain Kazimierz Bielawski, a pioneer of California. One of the Poles who sent an address to the congress in Berlin, Germany, demanding the restoration of Poland. Died in 1905.
From: "Who's Who in Polish America" by Rev. Francis Bolek, Editor-in-Chief; Harbinger House, New York, 1943