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Oborniki County

The county of Oborniki [powiat obornicki] has an area of 1,095 square km.; it lies between latitudes 52 degrees 30 minutes and 52 degrees 54 minutes north, and longitudes 34 degrees 11minutes and 34 degrees 52 minutes east [again, these are measured from Ferro]. To the north it borders on the counties of Czarnkow and Chodziez, to the east Wagrowiec and Gniezno counties, to the south Sroda and Poznan counties, and to the west Szamotuly and Czarnkow. The surface of Oborniki county is a plain with hills scattered along it here and there. In terms of its physical composition we can divide it into four significantly different parts: 1) an unwooded riverside, 2) a wooded, marshy region, 3) a upland with little water, and 4) forests, fields, meadows and waters.

The first part covers the southern section of the county, along the left bank of the Warta. There are only remnants left of the old forests here, as for instance near Radzim, Golaszyn, Niemieczkowo, Sycyn, as well as smaller fragments such as near Ocieszyn and Popowo; but they do not give this part only prominent character. The meadows, on the other hand, are found next to almost every settlement; they cover the valley of the river Samica Kiekrska (which flows out of lake Pamiatkowo) and of the stream that arises near Popowo and flows into the Samica Szamotulska; lake Sycyn also flows into the latter Samica. Flowing into the Warta, besides the Samica Kiekrska, are the streams Jaryszewski and Golaszynski. The Samica Kiekrska flows in two beds from Imbierowo to what was once lake Objezierze; with its eastern bed it forms a pond above Zielatkowo and a small lake between Wargowo and Kowalewko. The streams Jaryszewski and Golaszynski, as well as the Samica Kiekrska with its outflowing lake Pamiatkowo, flow to the north, while the stream Popowska flows south, and the outflow of lake Sycyn flows west.

This part of the county has two paved roads: one from Oborniki to Szamotuly through Uscikowo, Chrustowo, Urbanie, and Popowko, 12 km. long; and one from Oborniki to Poznan through Bogdanowo and Ocieszyn, 8 km. long. The Poznan-Pila railway, with a stop in Wargowo, crosses this road in Ocieszyn. The Poznan-Szczecin railway crosses the county’s border near Przeclaw and Baborowo.

The second distinct part of the county is formed by an area between the rivers Welna and Warta, the border of Czarnkow county, Tarnowko, Boruszyn, Ludomy, and Ruda Pogozinska. There are forests here at Stobnica, Podlesie, Bablin, Oborniki, Dabrowka. Oborniki, Bablin, Kiszewo, Kiszewko, and Stobnica, with their settlements, push from the north to those forests, among which are various forest districts as well as the settlements of Podlesie, Ludomskie Holendry, Bagna, Nowa Mysl, Nowe Holendry, Dabrowka Lesna, and Rudki. In the northern part of these forests are large “Bagna” [Swamps] surrounded by marshy meadows called “Wielka Plonka.” On their northern edge there are marshes named “Konczak” that stretch northeast almost 8 kilometers to Polajewo and Sierakowko. The settlement Bagna lies among the meadows; Nowa Mysl is surrounded on three sides by meadows; the Golnica flows along meadows from the mill Smolarz to its outlet into the Welna, which also flows along the meadows near Oborniki. There are also meadows near Bablin, Kiszewo, Kiszewko and Stobnica.

From the north, between the forests of Stobnica and Podlesie, flows the stream Boguszynski. Fortified by small streams, it flows into the Warta at Stobnica. A small stream flows from Nowa Mysl to the Warta in Kiszewko. Another, parallel to the Warta, flows into it between Kiszewo and Kiszewko. The river Welna changes its course to the south at Ruda Rogozinska, collecting the waters of the Golnica, which flows into it from the north. South of Plonka, which surrounds the large swamps called Bagna, there are hills called Orle and Krzywe Gory.

From the northern edge of these woods, which formerly joined with those of Krucz, Czarnkow, and Wyszynki, the forested region of this part of the county ends, and a flat, plateau with few trees and little water begins. Meadows of some size are found here at Ninino, Sierakowko, Polajewo, and Tlukawy. From the borders of Czarnkow county to the Golnica there is not a single river or lake; the streams and creeks that wind here and there in this area flow without any clear outlet or direction. The eastern stretch of this part of the county is encircled by the Golnica and Welna rivers. The Golnica flows out of Lake Gebice in Chodziez county; it flows southward and picks up small streams until it empties into the Welna. On the banks of the Golnica is the small town of Ryczywol, and on the Welna is Rogozno. Above Rogozno the Rudka, which flows out of Wagrowiec county, flows into the Welna. The more sizable hills in this area are those called Dluga, Grabowska and Lisia Gora [“fox mountain”]. The road from Oborniki to Czarnkow crosses this part of the county for a distance of 24 km. as the crow flies, and joins with the road from Rogozno to Czarnkow near Przybychowo. In Ruda Rogozinska the road from Oborniki to Chodziez crosses the road from Rogozno to Czarnkow. The railway from Poznan to Pila, with a station in Rogozno, cuts through this stretch and separates it from the fourth part of the county, which nature has more generously endowed with forests and waters full of fish.

The forests here, which have been somewhat thinned out, stretch from the south to the northwest. On the Warta, by Starczanowo, an ancient forest still stands, and a substantial stretch of forest winds along the eastern border of the county, from Gac to near Rogozno. There are a series of lakes there, Rogozno, Budziszewo, Maciejak, and Wlokno, fortified by the Welnianka, which flows out of Wagrowiec county, and various outflows of lakes from that same county. These lakes stretch along the border for a distance of 20 km. from Gac to to near Rogozno. A second line of lakes and ponds, without any clear outflow, winds for a distance of over 12 km. from Huta Pusta to near Loskon. A third line, stretching for a distance of about 15 km., creates the Goslinka, a tributary of the Warta, which collects the waters of various streams, and a tributary of lake Bolechowskie from Poznan county, from Czarne Holendry to its mouth. In addition there are still other lakes, such as those near Boguniewo, Nienawisc, Loskon, Brzezno, Wojnowo, Plawno and Nieszawa. The stream Nieszawa is a tributary of the Welna and flows for 10 km. A stream from near Dobromil and one from near Szymankowo flow into the Warta. The Warta forms the border between Oborniki and Poznan counties for a length of about 4 km., from Holendry Zlotograbskie to near Radim; from Radzim, where it creates an island about 1 km. in length, it flows across the county to Holendry Sloniawskie, where it enters Szamotuly county. Its tributaries are named above.

The climate of the various parts of the county change in relation to the conditions of their location in gradations that have not been researched yet. The road from Rogozno to Poznan via Studzienice, Loskon, Dluga Goslina, Brody, Trojanowo, Przebedowo and Murowana Goslina is about 24 km long and divides this part of the county intwo two roughly even halves. The road from Rogozno to Wagrowiec leaves the county 2 km. The road from Trojanowo to Skoki runs about 13.4 km. within the county, also a road from Przebedowo to Oborniki runs 17.8 km. Mines produce iron; amber, mined at one time near Rogozno; salt deposits and springs near Sloniawy, Oborniki, Bogdanowo and Objezierze; coal is dug from the earth in Bablin, and peat in Ludomy. As of 1837 there were in this county 124,503 head of livestock, namely, 2,273 horses, 15,927 cattle, 95,513 sheep, 89 goats and 7,701 pigs. Besides the Polish breeds, there are Dutch, Swedish, Oldenburg, Breitenbar, Frisian, Shorthorn and Wilstermarsh cattle; Southdown, Cotswold, Rambouillet and Negretti sheep; and Yorkshire pigs. In Nieszawa there is a farms for foals, and there is a stable in Polajewo. Beekeeping is being abandoned more and more. In the forests there are oaks, pines, beeches, alders, and birches.

Agriculture is the main occupation of the populace. Landed estates consist of knights’ estates and peasant properties ranging in size from fairly large to fairly small. The village owned by a knight usually forms a single unit with its farms and manorial farmstead, but administratively is divided into an estate district and gmina district. Holendry [settlements typically populated by German or Dutch colonists] located some distance from knight-owned villages form separate gminas. Manors with peasants, and isolated manorial farmsteads, as well as individual settlements, are attached to one of those districts. In 1883 peasant-owned properties included 1,763 farms with fewer than 8 hectares, 1,274 with between 8 and 80 hectares, and 52 with between 80 and 160 hectares. Independent manorial farmsteads are often created from the latter, on an equal footing with knights’ estates.

The knights’ estates of Oborniki county are coming under German ownership. The government seized the estates of the churches and starostas. In this county the following Polish lords have maintained their ownership so far: Blociszewski, Cielski, Dobrzycki, Grabowski, Lossow, Polewska, Pradzynski, Raczynski, Siewicz, Skrzydlewski, Tomaszkiewicz, Turno, Wierzbinski, Wolski, Zablocki and Zoltowski. Until quite recently the Bninskis, Koszuckis, Kuczborskis, Lakomickis, Mieleckis, Rostworowskis, Skarbkas, Swinarskis and others were also among their number. In the 1880s, of the larger properties, some 32%, or 22,300 hectares, were in Polish hands. We can divide the lands of this county as follows: 58% of farmland with income of 10.5 marks, 0.3% of gardens and orchards with income of 20.7 marks, 8% of meadows with income of 17.7 marks, 5 % of pastureland with an income of 6.0 marks, and 24.5% of forests with an income of 2.7 marks. So net income from land averages 8.7 marks per hectare. Of the total land, large estates occupy 71,996 hectares; smaller peasant-owned properties, roads and so forth occupy 37,491 hectares. The large estates consist of 34,885 hectares of farmland, including orchards and gardens; 5,320 of meadows; 2,542 of pastureland; 26,863 of forests; 1,514 of unused land; and 872 of water.

Trade and industry are concentrated mostly in the cities. A few years ago there were in this county 29 mills, 23 brickyards, 19 distilleries, 3 breweries, 3 paper mills, 1 sawmill, a starch factory in Orlowo, and scattered windmills, as well as the following mills: on the Welna, Nowy Mlyn Rudzki, Jaracz, Roznowo and Sloniawy; on the Welnianka, Borowiec and Owcze Glowy; on the Golnica, Smolarz; on the Goslinka, Pilka; on the Samica, Ruksz; Tuczno at Dluga Goslina, Kowalewko, Trojanowo, Msciszewo, and others; there were paper mills at Murowana Goslina and Stobnica.

The county’s population was 30,170 in 1819; 38,155 in1837; 48,093 in 1871; 47,269 in 1875; and 50,182 in 1883. Of the latter, 30,828 were Catholics, 17,016 Protestants, and 2,323 Jews; there were 45 inhabitants per square kilometer. The Catholics are Poles, and the Protestants and Jews are German. The county is divided into 4 urban gminas, 117 rural ones, 68 estate districts, 14 civil registry districts, 5 police districts, 2 deaneries, 16 Catholic parishes, 4 Protestant congregations, and 3 synagogues; the total number of settlements is 316. There is a privately-owned mental hospital in Kowanowko.

The history of Oborniki county stretches back into the distant past. If we accept that lake dwellings are the most ancient traces of settlement, then we can say that it began here along the left bank of the Warta, close to Objezierze. During the lowering of the lake a waterside settlement was discovered, as well as a semicircular embankment with traces of burnt offerings, nearby pagan burial grounds and excavated objects, such as urns, lachrymatories and similar earthen vessels, as well as flint tools and other such items. They speak meaningfully of prehistoric population of this vicinity. Objects of this sort were also uncovered in neighboring Ocieszyn, and near Golebowo, Maniewo, Radzim, Lulin, Popowko, Chrustowo and Uscikowo. On the right bank of the Warta similar objects were dug up in Rudki, Kiszewo, Nowa Mysl, and in swampy meadows amid the woods at: Boruszyn, near Dlugi Bor; near Polajewo, in the Polajewo hills and on Lisia Gora; in Ryczywol, Gorzewo, Rogozno, Dabrowa Ludomska, Boguniewo, Slomowo, Budziszewo, Potrzanowo, Roznowo, Lukowo, Katy, Przebedowo, Msciszewo, Murowana Goslina, and Szymankowo. Perhaps in time further archaeological research will tell us the order in which the settlement of these areas took place.

In this county we find individual graves and mass burial grounds. The individual graves are usually box-like, surrounded by stones. Burial grounds have been excavated near Objezierze, Maniowo, and Kiszewo; box-like graves were found at Lisia Gora near Polajewo, and in Owieczki, Msciszewo, Przebedowo, Boruszyn and Ocieszyn. A burial ground was discovered in Popowko was discovered that contains graves with rays of stones emanating from a single center; but no urns have been found there yet. Hive-shaped graves were excavated near Przebedowo, as well as ordinary graves at Lukowo, Szymankowo, and on the hills of Polajewo, and an isolated grave was found in Polajewo. Usually found in these gravesites are earthen urns with fragments of burned bones and various other small objects, which have sometimes been preserved in their original forms, such as buckles, necklaces, rings, and so forth, as well as various kinds of earthenware that have been fired to a greater or lesser extent. Single urns have been found near Boruszyn, Ryczywol, Golebowo, Lulin, and in Chrustowo, where one of the urns contained a piece of melted gold. A whole layer of uns was extracted in Katy from near Dluga Goslina; urns surrounded with stones were found in Potrzanowo; and urns with lids were found in Przebedowo, Msciszewo, and on Lisia Gora near Polajewo. Urns found near Oborniki depicted a human face. Of the vessels found alongside these urns, particularly noteworthy are the black pots from near Lulin and Przebedowo. Various stone objects were excavated in Nowa Mysl; also found were: a hammer near Oborniki; a hatchet and flint battle axe in Lulin; flint wedges, a knife and a black battle axe near Objezierze; tools made of bone in Golebowo; an iron buckle coated with silver in Uscikowo; bronze objects in Boruszyn; a bronze ring in an urn and an arrow for pinning back hair near Przebedowo; a similar necklace in Lulin; a sword near Rudki; and a buckle in Budziszewo and Boruszyn. As mentioned above, a piece of melted gold was found in one of the urns discovered near Chrustowo. We encounter so-called “Swedish” embankments and trenches opposite Oborniki near Boguniewo, Slomowo and Dabrowka Ludomska. High citadels, embankments, and deep ditches are found on the island formed by the Warta near Radzim.

Oborniki county has shared the fate of the province of Poznan; the area it occupies today was part of that province. We first find mention of it in writing in 1158, when the citizen Zbilut founded a monastery in Lekno for German monks, and komes [count] Przedwoj bestowed upon the monastery his hereditary property, the village of Loskon. Circa 1170 prince Mieczyslaw and Radwan, the bishop of Poznan, brought to Poznan a different set of German monks called the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem and granted them large estates, among which a document from 1218 mentions Objezierze and Wargowo. In 1230 the monks are said to have founded the church in Radzim. Before the year 1235 the church in Gniezno owned the village Wlokna, which prince Wladyslaw took away, but which Odonicz returned to it. By 1256 a grod and castellany already stood in Radzim; the next year Boleslaw, the son of Odonicz, gave to Janek, the son of Wojciech, sizable estates, among which Kowanowo is included. In 1278 the komes Dzierzykraj has his seat at Sycyn; in 1280, Przemyslaw II granted to Rogozno a town charter based on German law, with Ruda, Ciesle and Miedzylesia as properties. A document from 1284 names Krezoly among the properties owned by Tomislaw of Szamotuly; that same year Przemyslaw II gave Lulin and Nieczajno to Zegota, the voivode of Krakow. In 1296 the Brandenburg margraves attacked and killed Przemyslaw in Rogozno; that same year prince Wladyslaw gave Olszyna and Gosciejewo to Mikolaj, the voivode of Pomerania. In 1308 the Poznan chapter exchanged Popowo for Gradowice, the inheritance of Dobrogost of Szamotuly. Circa 1326 an ironworks existed at Rogozno; in 1336 Jan, bishop of Poznan, established a parish in Gac, incorporating into it Wojnowo, Lopuchowo, Brzezno, and Loskon [according to Nazwy miejscowe Polski, Vol. III, ed. Kazimierz Rymut, Krakow 1999, ISBN 83-87795-45-3, Gac is now a part of the village of Lopuchowo]. In 1348 a church stood in Dabrowka Koscielna. In 1356 Maciej, the soltys of Oborniki, granted to Holy Spirit church in Oborniki, which he founded, various incomes from his estates at Slomowo, Bogdanowo, Uscikowo, Nowa Wies, Kowanowo, and Kowanowko.

In 1372 the Ostens, lords of Drzen near Rogozno, had a farmstead near Rogozno, where on 25 July they confirmed the soltys’s property in Tlukawy. In 1383 a civil war was raging in Great Poland; sorties were conducted from Oborniki, which had been taken by the supporters of Domarat, the castellan of Poznan, and these raids devastated the area. That year a truce was called near Starczanowo on the 8th of March; during the negotiations, troops of supporters stood at Sarczanowo and at Radzim, opposite it. In 1384 Sedziwoj Swidwa assaulted guests gathered in Przeclaw and killed Janusz, the wojt of Oborniki. The church in Parkowo was standing by 1448. By 1458 the town of Ryczywol was in existence. Between the years 1526–1530 a starostwo was created in Rogozno, but the starostwo in Oborniki had existed earlier. We can associate the winches and bullet holes in the walls of the church in Rogozno more or less with these times.

Before 1580 the following existed: Ciazyn, Przybychowko, Przybychowo, Skrzetusy, Tarnowo, Mlynkowo, Krosin, Krosinko, Polajewo, Sierakowko, Gorzewo, Tarnowko, Boruszyn, Owieczki, (Piacibudy, which has since vanished), Ludomy, Drzonek, Boruchowo, (Huta near Rogozno, which has since vanished), Dabrowka Ludomska, Grudna, Zoledzin, Garbatka, (Jordanowice, which has since vanished, maybe Wiardunki?), Owcze Glowy, Stobnica, Kiszewko, Kiszewo, Boguniewo, Nienawisc, (Zalesie, which has vanished), Gorzuchowo, Bodziszewo, Bablin, Dabrowka Lesna, Szczytno, Potrzanowo, Braczewo, Jaryszewo, Pacholowo, Nieszawa, (Nowy and Wojtowski mlyn, which may have changed their names), Osowo, (Stara Wies, which has since vanished), Lukowo, Zerniki, Uchorowo, Dluga Goslina, Popowko, Golaszyn, Szymankowo, Bialezyn, Zukowo, Golebowo, Brody, Slepuchowo, Msciszewo, Gorka, Kowalewko, Goslinka, Przebedowo, (Wiesiolowo, which has since vanished), Baborowo, Lulinko, Zielatkowo, Tworkowo and Rakownia.

Before 1773 the following existed: Swierkowki, Sepno, Plawno, and Boduszewo; undoubtedly there were others, but we have no precise information about them. Settlements with German names developed in recent times; some properties were given German names, or the spelling of their Polish names was Germanized. Besides the towns of Oborniki, Ryczywol, Murowana Goslina, and Rogozno, there were two others within the borders of Oborniki county, Stobnica and Parkowo, that are villages today. The Reformation did not have many followers in this county; of the parish churches, those in Ocieszyn, Parkowo, and Murowana Goslina were in the hands of the dissenters for a while. In 1635 a Protestant church was built in Bukowiec; in other places there were only houses of paryer, on which we have insufficient details. In the years 1655 and 1656 the Swedish army passed through the county. Before 1793 the whole county was part of the county and province of Poznan. The county of Oborniki established during the time of Southern Prussia occupied a certain part of Szamotuly county; it came into existence in its current borders in 1815. Before 1793 there were no owners of significant estates of German ethnicity.

Source: Slownik Geograficzny Krolestwa Polskiego, Vol. 7 pp. 336-242, Warsaw 1886. 

Translated by Izabela M. Szuman, edited by William F. Hoffman

Contributed by Mike Konczak, 219 Market, Baird TX 79504


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