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Anetka featured on the cover

All of the characters that appear in A Coal Miner's Bride by Susan Campbell Bartoletti.

Main characters[]

Anetka Kaminska[]

Main article: Anetka Kaminska

Anetka Gawrych (née Kaminska;[1] 1883[2] – 1965)[3] was the older sister of Jozef. She spent her childhood in Sadowka, Poland. After her mother died, her father went to America and became a coal miner. In 1896, he sent for her after arranging her marriage to a fellow coal miner, Stanley Gawrych. She subsequently became a stepmother to his three daughters, Violet, Rose, and Lily. A few months after their marriage, Anetka was widowed when Stanley passed away in a mining accident. She set up a boardinghouse in order to support herself and her children.

Leon Nasevich[]

Main article: Leon Nasevich

Leon Nasevich (born c. 1878[4] – 1965)[3] was a friend of Anetka and Jozef. He first met Anetka while he was serving as a soldier in the Czar's army. After protecting Anetka from another soldier, Leon fled Poland with her and Jozef. He was detained for a short time after the boat passage, but was eventually let into America. Leon proceeded to Lattimer, Pennsylvania, where he met Anetka again. There he began work as a mule driver at Honey Brook colliery and became an advocate for the United Mine Workers.

Supporting characters[]


"Babcia" was the grandmother of Anetka and Jozef. Her marriage was arranged as was the custom. She and her husband had a daughter and two sons who died in infancy. Babcia was renowned in the village for her veterinary skills and was teaching her granddaughter before the latter went to America. After her daughter's death, Babcia often compared Anetka to her, saying things like "You have a spirited heart, just like your mother." When it came time to go to America, she stayed behind and gave her ticket to Leon Nasevich. She never saw Anetka again, though they continued communicating through letters.

Jerzy and Lidia Lewandowski[]

Jerzy (died September 10, 1897)[5] and Lidia Lewandowski (born c. 1878)[4] were a couple from Rawa, Poland. Her parents disapproved of Jerzy and disowned her when they learned about their marriage. Anetka befriended the couple during their voyage to America. They settled in Lattimer, Pennsylvania, where they boarded with the Wozniaks. In November 1896, Lidia gave birth to their son, whom they named Roman. Jerzy was killed while the miners were striking for better pay. Lidia gave birth to their second son three weeks after Jerzy's burial. She returned to Poland after the christening. There she was reunited with her parents.

Jozef Kaminski[]

Jozef Kaminski (born c. 1889[6] – 1918)[3] was the younger brother of Anetka and only son of Mr. and Mrs. Kaminski. He was very stubborn and often would not listen to his sister. In contrast, Jozef held men in higher esteem, particularly his father and Leon. Instead of going to school, he obtained a job in the coal mine which upset Anetka. He later started to skip work in order to spend time with his friends. Jozef eventually attended school for a short time. He was suspended after organizing a walk-out during a strike in 1902. Jozef worked for the railroad, before enlisting during World War I. He was killed during battle at age twenty-nine.

Mr. Kaminski[]

Mr. Kaminski ("Tata") was the father of Anetka and Jozef. His personality was considered the opposite of his wife's, whom was practical and responsible. After the death of his wife, he left Poland to go work in a coal mine in Lattimer. In 1896, he arranged his daughter's marriage to Stanley Gawrych. Stanley paid for the passage Anetka and Jozef in exchange. He and Jozef boarded at Mrs. Szarek's until Stanley's death, at which point they moved into Anetka's house. Mr. Kaminski had high hopes for his future in America, leading Anetka to call it "America fever." He took steps to become an American citizen the following year.

Lily, Rose, and Violet Gawrych[]

Violet (born c. 1890), Rose (born c. 1892), and Lily Gawrych (born c. 1893) were the three daughters of Stanley and his first wife Sophie. Lily and Rose took to Anetka, their stepmother, fast and soon began calling her "Mama." The oldest Violet was notably stubborn and ornery, much like Anetka's brother. Nevertheless, she slowly warmed up to Anetka, especially after Stanley's death. Due to their similarities, Violet and Jozef were often teased that they would marry someday. Violet instead eloped with Carlo at sixteen. Rose married Jimmy and Lily married David. Together with their stepsister Mary, they gave Anetka sixteen grandchildren.

Stanley Gawrych[]

Stanley Gawrych (c. 1871[7] – January 25, 1897)[8] was Anetka's husband and father of Violet, Rose, and Lily. He dearly loved his first wife, Sophie, who died while giving birth to a stillborn son. In early 1896, he paid for Anetka's passage to America and married her the following July. Still missing Sophie, he had a hard time opening himself up to Anetka, whom he likely married to have a mother for his children. Stanley was also often gruff and short-tempered with Anetka, despite her attempts to be a good wife. After a certain fight, Stanley was nice to Anetka and helped her with the girls. He died a few days later when the roof of a mine collapsed on him.

Minor characters[]

  • Ada Mackinder was an American woman working in a shop in Hazleton. Noticing her chapped hands, Anetka Kaminska made her some balm. Ada later struck a deal with that lasted for years to come.
  • Andrew Kaczmarek was a boarder at Anetka's house. He was a kind, respectful man. Andrew and his brother were orphaned after his mother "worked herself to death." For this reason, he proposed marriage to Anetka but she turned him down.
  • Artur and Marek Lasinski, two brothers and boarders at Anetka's house.
  • Mr. Bogdan was an agent for the Pennsylvania Coal Company who helped Polish immigrants find work and housing. During the voyage to America, he gave Anetka and the others advice. After Stanley Gawrych's death, he spoke to Anetka about his debts and suggested for her to take in boarders.
  • Buty, a kitten born on the ship to America. She was given to Anetka by Leon Nasevich. In July 1897, she gave birth to a litter of three black kittens.
  • Father Dembinski was the priest at Saint Stanislaus's, the Polish church, in Lattimer.
  • Gomer Jones, a mine superintendent. The men called him "the worst slave driver." He was the most hated of all the mine bosses, leading to one particularly violent altercation.
  • The Jablonskis were a family of two parents and three children living in Sadowka. They lost a daughter in infancy. In April 1896, they asked for Babcia's help when their cow was having a difficult birth.
  • Mrs. Kaminska ("Mamusia;" died c. 1895)[9] was the mother of Anetka and Jozef whom they called "Mamusia." She passed away from "the fever."
  • Mr. Levy was a Jewish cobbler. His family's home and shop was burned by the Russians. The next morning, they salvaged a few belongings and left the village, perhaps heading to America.
  • Mr. Mazur was the husband of Mrs. Mazur. He became a coal miner, when his family moved to Lattimer.
  • Mrs. Mazur, a woman Anetka met on the voyage to America. She had two daughters and a son. Mrs. Mazur criticized Anetka's "book learning." Her family also settled in Lattimer, where her husband became a miner.
  • The Poteras', a family living in Lattimer. Mr. Potera got angry at his wife for giving birth to their sixth daughter. Lidia helped watch their children since Mrs. Potera was sick after the latest birth.
  • Roman Lewandowski (born November 10, 1896)[10] was the son of Jerzy and Lidia. His name was revealed when he was christened one month after his birth.
  • Count Sadowski and Sadowska were a wealthy couple living in a mansion in Sadowka. Anetka's mother was taught how to read and write by the Countess.
  • Sophie Gawrych was Stanley's first wife who died giving birth to a stillbirth son. After her death, he remarried but still missed her. He once called Anetka by her name and said I love you to her in his sleep.
  • Stefania Krupnik (born 1883)[2] was Anetka's best friend in Sadowka. She described Stefania as the "prettiest girl" in the village with "blonde hair and a nice smile." They continued to correspond through letters after Anetka left and for the rest of their lives.
  • Mrs. Szarek, a woman who owned the boardinghouse where Jozef and his father stayed. When her husband died, she took in boarders to make ends meet. Her home was a meeting house to discuss the various coal mining problems, of which she was also knowledgeable.
  • Mr. Wozniak (died September 29, 1896)[11] was the husband of Mrs. Wozniak. He was a friend of Stanley and Mr. Mazur. Mr. Wozniak passed away due to a fire explosion in the mine he was working in.
  • Mrs. Wozniak, a neighbor of Anetka's. Lidia and Jerzy also boarded at her house. She was widowed after her husband died in a gas explosion. Her eldest son and daughter had to quit school to obtain jobs. Mrs. Wozniak had to take in laundry jobs, though she continued to struggle.

Epilogue characters[]

  • Carlo, Jimmy, and David were the husbands of Violet, Rose, and Lily. Carlo was Italian, Jimmy Irish, and David Welsh, leading Leon Nasevich and Anetka Kaminska to call their family a "League of Nations."
  • Mary Nasevich was the daughter and only child of Anetka and Leon. She was a teacher at a public school, and taught Polish on the weekends. She married a German principal named Thomas.


  1. Polish names ending in -ski usually have the feminine form of -ska; thus Anetka and her mother would be Kaminska, while her father and brother are Kaminski. [1]
  2. 2.0 2.1 A Coal Miner's Bride, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, page 15
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 A Coal Miner's Bride, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, Epilogue, pages 190-192
  4. 4.0 4.1 A Coal Miner's Bride, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, page 43
  5. A Coal Miner's Bride, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, pages 181-184
  6. A Coal Miner's Bride, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, page 6
  7. A Coal Miner's Bride, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, page 133
  8. A Coal Miner's Bride, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, page 128
  9. A Coal Miner's Bride, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, pages 9, 17
  10. A Coal Miner's Bride, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, pages 111-112
  11. A Coal Miner's Bride, Susan Campbell Bartoletti, page 105

See also[]

Dear America characters
Main characters

Remember "Mem" Whipple | Deliverance Trembley | Lozette Moreau | Catharine Logan | Prudence Emerson
Abigail Stewart | Lucinda Lawrence | María Rosalia de Milagros | Hattie Campbell | Mary Driscoll
Florence "Florrie" Mack Ryder | Susanna Fairchild | Clotee Henley | Amelia Martin | Emma Simpson
Sarah Nita | Phillis "Patsy" Frederick | Libby West | Priscilla "Pringle" Rose | Mary "Polly" Rodgers
Nannie Little Rose | Angeline Reddy | Sarah Jane Price | Teresa Viscardi | Anetka Kaminska
Zipporah Feldman | Minette "Minnie" Bonner | Angela Denoto | Margaret Ann Brady | Kathleen Bowen
Simone Spencer | Lydia Pierce | Nell "Nellie Lee" Love | Bess Brennan | Minerva "Minnie" Swift | Grace Edwards
Julie Weiss | Madeline Beck | Amber Billows | Piper Davis | Dawn "Dawnie Rae" Johnson | Molly Flaherty

Supporting characters

Antoinetta Viscardi | Leon Nasevich | Daniel Pierce | Erma Jean Love | Patrick Flaherty

Lists of characters by book

A Journey to the New World | I Walk in Dread | Look to the Hills | Standing in the Light
Love Thy Neighbor | The Winter of Red Snow | Cannons at Dawn | A Line in the Sand
Valley of the Moon | Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie | So Far from Home | All the Stars in the Sky
Seeds of Hope | A Picture of Freedom | A Light in the Storm | When Will This Cruel War Be Over?
The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow | I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly | The Great Railroad Race
Down the Rabbit Hole | Land of the Buffalo Bones | My Heart Is on the Ground | Behind the Masks
My Face to the Wind | West to a Land of Plenty | A Coal Miner's Bride | Dreams in the Golden Country
A City Tossed and Broken | Hear My Sorrow | Voyage on the Great Titanic | A Time for Courage
When Christmas Comes Again | Like the Willow Tree | Color Me Dark | Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
Christmas After All | Survival in the Storm | One Eye Laughing, the Other Weeping
My Secret War | Early Sunday Morning | The Fences Between Us | With the Might of Angels
Where Have All the Flowers Gone?