Brodie [Brody], Galicia

(from Slownik Geograficzny, 1880-1902)

        Brody, once a “free” trade and business city, was the principal city for the county, also called Brody, in Galicia. It was formerly in the province of Wolnia.  It lies on the river once known as Suchowalka; the stream runs along the main road between Zloczow and Brody.  Along the river runs the railroad line, once called the Karol Ludwik (Karl Ludwig) so called during the Austrian occupation.  It covered a distance of 93 kilometers heading towards Lwow [now L'viv]. The railroad crossed the border between Galicia and Russia at the town of Radziwilow, 9 kilometers from Brody.

        The village lies on a very muddy and flat plain, surrounded by forests.  The entire expanse of Brody covered 3,740 morgen [roughly between 0.6 and 0.8 acres].  There were 2 large farmsteads and estates.  One held 31 morgen of meadows and gardens, and 20 morgen of pastureland; the second estate covered 52 morgen of gardens and meadows, and 6 morgen of pastureland.  The remaining morgen covered all the squares, buildings, and streets of Brody.  The population count at the end of the 1800’s showed 3,500 Roman Catholics, 1717 Greek Catholics, 42 Atheists, and 14,718 Israelites, a total of 19,977.  Brody was the seat of the county administration office, the city council, the tax bureau, the county commission, the real estate and appraisal office, and the district treasury.  These offices also administered the political affairs of the following nearby counties:  Zloczo, Przemyslany, Kamionka, Strumilowa, and Sokal.  There were at least 5 customs houses scattered about the district, in Brody, Stojanow, Czerkowatycze, as well as Grzymalowie, and the village of Berlin.  Other offices in Brody were the postal service administration, the Trade and Business Bureau, established September 25, 1850, and the Russian Consulate.  Brody had its own railroad station, a telegraph station, a cattle buying station, a county courthouse. The Roman Catholic parish dates back to 1594.   The church was consecrated in 1596.  In 1641, it was enlarged through the generosity of Anna Chodoroslawska-Zolkiewski, the widow of Nicholas Z., a chamberlain from Lwow.  The parish numbered 6294 members.  The parish maintained schools in Brody and the villages of Berlin, Gaje, Jaslowczyk, Konluszkow, Ponikowica, Suchowola, and Sznyrow.

        The Greek Catholic Church in Brody totaled 2471 members.  Both the churches belonged to the Decanate of Brody and the Archdiocese of Lwow.  The secondary school for boys received 2/3 of its funding from the Board of Education and 1/3 from the city treasury. There was a five-class school for boys and a four-class school for girls and a religious school for the Israelite students.  Eighteen teachers staffed these schools.  The Holy Days of all three religions were observed by every school because of the integrated mix of the children.

        The municipal working capital was 454,207 zlotys of Austrian value; expenditures were 113,382 zlotys.  The income totaled 56,981 zlotys as of 1878 records.  Brody also had a hospital established in 1831.  In 1861, it was certified as a general hospital by the authorities in Lwow.  It contained 67 beds.

        Brody was founded in 1584 by Stanislaw Zolkiewski, a Russian provincial governor, who used the “Lubicz” from the family’s coat of arms.  The name later evolved into “Brody” from the Polish word “brod”, which referred to “fording the muddy river and plain”.  In 1588, four years after its beginnings, the owner of the town became Commander Koniecpolski, who built a fortified castle for defense of the village.  In 1648, the town was attacked and besieged by Tartars and Cossacks for a time.  By 1812, all the ruins of the ramparts remained, testifying to the intensity of the attacks against it.  In the late 1800’s, the castle had owners still in residence.

        In 1710, Brody was granted free trade status.  It engaged in widespread commerce with Russia and Germany.  In the years of 1801-1835 and 1850, Brody suffered destructive fires.

        Brody and the town of Zloczow elected one common delegate to the National Council, and one representative to the Parliament of the country.  Among Brody’s numerous industries there were three breweries.

        The famous writer, Jozef Korzeniowski (Joseph Conrad), was born in Brody; in 1879, the local pedagogical Society erected a monument at his ancestral home.  [Note:  Some of this paragraph appears to be in error.  Numerous other sources give the birthplace of Jozef Korzeniowski (Joseph Conrad) as Berdichev.  There is, however, a statue of him in Brody, as well as a monument to him in Gdynia.  MR]

        The inhabitants engaged in a cottage industry, creating home-made wool woven carpets called, “kilimki,” which had dyes in many bright shades.  In the late 1890’s, the forests of Brody and Lopuszyn were decimated through the negligence of their owner, Kazimierz Molodecki.

        Brody and its neighboring villages enjoyed a pleasant mild climate on the plain.  The climate in the mountainous areas was very harsh.  The rivers, Styr and Seret, originate in Brody County, but were too shallow to be navigable. The Styr continues in its flow to join the Dniepr river; the Seret flows on towards Tarnopol, where it empties into the Dniester.  Commander Stefan Czarecki, a renowned military figure in the history of Poland, died in Brody after returning from a successful military campaign.

Highlights of Brody County

Boundaries: On the east, it bordered the Russian Province of Wolynia (Volhynia); on the southeast, Tarnopol; on the south, the county of Zloczow; on the southwest, Kamionka Strumilowa; on the west, the county of Sokol; on the north, Russian Volhynia.

Commerce and Industry: Trade was very important.  Among the goods imported were spices, items from England, percale, velvet, rugs, silks, tea from Russia, wines from France, curtains from England, liqueurs from Holland, fish and even caviar.

Industries: Circa 1875-1876, a count of the industries showed 9 breweries, 20 distilleries, 3 sawmills (all 3 owned by Kazimierz Wolodecki, the heir to the Brody estates).  There were 46 water stream wheels, 3 pottery kilns, 1 windmill, 1 brick kiln, 1 spinning mill, 1 potash mine, and 1 turpentine factory.  There was also a glass-making works, 3 lime kilns, a factory of oil lamps, a rum and liqueur distillery, a pants factory, and a grease factory.

Brody county consisted of 1 city (Brody), 9 small towns, and numerous small hamlets and villages.  The Karol Ludwig railroad had 3 stations, namely in Ozydowie, Zablotce, and Brody town.   The county population in the 1890’s totaled 116,762 inhabitants.  There were 10 Roman Catholic churches and 65 Greek Orthodox Churches, all belonging to the Archdiocese of Lwow.  There were 14 lending banks.

Notes on Villages in Brody County

In addition to the Koniecpolski Castle in Brody, there were many interesting palaces scattered about in other small villages.

Sokolowka was noted for its ancient, historical castle.

Toporow boasted a museum featuring ancient armaments.

Lopatyn was noted for a beautiful palace with a large garden.  Lopstyn was in existence in the 12th century and was frequently attacked by the Lithuanians.  Its cemetery holds a monument at the gravesite of General Drawniecki.

Nakwasza village was noted for its 3 pyramid shaped mountains, called “Makutra.”   A Tartar clan was encamped at the foot of one.  Its ruling Khan sent his barbarians to pillage the neighboring villages.

Pieniaki was famous for its extremely neat and well kept forests, which were the property of the town’s owner, Count Wlodzimierz Dzieduszhycki.  Its lovely palace was restored from a formerly fortified castle.

Zaloscie was known for its ancient castle, situated in muddy terrain.  Once surrounded by a pond, a muddy earth, it proved very difficult to invade.

Korzowa, about 4 kilometers from Brody, was renowned for its mineral baths.  Unfortunately, the owner in the 1890’s neglected their upkeep.

Books written about Brody

Podrozach (Travels) by Niemcewics.

Wolne Wiasto Hanlowe Brody (Free Trade City) by Count B. Baracz, Lwow, 1865.

Geology of Brody, researched by K. Kreil.

Flora of Brody, researched by Ernst Klober.

Monograph of Brody, by Tym Lipinski, 1851-1865, in the Warsaw Library.

Klosy, a Polish periodical featured Brody in Volume 17.

Excerpted and translated by Helen Bienick
Polish Genealogical Society of California

Originally published in the PGSCA Bulletin, April 1998.



Copyright © 2002 M S Rosenfeld