Our County History
by County Historian Marion W. Coplen

Our county is named in honor of Thaddeus Kosciuzko, who was born in Warsaw, Poland, in 1756. Most boys born in Poland at that time were born to families of serfs. Thaddeus, however, was born to wealth, his family owning a large estate.

Young noblemen, like Thaddeus, did not have to do manual labor, for on the Kosciuzko family estate lived many serfs who were bound to the land and who did all the hard work. As it was customary for many of the noblemen to follow a military career, Thaddeus attended a military school in France during the teen-age period of his life. He graduated from this school about the time that the American Revolution broke out.

Interested in the cause of freedom, Kosciuzko offered his services to George Washington. He became aid-de-camp on Washington's staff. Although born a member of the privileged nobility, Kosciuzko fought courageously under the banner which proclaimed that all men are created equal. Later, he was given considerable land in America as a reward for his services.

Two other incidents in Kosciuzko's life show clearly his love of freedom. Just before he came to America to offer his services in the Revolution, he freed the serfs on his ancestral estate. In this action he was in advance of the times, for serfdom persisted in eastern Europe until 1861.

When he revisited America in 1798, Kosciuzko made a will in which he outlined what was to be done with the lands he owned in the United States. According to the provisions of this document, the lands were to be sold and the money used to buy freedom for as many American Negro slaves as possible. Here again he was in advance of the times for the Negro did not receive freedom in the South until the Civil War.

This was the kind of man after whom our county is named.

Warsaw Times-Union Tues. Feb. 24, 1953