Biography of France Opawski
Allegheny County, PA Biographies

FRANCE OPAWSKI, proprietor of Hotel Ross, Duquesne, Pennsylvania, and a man of skill and intellect, being the inventor of many valuable and useful devices, is a native of Austria, Schiesen, born September 17, 1864, a son of Carl and Caroline (Herman) Opawski.

Carl Opawski (father) was born in Wagstat, Austria, Schiesen, about the year 1834, and died in 1898, aged sixty four years. He was the son of France Opawski, who attained the remarkable age of one hundred and five years, and who during all these years had never had a tooth extracted, which is indeed a remarkable fact. Carl Opawski was a wagon maker by trade, and for many years conducted a wagon making establishment in addition with the lumber business. He was successful in his undertakings, and acquired a competence for his declining years. He married Caroline Herthan, of Wagstat, Austria, Schiesen, who bore him four children: Carl, France, of whom later; Albert and Amiel. They had a step sister named Marie. Mr. and Mrs. Opawski were members of the Roman Catholic church.

France Opawski emigrated to the United States in the year 1882, landing in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, May 7, 1882. He worked in his father's shop in his native land, and his first employment in this county was in the wood work department at K. Lang's shop in Pittsburg. His next employment was in the shops of the Pittsburg & Fort Wayne Railroad Company., where he was employed in the coach department for eleven years. The following four. years and one month were spent in the employ of the Pleasant Valley Electric road, after which he moved to McKeesport. Pennsylvania. where he conducted a wagon making shop for eight years. He then purchased the Hotel Ross, at Duquesne, Pennsylvania, of which he is now the proprietor and' which enjoys the patronage of many people, being in all respects first class. In addition to this line of work he is the inventor of the automatic signal switch, the Spoke Tennant machine, an electric heater and several other articles not completed, from which he derives an income. Mr. Opawski is independent in politics, casting his vote for, the man best qualified for office, irrespective of party affiliation. He has been a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows for the past twenty three years.

Mr. Opawski married, June. 9, 1887, Elizabeth Leoffler, born in Wertenberg, Oberand Heidenheimer. She came to the United States in 1880, at the age of thirteen years, and located in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania. Twelve children were born of this marriage, nine of whom survive, as follows: Charles, Katharine, Flora, Frank, Jr., Margaret, Marie, Helen, Eleanor and Herman.

A Century and a half of
Pittsburg and her people.
By: John Newton Boucher
The Lewis Publishing Company

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