War of Independence

Sources sometimes mention, with little biographical information, Ján Polerecký [po-leh-reh-tskee] as a Slovak who fought in the American War of Independence or as the first Slovak immigrant to America, the first Slovak-American.

 

 

2e régiment de hussards

According to the picture by Carle Vernet (1758-1835),

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the 1812 uniforms of the French 2nd Hussar Regiment still resembled the traditional clothing of the Kingdom of Hungary.

Links to locations

Polerieka

Abramová

Mošovce

Banská Bystrica

Molsheim, France

Dresden, ME

 

Coat of Arms

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Brought up for Paris

Banská Bystrica-born zeman Andrej grew up and lived at the famously indulgent

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Court of Duchess Charlotte Amalie till he was 22, which brought him from Warsaw to France.

 

 

Insignia

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The French 2nd Hussar Regiment last operated as a separate fighting unit during World War II.

Jean Ladislas Polereczky

Q: Was Ján Polerecký Slovak?

Jean Ladislas Polereczky was born in Molsheim, Alsace, France, on 4 September 1748 (some sources say on the 8th). He died in Dresden, Maine, on 8 June 1830. He was a major in the French Army and then in the American War of Independence.

Grandparents

Jean's grandfather Matej (born ca. 1662) was a cloth merchant in Banská Bystrica. His last name was derived from Polereka. The then-estate, spelled Polerieka today, is now incorporated in the village of Abramová in north-central Slovakia. It is located 6 miles from his birth place Mošovce.

He was a major in the Kingdom of Hungary's last anti-Habsburg rebellion led by Francis II Rákóczi. Matej accompanied Rákóczi's wife, Duchess Charlotte Amalie née von Hessen-Wanfried, to Poland where she sought refuge from the uncertain times. Matej returned to the Kingdom in 1719, was pardoned for his role in the rebellion crushed in 1711, and died in Transylvania (now western Romania) around 1727.

Matej's wife Anna née Wagner, Jean's grandmother, was also born in Mošovce, Turiec County, in 1682. Matej was her second husband.

Both Abramová and Mošovce were Lutheran villages (persecution of the Lutherans by the Habsburgs was one of the reasons for the Rákóczi uprising), most of the inhabitants of Abramová were zemans, members of the lower nobility.

Father

Jean's father Andrej, one of Matej's children, was born in Banská Bystrica on 14 November 1700. His family name also occurred as Poleretzky, Poleresky, and Polerecsky in documents, he spelled it Polereczky with the attribute de Pelereck later, it would be spelled Polerecký [polehrehtskee] or Poleriecky in modern Slovak.

Andrej was not yet a teenager when Matej, his father, took him and the rest of his family to Poland (see above). While his father returned to the Kingdom, Andrej remained a page at Duchess Charlotte Amalie's court and followed her when she moved to France in 1719. He joined Count Ladislas Ignace de Bercheny's French Hussar Regiment as lieutenant after her death in 1722.

Andrej used the name and title André, Count Polereczky de Pelereck in France. His wife was Marie Françoise Marguerite née de Hasselt (1713-1796) from Haugenau in Alsace. He rose to the rank of brigadier general in the French Army and was later appointed military commander of Molsheim in Alsace, where he died on 9 October 1783.

Jean

Jean joined the Chamborant Houzards (called the 2nd Hussar Regiment later) as a lieutenant when he was 15 and eventually rose to major. Although Jean was born in France, the military noted his father's country of origin when he enlisted. At the age of 24 he married the wealthy 42-year-old Margueritte Antoinette née d’Hausen (born 9 April 1730 in Sarreguemines, France; death unknown) on 17 July 1772 in Kleinblittersdorf. He effectively abandoned her and their at least three children when he crossed the Atlantic eight years later.

He resigned from the Hussars and joined the Légion de Lauzun recruited to support the American War of Independence, with whom he landed in Newport, Rhode Island, on 12 July 1780. He visited France for six months in 1781-1782 and left his French unit when he returned to America. He married his second wife, Nancy Pushard, an American of French descent, in 1785, they had nine children. He became naturalized citizen of the State of Massachusetts on 21 November 1788, and later settled in Dresden, Maine.