Previously published in PGS-CA Bulletin (Issue #87, October 2007)

Dobczyce Translated from the Słownik Geograficzny (1880-1902)
by Helen Bienick

Dobczyce, a small town in what was then Galicia, is located 49° 11' latitude, and 37° 9' latitude, from Fero [1] . It lies in the county of Wieliczka, and covered 1,973 morgen of land. There were 500 houses, with 1359 men and 1455 women, in total 2814 inhabitants. Of these 2686 were Roman Catholics, 119 were Jews, and 9 were of other denominations. It was the seat of the county court, had a notary public, a military outpost, a post and telegraph office. It was also the home of the deanery office overseeing 10 parishes, plus the local one. The parish in Dobczyce was organized in 1225, and its church was built by Iwon Odrowąz, the Bishop of Kraków. In later years, a second church was constructed around 1590 by Sebastian Lubomirski, a nobleman who was also the sheriff of Dobczyce. This church was closed in 1790, after its ruination. The present existing church was dedicated to St. John the Baptist, and was erected between 1828 and 1834. It was dedicated and blessed by Bishop Pukalski of Tarnów, in 1854. A home for the poor was established in 1766, but it was consumed by fire in 1863. The town then converted a private home to house the five poor residents. The public school had three classrooms, with three teachers. The town had a doctor, a surgeon, and a pharmacy. The town itself had a rather small treasury, with a capital of only 3515 złoty, although in 1878 the income was counted as 6486 złoty.

Dobczyce lies on the river Raba, along the highway which leads to Vienna. The population was prosperous, and derived its income from farming and other industries, such as making pottery, clothing, shoemaking and the weaving of baskets. On the grounds of the local manor house stood an American style water mill as well as a saw mill.

Dobczyce has a splendid and interesting history. In 1340, King Kazimierz (Casimir, the Great) exempted the town from paying taxes, and in 1367 granted them a governing charter, according to the German method.

In 1365, a provincial teutonic court was established in Dobczyce which included several other towns. The local magistrate selected aldermen from these towns, who were sent to Kraków courts to settle legal claims. During the reign of Kazimierz Jagiellończyk 1447-1492, his son, Kazimierz II was called to the throne of Hungary at the age of 13. This arrangement did not work out. The young Kazimierz returned to Poland in 1472. At the command of his uncle, he spent some time living in the local palace in Dobczyce.

The Polish historian Długosz also lived here for many years. Jan of Dobczyce, a member of the Bernardine Fathers Order, also was born here in 1481. He is the author of Opusculum de arte memorativa a. 1504, Cracoviae editum. Another native of Dobczyce was Andrzej Gałka, the pastor of St. Florian's church in Kraków, a famous Polish grammarian and follower of the teachings of Wycliffe, a religious reformer. King Jan Olbracht, noticing the loyalty and steadfastness of the local residents, granted them many privileges in 1494.

An ancient palace which stood on a local hill beyond the town was totally destroyed in the 18th century during the Swedish invasion by Karl XII, the King of Sweden. Only small remnants of its former grandeur exist.

[1] Fero is the system of measuring longitude from Ferro isle in the Canary Islands. It is 17° 39′ 46″ W of Greenwich and 20° W of Paris

Surnames from Dobczyce