Agata (I added the extra H to her name) grew up in White Russia, the country now known as Belarus. She was the daughter of a lowly tenant farmer on an estate that was owned by a wealthy noble family named Rymaszewski, whose early members were elite knights that guarded the Polish king for hundreds of years and could trace their family back to the 10th Century.
When Agata was in her late teens and working as a housemaid in the estate's manor house, the second Rymaszewski son, Joseph, saw how beautiful she was and he fell in love with her. Unfortunately, their relationship was not acceptable due to their different social status, so they ran away from home to be together. After traveling through Europe, they boarded a ship in Glasgow and landed on Ellis Island n 1913.
Agata and Joe settled in the NY Adirondack Mountains, where Joe became a garnet miner, a backbreaking job, and Agata worked as a maid in the same large boarding house where they stayed. A year later, she became pregnant with their first son (my father, Adam) and they were married. A second son was born two years later but sadly, Agata developed a heart condition soon after the birth. She died two months later at the age of 26.
The rest of the story
Joe, who was left with two very small boys, moved his family from NY to a Russian neighborhood in Connecticut. To break his heart even further, the baby died a year later, a victim of the Spanish flu. Joe got a job in ship construction and worked there for many years, helping to build the first nuclear submarines. He changed the spelling of the name to Rumoshosky when he became a citizen.
At some point after Joe left, the family estate passed to his older brother, but the Bolsheviks came into power and took over the property, sending the entire family to a forced labor camp in the Ural Mountains. Eventually, the camp guards found out that their prisoner had a brother who lived in the United States and they assassinated him just for that reason. The family was finally released from the camp, but the estate was never returned and the remaining members settled in other countries.
Joe married twice more, outliving both wives. The first (very happy) marriage lasted from 1931 until her death in 1956 and the second, a marriage for companionship, lasted only a year until she passed also. Joe died at the age of 75 in the house that he had shared with his last two wives.
The remaining son, Adam, became a successful executive in the petroleum industry and he worked closely with Lady Bird Johnson on her famous beautification committee as well as with her husband President Lyndon Johnson on his Discover America program.
During World War II, Adam was an officer in the U.S. Navy, working as a Russian interpreter. The Navy was originally going to send him to Moscow but had to change those plans when they discovered his family was White Russian nobility. It wouldn't have been safe to send him to Russia at that time, so they sent him to Seattle instead.
Agata and Joe in 1913
Agata, Joe and Adam in 1916
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