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An English translation of the Slownik Geograficzny entry for the city of Rechitsa

Entry for the city of Rechitsa ("Rzeczyca") from the Slownik Geograficzny, edited by Filip Sulimierkski, Warsaw, 1889. Volume X, pages 133-137.

Rechitsa -- In Belarusan, Reczyca. An city in the Minsk Gubernya; an ancient town in the territory of the Drevlyanian Slavs; in the 12th century, in the Volhynian quadrant of the Grand Duchy of Kiev; in the 18th century annexed to Lithuania. Later, an urban district in the voivodship of Minsk; from 1793 to 1795, a city in the Mozyr district in the province of Minsk; and from 1795, a district in the Minsk gubernya.

Situated on the right bank of the Dniepr River, in the area of the mouth of the river Wiedrec al. Wiedrycy, in a fertile area abounding in fish.

Rechitsa was a fortified stronghold and frequently became a battlefield. It suffered first from the raids of the prince of Chernigov. Then, in 1214, Prince Mstislav of Novgorod turned it to ashes.

At the time of the Giedymin, Rechitsa was annexed to Lithuania. In 1387, when King Vladislav Jagiello temporarily received supreme authority over Lithuania and Russia from his Lithuanian brother Skirgajle, in documents given to him in the "Lowach Skojtersky" affair, the documents mentioned "Rechitsa, with all its income," along with other towns. Later, Rechitsa suffered from repeated Mongol attcks.

Chmielnicki and his Cossacks attacked in 1648. Rechitsa had hardly surrendered, in 1649, when Prince Janusz XI Radziwill, a Polish-Lithuanian leader, arrived to establish a strong camp there. An expedition conducted by a detachment of the Kruczewsky and Podabailus ended in a shipwreck near Loev. In 1650, Nebala [one of the Cossacks?] again occupied Rechitsa and, afterward, on July 6, was killed along with most of his retinue by the Rzepka [river?] during a battle with Hetman Radziwill. After this battle, Radziwill struggled to fortify the town and strengthen the army presence there. In 1653, the Lithuanian army succeeded at locating its headquarters in Rechitsa. It proceeded the next year to move on Orsha, which was defended by the army of [the Russian general?] Alexis Michailowicz, under the rein of the Prince of Trubeck. The Russians won this battle, and Rechitsa spent the fall under Russian occupation.

Then the fortified castle was entirely destroyed.... Today, the only remnants of the demolished defenses have been pulled down willy nilly for use in municipal construction.

King Zygmunt the Old granted Rechitsa the magdeburg rights of municipal self governance in October 1511. The rights were confirmed August 26, 1561, by Zygmunt the Great; and again in 1596, by Zygmunt III. In 1569, Rechitsa became a possession of the crown. Then, in 1589, it became a "state city." It was then in the possession of Prince Wollowicz, who also controlled Zyzemski, Slutsk, Klokock, Pakoosz and Chalecki. At last, with the consent of King August III, on July 15, 1734, after the death of Kazimierz Chalecki, the crown property was leased to Albrycht Duke Radziwill, of the voivodship of Novgorod. Radziwill paid 2,585 grosz 25 and 1159 hybernian zlotys to take over the town with its castle and dependencies. [The families?] Stolpniow, Uhtow, Lipniaki and Danilowicz had a member in the district sejm (council). Although the court and sejm were located in Rogachev until 1775, in 1776 the court and the council returned to Rechitsa.

Aleksander Sluska, voivod of Minsk, established a Dominikan monastery in Rechitsa in 1634. The monastery managed the parish. The cloister was shut down in 1835....

The Catholic parish, in the Mozyr-Rechitsa diocese, has 1,022 adherents in Loev, chapels in Loev and a cemetery in Rechitsa. The Rechitsa parish also had branches in Zaspie and Berezow up until 1862, and also a chapel in Hliniszcz. The local church has not preserved information about its origins here.

At present there are two churches in Rechitsa: a new one in the order of Wniebowziec N.M.P. with about 2,000 parishioners, endowed with proceeds from a tax on textiles, and a second church in the order of St. Michael, with almost 1,700 parishioners and an endowment of 75 morg (roughly, 75 acres) of land.

The Jewish half of Rechitsa has 7,000 residents in the Jewish half. The Jews have a wooden synagogue and six prayer houses located in private homes.

There were 39 Christian weddings in 1885, 275 births (five out of wedlock), and 161 deaths. The population was 114 residents bigger in the summer of 1885 than it was a year earlier.

The town also has 900 homes, some of stone and brick; 50 shops; a district elementary school with a section for girls (up to 150 children); a church school founded in 1884; a town hospital with 15 beds and a pharmacy; a prison hospital with four beds; a private pharmacy; a post office; a telegraph station; a station on the Pinsk railway line (established in 1885); a harbor on the Dnieper River; and a fire brigade with 12 men and two horses. Increases in railroad rates have [increased traffic on the river?] and brought new life to what used to be an out-of-the-way Polish village.

Rechitsa is home to the district government, a court of inquiry, a draft office, and a dean.

Industry is represented by a small brickyard. There are also some shabby representatives of the trades.

The wealthy inhabitants are mostly Belarusan, with some Ukrainian blood. They own up to 4,500 morg of arable land and pasture. They occupy themselves with agriculture, fattening hogs, fishing and rafting.

An inventory showed that they have 2,000 head of horned cattle, 900 horses, 700 hogs, and 600 lamb. Jewish businesspeople are involved with the trades or rafting wood and wood products to "Niz." [Niz???] The municipality has authority over houses and factories.

The town income amounted to 4,507 rubles in 1881. Twice a year -- May 9 and December 6 -- there are fairs for selling cattle, horses and grain.

Woldzierz Spasowicz, a noted lawyer, critic and journalist, was born in Rechitsa in 1813. He is the son of Daniel Spasowicz, a town medical officer.

* * * COMING SOON: The Slownik entries for the towns of Bragin and Loev.

Slownik entry for the district of Rechitsa

The Virtual Guide to Belarus

Guy Picarda's History of Minsk

A.L. Bell's Genealogy Resource List -- includes links for southeastern Belarus

Minsk Vedomosti Translation Center

Al Bell's Jewish Genealogy 2000

Slownik Geograficzny translations for other communities, on a site hosted by the Polish Genealogical Society of Americam, Chicago