• Town where records of the Hutop family were recorded.
Geography and Location
Mariampol is 53 kilometers southwest of Kaunas, (1) 34 miles from Kovno, 13 miles from Wylkowiszki, 21 miles from Virbaln, and 10 miles from Kalvaria. (2) Its western part was located on the right bank of the Sheshupe River among forested hills. Its eastern boundary was bordered by the Kazlu Ruda-Alytus Railroad. (3) The development of the town was aided by its proximity to the border of Germany and its connections with Russia as well as by its nearness to Kovno and the city of Suwalki, now in Poland.
The Name of the Town
Early in the 18th century when a castle owned by Count Martin Butler was destroyed by invading Swedes and Russians, Count Butler moved west and established the Kvietiskis manor along the Sheshupe River. In 1717 he built a chapel and planned a village which later became Staripole. Between the Sheshupe and Javonis Rivers near Staripole, Countess Frances Butler established the Marian Fathers and built a wooden church and a monastery (4) called “Miriam the Holy.” (5) The village, named after the monastery which grew around these buildings, became Mariampol, meaning “Mary’s field.”
History of Mariampol
16th Century: Very few people lived in the heavily forested southern part of Lithuania called Suduva. People first settled along the riverbanks, and the first inhabitants along the Sheshupe River appeared during the middle of the century. In 1667 there was a village called Paszaszupis.(6)
17th Century: Mariampol was still a relatively young town in Lithuania. (7) The large village of Staripole (also spelled Staropole) meaning “old field” was founded during the 17th century. (8)
18th Century: At the beginning of the 18th century the entire area was hit by the plague. The first mention of Mariampol was in 1732. In 1758 the monastery, built as a gift from the Rozen Butler family, divided the land among the farmers. This village became Mariampol, and Staripole, on the other side of the river, also grew. (9)
In 1772 (one source says 1792) according to the Magdeberg Law, King Stanislav-August (Stanislas Augustus) granted Mariampol and Staripole the rights to become a city. From that point on the villages on both sides of the river became Mariampol. (10)
After the Third Partition of Lithuania and Poland in 1795, the Suduva area including Mariampol came under German Prussian rule until 1807. During this period the representative of the Prussian government (Landrat) lived in Mariampol. In 1797 when Louis XVII fled from France to Courland (an area northwest of Mariampol), he stopped at the monastery and wrote his thanks in the guest book, and signed his name as “Rex Catholicissimus.” (11)
19th Century: In 1807 Mariampol became part of the Duchy of Warsaw. (12) In 1812 during the Napoleonic War, several armies passed through Mariampol, including the retreating French army. Napoleon rested at the Kvietiskis manor on his retreat from Russia. (13)
In 1814 and 1815 when the Congress of Vienna set up the autonomous Kingdom of Poland as a Russian protectorate, the whole area of Suduva including Mariampol became part of this kingdom. (14) In 1817 Mariampol became the county seat. (15)
During the 1831 Polish Revolution, Polish revolutionaries hid in the forests surrounding the town. The Kingdom of Poland was suspended, and until World War I the area of Suduva was governed from Warsaw by the Russian governor general. (16) During this period the monks were driven away from the town, and the last monk died in 1898. (17)
As part of the Russification program, a Russian high school was established. Later this building became an important cultural center. (18)
Up until 1866 most of the buildings were wooden. Later, stone houses were built. Large fires in 1868 and 1899 destroyed parts of the city. (19)
(1) P. Birzys, J. Totoraitis, K. Grinius, I. Tubingen, and J. Kirlys, “Marijampole”, Encyclopedia Lituanica (Lithuanian Encyclopedia), (No place: no publisher, no date), 132. Handout from the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture, Chicago, Illinois, 10 August 1995, 472.
(2)Schoenberg, Lithuanian Jewish Communities, 181.
(3) Birzys, Encyclopedia Lituanica, 472.
(4) Birzys, Encyclopedia Lituanica,132. Handout from the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture, Chicago, Illinois, 10 August 1995, 473.
(5) Schoenberg, Lithuanian Jewish Communities, 181.
(6) Birzys, Encyclopedia Lituanica, 473.
(7) Schoenberg, Lithuanian Jewish Communities, 181.
(8) Mapa Topograficzna Polski, Skorowidz Map 1:100 000 Marijampole (N-34-59/60. Warsaw, Poland: No publisher, 1994).
(9) Schoenberg, Lithuanian Jewish Communities, 181.
(10) Birzys, Encyclopedia Lituanica, 473.
(11) Birzys, Encyclopedia Lituanica, 473.
(12) Schoenberg, Lithuanian Jewish Communities, 181.
(13) Birzys, Encyclopedia Lituanica, 473.
(14) Birzys, Encyclopedia Lituanica, 473.
(15) Birzys, Encyclopedia Lituanica, 472.
(16) Birzys, Encyclopedia Lituanica. 473.
(17) Mapa Topograficzna Polski, Skorowidz Map 1:100 000.
(18) Schoenberg, Lithuanian Jewish Communities, 182.
(19) Schoenberg, Lithuanian Jewish Communities, 182.