History of Kluki - Slovincian Village
In documents dated back to the beginning of the 18th century, we can find some information that 7 huts were situated in the Otok village. Six of them were a living place for Klukowie and the remaining one – for brothers Hans and Marcin Warnoch. Another settlers were given a settlement permission. A note from 1732 tells about farms in Kluki that appeared near Otok: “Little Hans” in Pawełki (Pavelke) and Lokciowe called “Viechhoff Lochzen” – a cattle pen. There is also information about Hans Warnoch and Matthias Szot's farms. First settlers in Kluki (apart from inhabitants of Otok who were subjects) had got more rights to use their properties. Having said that, we do not know whether they were completely free people as serfdom in Prussia was completely abolished only in the 19th century. Removal of farm buildings in Otok took place in the 18th century due to changes in soil structure resulting from constructing a channel (connecting the Lebsko lake with the Gardno lake) and land improvement attempts made to the north of Smoldzin. It allowed people to use current wastelands. Otok was kept only as a name for meadow. Russian ethnographer, Aleksander Hilferding, wrote down a conversation with some inhabitant of Kluki: “Meadows that are here were those called Wotok by our ancestors”.
As for the village name, researchers agree that it comes from the first inhabitants – Klukowie. This surname was first registered in register books of the Smoldzin church in the second half of the 16th century. Those families primarily lived only in Smoldzin, then in the Otok village and finally in Kluki. This surname was present in various forms but in Polish a common form was “Kluk”, “Klek”. In German – “Kluck” and rarely “Klick”. In Kashubian, however, a word “kluk” (“kluka”) has a few meanings: a wooden yoke for cattle, a hook, a wooden post with the hook on the end, a hen brooding eggs or insignia of a village administrator. In German tradition, the village name originates from a word Hutten, a hut, which took a form Klucken. This could prove the village origins – from single huts. In the native dialect, the village was called Kläčace, Kláčycä or Kleki.
There were some stories well-known by the local community that told about the emergence of Kluki Smoldzinskie. One of them was written down by German Kashubian culture researcher – Fryderyk Lorentz:
“There was one man and this man's name was Grzanalta. He came to this Lebsko lake and built himself a hut on this meadow, by this stream. This meadow is now called Grzanalta. Someday, his hut fell down and then he built another hut, here, in the mountains. The place the house was standing on is now called Nagolrze or Gorne. Grzanalta had one son and the boy's name was Klaka. This Grzanalta had one daughter but no son. Then, the boy started to court this daughter and she was married to him. Klaka had seven sons with his wife. These are our ancestors. Then, the oldest one got this hut, the one in the mountains. The second one built himself a hut on the sand (Polish:“na piasku”) and this hut is called Piosklowe. The third one built himself a hut on an oak tree (Polish: “na debu”) and this hut is called Dablowe. The fourth one built himself a hut in this fallow land (Polish: “u tego lugu”) and this hut is called Luglowa. The fifth one built himself a hut near a pine tree (Polish: “u chojny”) and this hut is called Chlejlowa. The sixth one built himself a hut on a meadow and this hut is called Puszczlowe. The seventh one built himself a hut and this hut is our pub and is called Grzadlowe, but I do not know where the name came from. All peasants who lived here had a name Klaka and that is why this village was named Klaki. This village is called Klaki up to this day and we, Klakowie, we are only real Klakowie”.
The legend tells that the village was an example of planned localization – farms were situated after taking area physical qualitie into account. Particular houses were put up with no order on sand dunes. On the village plan from 1829 where particular parts of Kluki are listed together with surnames of proprietors, we can see: Gorni – 5 families (2 Pollex and 2 Klick families and Martin Sawalisch), Grzedowi (Pollex and Schimanke families), Dambowi – 8 families (Klick family only), Lugowi – 3 Klick families, Piaskowi – another 3 Klick families, Jach – 2 Klick families, Nowidomski – 2 Klick families, Pawelki – 2 Klick families, Zirkow – 8 families (2 Klick, 4 Reimann and 2 Gawer families). On the village plan from 1909, after ground separation and significant development, Kluki can be seen as an example of ribbon development with the main road being a part of the longer road that led from Smoldzin to Kluki Zelewskie. In the 19th century, an intensive development of the village took place, e.g. in the square in the centre of the village a school building was put up. Another villages that formed Kluki, Kluki Cieminskie and Kluki Zeleskie, were situated to the south with Pawelki between them.
Using meadows for breeding cattle as well as improvement of cultivation methods with soil drainage brought about development of two neighbourhoods: Zelazo and Ciemin. The first one built in the Zelazo estate (taking its name from iron ore) was already known from Mestwin II's documents. It was reported in 1281 as Zeleza, then as Seliso and German “Selesen”. The property belonged to the Bandamer family. Kluki Zeleskie was reported at the end of the 18th century as Selensche Kluken. Local peasants called it “Zapotok” which means a town located beyond a stream having its mouth into the Pustynka river. Ciemino located in the Ciemin area was first reported in 1401 as Cemyn. In 1575, it was called Zemmin. This property belonged to knight families: primarily to the Stojentin family, then to Puttkamer, Zitzewitz and Weiher families. The village grouping 414 inhabitants included 5 neighbourhoods, some of which had the “katen” prefix in their names. It meant that they were formed from single farms or groups of farms – Bergkaten, Fichtkaten and Sandkaten.