Mikołaj Chopin (1771–1844) was the father of Fryderyk Chopin. He was born in Lorraine, France, to François Chopin, a wheelwright. His father saw to it that he finished high school in Tantimont. He completed his education thanks to his acquaintance with Adam Weydlich, the supervisor and administrator of the Marainville estate of Count Michał Jan Pac, and his family. Mikołaj left for Poland with the Weydlichs in 1787. He eventually became a highly sought after tutor in the homes of Polish aristocrats by dint of his intelligence, ability to learn and education. He tutored the children of Kacper and Ludwika Sbarbek in Żelazowa Wola and Warsaw from 1802. It was here that he met Justyna Krzyżanowska, whom he married in Brochów in 1806. The marriage produced three daughters – Ludwika, Izabella and Emilia – and one son – Fryderyk.
Mikołaj Chopin began working at the Warsaw Lyceum in 1810. He later taught at the Military Training School and the Roman Catholic Clerical Academy as well. He retired due to ill health in 1837.
From 1810 to 1837, the Chopins ran one of the best and most reputable boarding houses in Warsaw. The boarders became Fryderyk Chopin’s closest friends. Mikołaj Chopin never returned to France. He was completely attached – physically and emotionally – to his adopted country. After his death, his son-in-law Antoni Barciński wrote to Fryderyk Chopin that: ‘… If I had the gift of eloquence and so had it in my power to describe his entire life, I would do so for the public good in order to show people how they should live and die, so as not to be forgotten even in the grave and to merit the universal respect and admiration of generations to come’.