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MARDOS Memorial Library Collection.
The Czech settlements in this county are an extension of those in Richardson, forming together one colony. While Lukes Hrdlicka, born in Humpolec, Bohemia, came in 1866, the real settling began a year later.
1867--The Following Came:
Frank Blecha, Hlinec, Bohemia; John and Albert Hubka, Kocin, Kralovice; Vaclav Fritz, Perovice, Slane; Frank Raitera, birthplace unknown; Frank and Joseph Zelenka, Nechvalice, Sedlcany; Joseph Straka, Koruhvice, Nove Mesto; Joseph Dufek, birthplace unknown; Albert and Frank Kovanda, Trimany, Zbirov; Joseph Werner, Beroun, Praha; Thomas Kubicek, birthplace unknown; Frank Dudar, Skoupy, Sedlcany; Frank Macha, birthplace unknown; Anton Stanek, birthplace unknown; John Beranek, birthplace unknown; Frank Simek, birthplace unknown; John Klima, Minice. Mirovice; Joseph Vrtiska, Techoraz, Pacov; John Straka, Opatov, Humpolec.
1869--The Following Came:
Adolph and Anton Dvorak, Zderaz, Skutec; Fr. Dobrovolny', birthplace unknown; Vaclav Karas, Biskoupky, Zbirov.
1870--The Following Came:
Frank Pesek, Lhotka, Chotebor; Joseph Culek, brother of Chas., Studenec, Sedlcany; John Niebauer, birthplace unknown; Joseph Kasal, unknown.
Soon After 1870--The Following:
Joseph Chaloupecky, unknown; John Planansky, unknown; Frank Broz, unknown; Joseph Kucera, unknown.
1872--The Following Came:
Vaclav Dvorak, unknown; Frank Hubka, Kocin, Kralovice; Vaclav Tenk, Biskoupky, Zbirov; Frank Hanna, Drevec, Kralovice; John Sochor, Opatov, Humpolec.
1873--The Following Came:
Charles Kohn (later in Humboldt) and his brother Albert, Kralovice; Vaclav Kamen, Jehenice, Zatec; Fr. Fencl, Kocin, Kralovice.
1875--The Following Came:
Anton Strejc, Trimany, Zbirov; John Vrtiska, Techoraz, Pacov; Albert Vopata, Studena, Kralovice; John Hubka, Kocin, Kralovice.
1876--The Following Came:
John Fritz, birthplace unknown.
The following settled in this county, but had postoffice in Virginia, Gage County:
Vojtech Hubka, Kocin, Kralovice, came in 1873; Matej Cerveny Myto, Horovice, came in 1876; Joseph Dezort, Dobriv, Rokycany, came in 1880; Mikulas Bostik, Rakolusky, Kralovice, came in 1881; Vaclav Lisy, unknown, came in 1886; Mr. Svoboda, Dlouha Lhota, came in 1887; Mr. Vonasek. came in 1888.
Mr. A. R. Kovanda, Table Rock, Nebr., who came with his parents in 1867, his father Albert Kovanda taking a claim then, writes: "We went from St. Joseph by boat to Aspinwall, now extinct. Herman and Shary had a tavern there. The next morning my father, who had preceded us to prepare a place, came with Mr. Skala and took us to Frank Raitera's farm, to a dug-out. That was in August 1867. From there we went to our claim, where we camped. As far as eye could see there was nothing but the bare prairie, not a house or piece of timber anywhere. The next day my father and oldest brother made a dug-out, for father had bought a team of oxen in St. Joseph and so was able to haul logs and brushwood. Our abode was all right in dry weather, but all wrong in rainy times, when it filled with water. We lived there a year, then father hauled boards from Brownville, and erected a frame shelter over the hole. This was all right in warm and calm weather, all wrong in cold or windy weather, too much ventilation. Our land was crossed by an Indian trail leading west from St. Joseph and from Kansas City to Nebraska City. Some Indians stopped every day, begging food and tobacco. Mother gave them rye or corn bread and they departed satisfied."
Czechs live in and around Table Rock, Du Bois, Steinauer, Tate and some have their postoffice in Virginia, Gage County.
This county has very small Czech settlements in the vicinity of Crab Orchard, Elk Creek and Tecumseh; and is rather an outgrowth of the colonies in Pawnee and Richardson Counties. That is, it was settled about the same time and in that same vicinity, but has never attained any size.
The first, as far as is known, were Anton Sikyta, his son Frank (born in Spalene Porici, 1855, now living in Beatrice), James Horacek, Vaclav Kostohryz (a baker, of whom mention is made in history of Saline County), Vaclav Hnizda (born in Zahradka, Ledec, soon moved to Humboldt) all came in 1867. In 1868 Frank Nedela took a claim, but did not prove on it and later settled in Crete, more detailed mention being made of him in the history of Saline County. Other early settlers were Charles Kohn (Kralovice) and Frank Novak (Vysoky Melnik), both of whom soon moved to Humboldt, where they lived for many years.
In the early nineties the following were living there:
Tecumseh--Joseph and Thomas Kazda, born in Ujezd, Plzen.
Elk Creek--Albert and Vaclav Karas (Biskoupky, Praha), John Dufek (Mezihori, Sedlcany) and Joseph Sebek.
Smartville--Frank and Joseph Sebek (Vysoky Chlum, Milevsko).
Sterling--Joseph and Marie Kozak (Tresenice), John Svoboda (Dlouha Lhota, Zbirov).
Crab Orchard--Vaclav Broz (Sedlec, Horovice), V. Krikava (Sedlec, Horovice) and F. Svoboda (Dlouha Lhota., Zbirov).
Adam--E. Krikava (Sedlec, Horovice).
Frank Sikyta, now living in Beatrice, Nebraska, writes "I was born in Bohemia in 1855, where my father was tollkeeper in Spalene Porici. We moved later to Denesice and again to Lukavice. In 1864 my father decided to emigrate, there being six in our family. It was during the Civil War and he had to pay for our transportation in gold. A man named Vencil Maly came with us. He did not have enough money, so he wanted to drown himself, in desperation, but my father, although he had but little left after paying for our tickets, loaned him twenty dollars. We came to Chicago and our money was all spent, but a Czech named Martin Traznik helped him out with a loan. In 1866 but little work was to be had, for the soldiers were returning home. We set out for Nebraska, by way of St. Joseph, Mo., the railroad terminus. From there we went by boat to Aspinwall, Richardson County, where we stayed over winter, shelling corn by hand, putting it into sacks and sewing them up. In that way we three together earned from $3.00 to $5.00 per day. We had gone to Brownville and taken claims. At that time Robert J. Shary lived in Aspinwall (later in Wilber) and he offered to let us use his horse, when we set out on an inspection tour. I was elected to the office of driver, but the old horse knew the way better than we did. Shary gave us a compass and a gallon of whiskey, and we made about twenty miles a day. Considering that the horse had nothing to eat and we had the same, it was pretty good progress. We reached a farm owned by a German, who offered us lodging. At last we got to Vesta, where we found a locator, who showed us the lands. We saw Indians and buffalo there. In February 1867 we moved on our claim, but only Horacek and we (my father and I) remained, the rest returned to Chicago. However, they soon came back. If we could have gone, we would have done so too, but we had no money with which to travel. Eleven years later the railroad built from Kansas to Lincoln, so more Czechs came. In 1875 Vencil Vonasek settled here and I married his daughter Kristyna (Christine). She was born in Dlouha Lhota near Zbirov. We farmed in Johnson County for many years, but are now living in retirement in Beatrice."
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