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Czechs in this county live in and around the towns of Dodge and North Bend, but the territory is quite large, for some of those who live in Cuming and Colfax counties receive mail in Dodge. The settling of Cuming County paved the way for that in Dodge County. In fact, many of those who came first to the former moved to the latter and the records are not always clear.
It is recorded that Joseph Roubinek, Frank Spindler and his stepson Vaclav Vlach, Vaclav Dostal and his father-in-law Vaclav Navara, with families, were the first to come. They came from Iowa, by ox-teams, in the fall of 1868, and immediately took homesteads, which they began cultivating the following spring. They spent the winter with a German settler named Scheit, on the Elkhorn river. Roubinek later owned and operated the Water Lily mill between Snyder and Scribner, where many Czech immigrants found hospitality and assistance, for it was a sort of community center for them. Spindler was a tinsmith and practiced his trade on his farm. According to old-timers, his farm, in the early eighties, was the best that side of Fremont, well kept, with a beautiful wood lot and garden. He had brought trees from the Missouri river and planted them in a fine grove. All of those just mentioned took claims a mile and a half north of Dodge.
1868--The Following Came:
Joseph Roubinek, Sr., born March 19, 1842, in Bela near Luze. He came to Iowa City, Iowa, in 1866 and that year was married to Mary Sedlak, who had followed him to this country. At time of writing he is living with his daughter, Mrs. Wm. Brodhun, in Omaha.
Frank Spindler, born in 1838 in Bela, near Luze. He came to this country in 1866 with his wife (born Roubinek) and stepson Vaclav Vlach. For two years he worked in Tama City, Iowa, then came to Dodge County. Died in 1913.
Vaclav Vlach, born June 15, 1852, in Bela near Luze, died June 17, 1922. A very prominent and popular man. Although he was a strong Liberal, so broad-minded was he that his funeral was the largest known, attended by his countrymen of all creeds and opinions.
Vaclav Dostal, born in 1839 in Bela near Luze. He came to Quebec, Canada, in 1867, with his wife and her parents, Vaclav Navara and wife, in a sailing vessel, the voyage requiring many weeks. They encountered not only bad storms, but famine and filth, which resulted in a smallpox epidemic. From Quebec they made their way to Wisconsin, Roubinek and Spindler in the meantime searching for their address. When they got word of them, they had come to Iowa, but Mrs. Navara had died. They followed Roubinek, Spindler and Vlach to Iowa and all set out for Nebraska. Dostal died February 7, 1908.
John Uhlik, born in Cejtice near Pisek, died Nov. 13, 1889.
1869--The Following Came:
Frank Svoboda, born in 1834 in Skrivane, near Rakovnik. He came to Quebec with his wife in 1867, then to Chicago, then to Dodge County. Upon arrival he bought a team of oxen, but drove them to Omaha, to get a wagon. Prior to that he had used a summer sleigh, constructed by himself. This sort of vehicle was used by homesteaders in those days, before they were able to get wagons. It is recorded of him that he carried a sack of flour from West Point, a distance of eighteen miles, crossing the Elkhorn on the foot bridge. He built a sod house, but prairie fires had burned off the grass, so there was practically no roof. When it rained, the house was full of water. The year following he gathered enough slough grass to cover it. He and his wife used to walk to West Point with eggs and butter.
Paul Faltin, born in Chlistovice near Kutna Hora, died April 18, 1908. He came to this country with his family in 1866. Upon arriving in Nebraska, they first went to the Big Blue country (Saline County), but there were no bridges there, so they turned to Dodge County.
John Hemerka, born in 1842 in County of Chrudim.
Vaclav F. Kriz, born January 4, 1838, in Velke Kostomlaty, Nymburk, died October 1, 1924. He came to this country in 1867 with his wife, his son, Anton, having been born on the vessel that brought them over. They lived in Chicago two years, then came to Dodge County, where Kriz became prominent among his people. He helped to organize School District 45, serving on the school board a long time, was a founder of the Bohemian National Cemetery near Dodge and active in civic and lodge life.
John Lhotak. He came to this country in 1864, with his son John, both taking claims later in Dodge County. The rest of the family followed them. The son died January 4, 1921.
Frank Klikos, born in 1841 in Poricany. Like other pioneers, he and his family lived at first in a dug-out, Indians stealing their fuel. The first year they had no cow or team and Klikos did not know how to farm in the American way. He went afoot to Omaha, where he worked for the Burlington & Missouri Railroad. Having saved twenty dollars that way in five weeks, he returned home with his treasure. During his absence a blizzard occurred. His wife was alone during the three days that it raged and was badly frozen. She thought the cow must have perished, but fortunately this had not happened. On the third day, when the storm had abated, she crept to the nearest neighbor, V. F. Kriz, for aid. The following year Klikos paid with work for the breaking up of his sod, working three days from dawn to twilight for breaking one acre.
Joseph Hrouda, born Nov. 25, 1831, in Dlouhe Zbozi, Podebrady. He came to this country in 1868. With Kriz and Klikos he took adjoining homesteads at about the same time.
Joseph Walter, died in 1893. He helped organize School District 46, where his son taught in 1883.
Joseph Walter, Jr., took the claim adjoining his father's and his homestead is now a part of the Village of Dodge, north of Blue Pole Highway, which runs through the center of town east and west. The eighty south of the highway was originally the homestead of Ernest Busch.
Joseph Hanzl, born in Malotice, Caslav. With the help of John Rosicky Hanzl founded a Bohemian mutual insurance society against hail and other devastation of crops, as mentioned in the chapter on organizations. His brother Frank, born December 31, 1849, in Malotice, took a claim in 1869 in Cuming County, later living in Dodge.
Mrs. Herman Mestl and Mrs. Marketa Miller, sisters, born Pojar, came with their husbands in 1869. They were born in Strejkovice. Mrs. Mestl died in October, 1908.
The Following Came in 1870 or Prior Thereto, Definite Date Not Known:
Frank Pospisil; John Novak; Vaclav Herman, born October 14, 1833, in Ceska Trebova; Frank Schmeiser; Fr. Smola; Mr. Bednasek; F. D. Janecek, born December, 1852, in County of Tabor; Em. Hubenka, Sr., born December 25, 1853, in Velke Hlasivo, near Vozice; Joseph Nebuda; Stedry; Joseph Brazda, born February 17, 1849, in Vlasim; Hampl; V. Krajicek; J. Musil; Fr. Mares; John Vlna; Fr. V. Korna, born in Stepanova Lhota; Joseph Havel, came from Illinois; Joseph Mayer; John Brezina, born in Vlasim, County Tabor. In 1869 he owned eleven eighties, hauling lumber from Omaha for building. Joseph Severin; Joseph Pernt, born in 1824 in Starkoc near Tabor, came to Nebraska in 1867.
Frank Bartos (Bartosh) came in 1870. He was born in Litomerice, April 7, 1845, and in 1857, with his parents, emigrated to Two Rivers, Wisconsin. In 1866 he married Christina Legro and came to Nebraska in the spring of 1870, with his brothers Anton and Vaclav, all taking homesteads in Sec. 4, T. 20 N, R. 5 E. In May his wife and son Wencl joined him in West Point. In 1871 they moved to their claim. During grasshopper time he went to California, to work, remaining there two years. Upon his return he bought eighty acres south of Dodge selling it later and buying the place now owned by his son Frank. He was one of the organizers of School District 46, a member of the school board for many years, even after the school was transferred to Dodge. Also a charter member of the Bohemian National Cemetery Association, a county supervisor for one term, justice of the peace for seventeen years. He died September 17, 1904, his wife March 1, 1919, both buried in the above mentioned cemetery. He and his brother Anton were in somewhat better circumstances and spoke English, so they were able to help new comers in locating claims, etc.
Anton Bartos, his brother, was born in Litomerice February 10, 1851. He also went to California in 1876, and to Seattle, Washington, to work, during the grasshopper scourge. In 1883 he donated two and a half acres for the Bohemian National Cemetery and was one of the charter members. He was a country postmaster from 1882 until the Village of Dodge was founded in 1886 and held that office two years longer. He was a member of the County Board of Supervisors and of School District Board 46. In 1906 he moved to North Dakota, in 1920 to Los Angeles, where he now resides. He is father of fifteen children, ten of whom are living.
Frank Tichota, born in 1847 in Elhovice near Svihov. He came to St. Louis in 1869, then to Herman Mestl in Dodge County, in whose sod-house, 10x12, three other emigrant families were already crowding together. This was a general custom, for shelter was scarce. Tichota was a blacksmith by trade, so helpful to others. He ordered a forge and bellows from St. Louis, which a kindly American neighbor was glad to bring by wagon from Fremont. The first piece of work he did was to make a hoe, with which to cut sod for the house. An old plowshare served for material. He was the only blacksmith between West Point and Fremont and had plenty to do, working day and night, for people came from far and near. He died January 20, 1904.
1871--The Following Came:
Vincenc Studnicka, born in Rendejov in 1843. He came to Wisconsin in 1871, then to Dodge County, where he pre-empted for $250.00 and $15.00 taxes, near the town of Dodge.
Frank Chudomelka, born October 19, 1819, in Trebejice near Sobeslav. He came with his wife direct to Dodge County. Died September 8, 1906.
Ignac Vlasak. No other record.
1872--The Following Came:
Thomas Frcek, born October 22, 1834, in Prachatice. He came to this country in 1868, to Winona, Minnesota, then to Dubuque, Iowa, then to North Platte, Nebraska, where he worked on the Union Pacific Railroad. In 1870 he came to Omaha, then worked for the railroads and then moved to Dodge County.
Joseph Kavan, born in Zderuce, Prachatice. He came to this country with Thomas Frcek. Died in 1892.
1874--The Following Came:
Vaclav Lichtenberg, born in 1822 in Stepanov, County Tabor. He died in West Virginia. Came with his son, Joseph, who had come to this country in 1870. He bought railroad land.
Vaclav Kucera, born December 24, 1849, in Lhota Stepanova, County Vlasim. Came with his wife on Joseph Kavan's Invitation and bought railroad land.
Frank Vodvarka, born September 29, 1827, in Cista, Plzen. Died September 1, 1909.
Frank Belina (born Oct. 10, 1842, in Drahobudice, Caslav,) and Frank Karnik (born in 1842 in Zruc, Caslav) came in 1880.
John Studnicka came in 1882.
Charles Brazda came in 1884. He was born November 2, 1869, in Racine, Wisconsin. With his father and stepmother he lived on a farm until November 27, 1894, when he married Christina, daughter of Frank Bartos. In 1899 he moved to Dodge, where he engaged in the photographing business, in which he continues at date of writing. He was for many years a member of the Village Board, for twenty years a member of the Board of Education, president thereof for more than fifteen years. During his time the school in Dodge was placed on the accredited list as Class A and a fine new building erected in 1912-1913. Although flow not a member, he always has an interest in the educational system. His two sons, Daniel S. and Adolph W., both graduated from the University of Nebraska. Daniel is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, College of Medicine, and Adolph is a student at Emory University, College of Medicine, in Atlanta, Georgia. Daniel is now a member of the staff of a Pennsylvania state hospital.
Vincenc Jakl came in 1885. He was born February 21, 1837, in Horky.
Old Settlers, the Date of Whose Coming is Not Recorded, Are:
Vaclav Luxa, born Sept. 21, 1839, in Cernejsi Tabor; Alois Pospisil, born Feb. 9, 1849, in Tuchotice, Caslav; Frank Srb, born Dec. 2, 1833, in Opatovice, Caslav. He was the first miller. Joseph Srb, born April 28, 1859; Henry (Jindrich) Studnicka, born July 13, 1861; J. Vlasak, born Aug. 19, 1849, in Raposov, Caslav.
John Studnicka came in 1882. He was born May 12, 1826, in Mokra Lhota near Benesov and became a miller. In 1882 with his wife and two children he came to this country, to West Point, and shortly thereafter he bought a farm in Dodge County. He was drowned September 19, 1892, while fishing near Wisner.
Dodge is the home of Joseph Stecher, who as professional wrestler at one time held the world championship. His father, Frank, was born in Mitrov near Uhlirske Janovice, in 1863, and came to Cuming County in 1877.
The data for Dodge County have been furnished by Charles Brazda and J. A. Janecek of Dodge, and Rev. John St. Broz's history of his parish in Dodge County.
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