This is a NEGenWeb Project web page
and is presented as part of the
MARDOS Memorial Library Collection.
Saline County(part 2)
Some of the Pioneers of Wilber Were:
John Herman, born in a mill near Nebuzele, in 1812. He was a very wealthy and prominent man there, a member of the parliament and of a delegation sent to interview the emperor. He took part in the revolution of 1848 and being persecuted was obliged to flee to this country in 1853. He was considered the richest immigrant that ever came here, for he brought with him 80,000 gulden to Wisconsin, but lost it through unfortunate ventures. In 1864 he came to Arago, then for a while lived in Aspinwall and about 1868 came to Wilber, where he died July 11, 1888. All old timers remember him as a generous, kindly and helpful friend. His son Anton J. was the first Czech county treasurer there (1869--1877) and another son, Stephen J., was a member of the legislature in 1881.
Frank J. Sadilek, born in Ledec, 1851, came to Chicago in 1868, to Wilber in 1877, where he has lived continuously with the exception of two years. He is well known all over the state among his people, especially as a speaker, for no man has officiated at more funerals than he, inasmuch as Czech Liberals usually have lodge services and a non-sectarian speaker. Mr. Sadilek also has written much for Czech papers in the way of reminiscences and on various subjects of the day. Has held many political offices, county treasurer 1888--1891, registrar of deeds 1898--1919, presidential elector 1896 -- republican. Married Theresa Jurka of Chicago.
John F. Spirk, born in Merklin, July 27, 1858, for years a popular notary public and general kindly advisor to his countrymen. No man in the county was more beloved. In 1881 he was nominated to the office of County Treasurer and when elected at the age of twenty-two was probably the youngest county treasurer in the state. He held in his time many municipal and lodge offices. About 1917 he moved with his family to Los Angeles, where he lives at date of writing. Mrs. Spirk was Anna, daughter of J. K. Schuessler.
Anton Shimonek, who came in 1871, was born in Nebuzele, near Melnik, in 1847 and came to Wisconsin with his parents in 1854.
Frank Apfelbeck, who came in 1876, was born in Kout, near Nova Kdyne, in 1848.
Joseph Rychtarik, born 1838 in Sopotnice.
John Zvonicek Sr., born in Ostasovice near Kostelec nad Orlici. Came to Iowa in 1856, to Saline County in 1874. His son John, who died in Wilber in 1926, was a well known miller there and in De Witt.
Frank Rychtarik, born 1847 in Zamely near Kostelec.
Frank Sabata, born 1827 in Dlouha Ves near Rychnov. Came to Jones County, Iowa in 1854, later to Saline.
Anton Chaloupka, born in Castolovice.
Vaclav Beck, born February 11, 1826 in Podrezov. Died in Wilber August 10, 1900.
Joseph Zvonicek, brother of John Sr.
Karel Sagl, born in Zahradka near Ledec, where he returned to die in 1916.
Jos. K. Schuessler, born 1833 in Luze, Chrudim. Came to Wilber from Chicago in 1877 and died there a few years ago. An excellent teacher of singing and dramatics and a thorough musician.
Joseph Drasky, born 1839 in Kostelec nad Orlici. Died in Wilber.
Joseph and William Sr. Bohacek, born in Cerny Kostelec. In the early sixties they lived in Cincinnati. Joseph Bohacek's wife Mary was a step-sister of the famous Czech writer Jan Neruda. She died in Wilber April 17, 1894 and is buried in the Bohemian cemetery there.
F. J. Svehla, born November 5, 1845 in Albrechtice. Came to Saline County in 1868, at the head of a caravan of settlers. In 1869, while away in Lincoln with a load of wheat, a prairie fire destroyed his home, only a hole in the ground remained. It was in this fire that nine school-children met death, none were Czech however.
Alois Borecky, born 1852 in Mancice, Caslav, came in 1875.
Jacob Prucha, born 1857 in Stribec near Trebon, came in 1873.
John K. Mallat (Malat), born 1850 in Humpolec, came to Wahoo in 1874, then to Crete and then to Wilber. Died in Glendale, California, May 31, 1926.
John J. Mallat, his cousin, born 1856 in Humpolec. Came to Saline County in 1874. Died in Wilber a few years ago. For years he and John K. Mallat conducted a general merchandise store in Wilber.
Beginning with 1875 the Czech settlements began to grow all over the county. The town of Wilber and Big Blue, Brush Creek, North Fork and Pleasant Hill precincts are practically entirely Czech.
The following are some of the early pioneers of the towns or precincts as listed.
Ed. S. Steidl, druggist, birthplace unknown; Joseph Brabec, blacksmith, Merklin; Tomas Kolouch, clerk, Sazava, Pribyslav; Filip Kolouch, tailor, Sazava, Pribyslav; Frank Veleba, tailor, Nihov, Tisnov; Joseph Adamek, wagon maker, Uboc, Nova Kdyne; Jakub Simanek, wagon maker, Nemcice, Nova Kdyne; John and Tomas Daniel, carpenters, Sazava, Pribyslav; Joseph Belka, in lumberyard, Kostelec nad Orlici; Vojtech Bulin, in lumberyard, Dolany, Klatovy; Joseph Spirk, retired, Merklin, Plzen; Vaclav Kolarik, laborer, Unovice, Nova Kdyne; Matej Cada, shoemaker, unknown; Karel Aron, tailor, Podebrady.
Jindrich (Henry) Spirk, in store, Merklin, Plzen.
Frank Ptak, in store, Podoli, Pisek; Matej Trepka, blacksmith, Ratibor, Jindrichuv Hradec; Joseph Urban, wagon maker, Svarov, Unhost; Anton Beruska, musician, Cernousek, Roudnice.
Joseph Ledl, saloon, Kostelec nad Orlici; M. Zirhut, saloon, Bezdekov, Klatovy; Joseph Brabec, blacksmith, unknown.
Rudolf Uldrich, saloon, Trtice, Nove Straseci; John Krisl, blacksmith, Dobric, Kralovice; Frank Musil, general merchandise, Krucemburk, Chotebor; Frank Nerud, drug store, Novosedly, Lomnice nad Luz.; John Trcka, wheelwright, Sobeslav, Tabor; Frank Kresl, laborer, Trtice, Nove Straseci; Cyril Kus, laborer, Lhota, Strakonice.
William Bohacek Jr., barber, Cerny Kostelec; Joseph Sestak, saloon, Milwaukee, Wis.; John Zvonicek, hardware, later mill, Ostasovice, Kostelec; Alois G. Mallat, early partner of J. K. & J. J. Mallat, Humpolec; Fr. Klofanda, druggist, unknown; John H. Brt, druggist, Sobeslav, Tabor; Frank Charvat, bartender, Doudleby, Kostelec; Katerina (Catherine) Ruzicka, hotel, Ujezd, Domazlice; Vaclav Pospisil, saloon, Hlizov, Kutna Hora; Frank Kasal, bartender, Krucemburk, Chotebor; Vaclav Safranka, saloon, Bela, Meziric; Joseph Havlovic, blacksmith, Kouty, Domazlice; Jiri (George) Hruby, harness maker, Hudlice, Beroun; Frank Puzej, harness maker, Dozice, Blatna; William Trcka, saloon, Sazava, Benesov; Max Storkan, baker, Klatovy, Plzen; Anton Fridrich, blacksmith, Zamely, Kostelec; John Poupe, cigar maker, Cirkvice, Kutna Hora; Anton J. Hanys, tailor, Litomysl, Chrudim; Vaclav Vondra, butcher, Zvestovice, Habry; Frank Vokoun, butcher, unknown; Filip Synovec, unknown; Joseph Holub, unknown; Frank Stepanek, harness maker, Dlouha Ves, Rychnov nad Kneznou; Anton Tvrz, carpenter, Krivoklat; Vojta (Albert) and Frank Mrkvicka, carpenters, Caslav; Joseph Tobiska, musician, Javornice, Rychnov; Joseph Kotyza, cemetery sexton, Doudleby, Kostelec; Joseph K. Bartos, Javornice, Rychnov; Ignac Cecha, retired, Usti nad Orlici, Chrudim; Joseph Haluza, Komna, Uhersky Brod.
John Novak (Newer) and his brother Frank came to Wilber in 1875. John, the elder, had a saloon. He was very strong and liked to measure his strength with anyone he thought his equal. Later these brothers had a saloon in Friend. While attending a picnic in Fillmore County they were both shot in a fight and buried in Friend August 21, 1885. Their brother George lives in Oklahoma.
Joseph Rubes, wheelwright, from near Kralovice; Joseph Bouska, retired, Borovany, Klatovy; J. Dvorak, wheelwright, unknown; Joseph Vanek, saloon, Ujezd, Domazlice; John Vrana, laborer, Krec, Tabor; Fr. Vitovec, laborer, unknown; Edmund Lab, Kostelec, Kralove Hradec; Joseph Plihal, laborer, Trizov, Chotebor; Vaclav B. Prucha, laborer, Tachlovice, Smichov; Matej Vandas, blacksmith, unknown; Joseph Melcer, unknown; Frank Seidl, blacksmith, unknown; Anton Masinda, druggist, unknown; Stephen Herman and Edward Beck, general merchandise and hardware, unknown; William Trcka, butcher, Sazava, Benesov; M. B. Hokuf, unknown. An excellent musician. He built the first Czech dance hall in Wilber. Died a few years ago in California.
John Barta, Chalupy, Skrychov, Tabor; Frank Soukup, Skalice, Sobeslav; Frank Horlivy, Predbor, Sobeslav; Joseph Svec, Radlice, Dacice; John Krisl Sr., Dobric, Kralovice; John Tenopir, Trtice, Nove Straseci; Frank Nohava, Ponedraz, Lomnice; Isidor Laun, Trtice, Nove Straseci; John Bedlan, Hrdlorezy, Trebon; John Kral, unknown; Joseph Baxa Sr., Nadryby, Plzen; Joseph Slezak, Bezdekov, Blatna; Anton Zenisek, Cernice, Plzen; Matej Vejraska, Lodenice, Nove Straseci; Matous Jech, Lhota, Sobeslav; John Kus Sr., Lhota, Strakonice; Joseph Klecan, Bezdekov, Blatna.
Frank Bohac, Zamel, Kostelec; Joseph Sebl, Chramostek, Melnik; Kajetan (Guy) Marcelino. Although a Portugese by birth, he married a Czech and he and his family spoke the language; Matej Nohavec, Trebejsinka, Klatovy; Joseph Kopecky. Later jeweler in Crete. Jicin; Frank Pomajzl, Uhonice, Unhost; Frank Kuzelka, Meceriz, Nove Benatky; John Bayer, Stare Benatky, Nove Benatky; Joseph Kovarik, Havlovice, Domazlice; Joseph Prachejl, Osecek, Podebrady; Frank Trnik, Stejska, Jindr. Hradec; John Salinger, Lazany, Horazdovice; Matej Fritz, Jivno, Lisov; Joseph Cizek, Netreby, Melnik; Vojta Vosika, Rosec, Jindr. Hradec; Eduard Dusil, Podrezov, Kostelec; Joseph Burgon, unknown; John Vesely, unknown; Anton Fitl, Polste, Jindr. Hradec; Fr. Zajicek, Vrutice, Nove Benatky; Vaclav Petracek, Velke Zbozi, Podebrady; Joseph Skocpol, Udolnice, Benesov; John Korbel, born 1803 in Hrdlorezy, Trebon, died in Wilber 1897; Frank Papik Sr., Mseno, Mlada Boleslav; Joseph Kulhanek Sr., Dolni Ujezd; Ignac Volesensky, Vojtechov, Mseno; Matej Formanek, from near Beroun; Jakub Kalcik, Nemcice, Nova Kdyne; Vaclav Fink, Dolni Bela, Manetin; Ferdinand Vondrejs, Humpolce, Caslav; John Brabec, Chlumec, Trebon; John Nedela, Mseno, Melnik; Vaclav Gerner, Sedlec, Melnik; Tomas (Thomas) Aron, Podebrady; John Dunder, Hostoun, Unhost; John Andelt, Mseno, Melnik; Matej Vavra, Mirosovice, Cerny Kostelec; Joseph Koci, Hyskov, Beroun; Joseph Princ, Ratibor, Jindr. Hradec; John Musil, Senetin, Caslav; Joseph Krupicka, Mecir, Zbirov; Anton Zajicek, Medovy Ujezd, Horovice; Josefa Pavlikova, Stechovice, Strakonice; Frank Pecka, Kbely, Nove Benatky; Jakub Srajhans, Rosec, Jindr. Hradec; Tomas Plachy, Zabrdovice u Krince; Joseph Pomajzl, Uhonice, Unhost; Joseph Kubes, Osek, Milevsko; John Sindelar, Kvetov, Milevsko; Petr Plouzek, from near Klatovy; Joseph Chalupa, Cerveny Ujezd, Unhost; Matej Tichy, Velke Pritocno, Unhost.
Anton Simonek, unknown; Frank Prokop Sr., Podrezov, Kostelec; Vaclav Hajek, Jenikovice, Kral. Hradec; Jakub Rezny, Uboc, Nova Kdyne; Vaclav Truka, Caslav; Adam Karman, Kamenice, Hors. Tyn; Fr. Stach, Kardasova Recice; Vaclav Joura, Cecelice, Melnik; Joseph Kores, Hosin, Hluboka; Fr. Fencl, Vydriz, Jindr. Hradec; Fr. Kunc Sr., Oparany, Bechyne; Fr. Rezny, Uboc, Nova Kdyne; John Chab, Polste, Jindr. Hradec; Vaclav Vrba, Kanice, Nova Kdyne; John Placek, Sokolec, Podebrady; Adam Truka, Sekryt, Klatovy; John Kostal, unknown; Matej and Jakub Fictum, Cermna, H. Tyn; Fr. Soldat, Zahradka, Milevsko; Fr. Kostlan, Zderaz, Skuc; John Kubovec, unknown; John Vostrez Sr., Vyhnanov, Kostelec; J. Pekar, unknown; Jos. Preslicka, unknown; Jos. Kubrt, Roven, Rychnov; Anton Wanek, Kardasova Recice; Jos. Vosyka, Rosec, Jindr. Hradec; Fr. Chab, Polste, Jindr. Hradec; Jos. Slama, Tri Studne, Nove Mesto, Morava; Jos. Brajer, Chorusice, Melnik; John Honzik, Vysoka, Melnik; Jakub Blaha, Polste, Jindr. Hradec; Petr Sterba, Stichov, Hor. Tyn; Fr. Sasek, Jehnedno, Pisek; Jos. Karpisek, Jezvina, Sedlec; John Vales, Bozetice, Milevsko; Tomas Houser, Brezi, Pisek; Pavel Cervenka, Nedvedice, Mirov; Eman Knap, unknown; Filip Tyser, Bozkov, Plzen; John Barta, Nove Dvory, Milevsko; J. Pivonka, unknown; Jos. Dvoracek, Roven, Kunstat; Tomas Jelinek, Novosedly, Lomnice; John Broz Sr., Kamenice, Hors. Tyn; Tomas Tachovsky, Krecovice, Hors. Tyn; Matej Stastny, Krenovice, Milevsko; Jakub Janouch, Stejska, Jindr. Hradec; Anton Vycina, Kralove Mestec; V. Bosak, Stejska, Jindr. Hradec; Jos. Sukovaty, Stichov, Hors. Tyn; Martin Simon, Krecovice, Hors. Tyn; Vaclav Cerveny, Letiny.
Josef Keller Sr., unknown; Rudolf Gerner, Sedlec, Melnik; Vaclav Kucera, Zbecno, Krivoklat; Bartolomej Brt, Lhota, Sobslav; Anton Belka, Kostelec nad Orlici; Jos. Volesensky, Vojtechov, Mseno; Frank Hercog, Sokolec, Podebrady.
Jos. Kaura, Hradecko, Kralovice; Wolfgang Halada, Kouty, Domazlice; Lawrence Svoboda, Kouty, Domazlice.
Frank Justa, Netes, Roudnice. Justa was a member of a marine band in Trieste, Dalmatia, in the eighteen-sixties, when archduke Maxmilian lived with his wife Charlotta in the castle of Miramar. As students of history know, this archduke was executed in Mexico, in 1867, when he sought to become emperor of that country. This Austrian archduke was very democratic and entertained the members of the band on his yacht, on the Adriatic Sea, Justa being one of the guests also. Empress Charlotta lost her mind and lived to a great age, dying in 1926.
Jos. Nohavec, Trebejtin, Klatovy; Jos. Kucera, Skrychov, Tabor.
John Psikal, Podoli, Tisnov; Jos. Andrle, Zahorany, Nova Kdyne; Vaclav Cochnar, Opatovice, Caslav; Jos. Sysel, Lhotka, Klatovy; John Jirsa, Krty, Strakonice; Martin Maca, Rosec, Jindr. Hradec; Josefa Nespory, Polste, Jindr. Hradce; Viktor Mika, Krta, Strakonice; Vaclav Brydl, Peklo, Vysoke Myto; Martin Bedlan, Hrdlorezy, Trebon; Tomas Divoky, Hrdlorezy, Trebon; Matetj Burda, Bor, Trebon; Jos. Kadlec, Tajanov, Klatovy; Jos. Slama, Tri Studne, Nove Mesto, Morava; Jos. Bruha, Poborovice, Klatovy; Prokop Bednar Sr., Pistina, Jindr Hradec; Vaclav and John Kohout, Rudoltice, Nova Kdyne.
Frank Dusanek, Uhersko, Chocen; Marie Najmon, Jenec Unhost; John Divoky Sr., Hrdlorezy, Trebon; Karel Kozak, Jenec, Unhost; Jos. Burda, Bor, Trebon; Tomas Vosoba, Oxford Junction, Iowa; Eman Havelka, Milwaukee, Wis.; Jos. Filip, Recice, Nove Mesto Morava Frank Michl, Orlova, Chocen; Anton Filip, Recice, Nove Mesto, Morava; Frank Horak, Chejne, Unhost; John Sustak, Recice, Nove Mesto, Morava; Bart. Zoubek, Starec, Domazlice; Fr. Vorisek, Hrusova Vysoke Myto; Vojta Bocek, Plavsko, Jindr. Hradec; Tomas Havelka, Milwaukee, Wis.; Frank Kratochvil, Kardasova Recice; Jos. Sobotka, Bobrova, Jihlava; John Rejsek, Stechovice, Strakonice; Jos. Valenta, Vyskytna, Pelhrimov; Vaclav Sladek, Zruc, Kralovice; John Duba Sr. and sons, Opatov, Humpolec; Frank Klasek, Mezimosti, Veseli; Jos. Petrasek, Trtice, Nove Straseci; John Homolka Sr. and sons. Novy Rychnov, Pelhrimov; John Radil, Vlkanec, Habry; Fr. Bor Sr. and sons, Stechovice, Strakonice; Fr. Kucera, Novy Rychnov, Pelhrimov; Jos. Sokolik, Polste, Jindr. Hradec; Jos. B. Musil, Vlkov, Veseli; Petr Zoubek, Starec, Domazlice.
Adolf Dlouhy, Trtice, Nove Straseci; Vaclav Vesely, Kank, Kutna Hora; Jos. Lorenz, Novakovice, Klatovy; Matej Marik, Male Pirtocno, Unhost; Frank Stejskal, Bechyne, Tabor.
Fr. Dudek, birthplace unknown; Jos. Taborek, unknown; Jos. and Vaclav Matejka, Trtice, Nove Straseci; Frank and Anton Zumpfe, Krucemburk, Chotebor; Jos. Kaspar, near Kostelec nad Orlici; Vaclav and Tomas Nerud, Novosedly, Lomnice nad Luz; Frank Pisar, Stejska, Jindr. Hradec; John Kubicek, Sobeslav; John Pavlis, near Jindrichuv Hradec; Vaclav Renner, Mseno, Melnik; Vaclav Prokop Sr., Podrezov, Kostelec; Vojtech Lisec, Lazany, Horazd'ovice; Vojtech Kastanek, Hatin, Jindr. Hradec; John Vojta, Podoly, Prachatice; Vaclav Kostecka, Sv. Majdalena, Trebon; John Brydl Sr., Peklo, Litomysl; Vaclav Zalesky, Peklo, Litomysl; Jos. Smejlir, Netreby, Litomysl; John Kotouc, Krucemburk, Chotebor; Fr. Dvorak, Merklovice, Kostelec; John Dolezal, unknown; Frank Novak, Vlhcice, Milevsko; John Friouf, Dzbanov, Vysoke Myto; Tomas Pasek, Prestice.
Frank Slepicka, Udraz, Pisek; Frank Hynous, Brezi, Pisek; Jos. Castoral, Krestovice, Pisek; Vaclav Semilsky, Stranka, Melnik; Ludvik Svoboda, Kouty, Domazlice; John Kusy, Male Pritocno, Unhost; Frank Houser, Brezi, Pisek; John Simerda, Slemeno, Rychnov; Hynek Hana. Tlumacov, Domazlice; Jakub Svara, Kouty, Domazlice.
Matej and Frank Stech, Skalice, Sobeslav; J. Doupnik, unknown; Matej Simacek, Zichovice, Susice; Pavel Buzek, Brandlin, Dacice; John Cudly, Radlice, Dacice; Frank Rohla, Trtice, Nove Straseci; John Holpuch, Chlum, Blovice; Jos. Kouba, Radlice, Dacice; Jos. Vnoucek, Pysely, Jilove; John and Vaclav Volak, Srbice, Nova Kdyne; Jos. Klecan, Bezdekov, Blatna; John Vrba, Mimov, Hors. Tyn; Joseph W. Prokop, Vamberk u Rychnova, born Oct.30, 1859, came to Saline County in 1869, having come first to Jones County, Iowa, in 1865.
Matej and Jiri (George) Hynek, Zahorany, Nova Kdyne; Vaclav Vilda, Stremy, Melnik; Jos. Fiser, Simburk, Turnov; Filip Hofman, Kouty, Domazlice; Jos. Vit, Preslavky, Benesov; Vaclav Vocasek, Opocnice, Kraluv Mestec; Fr. Taburek, Podrezov, Kr. Hradec; Jos. Svoboda, Kouty, Domazlice; Fr. Riha, Kbely, Nove Benatky; Jos. Jiskra, Mestecko, Krivoklat; Frank and Tomas Kubicek, Sobeslav, Tabor; Vaclav Kastl, Prestice, Plzen; John Kohel, Zahorany, Nova Kdyn; John and Vaclav Vozab, Lesany, Melnik; Vojt. Javorsky, Hrncire, Ml. Vozice; Vit. Fritz, Jivno, Lisov; Jakub Hulec, unknown; Jakub Kohel. Zahorany, Nova Kdyne; Vaclav Senfeld, from near Melnik; Jos. Chmelir, Stankov, Plzen; Jindrich (Henry) Chaloupka, Castolovice, Kr. Hradec; Fr. Sefcik, unknown; Fr. Mares, unknown; John Sary, unknown; Fr. Vana, unknown; A. V. Hlava (now living in Ravenna); Fr. Kacl, mention of his death by freezing elsewhere; John Zajicek Sr., Stare Benatky, Ml. Boleslav; Jos. Rychtiark Sr., Zamely, Kostelec nad Orlici; Jos. Salda, Vysoka; Jos. Varta, Nova Kdyne, Plzen; Karel Borecky, Mancice; Vaclav Slajs, unknown; Andreas Rezabek, Ratkovice, Nepomuk. He was the first sexton of the Bohemian cemetery in Wilber. Jakub and Frank Kobes, Havlovice, Domazlice.
All pioneers in an unsettled country must struggle with lack of nearly everything that makes life easier, medical care not excepted. As an example of that we cite the case of Mrs. Jacob Simon, pioneer near Crete, who lay ill for thirteen weeks without professional medical attention. There was no physician in the place and no way of getting one from a distance, home remedies had to suffice. Miss Anna Hynek, who married John Zvonicek Jr. (later well known miller of Wilber) and whose father was Joseph Hynek, one of the earliest pioneers, used to work in the field along with the men. Twice she was stung by a rattlesnake and although she endured much suffering, she recovered without the aid of a doctor. In the fall of 1875 a young woman immigrant came to her parents (Hyneks). She was afflicted with smallpox, but no one was aware of it. About that time occurred the wedding of Miss Hynek and Mr. Zvonicek and the entire company, including the bride and groom, was infected with the disease. Fourteen people, adults and children, died of it. There was no doctor available and home nursing was the best anyone could give.
In the winter of 1882 a diptheria epidemic raged through the county. Anti-toxin was not known then and many children died. Thomas Pasek lost four children in one week, two in one day, Frank Znamenacek four in two weeks. John Trepka lost several children. Joseph Moudry came in to Wilber for a coffin and before he got home, a second child had died.
Another example of pioneer hardships is the following:
Frank Kacl, born in Hostivice near Praha, came from St. Louis, Mo. with Frank Vana in 1868. He was a hunchback and asthmatic. They took homesteads adjoining each other. In 1870 or 1871 Kacl went with John Brajer to Pawnee County, to work, afoot. Having earned a little money, they set out for home, again afoot, during very cold weather. Kacl's strength gave out, he sat down to rest about fifteen or twenty miles from Beatrice, and there froze to death. He was frozen so stiff that his arm, which he had extended, had to be taken off before the body could be placed in the coffin.
Mrs. Vaclav Tichy, living in Wilber, was Mary Aksamit, daughter of Anton Aksamit, pioneer of Lancaster County. In August 1868, as a seven-year-old child, with her brother Anton, a year and a half older, she followed her brother Joseph out where he was herding cattle. They could not see him in the tall grass and were lost. The father sought them and called them all night long and for several days following, then gave them up for dead. He thought the wolves had eaten them. A compatriot named Pomajzl was working for a German settler and he brought word that the children had come there, but he had led them out on the road again, thinking they would go home. Later another German settler told of two children wandering about his vicinity. He said they were hungry and their clothing torn, he gave them bread and sent them on. He told Aksamit the direction they had taken, so the latter searched there and found them purely by accident. They were sleeping in the high grass. Their clothing was in tatters, torn by the sharp arnica grass, which had badly scratched their bodies. They were so weak they could not walk, for they had lived mainly upon roots and the little bread they had received. The father took Mary on his back, carried her a way, then set her down and carried Anton, and thus proceeded until he got them home. They had been absent eleven days.
As stated elsewhere in this chapter, the first Czech band in the county was that of Frank Nedela. The next oldest is that of Thomas (Tomas) Pasek in Wilber and Pasek undoubtedly is the oldest Czech bandmaster in the state, for he has been practicing his profession for sixty-six years. He was born in 1849 in Prestice, Bohemia, studied music while going to school and at the age of twelve already took his part in the band. In 1866 he came to St. Louis. Mo. and was active as a musician. In 1873 he came to Saline County, settling on a farm nine miles northwest of Wilber. During the first year he and John Vesely constituted the band that played at farm dances. Pasek played the cornet and Vesely the clarionet, and the young folks danced on the grass. Soon thereafter Pasek was able to get together a very good, full band, which became known not only in the county, but in many other Czech settlements and is still thus active. The first personnel consisted of the following: Thomas Pasek, Eman Knap, John Friouf, John Vesely, Frank Slepicka, A. V. Hlava, John Vojta and Vincenc Kastanek. At first these men walked to their destination, each carrying his instrument. They played from evening until dawn, for $3.00 each, and in the morning returned home the way they came.
Thomas Pasek has taught many pupils and made them into good musicians. He is now past 78 years of age, but music is still his vocation and delight. He is a good singer also and with his son and two daughters forms a quartette that often sings at the funeral services of old settlers.
|Back||Table of Contents||Next|