Czech Genealogy: Third Installment of the only English translation of the 1881 Amerikán Národni Kalendář article on Czech immigrants across America’s heartland.
Onward To Our Past is pleased to present the third installment of the only English translation of the 1881 article “BRIEF STATISTICS of settlements, places, towns, and counties in the United States inhabited by Czechs”.
This installment takes us to one new community in Iowa, three additional communities in Nebraska, and one community in Wisconsin.
Amerikán Národni Kalendář
BRIEF STATISTICS of settlements, places, towns, and counties in the United States inhabited by Czechs
“Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
On another page you can see a picture of the Readers Club Hall at Cedar Rapids. This was established on 22 November 1868 and the building was finished on 6 June 1870. The Club had 41 members and the Hall was built for $4,800.
Readers will see a picture of the hall and also of the Czech Catholic Church in this edition. The church was built by the St. Vaclav (Wenceslas) Society. Ground was broken on July 1874 and the cornerstone was consecrated in August, and until that winter a crypt was also was being built. The building was finished in spring of 1875 and about in June the first worship services were held there. The church was built of brick and is 30 feet wide, 60 feet long and 18 feet high. Worship services are taking place twice a month and are conducted by P. Fr. Chmelar. Since Easter in 1874 he became the shepherd of the congregation and serves in this same capacity today. The congregation consists of about 50 churchgoers who are mostly farmers. In 1878 the congregation built a house for its priest at a cost of $800. In the parish house you will find a room that is used for meetings of the St. Vaclav (Wenceslas) Catholic Support Society. Also a building was built for a local Czech school.
River Falls, Pierce County, Wisconsin
The population of River Falls is about 3,000 and it includes eighteen Czech families who are mostly farmers. Only one works as a blacksmith. The first Czech settler here was in 1874 and was Jan Peskar. In the next year of 1875 arrived two more Czechs, Cenek Jansa and Jan Jansa. The number of Czechs has been increasing ever since that time. Land is good quality and it is possible to harvest everything that a farmer needs. Government land is sold out, but it is possible to buy other land for 5-10 dollars for one acre.
Niobrara, Knox Co., Nebraska
You may never find another Czech settlement with as difficult and sad a beginning. First established in 1868, its first trouble was the secession of Franta Bem, who left to begin a new settlement in the D. T. (Ed: Dakota Territory) in the area of Yankton. The next problem brought poverty to the settlers. The first was bad crops for two years and a constant fear of the redskins. Everything’s changed now: from deserted land came fertile fields and from poor settlers came wealthy people. When we came here, Niobrara consisted of only five wooden huts. Its population is now 700. It had only a single school before, but today we can be proud of 18 schools. There are 5 drugstores and the largest one is owned by Josef Horky, 2 blacksmiths, one of them (Fr. Klima) is a Czech, a saddle-maker, Martin Melmer, is a Czech, too; one shoemaker, two tailors, one brewery where the owner married a Czech girl; the chemist’s shop belongs to Czech brothers Karel and Josef Kadis; two lumber stores, three horse-liveries, four physicians, a half dozen lawyers, seven inns, with the best one having a Czech owner – Mr. Lenger; one bank, and five cafeterias.
The Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway runs nearby just behind the Missouri river. The next railroad being built will connect us from Omaha. We do not have a church yet, but there are two priests: one is Methodist and one is Presbyterian. Nine miles from the town old Mr. Kadis has a cattle farm with more than 100 head.
The first Czech settlers to arrive here came in 1853. They were Petr Steinberger and Jiri Kochman. At farms near by live six Czech families and two German-Bohemian families, four single boys and one girl; In town proper live three Czech and three German-Bohemian families. Everyone here prospers and are well.
Postal Station Abiel, Butler Co., Nebraska
Czechs have settled here in a large numbers and prosper. Most of them are devoted Catholics, and decided to build a church for themselves. The first one was finished in 1876. Church services are provided by P. Josef Hovorka. The church is dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul, The Apostles.”
Watch for installment number four coming very soon right here from Onward To Our Past. You might want to sign up for automatic updates on our homepage at http://OnwardToOurPast.com so you can be notified as soon as all new genealogy posts are released.
Onward To Our Past