Nearly 100 settlements in Texas have had Czech names, and about half of them still exist. Some of these settlements are especially important because of the early date they were established or because they were the site of an historic church, school, lodge hall, printing press, or other building or institution. Listed here are the ones I have found so far. I have also included some areas which are not predominantly Czech, but have celebrations of our Czech heritage. Historical Markers are quoted in RED.
Austin - |
Fort Bend -
Live Oak -
Tom Green -
Location: Abbott is a half mile east of Interstate Highway 35 and ten miles south of Hillsboro in south central Hill County.
History: It was founded as a railroad town on the Missouri, Kansas and Texas line in 1881 and named for Jo Abbott. An Abbott post office was established in 1882 and served the town until 1928. In the 1890s cotton was a major crop in the area around Abbott. Abbott suffered disastrous fires in 1897, 1903, and 1904 and was rebuilt after each. Czech farmers came and bought much of the rich black farmland of the area. The first Czechs had come as early as 1870 and have maintained a Catholic parish in the town. The population of Abbott was 156 in 1890 and grew to a high point of 713 by 1914. It had declined to 264 by 1941. In 1989 the town had 364 residents. Country music star Willie Nelson is from Abbott. In 1990 the population was 314.
Czech Settlers in Hill County (I35 Access Road in front of Turkey Shop Cafeteria)
One of the most influential and numerous national groups to settle in Hill County, Czechs came to this area from Fayette County and the province of Moravia in Austria-Hungary. Many sought greater freedom due to barriers to attaining national status in the old country, political restraints, introduction of German into the schools, and compulsory military service. Land agents painted a rosy picture of opportunities awaiting those who purchased cheap state university lands in this region. The first immigrants arrived in the 1870s and found the soil so fertile that they induced many others to join them. Building of the Texas Central and "Katy" railroads boosted immigration. "Capital" of Czech settlement in the area is Abbott, named for Jo Abbott (1840-1908), judge, legislator, and lawyer. Surrounding towns are Zee Vee (so called for the local ZV cattle brand), Penelope, and Aquilla. Neighbors admired the Czechs for their neat, well managed farms and their thrift and industry. For many years they retained a strong group spirit, speaking their own language and observing old world customs. In recent decades they have mixed more with other groups and today fill many public and professional offices as well as continue to farm.
Location: Ammansville, on Farm Road 1383 nine miles southeast of La Grange in southeastern Fayette County.
History: It was settled during the 1870s by German and Czech immigrant farmers on lands originally allotted to the Fayette County schools. The first settler in the community was Andrew Ammann, who arrived on March 12, 1870. He was a noted architect as well as a farmer. Other early family names included Kossa, Sobolik, Heller, Stefek, Fietsam, Munke, Bartos, Holster, Lidiak, Ohnheiser, and Zoesper. In 1876 the first business opened, and by 1879 the town had a post office and a public school. A Catholic church and school opened in 1890 with Father Jules Vrana as priest. The church was destroyed by a storm in 1909 and rebuilt and dedicated on November 24, 1910. Shortly thereafter it was destroyed by fire and again rebuilt. The post office was discontinued in 1906; mail was delivered from Weimar until the 1920s and subsequently from Schulenburg. The public school closed in 1909. In 1914, the population of the extended community was estimated at 800, with 100 living in town. In the 1980s fewer than fifty people lived in Ammansville. The Catholic church, surrounded by a few remnant businesses, remained the focal point of community life. In 1990 the population was forty-two. Today the only existing business is Tofel’s Place on the east side of town. It is rustic, with drinks, dominos, snacks, gas, and local conversation. There is a KJT Hall where the annual church picnic is held every June on Father’s Day. The cemetery next to the church contains many Czech inscriptions.
Ammannsville Parish Picnic - Father's Day (June)
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church
Father Jules Vrana established the original church which was destroyed in 1909, then rebuilt and again destroyed by fire. The rebuilt present church is adorned with lovely statues, many of which were saved from the disastrous fire in 1918.
7745 Mensik Rd.
Schulenburg, Texas 78956-5724
Date Built: 1918
Architect: John Bujnoch
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church
Location: Austin, the capital of Texas, county seat of Travis County, and home of the University of Texas at Austin, is located in central Travis County on the Colorado River and Interstate Highway 35. Situated at 30°16' north latitude and 97°45' west longitude, it is at the eastern edge of the Hill Country and the Edwards Plateau.
History: The city was established by the three-year-old Republic of Texas in 1839 to serve as its permanent capital, and named in honor of the founder of Anglo-American Texas, Stephen F. AustinTexans of Czech Ancestry (TOCA) 4120 Firstview Drive Austin, Texas 78731 president: Woody Smith
Faith Community Church (Unity of Brethren)
Address: 1800 Peyton Gin Road, Austin, TX; Phone: (512) 836-2712
Location: North off of State Hwy 183 between North Lamar and Burnet Road
Beasley (on Loop 540 at 4th St., Beasley)
Founded 1894 by Cecil A. Beasley (1862 - 1908), on the Texas & New Orleans Railroad. First called "Dyer" for Isabel dyer (1871 - 1933), whom Beasley later married. Post office opened as "Beasley," May 13, 1898. The town boomed in 1910, as Stern & Stern Land Co. of Kansas City promoted land sales through a town lot auction. Many new settlers were German and Czech families from Washington County. Soon Beasley had 3 general stores, 2 cotton gins, a 3-story hotel, an ice-house, a public school, and 7 churches. Beasley was incorporated in 1970 and continues to serve as a marketing center for the area.
Location: Behrenville (or Behrnville) is eleven miles northeast of Georgetown in northern Williamson County.
History: It was named after H. T. Behrens, an early settler. German, Austrian, Moravian, Bohemian, and Silesian immigrants settled in the Behrenville area in the 1880s and 1890s. The locality had its own post office from 1901 to 1906 and is closely associated with the nearby community of Theon. Behrenville had an estimated population of thirty-five from 1933 to 1946. From 1947 to 1965 the population was estimated at sixty. From 1966 to 1990 the population estimate remained steady at thirty.
Location: Beyersville is on Farm Road 619 thirty-five miles northeast of Austin in east Williamson County.
History: The area was first settled shortly after the Civil War and was originally known as Dacus or Dacus Crossing. Beyersville became the town's official name in 1893, when Gustav Beyer established a post office, which remained in operation until 1909. The Dacus school opened in 1889, adopted the name Beyersville in 1897, and was consolidated with the Taylor schools in 1950. In 1896 Beyersville had an estimated population of only fifteen, but soon grew to include several retail stores and gins, two blacksmith shops, a garage, a tavern, and a molasses mill. The Order of Sons of Hermann hall served as a center for community activities. Beyersville's population was estimated at 100 from 1933 to 1970. From 1970 to 1990 it remained around seventy-five. At some time the community was moved one mile south of its original site, to a location known earlier as Happy Hill. In 1986 Beyersville had two taverns, a diesel and equipment repair shop, and a Czech fraternal hall.
Location: Berry Creek begins two miles east of Caldwell in central Burleson County (at 30°33' N, 96°37' W) and runs southeast for eleven miles to its mouth on Davidson Creek (at 30°26' N, 96°33' W).
History: It crosses gently sloping to nearly level terrain surfaced by loam that supports post oak, blackjack oak, elm, hackberry, water oak, and pecan trees along the banks. Settlement in the area began during the early 1830s. New Tabor, one of the oldest and largest communities in the county, was established near the headwaters by Czech-Moravian and German immigrants about 1870. The stream is named for Burleson County pioneer Radford Berry, a resident of Fort Tenoxtitlбn in 1832, who seems to have lived in the vicinity of the creek sometime thereafter.
Location: About 11 miles from Hallettsville in Lavaca Co.
History: The second largest Moravian settlement in Lavaca Co. The name comes from the place in Bohemia where an infamous battle took place which led to subjugation of the Czech nation by the Habsburgs for 300 years.
Location: Bohemia was on the banks of the Main (Middle) Concho River south of the road from San Angelo to Arden and on the old road from San Angelo to Sherwood in west central Tom Green County.
History: Originally known as Twin Mountain City. When the plat for the town was filed in 1906, the name had been changed to Bohemia. A year latter the settlement comprised thirty families. Bohemia soon had a general store, a school, at least one saloon, a livery stable, and a cemetery. As many as 100 people, mostly Czech immigrants from farther east, lived there from 1906 to around 1909. The land, however, was not well-suited to agriculture. The community's post office was discontinued on June 30, 1909. By 1910 most of the farmers, after trying to supplement their incomes by gathering pecans and cutting wood, had decided to move. Most of them either went back to East Texas or moved to the Lipan Flats area of Tom Green County and the Rowena area of Runnels County. After major highways and the railroad bypassed the town, the site was completely abandoned.
Location: Bohemian, also known as Bohemian Community, was off State Highway 94 four miles northeast of Groveton in northeastern Trinity County.
History: The settlement was formed around 1920 by immigrants from Czechoslovakia. Many of the settlers originally lived in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, before moving to Trinity County. The group was led by Augustin (August) Dolezal, who operated a bakery in Groveton. Some Czechs settled in Groveton; others established farms northeast of the town. Most residents, however, moved out of the area after World War II. In the 1980s few traces of the community remained; a cemetery built by the first settlers was overgrown, and most of the graves had been removed.
Location: Bonnie View is on Farm Road 629 in southern Refugio County, on acreage formerly a part of the Bonnie View Ranch of John Howland Wood.
History: The area was colonized by settlers primarily of German and Bohemian descent. In 1907-08, when the ranch was divided into farm lots, local farmers established a trading community that included a store, a gin, and a school. In 1948 Bonnie View had several farms clustered around two businesses. By 1988 the population had dwindled to twenty-five, where it remained in 1990.
Brenham, the county seat of Washington county was founded in1844. German immigrants settled the area for the first 20 years or so. Brenham has the distinction of being one of the few Texas towns that was occupied and partially burned by yankee troops during the Civil War. Brenham is the home of the Blue Bell Creamery, the makers of Blue Bell ice cream, famous throughout south and central Texas. Things to see include,
- Ant Street Historic District, the old section of Brenham that is being renovated
- Bassett & Bassett Banking House on Market and Main
- The Giddings-Stone Mansion near S. Market and Stone Streets, built in 1869, is owned by the heritage society.
- Fireman's Park at 900 N. Park has a fully restored 1910 Hershall-Spillman carousel
- The Giddings-Wilkins House at 805 Crockett was built in 1843
- Miniature Horses of the Monastery of St. Clare located northeast of Brenham on FM 105 and FM 2193. Breeding, training and sale of miniature horses.
Sacred Heart Catholic Church (12 mi. SW of Brenham on FM 389 to Latium; .9 mi. E on Sacred Heart Road)
The first Czechs in this area arrived about 1860. Father Joseph Chromcik became the first Catholic priest to organize worship services in Latium in 1873 in the home of settlers such as Martin Supak. This structure was erected in 1918 on land purchased from George and Anna Baron. Built by local contractor Linnus Pivonka, the 00 church building was paid for in part by the Catholic Extension Society of Chicago, Illinois, and by parishioners. The structure has remained remarkably unchanged and continues to serve a predominately Czech community. It is a beautifully preserved vernacular interpretation of a Gothic revival church in a rural setting. Its narrow, pointed arched windows and projecting central tower typify the style and form. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1999
Wesley Brethren Church (From Brenham, take FM 332 about 10 mi. SW to Wesley Church Rd., follow rd. 1/2 mi. E to church)
First congregation in Texas of the Czech-Moravian Brethren. Organized 1864 by Rev. Joseph Opocensky. Ministry had begun in homes, with settlers coming as far as 20 miles to worship. This first church built 1866, principally of hand-hewn logs. Necessary lumber was hauled by ox-carts from Galveston. Native rock and oak logs in foundation. Until about 1900, served also as school, usually with pastor as the teacher.
Site of Wesley School (FM 332, 7.6 mi. SW of Brenham at intersection with FM 2502)
Czech immigrants came to this area in 1859 and renamed it Wesley community. Professor Josef Masik tutored children in his home. The Bohemian Slovakian Reading Club of Wesley provided the first area school building about 1863. School was taught in the Wesley Brethren Church, a larger facility, beginning in 1866. As the area grew, another structure was required in 1873 and again in 1898. The school relocated to a former store on this site in 1911. It became an eight-grade school in 1927. A new building was erected in 1931 as the population continued to grow, and the school served ten grades in 1949. Enrollment fell as people left rural areas for the city, and in 1953 the school again served eight grades. It was closed and merged with Brenham schools in 1961. The last Wesley School building on this site burned in 1962. (1999)
Location: Breslau is on Farm Road 957 seven miles northwest of Hallettsville in north central Lavaca County.
History: In the early days of the Republic of Texas, James Lyons received a headright certificate and located a one-half league tract there on the east side of the Lavaca River. Between 1845 and 1848 the Lyons tract became the property of Walter Hinkley, a prosperous lawyer and planter from Harrison County, who occupied the area and in 1850 purchased the tract granted to Horace Eggleston on the west side of the river. The Hinkley plantation was relatively self-sufficient and was worked by the second largest force of slaves in Lavaca County. Following Hinkley's death in 1854, the plantation remained in the ownership of his widow until much of it was sold by a subsequent husband to pay debts. During and after the Civil War German immigrants moved into the area and established small farms to grow cotton. The community, named in honor of the Prussian city of Breslau, prospered, and in 1880 a post office was established. Although the post office closed in 1911, the predominantly Protestant German community remained relatively self-sufficient during the opening years of the twentieth century. By 1915 enough Czech Catholic immigrants had arrived to support a church of their own. By 1948 the community had a population of about seventy-five. Most of the farmland reverted to range for cattle, and, although in 1987 two stores remained, the sixty-five residents conducted most of their business in Hallettsville. In 1990 the population was still sixty-five.
Site of Breslau School (unknown location)
German and Czech immigrants moved to this area in the 1860s and 1870s and established small farms to grow cotton. Their community, named Breslau in honor of the Prussian city of Breslau, was located on the east side of the Lavaca River. Fritz Ladewig established a store and cotton gin in the 1870s, and in 1872 donated land for a school. In 1887, the school building was converted to a teacherage and a larger schoolhouse was erected. The community of Breslau prospered, and in 1880 a post office was established. Henry Weller donated an acre of land for a school for African American residents and a schoolhouse was built. After 1900 Breslau included stores, a blacksmith, dance hall, school and Lutheran and Catholic churches. Private donations supported the school until 1910 when a school tax of seven cents was levied and additional classrooms were constructed. A teacherage was built in 1919, and in 1922 Wessel Buss sold three acres of land on which a modern school building was built. The African American school closed in 1955. The Breslau School provided quality education for the community until June 1963 when the school was closed and consolidated with Halletsville schools. (1997)
Location: Bridge Valley is near the crossing of Farm Road 609 and Buckner's Creek, three miles southwest of La Grange in Fayette County.
History: Most of the site was land granted to John Dancy and Edward Manton in the early 1830s. The settlement never became more than a farming community with an economy based on cotton and corn grown along the creek. During the 1880s many of the original settlers were replaced by the second big wave of German and Czech immigrants to Fayette County. In 1898 the business community consisted of a store and post office combination, a saloon, a blacksmith shop, and a school. Voters went to nearby La Grange to cast ballots. In 1903 the post office closed. Soon the other businesses closed too. By 1987 nothing remained except the farms, which concentrate on cattle raising, and Cedar Cemetery, just south of the creek.
Moravian (Czech) Cemetery
Location: 0.25 miles NW of Knightsbridge and Warwick Street intersection in Copperfield Addition. Located in field at the end of alley between House numbers 5913 and 5909 Knightsbridge.
Note: Originally known as the Moravian Brothers Burial Ground, the cemetery contains 11 grave markers. all but one of the stones are inscribed in Czech. A historical marker in memory of pioneer settlers who established the cemetery was dedicated in 1988. Gate access is locked and area posted.
OFFICIAL TEXAS HISTORICAL MARKER
Moravian (Czech) Cemetery (5911 Street (Copperfield Subdivision), Bryan Knights Bridge)
Land for this cemetery was sold in 1889 by Josef Stasta (1833-1894) to Joseph Mekeska, president of Moravian Brothers Burial Ground. The deed specified the land would be used exclusively for a Moravian cemetery. The cemetery contains eleven grave markers. All but one of the stones are inscribed in Czech. The one English-language stone marks four graves. The earliest known burial is that of Marie Siptak (Jan. 19-Feb. 16, 1885). The last interment took place in 1906. Though only fifteen graves are marked, the cemetery may contain as many as forty-one burials.
Josef Masik (from Caldwell, take SH 21 E about 2 1/2 mile to CR 208, go S about 9/10 mile to wooden bridge over RR tracks, turn W on trail just before bridge - follow trail to marker, on S side of RR)
(March 30, 1810-July 1, 1881) First Czech teacher in Texas. Born in Moravia (now Czechoslovakia). Certified to teach at age 16. Came to Texas 1855, seeking freedom from oppression. Following much hardship, he resumed teaching 1859, with up to 50 pupils yearly. Retired, 1872.
Caldwell Masonic Cemetery (west end of 12th St., Caldwell)
With more than 2,700 burials, this cemetery is a significant reflection of the heritage of Caldwell and Burleson County. It began as a Masonic cemetery in 1890 when Warren Lodge No. 56 purchased land here for that purpose. There already were at least three burials on the property at that time dating to 1860. Tombstones reflect the Czech and German heritage of the area and mark the resting places of war veterans, local officials and others who lived and worked in the area. In 1950, the Masons conveyed the burial ground to the Caldwell Cemetery Association and it became a public cemetery. It also contains burials from the Krueger Cemetery, relocated here when Lake Somerville was created in 1964. (2001)
Kolache Festival, 2nd Saturday in September
Burleson County Czech Heritage Museum
It is the purpose of the Burleson County Czech Heritage Museum to promote and preserve the unique heritage and culture of the Czech people in Europe and the Czech settlers in this part of Texas. For more info.: 409-567-3218
Caldwell Brethren Church
Address: 403 South Main Street, Caldwell, TX 77836; Phone: (409) 567-9670
Location: at South Main and Buffalo Streets
The Hus School Encampment
Address: Rt. 2 Box 20, Caldwell, TX 77836
New Tabor Hall
Address: RD 225, Rt. 2, Caldwell, TX 77836
New Tabor Brethren Church
Address: P.O. Box 262, Caldwell, TX 77836 ; Phone: (409) /272-3008
Location: 2 1/2 miles east of Farm Road 166 off of State Hwy 36 in Caldwell, then left one mile on County Road 225
Our Lady of Lourdes Church
St. Mary's Church
Location: Carlsbad is located on U.S. Highway 87 in the North Concho Valley fifteen miles northwest of San Angelo in northwestern Tom Green County.
History: It was established on the Hughes Ranch and had its beginnings in 1907. A year later, when the community was required to choose a new name for a post office, the residents selected Carlsbad, after the spa Karslbad in Bohemia. The local newspaper, The Hughes Headlight, was correspondingly renamed to the Carlsbad Headlight. In 1980s Carslbad had five churches, a post office, several businesses, and multiple dwellings, by 1990 only two businesses remained.
Located at junction of FM 949 and FM 2187. A predominately German community that became a stopping point for early Czech immigrants. Rev. Josef Arnost Bergmann from Bohemia settled here in 1850. He was a pastor, teacher, and farmer. He is credited, through his letters to Europe, with being the catalyst of Czech immigration to Texas. Few Czechs settled in Cat Springs, most moved to other communities. Bergmann spent his last years in Corsicana and was buried there in April 1877. Historical Marker on the grounds of the Cat Spring Agricultural Society Hall, organized in 1856. The building is still the heart of community activities and a dance the first Saturday of each month waltzes, polkas and shottische.
Town of Cat Spring (FM 1094, Schlopath (0.5 miles west of intersection of FM 1094 and FM 949))
A pioneer German settlement founded in 1832 by members of the Amsler, Kleberg and Von Roeder families.
Location: Cistern is on State Highway 95 twelve miles northwest of Flatonia near the southwestern point of Fayette County.
History: The community, first called Whiteside's Prairie and then Cockrill's Hill in honor of two early landowners, was settled during the 1850s on a hill overlooking fertile prairie land. Water wells in the area contained such high concentrations of minerals that residents were forced to build cisterns to trap rainwater for domestic use. By the time the post office was established in 1858, the community was known as Cistern. The community life of this mixture of Anglo-American, German, and Czech residents centered around the Catholic and Lutheran churches, the school, the Harmony Club, and various fraternal organizations. In 1900 Cistern had a population of 150. The post office closed in 1930. In 1950 the population was 150. When the Muldoon oilfield was discovered between Cistern and Flatonia, wells began to dot the cotton fields. Cotton ceased to be a popular crop during the 1950s and 1960s, and landowners turned to ranching and the production of chickens. Many of the old fields were abandoned and reverted to pasture. During the 1980s the population dropped to seventy-five, and only three businesses remained in operation. The population was seventy-five in 1990.
Location: Columbus, the county seat and largest city of Colorado County, is at the junction of Interstate Highway 10 and State Highway 71, sixty-five miles west of Houston, on a small rise south and west of a lazy horseshoe bend in the Colorado River.
History: The town of Columbus, Texas in Colorado County has a large and active Czech community. There is an historical marker in the town dedicated to it's most famous Czech citizen, Joseph V. Frnka.
Location: Cooks (Cookes) Point is on State Highway 21 eight miles east of Caldwell in Burleson County, is one of the oldest communities in the county.
History: It was named for Silas L. Cooke, a surveyor who lived in the area during the days of the Republic of Texas. The community began as a crossroads settlement at the point where the old Colonial Road from Washington-on-the-Brazos and Independence to Tenoxtitlan and Nashville crossed the Old San Antonio Road. After the Civil War German and Czech settlers began moving into the area, and by 1884 the developing community had a population of about 100. The Czechs established a Brethren church. In 1990 the community had two churches, the Cooks Point United Methodist Church and the Unity of the Brethren. The original community was built on either side of the Old San Antonio Road. There was a general store, a gin, and a post office that was established in 1874 and discontinued in 1913. When State Highway 21 was built, the general store was moved south to face the new highway; the store still operated in 1990, when the community reported a population of about sixty and continued as a hub for cattle ranches and dairy, cotton, grain, and hay farms.
A Czech community and home to Holy Trinity Catholic Church.
Czech Heritage Festival, 3rd Saturday in March
Jalufka-Govatos House (1513 North Chaparral, Corpus Christi)
A first generation Texan, James Jalufka (1879-1969) was born in Lavaca County, the son of Moravian (Czech) immigrants. A veteran of the Spanish-American War, he also served as a soldier in World War I. He was a prominent south Texas cotton grower and owned a local cotton gin. Jalufka and his wife, Helen J., had this home built about 1905. Originally located at 1408 North Mesquite Street, it was part of the neighborhood known as "Old Irishtown". They continued to live in the house until 1919, after which time it was used as rental property. Pete and Minnie Lee Govatos, members of a family active in the city's Greek community since the 1920's, purchased the home from the Jalufkas in 1944. Residents of Corpus Christi since 1940, they operated a local restaurant and lived in the house until Minnie Lee's death in 1960. The house changed ownership several times after the Govatos family sold it, and eventually it fell into disrepair. Acquired by the city in 1987, it was moved to Heritage Park and renovated on its new site.
Note: James Jalufka was the eldest of fourteen children, born 1879 to Ignac and Agnes Jalufka, in Moravia, Lavaca Co., TX. James Jalufka served in the Spanish American War and later in world War I. He was prominent in the South Texas cotton industry for a number of years. The exterior features of the restored house include unusual paired columns defining the front porch and a bay window, typical of southern Bungalow architecture. The house is accented with pitched broad gates supported by knee braces. The foundation is a good example of rusticated blocks. The rose being an endemic part of Czech culture, James Jalufka was known for his magnificent rose gardens. It was natural, therefore, that restoration of the house include roses in abundance as a part of the landscape.
Belonging to the Moravian Club which was founded in 1923.
SS Cyril & Methodius Church
Location: Cyclone, on the Cyclone Branch of Camp Creek and on Farm Road 964, is eleven miles east of Temple in eastern Bell County.
History: The community was founded about 1883 by several Czech families. A post office was opened there in 1886, and, according to popular tradition, the settlers opted to name it Cyclone because when they gathered to decide on its name, one of them quipped that "it would take a cyclone to get this bunch together." In 1890 Cyclone had a general store and seventy-five inhabitants. A gin and mill was operating in the town by 1892, the Cyclone school had forty-two pupils and one teacher in 1903, and the population of the town had grown to a peak of 102 in 1904. The Cyclone post office closed in 1906. The community had four businesses as late as 1948, but by 1964 there were no businesses reported there, and Cyclone had seventy-five inhabitants in scattered dwellings. Its population dropped to fifty-five in 1968 and to forty-five in 1988. The population of Cyclone was still reported as forty-five in 1990.
Czech Educational Foundation of Texas
2924 Elm Street
Dallas, Texas 75228
president: Clinton Machann
Location: Danbury is on Spur 28 two miles off State Highway 35 and five miles northeast of Angleton in Brazoria County.
History: Until the coming of the Missouri Pacific Railroad in 1905-06 this area was populated only by a few ranchers and farmers. Settlers began to arrive, and a post office was established in 1909. By 1916 most of the northerners had left, discouraged by freezes, floods, and storms; Czech farmers began to move into the area. Danbury was incorporated in 1960, with a mayor and council form of government. In 1990 the chief industries of the area were rice farming and cattle ranching, both of which began long before the town sprang up, and declining oil production; a catfish farm was in operation. Danbury had a population of 1,447 in 1990.
History: Dime Box, Texas, (pop. 400), a community settled by Stephen F. Austin’s colonists in the 1830s, was originally called Brown’s Mill after an early settler named Joseph S. Brown and an old grist mill where settlers met to grind corn and visit.
Dime Box Heritage Museum - genealogical data and artifacts
Dimebox Brethren Church
Location: On Farm Road 141 south off of State Hwy 21 in the Dimebox community
Location: Dubina, the first Czech settlement in Texas, is five miles east of Schulenburg in southern Fayette County.
History: In November 1856 a group of Czech settlers found shelter from a strong north wind and hail under a grove of large oak trees in what is now Dubina. The next day the settlers built a shelter and, as the months progressed, planted crops; they made a total of one bale of cotton the first year, but through perseverance and hard work, the community prospered. The community was first called Navidad and later Bohemian Navidad. Augustin Haidusek renamed it to Dubina, Czech for "oak grove." As favorable reports about Texas reached the old country, the number of Czech settlers entering Dubina increased greatly, and Dubina became the stopover place for Czechs entering Texas. In 1876 a Catholic church, the first in Dubina, was built on land donated by Joseph Peter, and later a school was built on land donated by Ignac Muzny. In 1900 the church served a parish of more than 600 families. In 1909 a hurricane destroyed the first church, and in 1912 the building was replaced. Dubina's social life revolved around the church, and a number of Catholic social organizations were established, including a Katolika jednota texaska (Czech Catholic Union of Texas) lodge in 1887, a St. Ann's Society (1889), and a Cesko-rimska katolicka podporujiцci jednota zen texaskych (Czech-Roman Catholic Aid Union of Women in Texas) society (1900). In 1873 the railroad bypassed Dubina, and in 1912 a fire caused extensive damage to the town; many settlers left the area. In the mid-1980s Dubina had a Catholic church, a community hall, a restaurant, several historical buildings, and many giant oak trees, one measuring twenty-six feet in circumference with a 110-foot spread. The population ranged from 160 to 500 in the late nineteenth century. The community was still listed in 1990.
Dubina (FM 1383, Dubina)
Dubina, which derives its name from the Czech word for Oak Grove, was founded in 1856 by a group of Moravian immigrants, including the Marak Kahlich, Sramek, Peter, Holub, Muzny, and Haidusek families. By 1900 the farming community had erected a church building, mill, cotton gin, blacksmith shop, store, and post office. A 1909 storm and a 1912 fire caused extensive damage from which the town never recovered. As the first settlement in Texas to be founded entirely by Czech-Moravians, Dubina remains an important part of the state's regional and cultural history.
Simon Pytlovany House (1.1 mi., S of Dubina Church, .3 mi. S. of Dubina-Weimar Rd)
Dubina Parish Picnic, 1st Sunday in July
Czech Historic Dance / Meeting Hall
Pytlovany, Simon House
Location: 1 mile south of Dubina church
SS. Cyril and Methodius Church
Note: The Church reflects the dedicated faith of Dubina's original settlers. Masses were held in a log cabin until the first church was built in 1877. The present structure, built after a hurricane destroyed the first, is decorated throughout with frescoes and stenciling in vivid colors. This artistry was common to the period and to Central European culture.
Date Painted: 1909
The cemetery has many elaborate headstones dating back to the mid 1800's.
Czech Kolache-Klobase Festival, 2nd Saturday in June
Czech immigrants settled in the prairies near East Bernard in the 1880's.
Holy Cross Church
The first church was built in 1905 on two acres of land donated by Jan and Anna Vacek. The present church, a Spanish colonial style structure, was built in 1925, featuring a 70-foot belfry, imported Czech adornments and ten large unique stained glass windows of rounded design. It is now the oldest Catholic church in continuous use in Wharton Co. Its rich heritage and historical significance was permanently recognized by the Official Texas Historical Marker.
Location: El Campo is on U.S. Highway 59 and State Highway 71, thirteen miles southwest of Wharton in south central Wharton County.
History: In 1882 a railroad camp called Prairie Switch was situated where El Campo now stands and served as a switching point on New York, Texas and Mexican Railway. Cowboys called the camp "Pearl of the Prairies." Located in the midst of cattle country, the camp was used by Mexican cowboys who changed the name to El Campo in 1890. In 1890 a post office opened. In 1892 the community had an estimated population of twenty-five, a general store, a mill and gin, and a justice of the peace. Settlers began moving into the area and planted rice, cotton, and corn. Hay soon became one of the chief products, and in the early 1900s the town was the second largest hay-shipping center in the United States. On June 19, 1905, El Campo was incorporated. In 1910 there were 1,778 residents. The first newspaper was published in 1894. The El Campo News began in 1928 and has survived in the present El Campo Leader News. In 1931 a Czech-language paper, Svoboda, was published. It was later purchased by Culp Krueger and merged with the main newspaper. In 1941 the town had 3,906 residents. In 1990 El Campo had a population of 10,511 and 294 businesses.
Location: Elk is between U.S. Highway 84 and Farm Road 2957 four miles southeast of Axtell in eastern McLennan County.
History: It was formed in the 1880s, mainly by settlers of Czech and German descent. An Elk post office was established in July 1894 with Martie Emma McKinley as postmistress. Elk had a general store in 1896 and a population of eighteen in 1900. Its post office was discontinued in 1906, and mail for the community was rerouted through Axtell. By the 1920s Elk had seventy-five residents, a cotton gin, two churches, a saloon, and a school. Its population fell to thirty-eight in the early 1930s but rose again to seventy-five by the end of the decade. A church, a few businesses, and several houses represented the community on county highway maps in the 1940s. The Elk common-school district was consolidated with the Axtell high school district in 1955. A church and a gas station were all that remained at Elk in the early 1980s. In 1990 it was a dispersed rural community.
Elk Community (9650 Elk Rd, Axtell)
The first permanent settlers of this area were Martin and Elizabeth McDonnell Harper, who arrived from Tennessee with their five children in 1855. Others who settled with the Harper's were Scots-Irish from the American south. The Harper family erected a log cabin, a schoolhouse, and outbuildings on their 160-acre farm. The community acquired the name Harper's School House, and the school also was used for religious activities and local elections. The Harper Cemetery was established by Martin and Elizabeth's son, Moses, in 1861. Lucy Morrow, whose burial was the first recorded in the cemetery, died that year. Czech and German immigrants began settling in the community about 1885. The Elk cotton gin, one of the major businesses in the area, was opened in 1890 by J. W. Mansfield and S. D. McWhorter. Mertie Emma McKinley applied for the establishment of a post office in the community in 1894. Because the name Harper's School House was rejected, Mrs. McKinley chose the name Elk. At that time the community population was 150, and the number served by the post office was 500. At various times, Elk has boasted a Catholic church, barber shop, blacksmith, doctors' offices, gristmill, livery stable, a meat market, a beer hall, cafe, fraternal lodges, several stores, and a service station, telephone exchange, and waterworks. St. Joseph's Catholic Church, established in 1925, remains at the heart of the community, which is surrounded by farmland and houses in the predominately Czech and German Elk community. (1999)
St. Mary's Catholic Church (From Ellinger, take FM 2503 NE about 2 mile, then go 1/2 mile E on CR 250)
In the 1850s, families of German and Czech origin in the Ross Prairie area were served by visiting priests. After 1855, they worshipped in a log church (2 miles N) named Saint Joseph, the first permanent Catholic church in Fayette County. The church moved to Live Oak Hill about 1861, and purchased this site near the settlement in 1864. The first resident priest arrived in 1872, and a larger church structure, named Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary (St. Mary's), was built in 1879. After it burned in 1905, this Gothic-styled church was built here now called Hostyn Hill--in 1906. Texas Sesquicentennial 1836-1986.
Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church
Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Cemetery
Location: Engle is on U.S. Highway 90 and the Southern Pacific Railroad, five miles west of Schulenburg and five miles east of Flatonia in southern Fayette County.
History: The area was thinly settled by Bohemian and Czech immigrants in the 1850s, but their community focus was at Praha to the southwest. During the late 1870s Engle was established as a point on the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway. A post office was established at the community in 1888 and the first store in 1890. By 1900 Engle had three saloons, two stores, a blacksmith shop, a tinsmith shop, a lumberyard, and a photography studio. Sometime after 1930 its post office closed. By 1950 the community reported six businesses serving a population of 250. In 1990 four businesses and 106 residents were reported at Engle.
Location: Ennis is on the Southern Pacific Railroad and at the intersection of Interstate Highway 45, State highways 34, 75, and 287, and Farm roads 85, 879, 1183, 1722, and 3413, fourteen miles southeast of Waxahachie in southeastern Ellis County.
History: The Houston and Texas Central Railway reached the area in 1871, and the community established there was named for an early railroad official, Col. Cornelius Ennis. The Ennis post office opened in 1872. Ennis incorporated in November 1873. By 1914 Ennis had a population of 6,600. In 1930 the community had a population of 7,069. By 1970 Ennis had a population of 11,550. By the 1990s Ennis was part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. In 1990 it had a population of 13,883. Two popular annual events are held in Ennis, the Bluebonnet Trails, begun in the 1930s and held in late April and early May when the bluebonnets are in bloom, and the Ennis Polka Festival, founded in 1967 and held every May, which brings thousands of visitors to the community to celebrate its Czech heritage
National Polka Festival, Memorial weekend (May)
Sokol Karel Havlicek Borovsky Activity Center
Address: 2622 E. Hwy 34, Ennis, TX 76170
Note: Has also museum.
St. Nepomuk Church
Location: Eola is at the junction of Farm roads 381 and 765, on Dry Hollow some thirteen miles southwest of Paint Rock in northwestern Concho County.
History: The community has had a post office since 1901, when it was known as Jordan. In 1902 the name was changed to Eola, reportedly after a small local creek named for Aeolus, Greek god of the winds. In the middle to late 1890s public school lands in the county were put up for sale at fifty cents an acre. Spurred on by railroad promotion, a land boom resulted in the area of Lipan Flat, a section that stretched east from San Angelo to the Colorado River. Eola was one of the communities created during this boom, which included many immigrants from central and eastern Europe. In 1920 more than 100 people in the vicinity of Eola were reported to be of Czech descent. The first family to settle in the area was that of Asher L. and Lizzie Leona (Hollman) Lollar, who established themselves at a site 3Ѕ miles southeast of Eola in 1898. Its population rose from thirty-five in 1925 to 240 by 1931. In 1940 the community had a population of 250. The community's population reached a reported high of 350 in 1947; from 1974 to 1990 it was recorded as 218.
Location: Fayetteville is on State Highway 159 and Farm roads 955 and 1291, twelve miles east of La Grange in eastern Fayette County
History: It is often called the "Cradle of Czech settlement in TX," because many of the early Czech settlers stopped here to rest and obtain information before moving on to other towns and counties. The first Czech arrived here in 1853. By 1890's Fayetteville was a flourishing place with a great many Czech and Moravian families living around the town. It is said to be the smallest town in the US with a town clock.
St. John The Baptist Catholic Church (corner of Church & Bell St., Fayetteville)
Many Czech and German immigrants settled in this area in the mid-1800s. After many years without the services of a Czech-speaking priest, the Czech community sent Konstantin Chovanec and John Vychopen to ask Galveston Bishop Claude-Marie Dubuis for help. Encouraged by Dubuis, the Czech community organized St. John the Baptist Catholic Church and erected a sanctuary in Fayetteville in 1870. The Rev. Joseph Chromcik arrived on Christmas day in 1872 to minister at St. John Baptist Church and became the first Czech-speaking priest in Texas. The church prospered and in 1875 the Chromcik School was opened. A mission church was established in nearby Warrenton in 1886. Chromcik extended his missionary work throughout the region and remained in Fayetteville until his death in 1910. A new sanctuary was erected in 1911 and a new 2-story school built in 1915 during the pastorate of the Rev. John Vanicek. A convent for the Sisters of Divine Providence was built in 1964. A new sanctuary was erected in 1969, and a parish hall, educational center, and other facilities were added over the years. St. John the Baptist Church is representative of the area's Czech heritage and continues a tradition of leadership in the region's Catholic community.
The Reverend Joseph Chromcik (Corner of Bell & Church St., Fayetteville)
Czech Catholics, who settled in Fayette County in the mid-1850s, were initially served by area priests. Eventually they petitioned the Bishop of Texas for their own Czech priest, and in 1872 the Rev. Joseph Chromcik (1845-1910) arrived from Europe. He held his first service in Fayetteville that year and became Texas' first permanent Czech Catholic priest. He established Chromcik School and many churches, and was instrumental in establishing the KJT, or Czech Catholic Union of Texas. He was fondly referred to as "Taticek" (dear little father) by many of the people who knew him.
Baca Band Birthplace
The Baca Band was founded in 1882 by Frank Baca. His 13 children made up the band, which is generally considered to be the first Czech band in TX. The Baca family were pioneers in the development of Czech music in TX. A Czech folk instrument, the dulcimer, was unique to their particular sound which continued until the 1970's when the Baca Band gave their final performance.
Fayetteville Area Heritage Museum
Location: on the Square in the Sarazin Building. The annex is found at the Fayetteville School on Highway 159 west.
Note: "The Best Little Museum in Texas." In the museum can be found rich and varied history of Fayetteville among the photos and memorabilia. Exhibits include instruments from the famous Baca Band and the old fire truck.
Fayetteville Brethren Church
Address: County Road 254, Fayetteville, TX
Location: 2 1/2 miles south of Fayetteville on County Road 254 (Ross Prairie Road
Monument of Rev. Joseph Chromcik
Location: St. John Catholic Church yard
Location: Washington & Main Streets
S.P.J.S.T. Lodge No. 1
Fayetteville is the home of the first chartered chapter of the TX-based Czech fraternal organization, Slovanska Podporujici Jednota Statu Texas (SPJST), which was founded in 1896, in La Grange.
Lee Roy Matocha's Polka Programs, P.O. Box 159, Fayetteville, TX 78940. 979-378-2245
Location: Flatonia is on Interstate Highway 10, U.S. Highway 90, and the main line of the Southern Pacific Railroad twelve miles west of Schulenburg in southwestern Fayette County.
History: It was established on April 8, 1874, on land acquired from William Alexander Faries (Ferris, Farris) by the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway and named for pioneer merchant F. W. Flato. At that time residents of the original Flatonia settlement, one mile southeast, and Oso, three miles northeast, loaded their homes and businesses on wagons and moved to the new location on the tracks. The post office that had been established at old Flatonia in 1870 was moved to the new town without changing its name. Flatonia was incorporated on November 10, 1875, and its first election was held the following December 6. By 1878 the town had a population of 800, and the economy depended equally on cattle and cotton. The original settlers in the area were primarily Anglo-American. Opportunities provided by the railroad and inexpensive real estate, which sold for one to fifteen dollars an acre for uncultivated land and five to thirty-five dollars per acre for cultivated, brought successive waves of German, Bohemian, Greek, Arabian, and Italian immigrants. In 1950 the town had forty businesses, a population of 1,024, and a wide service area of farms and ranches. The population remained between 1,000 and 1,500, and the number of businesses rose to sixty-nine by 1985. The completion of I-10 during the 1970s caused tourist-oriented businesses to move away from Highway 90 and the railroad to the new highway, a mile north. Each year a week-long "Czhilispiel," a festival named by Czechs who like chili, attracts visitors from a wide area of Central Texas. In 1990 the population of Flatonia was 1,295.
Flatonia (Main Square, 0.1 mile E of Intersection of Sh 90 & NE Main, Flatonia)
Market town for rich agricultural area, on one of this state's earliest railroads (chartered 1841 by the Republic of Texas). Situated on land granted in 1840s to rancher William A. Faires. Germans began to settle here in 1860s, and soon needed a shipping point for their products. Sailing master Friedrich Wilhelm Flato (1820-1899) and his wife Sophie, of the German Colony, had a store about 2 miles south of here. In the 1870s, Czech immigrants arrived, and the Galveston, Harrisburg & San Antonio Railroad (delayed by Civil War, 1861-65) was built to this point. John Cline, F. W. Flato, John Lattimore, and railroad president T. W. Pierce founded Flatonia on Oct. 16, 1873, naming it for the Flato family. At the same time, adjacent landowners Anton Freytag and James Faires platted Freytag and Faires' additions to the town. Post office opened in 1874. Town was incorporated Nov. 8, 1875. Soon it had churches, a school, cotton gins, a newspaper (The Flatonia "Argus"), a cottonseed oil mill, and other businesses. A casino was built for political gatherings, dances, dramas, and other uses. In 1886, a second railroad, the San Antonio & Aransas Pass, reached here. Throughout its first century, the town has remained industrious, thrifty, and stable.
Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Cemetery
Frelsburg (Frelsburgh) was founded around 1837 by Capt. William Frels and his brother John, who immigrated to Texas from Germany in 1834. It located at the intersection of Farm roads 109 and 1291 in the northern corner of Colorado County. The original settlers were Germans from the area around Holstein and Oldenburg followed by immigrants from the Rhineland.
Location: Frenstat, also known as Friendsted, is on Big Creek and Farm Road 2774 some seven miles northwest of Somerville in southern Burleson County.
History: Settlement in the area began in the mid-1830s. The community was founded by Czech Catholic families, who first arrived in the area in 1884. Two years later about forty Czech families were established there, some from Caldwell, eleven miles to the north. The community was named Frenstat in the summer of 1886, after the town of Frenstat, Moravia, from which most of the original inhabitants had emigrated. A school was soon erected, and by 1889 the settlers had constructed Holy Rosary Catholic Church, the first Catholic church in Burleson County. A local post office was established in 1891, and a cotton gin and a general store were located in the settlement during the late 1800s. A population estimate of twenty-five was reported in 1892 and again in the 1940s, the last time for which a population figure is available. In 1931 some eighty-five Czech families lived in the vicinity. The community's post office was discontinued in 1908, and in 1948 the local school was consolidated with the Somerville Independent School District. In the late 1900s the community comprised a handful of farm dwellings scattered around the church and recreation center.
Location: Friendship was on Farm Road 971 forty-five miles northeast of Austin in Williamson County, at a site now beneath Granger Lake.
History: The community was founded in the 1880s by Czech and other immigrants and was associated with a second community, Allison, also called Old Friendship. Friendship once had a church, a school, a cooperative association, a general store, a gin, and a community center. In 1921 a new school was built at Friendship when Allison was destroyed by a flood. The decision to construct Laneport Dam (later renamed Granger Dam) on the San Gabriel River forced the occupants to sell their lands and dismantle Friendship Cemetery. In 1958 the school was consolidated with the Granger schools. The dam was constructed between 1972 and 1980.
Location: Frydek is on Farm Road 1458 and the west bank of the Brazos River three miles west of Sealy and three miles south of San Felipe in southeastern Austin County.
History: Frydek was established about 1895 by Czechs, on a league of land south of the San Felipe town tract. The community, named after the Moravian city of Frydek-Mistek, soon became a market center for farmers and stockmen of the vicinity. A Frydek post office operated from 1901 until 1906. The local school had thirty-six pupils in 1918. By 1931 the community had four businesses. A church was located in the town through much of the twentieth century. The population, which has remained predominantly Czech in origin, was an estimated twenty-five in 1933. The figure climbed to an estimated seventy-five in 1939 and then to 150, the number reported from 1964 to 1990.
Frydek Catholic Cemetery (FM 1458, 1 mile south of IH-10, Frydek)
Czech immigrants began settling in this area in the 1850s. They named their new community Frydek after a town in their homeland. When two people died in 1885, they were buried here on land owned by Jan Pavlicek. By 1890, when Pavlicek officially deeded the land to be consecrated by the church, there were thirteen graves in the cemetery. In 1907 the citizens erected a school building here. Used also as a church and nuns' home, the structure was moved to the center of town in 1916. The cemetery remains as a reminder of the area's Czech heritage. (1991)
When the federal government replaced state administrations in processing immigrants at the turn of the century, efforts began to redirect the flow of immigration from the Northeast to Texas. Pelican Island became federal property, and the government constructed an immigration center and quarantine station there. Between 1906 and 1914 nearly 50,000 immigrants arrived at Galveston, including Bohemians, Moravians, Galicians, Austrians, Romanians, Swiss, English, Poles, Italians, Dutch, and some 10,000 Jews. By 1915 Galveston was considered a "second Ellis Island." The flow of immigration ceased in World War I, and the immigration center was demolished in 1972.
Main port of entry for pioneer Czech immigrants to Texas. Located off Port Industrial Blvd. (Harborside Dr.), the Texas Seaport Museum explores the Port of Galveston in the 1800s. Computer database information available on thousands of immigrants who entered Texas through this Port. Next to, and part of, the Museum is the Elisa moored at Pier 21. The Elisa is one of the world’s oldest seaworthy sailing vessels. Open daily, admission charge. For information write GHF, 1016 Strand, Galveston, TX 77550, or Tel: 409-763
Location: Ganado, on U.S Highway 59 nine miles east of Edna, is the second largest town in Jackson County.
History: Its position on the Southern Pacific Railroad made it a shipping and retail center for eastern Jackson County. An informal cluster of cabins at the site was originally called Mustang Settlement, after Mustang Creek. Early settlers, including John Menefee and Jim McFarland, were chiefly cattle ranchers who drove their herds to New Orleans over the Old Spanish Trail or to northern markets in Kansas City. In 1881-82 the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway was built through the area near Mustang Settlement. Viewing a large body of cattle from his rail car window, an official of the company remarked that the place should be called Ganado-Spanish for "herd." The name stuck; the railroad erected the Ganado station later that year, and the town grew up around it. A post office came the next year. In 1891 a large number of northern Scandinavians purchased land and began farming in the area. Although many of the old settlers were initially wary of these outsiders, they came to respect the Scandinavian colonists as a "hard-working, industrious class of people." Ganado continued to flourish with a number of German and Bohemian immigrants throughout the 1880s and 1890s. In 1891 T. N. Mauritz opened the first bank in Ganado. By 1914 there were 750 residents. By 1950 the population had increased to 1,253. In 1988 forty-three businesses served 1,770 citizens. In 1990 the population was 1,701.
Location: Georgetown is on Interstate Highway 35 and the San Gabriel River in the center of the county.
History: It was founded in 1848 and named for George Washington Glasscock, who, with his partner, Thomas B. Huling, donated land for the site. Pioneers were attracted by the abundance of timber and good, clear water, as were the Tonkawa Indians, who had a village there. In addition, the land was inexpensive and extremely fertile. The first wave of settlers was from Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, Arkansas, Illinois, and other states. Swedish settlers came by the 1850s; after 1870 German, Austrian, and Swiss settlers began arriving and after 1880 Moravian and Czech. A few blacks came with early Anglo families, and migration from Mexico began about 1910. The population in 1980 was 9,468, and 4,500 more lived in the area. In 1990 the population was 14,842.
Location: Granger is on State Highway 95 twelve miles north of Taylor in northeastern Williamson County.
History: It originated in 1882 when the Houston and San Antonio branches of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad intersected at the site. Czechs were attracted to the cheap, fertile land, and by the early twentieth century Czech culture, both Catholic and Protestant, had become strong and influential in the community. A Czech Protestant church was first organized in Granger in 1880. A Brethren congregation, the most important Czech Protestant church in Texas, was established in 1892. In 1903 a convention of Brethren congregations in Texas was held in Granger and successfully unified all the congregations into the Evangelical Unity of Bohemian and Moravian Brethren. A Brethren teacher-training summer school, called Hus Memorial School, was established in Granger in 1914. It was later moved to Temple. The Granger National Bank, opened in 1937, advertised in Czech newspapers as "your Czech bank." Nasinec, a Czech-language Catholic weekly newspaper for Texas, began in 1914 and was still being published in 1989.
Granger Brethren Church (326 W. Broadway)
Czech protestant immigrants began settling in this area in the early 1880s. Many of them established family farms in the rich farmland surrounding Granger. The Czechs’ first organized worship service was held in a schoolhouse east of town in the early 1880s. Services were held sporadically whenever a traveling minister was available to preach. The Rev. Adolph Chlumsky, a Czech Brethren minister from Brenham, encouraged the people here to organize a church. On July 10, 1892, they officially founded a congregation and elected Chlumsky Pastor. He commuted from Brenham to serve the congregation for the next 18 years. The congregation built its first church structure in 1901. On December 29, 1903, under the leadership of the Rev. Mr. Chlumsky, the Evangelical unity of the Czech-Moravian Brethren in North America (Unity of the Brethren) denomination officially was organized at Granger Brethren Church. In 1910 Chlumsky was succeeded by the Rev. Josef Barton, Sr., who became the first resident pastor. The church continued to thrive over the years, serving the community with a variety of programs. It remains an important part of Williamson County history. (1992)
Saints Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church (Corner of North Brazos and West Davilla Streets)
The Czechs/Moravians who settled here in the early 1880s initially worshiped in each other’s homes or traveled 12 miles to Taylor, site of the nearest Catholic Church. As their informal congregation grew so did the community of Granger. In 1891 they erected a wood frame sanctuary here on land donated by Austinite W. H. Walton, and named their church after the Czech patron saints, Cyril and Methodius. During the Rev. Frantisek Machan’s brief tenure as pastor the church formed several fraternal organizations and established a school. His successor, the Rev. Frantisek Pridal, helped the congregation build a new school building/parish hall in 1912 and replace the original church building with a brick structure in 1916. Following the death of the beloved Father Pridal in 1927, the Rev. John Vanicek became pastor. He helped many young parishioners enter the priesthood and sisterhood, and guided several parishioners into leadership roles in stateside Catholic fraternal organizations. In 1948 this church became a part of the newly formed Austin Diocese. A two-story brick school building was added in 1947, a recreation center in 1959, and a brick convent in 1960. The church continues to play an integral role in church and community affairs. (1993)
Saints Cyril and Methodius School (corner of Guadalupe and Broadway, Granger)
In 1899, eight years after the founding of Saints Cyril and Methodius Church, its Czech/Moravian parishioners established a school for their children. In 1901 the Sisters of Divine Providence began their long affiliation of providing teachers for the school. Educational facilities grew from a small frame schoolhouse to larger brick buildings as student enrollment increased over time. Although classes no longer are conducted in Czech and the students no longer are exclusively from the parish, SS. Cyril and Methodius School continues to reflect its early heritage in its commitment to a sound education for its students. (2001)
Location: Hallettsville, the county seat of Lavaca County, is on the Lavaca River at the intersection of U.S. Highway 77 and alternate U.S. Highway 90A, eighty miles southeast of Austin.
History: One of the first settlers in the area was John Hallett, who received a land grant from Stephen F. Austin in 1831. After Hallett's death in 1836 his wife, Margaret L. Hallett, donated land for the town site. A post office was opened in 1849. Hallettsville was chosen county seat when La Baca County was formed in 1842, but the county was afterward abolished. After Texas became a state and Lavaca County was organized in 1846, Hallettsville became county seat. The present courthouse, built in 1897, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The population rose from an estimated 600 in 1875 to 1,700 in 1890. Many who settled in Hallettsville in the late nineteenth century immigrated from Czechoslovakia and Germany. Sacred Heart Academy was founded in 1881, and a public school system was in place by the late 1880s. Publication of weekly newspapers in Czech and German began in the 1890s. By 1913 Hallettsville, with an estimated population of 1,300 residents, had thirteen newspapers with a combined circulation of 25,000. In 1988 Hallettsville had a population of 2,589. In 1990 the population was 2,718.
Sacred Heart Catholic Church (313 South Texana, Hallettsville)
This congregation was founded as a mission of St. Mary's Catholic Church (about four miles west of Hallettsville). The Rev. John Anthony Forest served the new congregation, as well as other missions in Lavaca County. Early worship services were held in the homes of members, most of whom had recently immigrated to Texas from Europe. Land for a church building was donated by Collatinus and Mary Jane Hallet Ballard in 1869. Construction began in 1873 and was supervised by Father Forest. After the building was completed in 1882, Sacred Heart became a full-time parish. Father Forest served as pastor until 1895, when he left to become bishop of the Diocese of San Antonio. Sacred Heart Academy, located on the grounds of the church, was established by the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament in 1882. The parish continued to operate the school after the nuns relocated to San Antonio in 1926. An important part of Hallettsville history since its founding, Sacred Heart Catholic Church continues to serve the community and counts among its members many descendants of early German and Czech immigrants.
South Texas Polka & Sausage Fest, 4th weekend in March
Kolache Fest, last Saturday in September
St. Mary's Church
The present church was built in 1895 and dedicated under the title of the Immaculate Conception., north of the old church which dated back to1840.
Novosad’s BBQ and Sausage Market
105 La Grange Street, Hallettsville
Location: High Hill is on Farm Road 2672 fourteen miles southwest of La Grange in southwestern Fayette County.
History: The area was originally part of the E. Anderson league and was settled in the 1830s. Around the late 1840s German immigrants established two small settlements, Blum Hill and Oldenburg, and High Hill eventually grew out of them. Blum Hill, at a site that would become the southern part of High Hill, was named for left-wing political activist Robert B. Blum, who was assassinated in 1848. Oldenburg, in what would become the northern part of High Hill, was named for a German province. Early settlers in the area were German and Austrian-Moravian and included the Heinrich, Kleinemann, Seydler, Ebeling, Hillje, Siems, Stuelke, and Nordhausen families. Henry Ebeling opened a store in Oldenburg in 1847, and John F. Hillje was operating a cotton gin and gristmill in the community by 1856. In 1860 the community was granted a post office with the name High Hill. High Hill had a local Turnverein. In 1869 the community comprised six stores, three blacksmith and wheelwright shops, a hotel, and a brewery. According to some sources, residents of High Hill refused to allow the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway to build through their community in 1874, fearing that the railroad would destroy the tranquility and culture of the town, but with the building of the line to nearby Schulenburg, many of High Hill's residents moved there. A Catholic church had been constructed at High Hill by 1879, and by 1884 the town had 200 residents, four schools (including a Catholic parochial school), two saloons, two general stores, a church, and a steam gristmill and cotton gin. In 1900 the community reported a population of 134. The post office closed in 1907, and by 1940 High Hill had a population of seventy-five, a church, a school, and three businesses. From the 1960s into the 1990s the unincorporated town reported a population of 116. In the early 1990s the town had three historical markers, and St. Mary's Catholic Church was on the National Register of Historic Places. The church, which celebrated its 125th birthday in 1985, is the focal point for a town celebration every Sunday before Labor Day.
Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church
2833 FM 2672
Schulenburg, Texas 78956-5603
Date Built: 1906
Artist: Stockert and Kern
Builder: Frank Bohlman
Location: Hillje is on State Highway 59 and Farm Road 441, eighteen miles west of Wharton in western Wharton County.
History: It was named for Fred Hillje, who with his partners bought part of the West Ranch in 1888 and brought in German and Czech settlers from Weimar in Colorado County. A Hillje school was opened in 1895. In 1898 L. C. Wychopen opened a general store. A post office operated there from 1899 until 1907. Hillje reported a population of twenty in 1915. The Wharton County Poll Tax Roll for 1927 lists forty individuals registered for Hillje. From 1939 to 1965 the town had a population of seventy-five, but by 1968 it had fifty-one residents and no businesses. State highway maps in 1985 showed five businesses, a church, and community hall at the town site. The population remained at fifty-one in 1992
Location: Hobson is on U.S. Highway 181 and Farm Road 81 near Indian Crossing on the San Antonio River, 3Ѕ miles south of Falls City in Karnes County.
History: During the 1890s the town was founded under the name Castine on the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway by the Mitchell Brothers firm of Hallettsville. A post office was established there in 1898. Shortly thereafter the Spanish-American War hero Capt. Richmond Pearson Hobson made a railroad tour of Texas and spoke at Castine; local citizens renamed their town Hobson in 1899. R. J. Polasek operated the first Hobson business, a store and a post office, in a small frame building. Later he added a general store, a cotton gin, a lumberyard, and a gristmill. Another thriving business was Kowalik's General Store. Hobson was composed largely of people of Czech, German, and Polish descent. In 1915 the community had seven businesses and a population of 100. The town reached a peak reported population of 175 in the early 1950s. In 1990 it reported a population of 135. At that time Hobson had St. Boniface Catholic Church, a post office, a community hall, and four businesses.
Location: Holik developed around a post office west of what is now Farm Road 359, five miles southeast of Sunny Side, and five miles northwest of Brookshire in southern Waller County.
History: From 1901 to 1906 John B. Holik, the son of a Czech immigrant, served local farmers with a post office and gristmill at his home site. The beginning of rural free mail delivery in the area reduced the need for a local post office, and the community declined sharply after its post office closed in 1906. The 1983 county highway map does not show Holik.
Location: Holland is at the intersection of State Highway 95 and Farm Road 2268, on Darrs Creek and the Missouri, Kansas and Texas line fifteen miles south of Temple in southeastern Bell County.
History: Around 1874 James R. Holland settled on Darrs Creek near what is now the site of the community. In 1878 he built the first steam cotton gin in the southern part of the county. A post office named Holland opened there in 1879, and the railroad was built through the town soon thereafter. By 1890 the population had doubled to 600, and Holland had four churches and a newspaper, the Guard. There was considerable Czech immigration to the town in the early 1900s, and a Czech Brethren Church was organized there in 1910. The town had incorporated by 1933, when it reported a population of 738. In 1990 its population was 1,118.
Location: Holman is at the intersection of Farm roads 155 and 1965, fifteen miles southeast of La Grange in southeastern Fayette County.
History: It was originally called Pecan because its site was on Pecan Creek. The community developed on lands granted to Jesse Burnam by Stephen F. Austin on August 16, 1824. Nearby, Burnam built his home, along with a a trading post and a ferry to cross the Colorado River; the ferry was used and then destroyed by Gen. Sam Houstonand the Texas army in their retreat from Gonzales after the fall of the Alamo. The community that developed at this site was eventually named for John Holman, who established a plantation there after marrying Burnam's daughter, and for his son Nat Holman, who during the Civil War served in Company F of Terry's Texas Rangers. During the period 1850 to 1875 many German and Czech families moved into the area to grow cotton on the rich bottomlands along the Colorado River. A post office was established there in 1891. The post office closed in 1907, and most of the area trade was conducted in Weimar. The construction of St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church in 1919 gave Holman a new focal point. In 1950 Holman had three businesses and seventy-five residents. Holman's population was reported as 116 from the late 1960s through 1990. The land between Holman and the Colorado River was extensively strip-mined for sand and gravel during the early 1980s, and by 1985 only a store and the church remained to serve a scattered population.
St. Vaclav's Catholic Cemetery
Location: Hostyn overlooks the Colorado River near La Grange in central Fayette County.
History: In the 1830s the community, then called Bluff, was settled by German settlers. In November 1856 a group of Czech families arrived at Bluff. Among them were Joseph Janda, Alois and Benjamin Klimicek, Valentin Kolibal, Frantisek Koza, and Frantisek Marak. The Czechs that moved to Bluff and those that founded Dubina came over on the same ship. After the civil war the community prospered, and more Czechs moved to Bluff. A post office established there in 1869 remained open until 1904. From 1884 to 1896 the population grew from 400 to 700, and a number of organizations were formed to meet the needs of the community. Catholics erected the first church, built of logs, in 1856, and in October 1889 the first lodge of the Katolicka Jednota Texaska (Czech Catholic Union of Texas) was formed. By 1900 Bluff had a gin, a blacksmith shop, and a general store. In 1925 Bluff was officially renamed Hostyn by Father Paul Kasper, after the town of Hostyn, Moravia (in Czechoslovakia). In 1966 the fifth church constructed in Hostyn was erected, and Joseph Cardinal Beran, Archbishop of Prague, officiated at the dedication. In the mid-1980s Hostyn remained a community where social and religious life still revolved around the church.
The Oldest Czech Settlement (from La Grange, take Hwy. 77 4.5 mile south)
In Texas. Was established at Hostyn when in November 1856 the families of Joseph Janda Valintin Kolibal, Frantisek Koza arrived here from Czechoslovakia.
Augustin Haidusek Monument (on Highway 77 near Hostyn)
Note: Haidusek was the first Czech Mayor in TX, a county judge, a state legislator, a bank president, and Czech newspaper owner and editor.
Most Holy Rosary Catholic Church
The beautiful well-kept cemetery is filled with old-style tombstones inscribed in Czech.
Buried side by side in this parish cemetery are two patriots, Joseph Lidiak of Moravia and his son John, who fought during the Civil War fought on opposite sides.
Note: In 1859, the birthplace of the Czech Catholic Union of Texas (KJT) , TX-based, insurance and fraternal society. This is shown on a state historical marker.
After landing at Galveston the early Czech pioneers traveled by barge up the Buffalo Bayou to Harrisburg and/or Houston. Harrisburg is now a part of Houston. The Bill Mraz Dance Hall built in 1947 at 835 West 34th St. is a historic site that became the social hub for Czech families in the Houston area. The largest SPJST lodge in the state, No. 88, and the Sokol hall and museum are located here.
CZECH HERITAGE SOCIETY OF TEXAS
Houston, Texas 77025-5706
1-866-293-2443 - Toll Free
Contact: Anna Krpec, Librarian
Czech Cultural Center Houston
4920 San Jacinto
Houston, Texas 77004
publication title: The News of the Czech Center
Bill Mraz Dance Hall UPDATE - A FIRE HAS DESTROYED THE HALL, AND PLANS ARE BEING MADE TO REBUILD
Location: 835 W. 34th St., Houston, Harris County, TX
History: The dance hall and adjacent building were constructed by Bill Mraz in 1948. Not only did the site serve as a popular place for large numbers of people to gather and be entertained, but the site was created by Mraz as an institution which became a center to which the people of Czech heritage congregated. Bill Mraz came originally from Moulton, a Czech community in south Central Texas.
The site was placed on the National Register of Historic Places: 9800219, listed 3/5/98
Houston Brethren Church
Address: 6207 North Main Street; Houston, TX 77009; Phone: (713) 864-6707
Location: On North Main Street between 22nd and 24th Streets
314 West Patton
Houston, Texas 77009
president: Charlie Petrzelka
Spring Czechfest, 4th Sunday in March
Location: Hranice, two miles northwest of Dime Box in north central Lee County, was near the center of the four-league grant awarded in 1831 to Stephen F. Austin.
History: The area was sparsely settled until the early 1880s, when the land-development firm bought some of the land from Austin's heirs and sold it to Czechs and Moravians from Fayette County. The large influx of these immigrants at the time had made land in Fayette County scarce, and many were drawn to the cheaper land in northern Lee County. Hranice, named from the Czech word for "high point" or "promontory," developed around 1881 as a community center for area farmers. During its peak years, between 1900 and 1920, the town had two saloons, a store, a blacksmith shop, a gin and sawmill, six molasses mills, two gristmills, a cloth loom, and a threshing machine. A school had opened there by 1897, when it had thirty-eight students. The town also had a Moravian Brethren church and a Catholic church. After 1920 most of Hranice's businesses closed. During the 1930s two churches and a number of dwellings remained. By 1982 Hranice was a dispersed rural community, and the town site was marked by two cemeteries and a few scattered buildings.
Industry Brethren Church
Location: North off of State Hwy 159 on the west side of Industry
Immaculate Conception Catholic Cemetery
Saint Joseph Catholic Cemetery (St. Joseph Cemetery Rd., Inez; .25 mi. S of US 59 off FM 444)
A Catholic church and cemetery were established after 1873 at Gazeta (then 1.5 mi. W) on one acre of land deeded by parishioner Frank Garvel (1837-1921). In 1889 the congregation moved to the new railroad town of Inez, reconstructed their church building (2 blks. NE), and dedicated it to St. Joseph in 1890. In August, 1892, Frank and Anna Obsta (1838-1912) Garvel conveyed four acres here for a new cemetery, and reclaimed the land in Gazeta. In October that year, English immigrant John Finnegan (1827-1892) became the first burial here. The eleven burials at Gazeta--with the family names of Andre, Garvel, Konrad, Kutchka, Letts, Obsta, Ortiz, Rena, Scherer, and Schrobacher--were transferred here in November that year. Subsequent burials further indicate the diverse backgrounds of settlers in Inez. By the turn of the century, the town hosted immigrants of Anglo, Czech, German, Hispanic, Irish, Italian, Jewish, and Swiss descent. The burial site of Joseph and Mary Adamski Obsta, Polish settlers at Gazeta in 1858, is not known, but 38 of their descendants are buried here. The family of Czech immigrants Alois (1866-1950) and Rozina Cernota (1852-1949) Andres includes 16 burials of more than 400 marked and others unmarked here. Texas Sesquicentennial 1836-1986
Location: Kinkler and nearby New Kinkler are on U.S. Highway 77 and Lavaca County Road 214, seven miles north of Hallettsville in northern Lavaca County.
History: In 1838 Richard J. Woodward was issued a headright certificate for one league and one labor of land in the area, and the grant was patented to him in 1841. During and after the Civil War the original Anglo-American settlers were gradually replaced by German and Czech immigrants, who divided the large ranches into farms. In 1875 Jack Kinkler settled on Mixon Creek on the Woodward grant, and the growing community of predominantly German farmers took his name. The population of Kinkler in the 1890s was about twenty-five. A post office operated from 1885 to 1905 and served both communities. The Texas Almanac has no records for Kinkler until 1933, when it lists the community with a population of twenty-five and two businesses. By the early 1940s the population had climbed to seventy. By 1987 no businesses remained to mark the site of Kinkler, and a year later the Almanac had dropped the community from its listing.
Location: Koerth is on Farm Road 531 three miles west of U.S. Highway 77 in south central Lavaca County.
History: Families of Irish descent first settled the area in 1833. The original community was known as Yellow Bank, for Yellow Bank Creek, and Antioch. St. John the Baptist Catholic Church and school were built there by 1865, replacing a private school taught by Rube Walton in the H. P. Riley home. After the Civil War German and Czech immigrants began to replace the earlier settlers, and C. J. Koerth built a store. The community took his name, as did the post office, which operated in his store from 1884 to 1887 and again from 1893 to 1910. The population of Koerth from the early 1930s to about 1945 was twenty; the settlement had one business. In 1950 one store served a population of thirty. In 1990 the store remained, and the church was the center of community life for the population of forty-five.
Location: Komensky is a farming community at the intersection of Farm roads 532 and 1295, fourteen miles northwest of Hallettsville in northwestern Lavaca County. Its boundaries are roughly equal to that of the old Lavaca County School District No. 6.
History: In May 1895 a number of residents, primarily Czech, Moravian, and German newcomers to the area, met at the home of C. M. Karasek on Woods Prairie to plan the construction and operation of a school for their children. By the next fall a building had been completed at a cost of about 5, and in a subsequent election the school and the growing community were named in honor of Jan Amos Komensky (John A. Comenius), the noted seventeenth-century Czech-Moravian educator and bishop of the Protestant Moravian Unity of the Brethren Church. The community's school, rather than the church or a business district, remained the focal point of community life. There was no post office, but a combination service and supply business met the immediate needs of farmers. Through the years the school and its supporting facilities grew to accommodate well over 100 students in the first through seventh grades. By 1915 it was recognized as a model for rural schools in Texas. Consolidation after World War II deprived Komensky of its school but not its community spirit. Cotton was last grown in the area during the 1950s, and during the 1980s one farm service center remained to serve the needs of residents, who at that time grew corn, cattle, and hay.
Site of Komensky School (from Moulton take FM 532 east about 7.5 miles then take FM 1295 north about .25 miles)
Citizens of the Czech/German Woods Prairie settlement created a fund and hired a carpenter in 1895 to build a community school. By fall 1895 a one-room schoolhouse, named for 17th century Czech (Moravian) educator and religious leader Jan Amos Komensky, was built here on land owned by Emanuel Breitschoff. Student enrollment reached 107 in 1900 and in 1901 the school was enlarged. A teacherage was erected in 1903 and in 1910 a special tax was established for the Komensky School District. Two sixth grade graduates were recognized in 1913 in the school's first public graduation ceremony. The community proudly dedicated the opening of an impressive new school here in 1914. A Parents-Teachers Association was organized in 1928. Higher grades were added over the years and by 1940 Komensky School offered 12 grades of instruction and competitive athletic programs. Eight former Komensky school students lost their lives while on active duty in World War I and II. Although the school had dropped grades 10-12 by 1955 a new school building was erected. By 1958 Komensky School offered only eight grades and in 1966, after 71 years of providing educational opportunities for the area's rural community, Komensky School closed. Sesquicentennial of Texas Statehood 1845-1995
Location: Kopperl is located near Farm Road 56 fourteen miles northeast of Meridian and forty miles northwest of Waco in northeastern Bosque County.
History: It was founded in 1881 and named in honor of Moritz O. Kopperl (1826-1883), a prominent Galveston banker and Santa Fe Railroad director, who immigrated to TX from his native Moravia. . The community was on the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway. In 1953, after the construction of the Lake Whitney dam, a levee was erected around the town to protect citizens from possible flooding. In 1904 the estimated population was 329. The population in 1974 was 225. Kopperl was the subject of a song by Stephen Fromholtz, "The Texas Trilogy." In 1990 the population was still reported as 225.
Location: Kosarek is in western Brazos County near a plantation area resettled during the railroad-building period after the Civil War.
History: John Kosarek was an early settler of the area. The Italian and Czech families who settled here established orchards, dairies, and truck and poultry farms in the 1880s and 1890s. From 1936 to 1948 Kosarek had a population of thirty-five; in 1948 it had a store. After that year the town was not listed in the Texas Almanac; it did not appear on maps of 1990.
Location: Kostoryz was at a site near the southwestern edge of present Corpus Christi in eastern Nueces County.
History: It was established by Stanley L. Kostoryz, a Czech from Nebraska who purchased a 7,700 acre tract from the Grim Ranch in 1906 for a settlement for Czech immigrants. A school was established in 1907. In 1952 Kostoryz became part of the Corpus Christi School District, and in recent years most of the area has been annexed by the city
Location: Kovar is eight miles south of Smithville in southeastern Bastrop County.
History: It was named for an early settler, Martin Kovar, who arrived in the area around 1870. A thirty-member Czech-Moravian church was organized by Rev. Jindrich Juren in 1894. The early economy was based on agriculture and the presence of a cotton gin. The Kovar post office was established in 1903 with Frank Rundus as postmaster, but the site never developed into a full-fledged town. The post office closed in 1914. In the 1980s the area's economy centered upon ranching.
Location: La Grange is the county seat of Fayette County and is located on State Highway 71 and U.S. Highway 77 on an old Indian camp.
History: La Grange was first settled in the 1820's on land granted to John H. Moore. The town is laid out around a public square on which is located the Fayette County Courthouse built in 1891. La Grange was also the site of the organization of the SPJST in Texas. The Monument Hill and Kreische Brewery State Historical Park is not only the site of the burial of remains of the Dawson and Mier expedition of 1842 and 1843 but also the remains of the first brewery in the State of Texas. La Grange is also the site of the Texas Czech Heritage and Cultural Center located at the Fayette County Fairgrounds.
Birthplace of the SPJST (SW corner, Courthouse Square, SH 71, La Grange)
On December 28, 1896, twenty-five Czech-Texans gathered in the district courtroom of this courthouse to establish a new fraternal benefit insurance society, the Slovanska Podporujici Jednota Statu Texas, more commonly known a the SPJST. The SPJST held its first convention in the same room on June 20, 1897. I. J. Gallia served as the society's first president and J. R. Kubena was the first secretary. The SPJST officially began its business in Texas on July 1, 1897. SPJST headquarters now is located in Temple.
Czech Catholic Union of Texas (from La Grange, take S 77 S about 5 miles then go NW on FM 2436 about 1 mile to Queen of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church)
On March 24, 1889, a group of Czech immigrants gathered here to form the Katolicka Jednota Texaska (KJT), or Czech Catholic Union of Texas. A fraternal benefit society, the KJT was chartered on July 4, 1889, with six individual lodges. Through programs such as life insurance, financial aid to members, churches, and educational scholarships, the organization has served people throughout the state and has grown to number over one hundred lodges. The KJT continues to uphold the purpose of its founders in the same fraternal spirit.
Catholic Union of Texas (KJT)
PO Box 297 La Grange, Texas 78945
tel.: 1-800-245-8182 or 409-968-5877
Radio - KVLG, a local station broadcasting in Czech and German.
Lucas Bakery, 135 North Main Street, La Grange, TX 78945; (979) 968-3052. Hours: 5 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday; 5 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday.
Location: Lamar was four miles north of Marlin on State Highway 6 in northeastern Falls County.
History: It was settled primarily by Czech and German immigrants, who established a school and a church in the area in the 1890s. The school had thirty-two students and one teacher in 1905; by the 1930s the number of students had risen to sixty-three. The 1948 county highway map showed the school, a few businesses, and some scattered houses at the site. The Lamar school was consolidated with the Marlin Independent School District in 1948.
St. Francis (Old Latium) Catholic Cemetery
Location: Longworth is on Plum Creek and Farm Road 57, eight miles southeast of Roby in south central Fisher County.
History: It was established in 1902 and was named for the F. M. Long Ranch. In 1907 the Long Ranch was divided into farm tracts and sold to a Bohemian colony that had moved there from Pennsylvania. The Kansas City, Mexico and Orient Railway began serving the area in 1907. County gypsum deposits were processed beginning in 1909 at Plasterco, near Hamlin, and many Longworth residents were employed by the plant. In 1923 a gypsum deposit was discovered near Longworth. The town in 1948 had a school, a church, five businesses, and a population of 200. By 1980 its population had dropped to sixty-five, and it was reported at that level in 1990.
The only Czech Community in deep East Texas is found in Houston County around Lovelady and Crockett. A member of the Lovelady Community described its early years very well.
"We came here in 1907 from Petrovice u Cermna, Bohemia. At that time there were five Czech families around Lovelady. They were Frantisek Krenek, Jan Slanina, Leopold Supak, J. Janak and Josef Farek. They were the first Czech settlers in this area, who came about 3 years sooner than we. With us came countrymen Frantisek and Josef Rosenbaum from Beroun, Broumy.
When we came here there were coal mines which were being worked and that was a great advantage for us. Everone found work in the mines, and many made good money. The country here is hilly, and in the lowlands there is good fertile soil. The first settlers bought land for .00 and .00 an acre but later they paid even more.
In 1931, Rev Weillot, a visiting priest suggested that if we built a small church, he could come every two weeks. The members of the community immediately got to work and bought land in Crockett; now we have a pretty little church. But one thing is missing--a Czech priest. The Czechs here number about 21 families and all are doing well. Most of us are farmers except Frantisek Snoble who has a shoe store in Lovelady and Josef Skalicky who has a garage and gas station in Crockett. In our church we hear nothing in the Czech language. Rev Elias Holub from La Porte has visited us only 2 times but our countrymen are still holding to the faith well."
The isolated Czech communities in Houston County can be compared to those in Erath and Palo Pinto counties, which also do not fit into the normal pattern of fairly rapid but well defined expansion in search of more high-quality farmland. The Houston County settlements, although they developed into farming communities, were originally settled by Bohemian miners as were the two North Texas counties.
Location: Marak is on Farm Road 2269 six miles from Cameron in northwest Milam County.
History: It was founded in the early 1880s and named after Frantisek (Frank) Marak, a Moravian Czech immigrant who moved to the area from Fayette County. Marak is primarily a Czech community and is the center of a Catholic parish. The community consists mainly of farms scattered around the church and cemeteries. Like other rural areas in the state this part of Milam County suffered a decline in population as the children of farmers moved to town. In the 1970s, however, the trend was reversed as townsfolk built homes in the countryside. In the early 1980s the parish had 100 families.
S. S. Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church (NW of Cameron on Fm 2269, 6.5 mi., Marak)
Through the efforts of fellow immigrant Joseph Russek, many Czech families came to this area of Milam County in the 1880s. The first Catholic Mass in the Maraksville settlement was conducted by a visiting priest in the Kaspar Kubecka home in 1883, and later services were held in other homes. In 1889 the Kubecka family donated land for a Catholic school and church, and the community began raising funds to erect a building. A wooden church structure was completed in 1904 and dedicated in 1905. Named for the patron saints of the Moravian immigrants, the congregation was served by the Rev. K. Kacer. Worship services were conducted in Latin, German, and Czech for many years. The congregation has been associated with parishes in Cyclone and Cameron over the years, and additional church facilities have been built and adapted for various purposes, including a school, rectory, and parish hall. Two burial grounds, known as the Old Marak Catholic Cemetery and the New Catholic Cemetery, were established on land donated by church members. The church has been the social center of the community since its founding, and the annual parish picnic has become a popular event in Milam County.
St. Cyril and Methodius Church Homecoming Picnic, last Sunday in August
St. Cyril and Methodius Church
Located: In eastern Bell County. It was probably situated near the larger Czech settlement of Zabcikville
History: Founded in the early 1900s and was presumably named for the Marek family, who settled in the area at that time. Marekville had a population of twenty-five in 1933, when it had two businesses. The population declined to around ten by 1964, and Marekville seems to have disappeared entirely by the later 1960s.
Location: Merle was on the south bank of Bethel Creek three miles south of Snook in southeastern Burleson County.
History: Anglo-American settlement in the vicinity began in the early 1830s, but the town itself, located in a zone of blackland prairie in the fertile Brazos bottoms, was not founded until the late 1800s. A post office was established there in 1883. An influx of Czech immigrants began in the early 1880s, and a number of Italian farmers settled in this region in the early 1890s. Merle appears to have declined in the first years of the 1900s; the local post office was discontinued in 1919. One business was reported in the community in 1931. In 1934 the Merle School was merged with those in the nearby townships of Moravia, Lone Oak, and Snook to form the Snook Independent School District. The population was an estimated twenty-five in 1933. In 1948, the last year for which population statistics were available, the population remained an estimated twenty-five. By the 1990s there was no organized community, only a handful of farm dwellings scattered about the former town site.
Location: Midway is on Farm Road 958 and Lavaca County roads 326 and 332, halfway between Shiner and Yoakum in southwestern Lavaca County.
History: In March 1838 J. Branton Johnson of Austin County received a certificate for a half league and a labor of land in the area, which was used for many years for ranching. During the latter half of the nineteenth century German and Czech settlers moved in, subdivided the large ranches into smaller farms, and gradually replaced the earlier residents. In 1925 Frank Klecka built a store and recreation hall where several settlement roads crossed the line of the Southern Pacific Railroad between Shiner and Yoakum, and in 1928 he was followed by August Rogge, who built a cotton gin. The growing community took its name from its location on the railroad. Land in the old Johnson survey is gently sloping and relatively deep loamy clay, well-suited for growing cotton and grain sorghums. The store and gin served a population of fifty in 1950 and continued in operation during the 1980s. Cotton was the economic foundation of farming in Lavaca County. In 1906 gins there produced slightly over 40,000 bales. By 1948 however, the number had dropped to slightly over 20,000, and during the next thirty-five years production ceased completely. The gin at Midway was the last to operate in Lavaca County.
Location: Mikeska is on the right bank of the Nueces River five miles southeast of George West in Live Oak County.
History: The town site was platted in 1916 around the ranch of Peter Mikeska, a Czech immigrant from Zadverice, Moravia, who had settled in the area in 1892. The community of Mikeska at one time had a school, general store, dance hall, post office, cotton gin, and depot. In 1925 its population was estimated at 100. Following the death of its founder in 1928, the town dwindled almost to nothing. The post office, opened in 1903, seems to have closed in the late 1940s. Today only a few houses and unpaved roads remain.
Location: Mont is on Farm Road 318 seven miles southwest of Hallettsville in southwestern Lavaca County.
History: The area was settled in the 1830s, and in 1846 settlers built the Rocky Creek Baptist Church, which was also used as a school. Bohemian settlers arrived in the area in the 1850s. In 1887 the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway built through the community, and George Wilcox built a store and gin there. In 1894 the community was granted a post office under the name Monserate; this office closed in 1905. A new school was constructed in 1908 and was called the Mont school. That seems to have been the name of the community as well from that point on. Mont had two businesses and an estimated population of twenty in 1940. Railroad service to Mont was discontinued by 1961, and the school was closed by the 1960s. In 1981 Mont had a number of scattered dwellings. Its population was estimated at thirty in 1990.
Location: Moravia is at the intersection of Farm roads 957 and 532, about 9 miles north of Hallettsville in Lavaca County.
History: In this Catholic community of Czechs, Germans, and Anglos, the Czech-Moravian group was the largest during the 1980s. Most of the Moravians speak both Czech and English; in the early 1980s a few still spoke only a Moravian dialect. Anglo settlers were already in this farm area before the Czechs arrived in the early 1870s. The Anglo settlers, who may have moved there in the early 1850s, probably began to leave around 1865, and the settlers who replaced them had immigrated from northeastern Moravia and brought with them their culture and their Moravian dialect, which differs from standard Czech. During the 1980s Czech was still used in the recitation of the Rosary and in hymns. Moravia was founded in 1881, when Ignac Jalufka and James Holub moved a preexisting store to the junction of three roads. The next buildings were a blacksmith shop, a gin, and a school. A post office operated in Moravia from 1882 to 1900. In 1912 a Catholic church, named Ascension of Our Lord, was built. The architect was its first pastor, Emil Schindler; the builder was Koch and Sons; and Ponecker and Sons did the interior work. The church was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983. Schooling was conducted in private homes when the community first began. A one-room school, built on donated land and supported by tuition, burned in 1878 and was replaced; the Moravian dialect was part of the course of study. A new structure was built for the school in 1923, though it was subsequently destroyed after the Moravia school was consolidated with those of Hallettsville. In 1933 the population in Moravia was estimated at forty. The Texas Almanac listed a population of 165 there from 1968 through 1990, but according to the church census, 227 people lived in Moravia in 1983. In the 1980s the main income of Moravia residents continued to come from the sale of farm produce. Cattle production was the main cash crop, followed by hay and grain sorghum production, truck farming, and poultry raising.
Site of Moravia School (from Hallettsville, take FM 957 northwest about 13 miles (in Moravia))
Many Czech and German immigrants settled in this area of South Texas in the 1870s. Moravia was a Czech farming community that included homes, a Catholic church, businesses, and a school. The first school in the Moravia community was a one-room structure located about one mile northwest of this site. Students attended classes on a tuition basis. The one-room schoolhouse was destroyed by fire in 1878, and students temporarily attended school in a former store building (about 1 mile north). Land at this site was acquired in 1885. Moravia School, a two-story schoolhouse with two classrooms, was erected in 1887. Classes were conducted primarily in the Czech language until 1895. Additional land acquisitions in 1908 and 1922 enlarged the school property, and in 1923 materials from the 1887 structure were used in the construction of a larger school facility with four classrooms. Serving students from a large rural area, the Moravia School continued to grow as other rural schools declined. Students participated in scholastic, literary, and athletic activities. The Moravia School was closed following the 1971-72 school year and was consolidated with the Hallettsville School System.
Movavia General Store (FM 957, 9 mi. N of Hallettsville at CR 229)
Ignac (J. E.) Jalufka and Jakob Hollub brought their families to northern Lavaca County in 1874, followed by several other Czech families. Founded in 1881, Moravia was so named to honor Moravia, Czechoslovakia, the settlers' homeland. The first commercial structures here were a blacksmith shop, cotton gin, and school. In 1889 Jalufka built a two-story frame saloon on this site. Grocery and mercantile supplies took up the rear half of the ground floor; the saloon was located in the front. The second floor served as a dance hall. Masquerades, seasonal celebrations and other events made it a popular gathering place for the entire community. From 1891 to 1900 Jalufka also was United States Postmaster for the area, operating the post office from his store. The saloon was popular and successful until 1920, the year that J. E. Jalufka died and prohibition was passed into law. Agnes Jalufka inherited the business, and sold it to Annie Chromcak and Lillian Blahuta in 1922. Annie Chromcak sold her interest to Lillian and Frank Blahuta the following year. In 1930, a new dance hall was erected across the road. The second story was torn down, leaving the one-story Moravia General Store. The new dance hall across the road was torn down in 1950. The Moravia store remained in the Blahuta family until 1979. In 1990 the store was closed for the first time in 109 years, but it was reopened in 1996. The Moravia General Store remains a link to the past and to the spirit of the pioneers of Lavaca County. (1998)
Note: The store and adjacent buildings are packed with memorabilia of the past including photographs, advertisements, old license plates, and other items from years gone by. The wood floor, bar and display cases are originals.
The Ascension of Our Lord Catholic Church
Note: Constructed just after the turn of the century, simple yet majestic to this day with the beauty of stained glass, ceiling paintings and ornate statuary.
The Ascension of Our lord Catholic Cemetery
Moravia General Store and Saloon
Established by Ignac Jalufka and was recognized by a state historical marker dedication in 1998.
The store and adjacent buildings are packed with memorabilia of the past including photographs, advertisements, old license plates, and other items from years gone by. The wood floor, bar and display cases are originals.
Location: Between Flatonia and Shiner, at the headwaters of the Lavaca River.
Established in the mid 1800's.
St. Joseph's Catholic Church (corner of church and Pecan, Moulton)
One of the oldest communities in Lavaca County, the town of Moulton was originally located about two miles from the current townsite. When the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad completed a line through the area in 1887, the population shifted to the new location. Many German and Czech immigrants moved here and established family farms. When Moulton residents expressed a desire for a Catholic parish here, the Rev. John Forest of Hallettsville established St. Joseph's Church. A small frame sanctuary was built in 1888. Initially a mission of the Hallettsville Church, St. Joseph's became an independent parish in 1892. A parish school, operated by the Sisters of Divine Providence, was built in 1894. Destroyed by fire in 1902, it was replaced by a second facility. As the church continued to grow, additional buildings were erected on the property. Beginning in 1921, the Rev. Joseph Kopp (1879-1961) led the parish through thirty-eight years of growth and service. After seventy-one years of instruction, the parish school closed in 1965. Throughout its history, St. Joseph's Parish has been an important part of the Moulton community.
Komensky Czech School
A state historical marker can be found about 8 miles east of Mouton at the site of the old Komensky Czech School.
"Nada," the name of a town in Colorado County, doesn't mean "nothing," as it does in Spanish, but is adapted from a Czech word meaning "hope."
Nada (In Nada, on the grounds of St. Mary's Parish 1/8 mile E. off SH 71)
Located on land once included in Stephen F. Austin's colony, the community of Nada was first settled in the 1880s by German and Czech immigrants. John William Schoellman brought his family here from nearby Frelsburg in 1881. He built the area's first store, which was operated by his son, John Henry Schoellmann. Other early settlers included the families of Joseph Laby, Florian Frnka, Gerhard Eggemeyer, Ernest Krenk, Joseph Schneider, and Diedrich Frels. A public school, known as Red Bluff, opened in 1883. In 1889 the Schoellman and Laby families donated land for a Catholic Church and Parochial School. The Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary was built in 1896 and has served as a center of community activities since that time. A U.S. post office was established in 1894 with William Engbrock as postmaster and the town was named Nada. By 1904 the community boasted homes, schools, stores, a church, cotton gin, and dance hall. Nada has remained an agricultural community. Many descendants of pioneer German and Czech settlers continue to live in the area.
Historical significance: First Czech immigrants in TX settled here in 1852.
First Czech Immigrants in Texas (1 mile east of intersection of FM 2502 and SH 159 (on SH 159), Nelsonville)
People from Czechy began to come to America for liberty as early as 1633. First known Czech in Texas was Jiri Rybar (George Fisher), customs officer in Galveston in 1829. Others arrived individually for years before letters sent home by the Rev. Josef Arnost Bergman, an 1849 Czech settler at Cat Spring (9 miles south), inspired immigrants in large numbers. Josef Lidumil Lesikar (1806-1887) was instrumental in forming the first two large migrations, 1851 and 1853, with names of family parties listed on ship logs as Silar (Shiller), 69; Lesikar (Leshikar), 16; Mares (Maresh), 10; Pecacek (Pechacek), 9; Rypl (Ripple), 7; Coufal, 6; Rosler (Roesler), 6; Motl, 5; Jezek, 4; Cermak, 3; Janecek, 3; Jirasek, 3; Kroulik, 2; Tauber, 2; Marek, 1; Pavlicek, 1. With Pastor Bergman's counsel, many of the Czechs began to farm in Austin county. Other immigrations occurred in the 1850s, and became even heavier in the 1870s. Czechs eventually spread throughout the state, gaining recognition for industry, thrift, and cultural attainments. To preserve their heritage they succeeded in having a Chair of Slavic Languages established (1915) at the University of Texas, and later at other schools. Their ethnic festivals have been held in various cities for many years.
Joseph L. Leshikar House (Nelsonville-New Bremen Rd.[Skalak Rd.], 4.5 miles south of Nelsonville off SH 159 (private))
After Rev. Josef E.[Arnošt/Ernest] Bergman of Cat Spring wrote letter praising Texas, 33 Czech families immigrated to locality, 1851-1853. This first home was built in 1854 by Josef L. Leshikar and his 4 sons. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark, 1965.
Nelsonville Brethren Church
Location: On Church Road between State Hwy 259 and Farm Road 2502
Location: New Bremen is located 4 miles south of Nelsonville on CR 187.
History: The first group of Czech immigrants to Texas settled between these two communities in 1851. They were predominately Moravian Brethren. There is an important cemetery here: the New Bremen/Hoppe Cemetery with many Czechs in it as well as one of the early spots where Czechs settled after arriving at Cat Spring, Austin Co, Tx.
LESIKAR, JOSEF LIDUMIL (1806-1887). Josef Lidumil Lesikar, a politician, farmer, and journalist best remembered for his contribution to the settlement of Czechs in America, was born on May 16, 1806, at Herboritice, in what is now the Czech Republic, to Josef and Rozalie (Prokop) Lesikar. On February 18, 1828, he married Terezie Silar; the couple eventually had four sons. As a young man Lesikar settled in the village of Nepomuky and worked chiefly as a tailor and farmer. He engaged in politics to obtain more freedom for his fellow Czechs from the dominance of Austria. He was elected representative to the Czech parliament in Prague but did not serve because of the revolution in 1848. Shortly after the revolution he was instrumental in organizing two groups of about 160 Czechs to immigrate to Texas, in 1851 and 1853. Although about half of the first group died, Lesikar, his wife, and their four sons reached Galveston with the second group on board the Suwa in late December 1853. The family bought farmland in New Bremen, Austin County. The men felled trees and built a log house that still stands, with a Texas historical marker before it. Lesikar wrote articles for periodicals published in various parts of the United States as well as in his native land, and his writings encouraged many Czechs to come to America. As one of the founders of Nбrodnн hoviny, a Czech newspaper published in St. Louis, he helped to lay the foundation for Czech journalism in America. In his writing he opposed secession. He died on October 21, 1887, near New Ulm and is buried in the New Ulm Cemetery.
New Tabor Community
About 1870 this area of Burleson County was settled by Czech-Moravian immigrants in search of fertile land and the religious freedom denied them in their native European homeland.
New Tabor Brethren Church (from Caldwell take FM 166 about 2.1 miles E to CR 225, go N about 0.8 mile to church)
About 1870 this area of Burleson County was settled by Czech-Moravian immigrants in search of fertile land and the religious freedom denied them in their native European homeland. Informal services were held twice a year in the family home of Joseph Macat until 1877. When the Rev. L.J. Chlumsky, of Washington County's Wesley community, accepted the call to conduct services at New Tabor Brethren Church. The congregation built a sanctuary at this location in 1893, the year of its formal organization as the Evangelical Czech-Moravian Brethern Church. The church building was destroyed by a tornado in 1915 and replaced by a new sanctuary later that year. New Tabor was the site of the Texas state Convention of Czech-Moravian churches in 1919 during which independent congregations such as New Tabor's were accepted into the Unified Church denomination. The church organized a mutual aid society in 1920. A Christian sisters society in 1927, and a young people's circle in 1936. The congregation's third sanctuary was constructed here in 1953. In 1962 a men's brotherhood was organized and in 1971 a nearby church cemetery was established. New Tabor continues to serve the community by sponsoring various outreach programs.
New Tabor Cemetery (FM 166, 3.5 mi. NE of Caldwell)
New Tabor was settled by Czech and German immigrants in the 1870s and 1880s. It was named for the community of Tabor in Czechoslovakia. In February 1888, Henry Ginzel sold 3.25 acres of land for a cemetery to trustees F. Jurcak, G. Hnilica and J. Skribanek. The first recorded burial here was that of infant Jan Skrabanek in July 1888; the first adult burial was that of Martin Fojt, who died in October 1888. A number of graves are those of infants and children, attesting to the often harsh conditions of pioneer life. The many who died in 1919 may have been victims of the influenza epidemic. More than 35 military veterans are interred here. With more than 841 graves, the cemetery continues to serve the descendants of New Tabor's pioneer settlers. (1999)
Josef Lidumil Leshikar (FM 109, new Ulm Cemetery)
(May 16, 1806-October 21, 1887) Born along the Czech-Moravian border, Josef Lidumil Leshikar received early training as a tailor. During the revolution of 1848, he became a spokesman for political freedom in his homeland. In 1853 he led a group of immigrants to the new Czech settlements in Austin county. Always opposed to slavery, Leshikar spoke out against secession and Civil War in articles he wrote for Czech and U.S. newspapers. Lesikar married Terezie Silar (1808-1884) and had four sons.
Location: Nottawa was at what is now the intersection of State Highway 90A with Farm Road 1164, five miles west of East Bernard and one mile east of West Bernard Creek in northeastern Wharton County.
History: The Buffalo Bayou, Brazos and Colorado Railway was completed through the area in 1859, but it was after 1878 when settlers were brought in. Previously, this lower edge of the prairie had been used as free range. The settlers were primarily Czech; a few were Welsh or English families who came with the New Philadelphia project. Nottawa was established in the late 1880s, when it had one general store. A post office opened in the store in 1904. The 1920 census lists twenty-five residents at the community, but the 1926 Wharton County poll-tax roll lists eighty-four white and two black registrants. Mail service to Nottawa was discontinued in April 1930 and moved to East Bernard. By the late 1940s the store closed, and Nottawa ceased to exist. Although during the early 1990s the community no longer existed, local residents still referred to the area as Nottawa.
Location: Novohrad is a decentralized farming and ranching community ten miles northeast of Moulton on Farm Road 1295 in northern Lavaca County.
History: In 1880 Frank Migl built a store and cotton gin here, and J. R. Jacek operated a nursery. The community that grew around these businesses took its name from a town in Bohemia. A post office operated in the store from 1894 to 1905, and as early as 1882 separate schools existed for the children of Bohemian and German residents. By 1950 Novohrad had two stores, a gin, a lodge hall, and a population of about twenty-five. The school was consolidated during the 1950s with the Moulton Independent School District; the demise of cotton as a cash crop and improvement of roads closed the businesses and directed commercial activities to Moulton. The ruins of the gin remained in 1987.
Location: Ocker is a farming and church community at the intersection of Farm roads 320 and 53, eleven miles east of Temple in eastern Bell County.
History: It was founded by Czech settlers in the 1880s, named for B. Ocker, a shopkeeper in the community and the first postmaster. Seventy-eight Czech families were living in the vicinity of Ocker by 1893. In 1896 it was a flourishing town of some fifty-five inhabitants. The Rolnicky Vzajemni Orchranni Spolek Statu Texas, a farmers' mutual aid and insurance society, was founded in 1901 in Ocker by a group of Czech farmers. Ocker declined to a population of twenty by 1933. The reported population was ten in 1964. The town had disappeared by 1968, though in 1988 the Ocker Brethren Church still stood some two miles south of the former town site.
Ocker Brethren Church (From Temple, take SH 53 east about 9 miles)
A group of deeply devoted followers of the Unity of the Brethren faith were among the Czech immigrant families who settled in this area of eastern Bell County in the late 1870s and established the farming community of Ocker. The group initially worshipped informally in their homes. Annual visits from 1884 to 1891 by the Rev. Henry Juren and the Rev. Bohuslav Emil Lacjak encouraged them to organize. The Evangelical Congregation of the Bohemian and Moravian Brethren of Ocker was established in 1892. The dedication of their first church building, erected in 1893, was conducted by the Rev. Juren and the Rev. Adolph Chlumsky, noted early-day Czech community preachers. The church cemetery was established later that year. Membership in the church grew from 52 families in 1900 to 92 families in 1925. A new church/Sunday school building was erected at this site in 1931 to meet the spiritual needs of a growing congregation. By mid-1940, English had replaced Czech as the language used in Sunday school and worship services. The congregation was served by part-time pastors until 1981 when a full-time pastor was called. The church continues to serve the local community with spiritual guidance and outreach programs. (1994)
Location: Olmos is a small, predominantly Czech farming community located in southwestern Bee County at the intersection of Farm roads 796 and 797.
History: The original name was Los Olmos, which is Spanish for "the elm trees;" the name was shortened to Olmos in 1917. Prior to 1860 the area had been settled by H. D. (Hank) Sullivan, who began ranching with Joe Sullivan shortly after the Civil War. Two Englishwomen, Charlotte and Eliza Cobb, settled there in 1866 and brought 1,000 sheep with them. In 1888 the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway was constructed eight miles east of Olmos. That year the residents built a Catholic church and in 1893 a schoolhouse. In 1905 Olmos had one white school with twenty-four pupils and one teacher. In 1940 the town had a population of seventy, a cotton gin, a school, and one store. After the school was consolidated with the Skidmore-Tynan School District, the schoolhouse was turned over to the Olmos Community Club. The general store, which was first operated by Frank Russek, was abandoned around 1975. In 1990 only the Olmos Community Club remained in operation.
Location: Orchard is at the intersection of Farm Road 1489 and State Highway 36, on the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe line thirteen miles west of Richmond in western Fort Bend County.
History: In 1880 the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway built through what was to become the town site. The community was promoted in 1890 by S. K. Cross, who sold tracts from his ranch to German, Bohemian, and Polish settlers. The Orchard community, named for early and unsuccessful attempts to raise fruit in the area, was granted a post office in 1893. In 1894 twelve families from Akron, Ohio, settled in Orchard. By 1896 the one-teacher Orchard school had forty-three pupils, and the town's estimated 250 residents were served by a Methodist church and a general store. From the 1920s through the early 1970s Orchard reported a population of 200. During the 1920s the community had three general stores, a telegraph office, a drugstore, a community dance hall, a cotton gin, and a gas station. By 1940 the town consisted of a school, a church, and four businesses. Several school districts consolidated with Orchard in 1948 to form the Orchard consolidated school district. The Orchard community began to grow somewhat in the 1970s and reported a population of 408 in 1982 and 373 in 1990.
Gulf Coast Czech Festival, 4th weekend in October
Location: Penelope is on Farm Road 308 fifteen miles south of Hillsboro in south central Hill County.
History: It was settled in the early 1890s, when the Seley family established the Zee Vee Ranch a half mile from the town's present site. Over the next decade a number of Anglo and Czech families moved into the region. It was named for the daughter of the president of the railroad, Penelope Trice. Residents voted to incorporate in 1913. Over the next twenty years Penelope established itself as an shipping and market center for south central Hill County farmers and ranchers. By the 1920s the town had an estimated population of 400, but by the late 1940s Penelope had declined to a population of 240, and in 1988 Penelope had 222 residents. In 1990 the population was 210.
Town of Penelope (FM 2114 and FM 308)
Founded by International and Great Northern Railroad in 1902. Named for child of official. Settled by Anglos and Czechs from Zee Vee, older town (1/2 mile south) founded in 1893. New town prospered; incorporated, 1913. Good well water was found in 1959. Town improvement program began, 1968.
Location: Pep is on Farm Road 303 near the Lamb county boundary in northwestern Hockley County.
History: The site was part of the Yellow House Ranch of the XIT Ranch. It passed to the Littlefield estate and was then sold by the Yellow House Land Company in 1924. Much of this farmland was sold to Germans interested in establishing a Catholic colony, which they originally named Ledwig for Rev. Francis Ledwig, their pastor. Settlers at the community included John Andrews, John Stengel, and Pete Herring. J. G. Gerik opened a store there in 1925. The first Catholic church in the county was built at the community in 1930. A post office was established in 1936 with M. A. Burt as postmaster. Reportedly the name Ledwig did not suit the post office department, and Pep was chosen as the town's new name, to reflect an admired characteristic of its residents. Since 1945 an annual community Thanksgiving dinner, including a savory Czech sausage, has drawn crowds of visitors to the small community. Its population was sixty in 1950 and by 1980 had declined to fifty, where it was still reported in 1990.
Location: Pisek is a rural community with indefinite boundaries on the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad in the northern point of Colorado County, three miles from both the Austin and Fayette county lines.
History: Until 1887 the town was located at the site of current Lone Oak, and its two stores served the German and Czech farmers of the area. When the Missouri, Kansas and Texas completed its line from Denison to Boggy Tank and built a turntable there, the town, with its stores, moved one mile to the tracks. The railroad called the site Sandy Point, but the name Pisek stuck. By 1896 the community became a shipping center and had a post office and saloon, in addition to the stores and a cottonseed warehouse. The post office closed in 1907, and mail was delivered from Fayetteville in Fayette County. Improved road conditions, the completion of the Missouri, Kansas and Texas to Houston, and the removal of the turntable caused a gradual shift of the population back toward the original center of the community. In 1941 the last remaining store moved back to the original location, which, by that time, had taken the name of Lone Oak, and Pisek ceased to exist as a community center.
SS. Peter and Paul Church
Location: Praha is located on Farm Road 1295 three miles east of Flatonia in southern Fayette Count.
History: It was originally known as Mulberry and Hottentot, the latter apparently referring to a band of outlaws.During the mid-1850s a Bohemian immigrant named Mathias Novak came to the region. After working a short while for the American settlers, he saved enough money to buy 100 acres of land and build a house where early masses were celebrated. Other Bohemian immigrants included John Baca, Joseph Vyuiala, Andreas Gallia, Joseph Hajek, Frank Vacl, and George Morysek. In 1858 the Bohemian settlers changed the town's name to Praha in honor of Prague, the capital of their homeland. In 1868 a public school was established, and by the 1880s Praha had three stores, a restaurant, and a new frame church, which served as the mother parish for surrounding towns. A post office started service in 1884, and in 1896 a Czech Catholic school was established. In 1873, when the Southern Pacific Railroad was built a mile north of town, Flatonia, a new town founded near the tracks, began to draw business away from Praha. During the twentieth century the population of Praha never rose above 100, and in 1906 the post office closed. By 1968 the population had dropped to twenty-five, where it remained in 1990. In 1973 both the parochial and public schools closed. In the late l980s worshipers still attended masses at the parish church. An annual celebration of the Feast of the Assumption on August 15 attracts more than 5,000 visitors, many of them Czechoslovakian. The community also holds a yearly Veteran's Day commemoration.
Unlike many small towns, Praha has a claim to fame. since 1855, the Czechs have been returning to "Maticka Praha" (Mother Praha) on August 15 to celebrate the church's feast and to participate in "Prazska pout" (Praha Homecoming). The celebration is always held on this date, regardless of the day of the week, and Praha is the only Roman Catholic parish in the US with such a custom. The celebration begins with a march from the parish hall to the church, where three masses are said throughout the day. From noon on, there's food and drink, merriment, game booths, entertainment by Czech dancers, singers and music for dancing late into the wee hours of morning.
Location: on FM 1295 0.8 miles south of US 90, three miles east of Flatonia, which is off I-10, midway between Houston and San Antonio.
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church
A Christmas mass was first celebrated in a small frame church in 1865. The present church, built primarily of rock, sits atop a hill in a beautiful oak grove.
The Church's memorial service, held the Sunday preceding Veterans Day, is truly memorable. It is one of the best-attended service of its kind in the nation. After Sunday morning mass, all who have gathered march to the nearby cemetery for a memorial service for the war dead. The program features a speaker, military salute, taps and the Confederate Air Force flying overhead to drop roses on the cemetery. Following the service, a noon meal is served at the parish hall where a stirring band concert is given. Former pastor, the late Marcus Valenta, was a Pearl Harbor survivor.
821 FM 1295
Flatonia, Texas 78941-5016
Date Built: 1895
Architect: O. Kramer
Artist: , Rev. Louis Netardus, and Gene A. Mikulik
Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church Cemetery
Location: near the San Marcos River ten miles southwest of Lockhart, between San Marcos and Luling
History: It is Caldwell County's oldest community and was named by Sam Houston for Margaret Lea Houston, who later became his bride. Prairie Lea's first settler, in 1839, was Edmund Bellinger, who participated in the battle of San Jacinto and the battle of Plum Creek
The Blue Ribbon Bakery is a hobby that turned into a full-time job for Maurica and Nils Boothe. The name comes from the more than 50 ribbons and seven trophies adorning the walls in the small shop that the Boothes have won in baking contests around the state for their kolaches. It was at the Caldwell Kolache Festival (held annually on the first Saturday of September) that the Boothes had their greatest triumph when they won the 1991 State Championship Kolache Bake-Off.
Location: Ratibor is on Ratibor Branch just west of the intersection of Farm roads 2086 and 2904, seven miles east of Temple in eastern Bell County.
History: It was founded by Czechs around 1900 and was named for the town of Ratibor in Czechoslovakia. In 1933 the population was estimated at ten, and the community had four businesses. By 1940 Ratibor had eighty inhabitants, but it declined after World War II to a population of twenty in 1964 and ten in 1990.
Location: Red Ranger is a rural farming community in eastern Bell County located at the intersection of Farm roads 437 and 940 eleven miles southeast of Temple.
History: It was founded by Czech settlers, including John Simek and Ben Lesikar, around the turn of the century. It had twenty inhabitants, a school, and one business in the 1940s. By 1964 Red Ranger had fifteen residents and several scattered dwellings. In 1990 the population was twelve.
Location: Rosenberg is on U.S. Highway 59 twenty-eight miles southwest of downtown Houston in central Fort Bend County.
History: The area was originally settled by Stephen F. Austin'sOld Three Hundred around 1823. The town was named in honor of Henry Rosenberg, a Swiss immigrant, who settled in Galveston and from 1874 to 1877 was president of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway Company. Between 1890 and 1900 the population increased to 1,000, with the coming of the Czechs, Germans, and Poles. The Rosenberg Progress was purchased by George B. Lang, who changed its name to the Silver X-Ray. In 1902 the "City of Mud" was incorporated into the city of Rosenberg. The community holds the Rosenberg Czech Fest on the first weekend in May and the Fort Bend County Fair in October.
Concord Cemetery (7 mi. S of rosenberg on SH 36; 3.5 mi. SE on FM 361; NE on Fairchilds Road)
At the end of the 19th century, a community of Mennonites settled on the 33 lots of the Barnabas Wickson league. It is believed that the first persons interred on this site were Heinrich Reimer (d. 1898) and Maria Klassen (d. 1899). Siblings Maria and Isaac Neufeldt died of typhoid fever in 1900 and are also thought to be interred here. In 1905 George W. Howell, a non-Mennonite, deeded one acre of his land adjoining the Concord school for a public cemetery. Jacob Suderman, a Mennonite cemetery trustee, died in 1906 and probably is buried here. After the devastating 1900 storm, the Mennonites began moving away. Settlers of German, Czech and Polish descent began to occupy the area and use the burial ground. The earliest marked grave is that of Anesha Dobes, who was buried in 1913. During an archeological investigation in 1995, ten unmarked graves were discovered. (2000) Incise on back: Funded by Concord Cemetery Association of Fairchilds, Inc.
Rosenberg Brethren Church
Address: 1301 Sixth Street, P. O. Box 175, Rosenberg, TX 77471; Phone: (281) 342-3060
Location: South off of U.S. Alternate 90 on Sixth Street to Avenue K
Location: Ross Prairie is a scattered farming community on the northern edge of Ross Prairie, two miles south of Fayetteville in east central Fayette County.
History: Originally settled in the 1820s by James J. Ross, one of Stephen F. Austin's Old Three Hundred, it soon became a center for German and Bohemian immigrants who came in the 1840s. The land in Ross Prairie is flat to gently sloping and surfaced with a sandy loam toplayer with a firm clay subsoil. William P. Smith, one of the original trustees of Rutersville College, wrote in 1851 that Ross Prairie served "to show the vast superiority of Southern States and particularly Texas, over the frozen regions of the North." From 1850 to 1950 Ross Prairie produced excellent yields of cotton and grain, particularly corn. Since the 1950s the cotton has been replaced by improved pasture for cattle and horses, although grain is still produced in lesser amounts. Due to its close proximity to Fayetteville, Ross Prairie never developed as a business center. The church served as the focal point for socializing. The church and cemetery remained in existence as of 1988.
The Rev. Jindrich Juren (From Fayetteville, take Ross Prairie Rd. South about 1.4 miles to Junction of Ross Prairie & Kramer Rd)
Jindrich (Henry) Juren was born in Hradiste, Bohemia, on March 20, 1850. A Protestant minister's son, he studied theology at several universities and became fluent in Czech, English, German, French, and Polish. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1876 as the newly-ordained pastor of the Ross Prairie Czech-Moravian Brethren Church. He served locally and traveled by horse and buggy and train to Czech congregations throughout Texas. Also a public schoolteacher for 40 years, Juren was a revered leader in Ross Prairie and the statewide Czech community. He was buried here in the churchyard cemetery in 1921.
Brethren Church (From Fayetteville, take Ross Prairie Road south about 1.4 mile to Junction of Ross Prairie & Kramer Rds)
Built 1874 by Czech-Moravians. Near site of first Czech Protestant worship service ever held in Texas, in 1855.
Location: Rowena is on U.S. Highway 67, Farm roads 2872 and 2l33, and the Santa Fe Railroad, eight miles from Ballinger in southwestern Runnels County.
History: The town was laid out in November 1898 by Paul J. Baron, who called the site Baronsville. A railroad section house there was named Rowena Station by railroad officials in 1888, but the post office rejected the name because it resembled that of Ravenna in Fannin County. When Gustav Schuhmann became the first postmaster in 1900, the office was named Bolf for land agent John Bolf. The post office took the name of Rowena in 1901, and local residents persuaded Baron to rename the town Rowena in February 1904. Rowena was settled principally by German and Czech Texans from Central Texas. In 1904 the population was fewer than 100, and the town served as a trading point for local farmers and stock raisers. Flourishing cotton production and an influx of immigrants caused a boom by 1908 and a population of between 400 and 600. Rowena had a population of 800 in 1930, then declined to 750 in 1940. The town had 446 residents in 1970 and an estimated population of 466 in 1980 and 1990.
Location: Roznov is three miles east of Warrenton in northeastern Fayette County.
History: It was settled during the latter nineteenth century by Czech and German immigrants and named by John Halamicek for his European home. A post office was established in 1892 and discontinued in 1906. In 1900 the community had a store, a saloon, and a blacksmith shop, but residents voted in nearby Warrenton. In 1933 Roznov had a population of fifty. The improvement of roads, mechanization of farm labor, and ultimate decline in the importance of cotton as a crop led to depopulation of the area.
Location: St. Paul is six miles north of Marlin in Falls County.
History: It was named for the St. Paul Evangelical Reformed Church, which was established about 1900 by local farmers and ranchers of Czech and German descent. The school at St. Paul had one teacher and fifty-seven students in 1905; it was consolidated with the Marlin Independent School District in 1948. Several homes were in the St. Paul vicinity in the late 1940s, but only a church and cemetery marked the community on county highway maps in the 1980s.
Texas Folklife Festival, 1st full weekend in June
Bexar County CHS Czech Heritage Day, last Sunday in October
Location: Schulenburg is at the intersection of Interstate 10, U.S. Highway 77, and Farm Road 1579, on the Southern Pacific Railroad, eighteen miles south of La Grange in southern Fayette County.
History: The area was settled by German, Austrian, and Czech settlers in the mid-nineteenth century. Schulenburg was founded in 1873, when the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway built through the site, and was named for Louis Schulenburg, who donated land for the railroad. The community was granted a post office in 1874 and incorporated in 1875. In 1884 the community had 1,000 inhabitants, two churches, a bank, schools, thirteen general stores, and four saloons. In 1900 the community had 1,149 inhabitants. The population of the town slowly climbed to 1,246 in 1920, 1,640 in 1930, and 1,970 in 1940. In 1945 Schulenburg had 112 businesses, including two manufacturing companies, three cotton gins, a machine shop, and an airplane factory. The population of the town continued its slow rise in the postwar period, reaching 2,207 in 1960, 2,347 in 1980, and 2,455 in 1990. Schulenburg has a rich musical heritage and has had several orchestras and the Gold Chain Bohemian Band.
Schulenburg (Hwy. 77 .3 miles N.of Hwy. 90 (at Chamber of Commerce) Schulenburg)
German and Czech settlers used this gateway to the rolling hills of Fayette County. Settled by former residents of Lyons and High Hill in 1873, when the Galveston, Houston & San Antonio Railway reached here. Named for landowner Louis Schulenburg, town was incorporated in 1875.
St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church
Southwest Czech Presbytery was organized in the Czech Presbyterian Church in Sealy, Texas on November 3, 1911, by authority of the Synod of Texas. There were then four Presbyterian parishes and eight ministers in this body using the Czech language.
Location: Seaton is at the intersection of Farm roads 53 and 2086, eight miles east of Temple in eastern Bell County.
History: The community seems to have started when several Czech families settled on the site in 1881. By 1891, when the community applied for a post office, it had a store and a saloon. The name Seaton was chosen by post office officials in Washington and appears to have nothing to do with anyone living in the community. In 1896 seventeen people were living in Seaton, and there was a cotton gin in addition to the post office. In 1906 a Czech Brethren Church was built in the community. The post office was closed the following year. Although there were no businesses in the community by the 1960s, Seaton still had a population of sixty in 1990.
Location: In the southeastern part of Burleson County in a small pocket of Blackland Prairie soil located in a larger area generally known as Mound Prairie.
History: Founded by Czech settlers in 1880s. They organized a cooperative store and built a structure for it in the latter 1880s. A candy store, a saloon, a school, and a lodge hall were built near the cooperative store. A Czech Moravian Brethren church also was formed. The Frank Sebesta family moved to this area in 1890 and settled at the intersection of two roads. The Czechs referred to the spot as Sebesta's Corner, a name later shortened to Sebesta. As the area population grew during the early 1890s a saloon, two general merchandise stores, and a cotton gin were constructed a mile and a half northeast of Sebesta. This was a more central location for a majority of the Czechs living in the area. The new business section grew while the businesses in Sebesta declined. In 1895 a post office was established where the newer businesses were located, and it was named Snook. Although a post office was established at Sebesta in 1896, commercial interests continued to shift to Snook. The Sebesta post office closed in 1912, and Sebesta was encompassed in the larger Snook community.
Location: Schattel is west of Farm Road 472 and six miles south of Bigfoot in northeastern Frio County.
History: It received a post office in 1924. The community was named for San Antonian S. H. Schattel, who attempted to settle a colony of Bohemian farmers in the area about 1925. In 1929 the community included a school and some five dwellings, and by 1948 it had three businesses and an estimated population of fifty. The Schattel school district was consolidated with those of Bigfoot and Pearsall in 1949. Schattel reported one business and 130 residents in 1970; it continued to report that population level in 1990, when it also had a town hall.
Location: Sefcikville, first called Marekville, was near Seaton and eight miles east of Temple in eastern Bell County.
History: The community, founded in the early 1900s, was settled by Czechs and named for T. T. Sefcik, who operated a store and community center there. In 1939 the community reported twenty residents and one business. Its population had fallen to ten by 1964, and soon thereafter it seems to have been abandoned.
Shillerville Cemetery (From Victoria, take US 59 east about 4 mi to FM 1680. Go south/SE then SW on FM 1686 about 10.2 mi. Take CR West/ N about 1 mi to Cem.)
The community of Shillerville began when several Czechosovakian families came to this area in 1894. Among the first settlers was Jan Shiller, for whom the farm community was named. The first burial, that of Rosalie Balcar Jirasek, took place in 1897 on land given by Josef Lesikar and wife, Terezie Marek Lesikar. The graveyard was originally known as the Lesikar or Bohemian Burial ground. Additional land was donated in 1954 which increased the size of the cemetery to one acre. Some of the early grave markers are inscribed in Czech. (1986)
Shiloh Community (2604 Texas Avenue at College Station Cemetery, College Station)
Settled in the 1860s by Czech, German, and Polish immigrants, the Shiloh community was an area of large family farms. In addition to homes and farms, the settlement at one time boasted a community center, a two-room school, a vineyard, a mill, and a blacksmith shop. The families of Shiloh community maintained a cooperative relationship, often helping each other with planting, harvesting, barn building, and other activities. In 1883, to coordinate assistance efforts and group purchases of farm supplies, they formed the Slavonic Agricultural and Benevolent Society, which still exists in reorganized form as the Shiloh Club. The community later was completely encompassed by the City of College Station. Mrs. William G. Rector deeded land at this site to the local Methodist Church in 1870 for use as a community cemetery. The property later was acquired by the City of College Station, which established a larger city cemetery around the original Shiloh Graveyard. Although little remains of the Shiloh community, this cemetery serves as a reminder of a once-thriving settlement.
Had its beginnings in 1887. Czechs and Germans brought their love of music and dancing to this prairie town and used almost any occasion for celebrating. Marching bands, polka bands and more recently, country-western and rock bands have played a prominent part in the lives of Shiner. One of the better known bands was the Patek Band, organized in 1920, by John Patek Sr. and his five sons.
Shiner (City Hall grounds, 90A, Shiner)
Originated as German-Czech community of Half Moon, located west of present town. When the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad came through in 1887, citizens moved to rail line, where H. B. Shiner, Victoria landowner, had given a townsite. Shiner was developed by cattlemen. Industries include brewery, wire works. City has museum.
Saint Ludmila's Academy (424 St. Ludmila Street, Shiner)
The first Catholic school in Shiner was built in 1896 by Scherbohm and Mewes, contractors. The two story French style frame building housed two classrooms, a dining room and kitchen on the first floor, and a residence for the Sisters on the second floor. Named Saint Ludmila's Academy in honor of a Slavic saint, the school opened in February 1897 and was operated by the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament religious order in the state of Texas. The co-educational boarding and day school enrolled fifty-seven students the first year. Courses included German and Czech language; music courses featured piano, guitar, and mandolin. In 1902 two years of high school were added to the elementary grades. In 1916 a new structure was built to meet increased enrollment. In 1928 a four-year high school was incorporated, and the school received the designation of an academy. After 1939, no pupils were accepted as boarders. An elementary school was built in 1951, and a gymnasium, auditorium and cafeteria were added to the campus. In 1963 the Shiner Parish erected St. Paul High School. The educational complex is known as the Shiner Catholic School. (1997)
Saints Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church (424 St. Ludmilla, Shiner)
Early German and Czech settlers in this area of Lavaca County attended Catholic worship services in private homes or at churches in Hallettsville or Moulton until 1890, when a new mission was established in Shiner by the Rev. John Anthony Forest. The new congregation was named for 9th-century Greek Missionaries Cyril and Methodius, who converted Slovakian-Moravian central Europeans to Christianity. The members acquired two acres of land at this site in 1891, and a frame sanctuary was completed in May of that year. In February 1892 a tornado caused extensive damage to the original church structure, but it was rebuilt on a larger scale. Designated a parish in 1912, the growing congregation soon needed larger facilities. This structure, designed by F. Wahrenburger, was built in 1920-21 by volunteer laborers led by the Rev. F. X. Wolf. An outstanding example of the Romanesque revival style of architecture, it features stained glass windows imported from Munich, Germany; cut stone detailing in the pinnacles and buttresses; an arcaded front portico; and a soaring, square tower with octagonal spire. Listed in the National Register of Historic places since 1983, it also features a magnificent painted interior. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1990
Note: The original church was built in 1891. The present church, a magnificent brick edifice was builit in 1921, and renovated in 1954. The church has been placed in the National Registry of Historic Places because of its beautiful painted altars and architectural details
306 South Ave. F
Shiner, Texas 77984
Date built: 1919-1921
Date Painted: 1945
Architect: James Wahrenberger
Artist: Edmond Fatjo (Trained at the Royal Art Academy in Berlin)
Builder: Vincent Flabo
Mass Times: .
Old Kasper House
The only bed-and-breakfast inn in town. Innkeepers renovated the 1905 Victorian model home of building contractor John F. Kasper.
Shiner Brethren Church
Was established in a1881, as one of the earliest churches of Czech Moravian Brethren denomination. Organized by a group of prosperous Czech farmers in the Vlastenec community south of Shiner.
Location: South of Weimar in the western part of Colorado co.
History: It had a post office and only a few houses
Location: Six Mile, formerly known as Marekville and as Royal, is on Farm Road 1090 six miles north of Port Lavaca in northern Calhoun County.
History: It is situated on land that was originally granted to Valentine Garcia. The community was established in 1894 by Bohemian immigrants. Early settlers included the families of Ed See, John Lishka, John Coufal, Anton Machacek, Carl Hoppe, A. Webb, W. P. Dedmon, and Josef Marek (after whom the settlement was originally named Marekville). The community was on land that had never before been cultivated, but a few years later a bumper cotton crop brought more settlers, many of German descent. The community in 1905 obtained a post office, which was named Royal, after Royal Dedmon, the county commissioner. On March 5, 1907, local farmers organized the Six Mile Farmers Union. The post office closed in 1910. The Czech Presbyterian Church was built in 1923. The site was identified as Six Mile on the 1936 county highway map, which showed a school, a church, a business, and several farm units there. The community reportedly derived its name from a local watering hole, as it was "six miles to water" from Port Lavaca. By 1940 local farmers had constructed a system of drainage canals and a few public buildings. The site by 1985 had a business and a community cemetery, and the Calhoun County Airport was a mile to the southwest.
Six Mile-Royal Community (4.1 mi. NW of SH 35 on FM 1090)
The Phillips Investment Company issued deeds to the property on this site to Josef Marek and John Drgac in December 1894. The area, soon called Marekville, attracted Czech and German settlers with a bumper cotton crop in its first year. The first school building was erected in 1895; a post office opened in 1905, taking the name Royal after the county commissioner. The Six-Mile name is believed to come from a local watering hole; from Port Lavaca, it was "six miles to water." This name was used formally as early as 1907 by the Six Mile Farmers Union. The post office closed in 1910, but the area continued to grow. In 1997, about 200 families still resided in the area. (1998)
Six Mile Cemetery (4.5 mi. NW of Port Lavaca on FM 1090; .4 mi. W on Royal Road)
The first known grave in Czech-German settlement on Marekville was that of Veranka Drgac (1817-1897). The five-acre graveyard was deeded to the Marekville cemetery association by the Phillips Investment Company in 1899. The area became known as the Six Mile Community around 1907; the cemetery name changed accordingly. Graves of interest include that of Anton Machacek (1856-1931), who served in the Austro-Hungarian Army before immigrating to the United States. Veterans of major American and international conflicts also are interred here. An October 1997 count recorded more than 350 marked graves in the cemetery, which continues to serve the community. (1998)
Six Mile Presbyterian Church (4.5 mi. W of Port Lavaca on FM 1090; 0.4 mi. W on Royal Road)
Worship services in the community that became known as Six Mile began as early as 1894, when traveling ministers such as the Rev. Anton Motycka and the Rev. Adolf Chlumsky conducted religious services once a month in the local schoolhouse. In 1990 the Rev. Mr. Chlumsky led the first area confirmation classes, and Presbyterian services began in 1909. The Rev. H. E. Beseda, Sr., formally organized the Czech Presbyterian church in 1911. A church building, erected on the site in 1923 and destroyed by a hurricane in 1942, was replaced in 1943. Most services were conducted in Czech until 1956. The church remains an active congregation central to life in the Six Mile Community. (1998)
Location: Slovanville, also known as Kulhanek and as Sloganville, was four miles south of Waller and west of what is now Farm Road 362 in Waller County.
History: It was named for the European immigrants from Slavonic countries who settled in the area. Children from the community attended classes in a one-room schoolhouse that was donated by Josef Kulhanek in 1897. The teacher, a Mr. Voitek, opened a post office to supplement his income, but because the post office was less than five miles from Waller, the federal postal authorities did not allow it to stay open. Local residents rode on horseback to Waller for mail service until free rural mail delivery began in 1909. Slovanville disappeared after that time.
Location: Smetana is on U.S. Highway 190/State Highway 21 six miles west of Bryan in Brazos County.
History: It was settled by a number of Bohemian families in the early 1880s. A small store and a school were in operation by 1885. A post office opened in the community in 1896 and continued in operation until 1906. In 1941 Smetana had four businesses, two schools, two cemeteries (one for blacks, one for whites), and a number of scattered dwellings. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s the population was listed at fifty. It was shown as twenty in 1962 and eighty in 1990. The population expansion was due in part to the growth of the Bryan-College Station area and Texas A&M University. The Texas A&M Research and Extension Center (Old Bryan Army Airfield) is located one mile west of Smetana. In 1980 the town had three businesses, two community halls, and two cemeteries. By the late 1980s it had two restaurants and a grocery store.
Location: Originally located one mile west. Settled 1880's by Czech immigrants. First called "Sebesta's Corner". In 1895 named "Snook" for John Snook, who helped secure post office. Soon had a one-room school, a slaughterhouse, a cooperative store, and lodge for "Czechoslovak Benevolent Society".
Snook (on FM 2155 at intersection with Spur 2155, Snook)
Settled 1880's by Czech immigrants. First called "Sebesta's Corner". In 1895 named "Snook" for John Snook, who helped secure post office. Soon had a one-room school, a "masova schuza" (slaughterhouse), a cooperative store, and lodge for "Czechoslovak Benevolent Society". (FM 2155, Snook)
Snook Brethren Church
Address: P. O. Box 247, Snook, TX 77878; Phone: (409) 272-3303
Location: On FM 2155, 3/10 mile south of FM 60
Czech-Tex Steakhouse/Barbeque & Bakery
PO Box 539
Snook, TX 77878
Order online or call 800 324-1361 or fax 979 272-1228
Location: Tabor is on Farm Road 974 nine miles north of Bryan in northwestern Brazos County.
History: Maj. M. J. Tabor settled at the site in 1873, and by 1876 twelve families lived in the community. In 1884 a general store was built nearby, and in 1888 John Tabor opened a post office in the general store, giving his name to the post office and the community. The second floor of the general store was used for Woodmen of the World meetings and eventually as a dance hall and recreation center. The original settlers of Tabor were Bohemian, German, Anglo, and black; around 1900, Italian immigrants arrived at the community. Several local schools were consolidated with those of Tabor in 1915. In 1935 a five-room consolidated school in town served 126 white students, and four one-teacher schools outside of town served 159 black students. In 1940 the community reported thirty residents and four businesses; it also had a number of dwellings, a church, and a cemetery. In 1946 the Tabor School was consolidated with that of Kurten, and the school building was then used as a community center. The population of Tabor grew to 60 in 1950, 90 in 1965, and 150 in 1970. It was still reported at 150 in 1990.
Location: Taiton, also known as Tait, is on State Highway 71 eighteen miles northwest of Wharton in northwestern Wharton County.
History: It was first settled in 1886 and named Tait, probably for Charles William Tait of Colorado County, a prominent surgeon and member of the Texas legislature. In 1894 German and Czech immigrants arriving in the El Campo area in search of farmland settled in the community. When a post office was established in 1896, the town name was changed to Taiton. An early schoolhouse was replaced in 1901, when Ignace Jurasek donated land for a new school. B. E. Medina opened a general store, and a dance pavilion was operating by 1903. An increasing number of rice farmers and continued immigration brought the population to 800 by 1910. A Catholic church was built in 1911, but Taiton declined after 1915. Its post office was discontinued in the 1930s. In 1947 Taiton had the school, a church, two stores, and eighty residents. During the 1960s Taiton served an area of thirty-five square miles with a population of 325, though the community itself reported only twenty-four residents from 1968 through 1990.
Location: Taylor is at the intersections of the Missouri Pacific and the Missouri, Kansas and Texas lines and State Highway 95 and U.S. Highway 79, in southeastern Williamson County.
History: In 1876 the Texas Land Company auctioned lots in anticipation of the arrival of the International-Great Northern Railroad. Taylorsville (which officially became Taylor in 1892) was named after Edward Moses Taylor, a railroad official. An influx of settlers from Czechoslovakia and other Slavic states, as well as from Germany and Austria, helped establish the town. By 1878 the town had 1,000 residents.Two daily newspapers, as well as weekly German and Czech papers, were published. By 1940 the town had 7,875 residents and 225 businesses. The diverse population included people of English and Scots-Irish background, as well as Czechs, Germans, Swedes, Hispanics, and blacks. In the mid-1980s the population was about 57 percent Anglo, 25 percent Hispanic, and 18 percent black. Historical markers, a museum, and library archives reflected local participation in historic preservation. In 1990 the population of Taylor was 11,472.
Taylor Brethren Church
Address: 700 Sloan Street, Taylor, TX 76574; Phone: (512) 352-6423
Location: Five blocks north on Sloan Street off of State Hwy 79 West
300 W. Second, Taylor, 512/365-3722, 800/962-5706
Mon-Sat, 10am- 8pm; Sun, 10am- 2pm
All five of Rudy Mikeska's brothers have opened barbecue joints of their own in other parts of Texas. Called the "first family of Texas barbecue," the Mikeskas have been serving reliable barbecue for almost 50 years, passing the torch from one generation to the next. At the cafeteria-style restaurant in Taylor, Rudy Mikeska's offers the standard round of barbecue fare, plus a few extras, such as smoked mutton, roast beef, and smoked ham.
SPJST Czech Heritage Museum
Location: 520 N. Main St., Temple
Holdings: Czech contributions to the ethnic diversity of Texas are highlighted in a comprehensive exhibit at SPJST Insurance Co. Building. Preserved artifacts include 1530 Bible, 1895 handmade dulcimer and other antique musical instruments, clocks, colorful Old World costumes, and quilts more than 150 years old, Also extensive archives of Czech immigration to Texas. Open 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. weekdays. Phone 254-773-1575
Temple Brethren Church
Address: 2202 Bird Creek Drive, Temple, TX 76502; Phone: (254) 778-8759; Fax:(254) 778-1038 Location: South off of Loop 363 onto Bird Creek Drive. The church is one block behind the K-Mart Store, which is fronted by IH 35
Site of Velehrad School (14.9 mi. N of Hallettsville on Fm 957; 2.2 mi. NW on County Line Rd. to CR 253)
The Velehrad community was settled in the 1850s; the settlement was named Velehrad, or "Big Castle" for the Czech city of that name. The first marked burial in the local cemetery dates to 1855. From its earliest days, the community organized school classes in private homes. Children were taught in Czech because most area settlers were Czech immigrants. As the area population grew to 50 or 60 families, the settlers made plans to build a schoolhouse on land west of the cemetery. As was common, the one-room structure was placed on the lower part of the tract so that the building would be as close as possible to a water source. Classes were conducted in English when the school opened its doors about 1879. In 1887 school trustees sold off one acre of land which later became the site of S.P.J.S.T. Lodge Hall No. 19. By the turn of the 20th century, the area's population was growing. The Kahanek family operated a cotton gin just north of the school property in Fayette County. In 1924 the Velehrad School District traded land for 5.5 acres around their school that included the S.P.J.S.T. Lodge Hall property. The schoolhouse was moved onto the new land to be used as a vocational workshop, and a new two-room school with a stage was erected on the original part of the property to accommodate the increasing student population. Trustees added another room in the early 1930s. As the area population declined in the next decades, Velehrad School closed and its students were transferred to the Moravia School District No. 7. The Moravia District, in turn, closed to consolidate with Hallettsville schools in 1972. (1999)
Czech Heritage Festival October in Texas can be summed up in one word -- polka. As you can imagine, you'll hear a lot of it at this festival when the Czech heritage is celebrated in a big way. The event is held at the Sun Valley Ranch, Highway 87 N, but call for exact dates. 575-0820
Location: Vienna is on Farm Road 530 near the Navidad River ten miles east of Hallettsville in southeastern Lavaca County.
History: It was settled by Anglo-American planters in 1840. John Mixon established a store and post office and suggested the town's name. Gen. John W. Whitfield,qv one of the first settlers, organized Whitfield's Legion during the Civil War. In 1868 German and Bohemian immigrants settled along the river. Pat Carvell donated land for a school built in 1880, and Louis Teltschick built a gin and sawmill. On June 30, 1940, the Navidad overflowed and flooded all the buildings near its banks. In 1980 and 1990 the community reported a population of forty.
Location: Vilas is on Farm Road 2268 sixteen miles southeast of Temple in southeastern Bell County.
History: It was founded in the 1880s, most likely by Czech settlers, and a post office called Povilas functioned in the community from 1888 to 1906. In 1890 the settlement, by then called Vilas, had two general stores and two mills. By 1896 Vilas had Methodist, Baptist, and Disciples of Christ churches. The Vilas school had forty-nine pupils and one teacher in 1903. By the 1940s Vilas had shrunk to a small community of twenty-five inhabitants and the school. In 1964 the population had declined to ten residents in several scattered dwellings.
Location: Vsetin is at the intersection of Farm Road 2314 and county roads 138 and 142, six miles northeast of Hallettsville in northeastern Lavaca County.
History: The first Moravian settlers came here in 1876. Until the 1880s it remained in relatively large blocks divided among only a few owners. During the 1880s many small ethnic communities, among them Vsetin, sprang up in Lavaca County for immigrants from Bohemia and Moravia. The community developed around the Evangelical Unity of the Czech-Moravian Brethren Church, an independent Protestant congregation associated with the Unity of the Brethren. The church was first built in 1894; it was rebuilt in 1954 and has two cemeteries. The larger cemetery dates from 1888; the smaller first recorded a burial in 1895. Throughout the first half of the 1900s, cotton was the primary crop. However, with the local decline in cotton during the 1950s, most of the area land reverted to pasture, with some in cultivation for corn and hay. Vsetin is primarily an ethnic and religious community, and most business is conducted in nearby Hallettsville.
Vsetin Cemetery (from Hallettsville, take FM 2314 northeast about 5.6 miles to Vsetin Cemetery)
About 1865, newly arrived Czechoslovakian immigrants settled in this vicinity, named Sublime by earlier Irish immigrants. The Czech settlers began calling the community "Vsetin" in remembrance of the area in Austria from which they came. After working as sharecroppers for several years, most earned enough money to purchase their own farms. The settlers soon established a Czech Moravian Bretheren Church congregation and constructed a school here. The favorable reports the settlers sent back to Austria inspired a group of their relatives to immigrate in 1880. The Vsetin Cemetery was founded ten years later. It originated as a private cemetery for the Mikush family, who had arrived with the second migration. The first burial, that of six-week-old Valentine, the infant son of Martin and Veronica (Stasny) Mikush, took place in 1890 when this property was part of a farm owned by Martin and Katerina Sralla. The graveyard later evolved into a community burial ground, and in 1927 the Vsetin Cemetery Association was established to maintain it. The Vsetin Cemetery continues to serve as a tangible reminder of the area's early permanent settlers.
Guardian Angel Catholic Church
Registry: National Register of Historic Places
Wall Brethren Church
Address: P. O. Box 195, Wall, TX; Phone: (915) 651-4444
Location: On State Hwy 87 (business) between the post office
Site of St. Mary's Catholic Church and Cemetery (miles south of Waller on FM 362)
The first of many Czech immigrants to settle this area purchased from Galveston developer E.H. Fordtran in 1891. Four Czech families founded St. Mary's Catholic Church in 1892. The first recorded burial here, on land donated by Frank Divin, Sr., was that of Antone Blinka in 1893. The Rev. A. Laska established the site as a Catholic cemetery and in 1895 the church built a sanctuary on four adjoining acres. The community faltered after the devastating storm of 1900. The church closed in 1947. St. Martin de Parres Church in Prairie View took over the cemetery's care in 1977
Location: Wallis is at the junction of the Southern Pacific and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroads ten miles southeast of Sealy in extreme southeastern Austin County.
History: Anglo-American settlement on the narrow strip of land west of the Brazos and east of the San Bernard River began in the late 1830s. The community was first known as Bovine Bend. After 1880, when the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway constructed its Galveston-Brenham spur through the vicinity, the settlement became known as Wallis Station, in honor of J. E. Wallis, director of the Gulf, Colorado, and Santa Fe. Beginning around 1890 a number of Czech immigrants took up residence in the area, coming from Fayette County. The area they first settled in was called Krasna (beautiful). It was located about 3 miles southeast of Wallis in Fort Bend County. They planned to build a Catholic Church, school, and cemetery. Only the cemetery remains. The community moved to Wallis where the Catholic Church dedicated to The Guardian Angel was built in 1900. The present Church located at 5610 Demel Street is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. In 1904 the population was an estimated 631. In 1925 the population was 800, and in 1943 the town had 900. The population declined to an estimated 690 in 1949 but began to climb thereafter, reaching an estimated 1,075 in 1966. By 1975 the town had eight churches, two schools, a bank, a public library, and a weekly newspaper, the Wallis News Review. According to the U.S. Census, the population was 1,311 in 2000. The original town site has been preserved as an antique shopper’s delight.
Guardian Angel Catholic Church (5610 Demel St., Wallis)
This congregation was organized in 1892 by several Czech families who had relocated from Fayette County, Texas, to an area about 3 miles southeast of Wallis, Texas. The congregation held services in the Krasna School building which was located on four acres donated by Francis V. Smid in 1892. At the suggestion of the bishop of the Diocese of Galveston, church members erected a sanctuary in 1899 at a site closer to the railroad at Wallis. The congregation held their first services on Easter Sunday and named their church "Guardian Angel." The church building was destroyed in the storm of 1900, but rebuilt in 1904 after a determined effort by the small congregation. The Rev. Frank Machan became the first full-time pastor in 1909. In 1913 a new Gothic-style sanctuary was built at this site to accommodate a growing congregation. In 1914 a school was established with an enrollment of 64 students. By 1933 the school consisted of six teachers and 170 students and the parish had grown to 300 families. The congregation serves the community of Wallis and a number of rural communities in the area with a variety of outreach programs. (1995)The church continues to be an important element of the area's heritage. Sesquicentennial of Texas Statehood 1845-1995
St. Martin's Catholic Church
Location: on Farm Road 237, near LaGrange
Note: World's smallest Catholic church. The interior is less than 25 feet long and 15 feet wide.. On each sise of the center aisle, there are six little wooden benches without backs. The gravestones in the neatly kept little cemetery behind the church carries names of some of the early Czech families that have meant so much in Texas over the years. Some of the stones marked the graves of men who had fought for the US in world War I or in world War II. Czech is the language on some of the gravestones.
St. Michael's Church
St. Michael's Catholic Cemetery
Location: Wesley is at the intersection of Farm roads 2502 and 332, eight miles southwest of Brenham in southwestern Washington County
History: In 1859 Josef Masik founded the first Czech school in Texas in the Czech settlement of Veseli near the Austin County border. Veseli, meaning joyous, was later anglicized to Wesley. Rev. Josef Opocensky organized the first Czech Protestant and Moravian Brethren congregation in North America in 1864 at Veseli, which became a supply center by 1866. The Wesley Brethren church, erected in 1886, served as a school between 1866 and 1900 and as a museum by 1989. In 1867 the first Czech reading club in Texas and a post office were established. In 1889 Pastor Bohuslav Emil Lacjak painted designs on the church interior. Wesley was the site of a Czech Brethren state convention in 1893. The population was 318 in 1890, 200 in 1930, and sixty by 1959. The Wesley Brethren Church has been restored and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Wesley also had a new church serving the Brethren congregation, the Brethren cemetery, and several residences in 1988. No commercial establishments remain there. In 1990 the population was still reported as sixty.
Wesley Brethren Church
Address: Route 3, Brenham, TX 77833 ; Phone: (409) 836-0672
Location: North of FM 2502 at Wesley, which is ten miles southwest of Brenham
Date Built: 1866
Date Painted: 1889
Artist: Rev. Bohuslav Laciak (pastor)
Czechs flooded into central Texas during the late 19th century because America was the "Land of Opportunity.” Texas had plenty of land, and that appealed to Czechs, who were mostly poor farmers. West coalesced into a town as a rail stop in 1883 when the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad reached central Texas. Named after a local businessman, Thomas M. West, the town grew rapidly. Gradually, some of the Czech newcomers began opening shops in town—meat markets, restaurants, and bakeries. West became a town where Tex-Czech culture thrived. Today, at least 75 percent of the population can trace its family back to the former Czechoslovakia.
West (110 N. Reagan at City Hall, West)
This community traces its origin to the establishment by entrepreneur Thomas M. West of a stagecoach stop, dry goods store and post office here in the late 1860s. Known as the Bold Springs Settlement, these commercial structures were built on a section of the "Dallas Road" leading to West's ranch property. Early Anglo-American settlers were soon drawn to the area by its abundance of good water and the availability of rich wooded prairie blacklands. In 1880 the Missouri, Kansas, & Texas (Katy) Railroad erected a depot at Bold Springs and in 1882 the name of the community was changed to West in honor of Thomas West. The coming of the railroad and the emergence of cotton production in the 1880s attracted many Czech and German immigrants to this area. By 1900 the town had become the economic and cultural center of the thriving farming region of north-eastern McLennan County. The community soon added its first newspaper, bank, volunteer fire department, and its first block of brick buildings. By 1910 West was a bustling town of about 2000 people. Since then the community has experienced slow but steady growth. Westfest, an annual event since 1976, celebrates the community's Czech heritage.
West Brethren Church (901 N. Marable)
Czech immigrants began settling in this area of McLennan County about 1875. Early families included those of Josef Masek and John Foit. They attended St. Peter's Evangelical Church, founded and attended by German settlers, until the Rev. Henry Juren began conducting services in the Czech Moravian Brethren tradition. At his first service in 1888, the Rev. Mr. Juren baptized infant H. E. Beseda, who later became a minister himself. The Rev. Adolph Chlumsky formally organized the West Brethren Church in June 1892. He traveled from his farm in Brenham by railroad about six times a year to conduct services. A choir was active from the congregation's early days, as were the youth of the church. The Krestanske Sestry (Christian Sisters) was organized in 1893 with 26 members. In 1894, church trustees bought three acres east of town and built a church for one thousand dollars and donated labor. The building was dedicated in 1896. There were about fifty communicants by the turn of the 20th century. Among them were families named Adam, Barton, Beseda, Foit, Hegar, Janek, Kudelka and Svacek. The Mutual Aid Society of the Brethren Church organized in 1905. Mrs. Anna Urbanovsky donated a tract of land for a cemetery in 1908. The church building was severely damaged in a 1919 windstorm. It was replaced in 1920 and served until July 1956, when it was replaced by a modern brick facility with a sanctuary seating 220, a large fellowship hall and ten classrooms. A part of the community for more than a century, West Brethren Church continues to offer a variety of worship and educational programs. (2000)
First Presbyterian Church of West (310 Pine St. (Corner of Davis & Pine))
The Rev. D.C. Kinnard began the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in 1875. The first building on this site was erected in 1883. Walter Bennett Martin constructed the present building in1901. Czechs organized a presbyterian church in 1911 and held separate services in their own language. In 1921 the Cumberland Presbyterian Church became the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. The Czechs United with the congregation in 1953. St. Peter's United Church of Christ merged with fellowship in 1966 to form first United Church of West.
Saint Mary's Cemetery (From West, take main St. South from center of town one mile, to Cemetery Rd, go east; marker is 1 mile down road)
Early Catholic settlers northern Mcleannan County worshipped at St. Martin's Church in Tours, five miles southeast of present West. Aftermore immigrant Catholic families of Czech, Moravian, Slovak, and German origin moved to the area in the late 19th century, a New Parish was established in West. St. Mary's church of the assumption was built in 1892, andin 1893 Joseph and Maria Hromadka sold land at this site to the atholic Diocese for developement as a cemetery are those of Vaclav Masek (1838-1892) and Mary Cocek (1875-1893) Among the more than 2,700 persons buried here are pioneer settlers, immigrants, military veterans, members of several genertions of some families, and priests who have served St. Mary's parish. The Rev. Monsigor Joseph Plenar (1865-1940), who led the Parish for forty years, is buried beneath the large stone cross in the western section of the graveyard. Many of the graves are marked with distinctive marble tombstones or metal ornamentation; a large number number of inscriptions and Epitaphs are in the Czech Language. The cemtery serves as a visible image of the area's rich cultural history.
Church of the Assumption (300 S. Harrison)
This congregation orginated as part of earlier church in Martinville (new tours). After the Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railroad came through the area about 1890, church members in west received permission from the Bishop to erect their own sanctuary in1892. The Rev. John Geleissner served as first Pator of the New Church. Masses were conducted in Latin, but the Czech language was also used in services. The orginial wooden building, destroyed by fire in March 1903, was replaced by a brick sanctuary that same yer. It was replaced by a third structure in 1956.
West Fest, Labor Day weekend (September)
The Czechoslovakian Folk Dancers of West
Organized in 1976 by Maggie Grmela. The group, which now consists of 20 adults and 15 children, has performed throughout Texas and Oklahoma, at Florida’s Disney World and—in a trip no participant will ever forget—in Czechoslovakia.
Location: Wharton, the county seat of Wharton County, is on the east bank of the lower Colorado River, forty-five miles from the Gulf of Mexico.
History: It was part of the Caney Run mail route established by the Republic of Texas in 1838. The plantation community was first settled in 1846 by some of Stephen F. Austin's original colonists, and a post office was established in 1847. Early settlers came from Alabama, Kentucky, Virginia, Georgia, and Mississippi. Jewish immigrants, arriving as early as the 1850s, established additional businesses and began the Congregation Shearith Israel, the only synagogue in a three-county area. Other settlers in the community included Swiss, German, Mexican, and Czech immigrants and descendants of plantation slaves. The population of Wharton was about 200 in the early 1880s. The population increased to 1,689 in 1900 and 2,346 in 1920. The city was incorporated in 1902. The city experienced its greatest growth during the 1930s, increasing from 2,261 in 1930 to 4,386 in 1940. The town's population reached 5,734 in 1960 and 7,881 in 1970. In the 1980s Academy Award-winning screenwriter Horton Foote, a descendant of Lieutenant Governor Horton, lived in Wharton. The Wharton County Historical Museum is located in the community, which had a population of 9,033 in 1980 and 9,011 in 1990.
Location: Wied is on Farm Road 1891 just north of U.S. Highway 90A, midway between Hallettsville and Shiner in west central Lavaca County.
History: The first settlers in the area were John Smeathers, who arrived in 1832, and Francis Smith, who arrived in 1835. Soon after Texas independence Anthony Brown and Moses Mitchell joined them. By 1873 German immigrants had replaced most of the original occupants and divided the ranches into farms. A community with a blacksmith shop, a store, and a cotton gin developed on land owned by the Wied brothers and took their name. Czech immigrants arriving in the 1880s and 1890s soon balanced the German population. By 1919 there were enough Czech Catholics to build St. Ludmilla's Catholic Church. Wied had a population peak at 100 and three businesses in the early 1940s. From 1968 to 1990 the population of Wied was sixty-five. In 1987 a community hall and large commercial nursery marked the site of the community.
Location: Witting is at the intersection of Lavaca County Road 277 and Farm Road 340, midway between Hallettsville and Moulton in northwestern Lavaca County.
History: On September 15, 1831, Edwin Richeson, a member of Green DeWitt's Gonzales colony, received a land grant from the Mexican government between Smeathers Creek and the south bank of the Lavaca River. Following the Civil War much of the land became small farms, and German immigrants began replacing the earlier Anglo-American residents. A community with a store operated by H. Barbade, a blacksmith shop, and a cotton gin grew near the center of Richeson's grant and was named for George Witting, a large landowner. In 1880 the settlement acquired a post office, which continued in operation until 1906. In 1896 the German Schuetzen-Verein built a community hall, and by 1928 there were enough residents to build and support a German Lutheran church. A Catholic church followed in 1944 for the growing Czech population. By 1950 Witting had seventy residents. A decline in cotton production during the 1950s signaled a decline in the community. By 1987 only one business remained, supported by a population of ninety and a strong sense of community. In 1990 the population was still ninety.
Location: Worthing is near the intersection of U.S. highways 90A and 77A, four miles west of Hallettsville in central Lavaca County.
History: On May 8, 1832, John Smeathers, a member of DeWitt's colony, received a grant to lands on Smeathers and Rocky creeks from the Mexican government. Francis Smith, whose grant joined his on the west, followed him on March 23, 1835. During and after the Civil War much of this land became small farms, and German and Czech immigrants began replacing earlier Anglo-American ranchers. In 1882 Joe Orsak built a cotton gin, and A. H. Worthing built a store to serve the farmers. Worthing's store became a post office that year, and the community took his name. The post office functioned until 1906. By 1887 the Czechs had built the Vseyhrad (High Castle) school a mile north of Worthing's store. By 1919 the St. Augustine Catholic Church was built. By 1950 Worthing had a population of forty. By 1987 no businesses remained, although the community claimed a population of about fifty-five. In 1990 the population was still fifty-five.
Ruins of Brushy Creek Church (US 111, Yoakum city limit - east side, Yoakum)
On 50-acre site donated 1868 for church and school purposes by John H. and Stephen Dunn, in large Irish and Czech Catholic area near the post road trading station of Bovine. It was 1876-1912 Church of St. Joseph's Parish, founded in 1860s by Father John Anthony Forest (1838-1911), third bishop (1895-1911), Diocese of San Antonio. Parishioners built church 1869-76 of stone from Muldoon, East Texas milled pine, and hand-hewn logs. Blacksmiths made nails and hinges on the site. Floor was of hard-packed, mortared clay. On August 26, 1912, last Mass was said here; church burned in 1932. 1973
Location: Zabcikville is at the intersection of Farm roads 2269 and 437, ten miles east of Temple in eastern Bell County.
History: It was founded on Possum Creek by John Zabcik and other Czech families in the early twentieth century. In 1940 Zabcikville had sixty inhabitants and three businesses. The community peaked at eighty inhabitants and four businesses in 1949, then declined to thirty-eight inhabitants by 1990.
Zapalac was an unincorporated farming community with indefinite boundaries on State Highway 71 between Halstead and Ellinger in eastern Fayette County. It was probably named for Pavel P. Zapalac or other members of his family who resided there in 1884. There was no post office, and the community did not constitute a voting precinct. Residents attended school and church at nearby Joiner, Halstead, Fayetteville, Ross Prairie, or Ellinger.
"ZAPALAC, TX." The Handbook of Texas Online. <
Location: Zipperlandville, also called Zipperlen or Zipperlenville, is a small community located five miles west of Rosebud on State Highway 53 in southern Falls County.
History: The area was settled in the 1870s by immigrants of German, Yugoslavian, and Czech descent. The town was named for the Zipperlen family, who bought a gin in 1925 and built a store in 1928. A school and several scattered houses marked the town on county highway maps in the 1940s. Only one business appeared on county maps in the 1980s, and no population estimates were available.
I am hoping to find more history of the communities of Texas to add to this list. If you have additional information on these or other Czech communities, please forward to .