Austin County 

 

Czech Migration

The following was published as the lead article in Volume I of a series of books published by the Texas Czech Genealogical Society in 2005 and 2007 titled “Czech Family Histories.”

AN ACCOUNT

OF

THE FIRST GROUP MIGRATIONS OF CZECHS TO TEXAS

by

 James Woodrick

pages 11 - 19

Later in 1854 the “WESER” brought another group of Czech and Polish families to

Texas, landing in Galveston on December 3. Czechs included Franz Blaha and family,

Ferd. Dubsky, Maria Kotulla, Jan Kovajan and family, Franz Maniko, Jos. Matchotka,

Franz Strade and John Zvolanek, his wife Amalia and daughter. Zvolanek was an

ordained minister and a medical doctor. He first settled in San Falipe where he practiced

medicine. In 1855 he began serving the early Protestant Czech settlers of the Ross Prairie

(near Frelsburg) area as their preacher, leading certainly the first services spoken in

Czech in Texas and perhaps the U.S.A. The Polish families founded the town of Panna

Maria in Karnes County.

On June 3, 1855, the Bremen brig “WESER” under Captain Vespermann landed in

Galveston with a group of 13 Czech families primarily from the Vsetin area of eastern

Moravia. Also on this voyage were 15 Polish families. The Czechs included:

Vychopen, Joseph (3 persons) Ratibor

Hribek, Paul (5 persons) Vsetin

Bubela, Johann (6 persons) Vsetin

Baletka, Johann (3 persons) Ratibor

Balousek, Johann (5 persons) Ratibor

Slovacek, Joseph (6 persons) Jasenka

Kotrla, Paul (3 persons) Jasenka

Cunek, Martin Vstein

Mazac, Joseph (5 persons) Vsetin

Simara, Stephan (5 persons) Vsetin

Prozlednik, Joseph (3 persons) Vsetin

Krenek, Michel (2 persons) Vikantice

Krenek, Martin (2 persons) Vicantice

The Bremen bark “VOV VIENKE” arrived in Galveston on June 14, 1855, with 20

Czech families listed as from Moravia and believed to be part of the same group that

arrived 10 days earlier on the “WESER”. These families included:

Siptak, John (3)

Stepan, Martin (4)

Barkzak, Stephan and wife

Dubcak, John and wife

Baletka, John (3)

Mikus, John and wife

Elsik, Joseph (4)

Baluosek, John (5)

Kovar, Thomas (5)

Sebesta, Thomas (5)

Svadlenak, Paul

Zapalac, John (8)

Holec, Martin (6)

Zapalac, John and wife

Jecmenek, Joseph (5)

Roznoviak, John (3)

Voytek, Martin (3)

Galda (Kulda ?), Paul (6)

Branecky, Joseph

Rubac, Martin (3)

Four Czech immigrants arrived in Galveston on July 4, 1855 on the Bremen bark

“FRANCISCH”. All are listed as from Bohemia and included Vincenz Marek (2

persons), Cathrine Ripple and Anna Pechacek.

A Shiller family connection is believed to have sparked emigration of a large

number of Czechs from eastern Moravia. Among the passengers of the bark MARIA

were Josef Shiller and his sister Rosina, wife of Josef Jezek. They had a sister Anna Silar

who married Petr Mikeska, owner of the flour mill at Zadverice. Letters were exchanged

between these siblings, and a group of Mikeska's and others from Zadverice soon

followed to Texas, with Petr Mikeska and family arriving in 1855. This Shiller

connection is further reinforced by the recollections of Clara Reymershoffer, an early

Czech immigrant to Texas, who wrote (in "Hospodar", 1907, Volume XVIII, Number 1,

page 93): "There was a miller lady in Zadverice who had a sister in Texas, but since

neither of them could read or write, their correspondence was carried out by Rev.

Bergmann here in Texas and by my father in Moravia. In those letters Rev. Bergmann,

and especially Mrs. Bergmann, spoke so well of Texas that my parents gave priority to

Texas even though a Mr. Majer from St. Louis did not speak well of Texas." The

Reymershoffer, Kristofek, Kasparek and Rudlof families left Moravia in September,

1854, for Texas. Several other families from the Vsetin region in Moravia came to Texas

in 1855. They included three Mikeska families, Sebesta, Rubac, Roznovjek, Mikus, and

other families. They arrived in Cat Springs and then spread to communities in Austin and

Colorado Counties.

The Reverend Bergman and Josef Lesikar, both of whom were prolific writers,

continued their correspondence to Europe about the opportunities in Texas, and thus

encouraged many more Czechs to come to Texas. Many more did indeed come in the

period between 1855 and 1861, from both Cechy and Moravia. Among the Czechs who

came to the Cat Spring area during this period were Jan Reimershoffer, Josef Masik,

Bohumil Kolacny, Jakub Pachr and many others. A relatively large group of Czechs,

mostly from Moravia, reached Texas in 1860 on the JEVERLAND. Many of these

people settled in Fayette County. The outbreak of the Civil War in 1861 virtually

stopped any immigration from Europe to Texas until the war ended in 1865.

The greatest influx of Czechs to Texas was after the Civil War. The majority of

these new settlers came from Moravia. Among those who located in Austin County,

many were from Zadverice; but Vsetin, Frydek-Mistek, Jemnice, Chotebudice and other

areas were also well represented. The community of Nelsonville in Austin County

became a popular place of residence with the Czechs during this period. Many children

was the norm for Texas Czech families at that time, and as the second generation children

came of age many moved away from their homes in Austin, Fayette and Colorado

Counties to other parts of Texas in search of new lands to farm. The following chart

shows the growth of Czech population in Austin County from 1850 to 1900.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

NOTE: This origin of this document was prepared as the basis for a ten-minute

presentation at the CZECH SYMPOSIUM, Temple, Texas, October 28, 1977, by Houston

residents and prominent Texas Czech historians John T. Kroulik , PhD (then retired U. S.

Army bacteriologist), Mrs. Guy Oliphint (then Executive Assistant of Denka Chemical

Corporation) and Albert J. Blaha, Sr. , B.S. (then Assistant Construction Manager of

International Products Petroleum and Chemical Group). An early version was printed in

“Czech Immigration Passenger Lists – Volume 1” by Leo Baca. It was revised by John

Kroulik in the late 1980’s and has been expanded by James V. Woodrick after 1989 to

include new information from a number of sources, especially from Frantisek Silar of the

Czech Republic and Albert Blaha, who compiled Czech immigrant lists from mid-1850s

ship arrivals.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

APPENDIX I

List of Czech Passengers on the MARIA Roster as Compiled in Liverpool, England.

AGE AGE

1) Johann Szornowsky 38 10) Josef Maresh 30

Rosalie Szornowsky 36 Theresa Maresh 24

Johanna Szornowsky 12 Vincenc Maresh 3

2) **Johannah Shiller 53? Frantiska Maresh Infant

*Bernard Shiller 22 11) *Josef Shiller 42

3) *Johann Shiller 35 Ann Shiller 42

Rosalia Shiller 34 Johann(ah?) Shiller 8

Rosalie Shiller Infant Vincenc Shiller 13

Vincent Shiller 6 Franz Shiller 6

Ann Shiller 3 Teresie Shiller Infant

4) Josef Jezek 26 Ann Shiller 10

Rosine Jezek 30 Rosalie Shiller 2

Rosalie Jezek Infant 12) Wenzel Motyl 34

Josef Jezek 6 Ann Motyl 31

5) Josef Leshikar 35 Josef Motyl 6

Ann Leshikar 37 Ann Motyl 4

Vincenc Leshikar 10 Rosalie Infant

+Josef Leshikar 9 13) Johann Rosler 46

++Theresa Leshikar 4 Karoline Rosler 29

Anna Leshikar Infant Ferdinand Rosler 5

6) Josef Rypl 24 Johann(ah) Rosler 3

*Ann Rypl 31 Vedielin Rosler Infant

Vincenc Rypl 2 Wendlin Rosler 54

Anna or Josef Rypl Infant 14) Josef Rypl (alone) 26

7) *Vincenc Shiller 26 15) Johann Coufal 31

Ann Shiller 26 Veronika Coufal 30

Josef Shiller 2 Vincenc Coufal 7

8) *Carl Shiller 33 Anna Coufal Infant

Ann Shiller 28 16) Anton Votava 55

Johann Shiller 2 Antonia Votava 48

Anna Shiller 6 Vincenc Votava 22

9) Josef Shiller 45 Rosalie Votava 17

*Rosalie Shiller 39 Franciska Votava 16

Vincenz Shiller 13 17) Josef Shiller 29

Josef Shiller 10 *Theresa Shiller 21

Ann Shiller 9 Anna Shiller Infant

NOTE: Asterisk (*) denotes children of Johanna Shiller

+ later raised by Palm family (became Joseph Palm)

++ later raised by Schneider's, married Herman Sens

The MARIA passengers in greater detail, as researched by Frantisek Silar,

follows:

1. Johanna SHILLER widow of Pavel Shiller from Nepomuky No. 3, daughter of

Vojtecha Balcar from Cermna 174, born 8 September 1790.

Bernard SHILLER her single son, born 8 November 1829.

2. Jan SHILLER from Nepomuky No. 3, son of Pavel and Johanna Shiller, born

15 February 1816.

Rosalie SHILLER wife, daughter of Josef Jezek from Cermna 307, 34 years, and

children:

Rosalie SHILLER born 2 September 1850

Vincenc SHILLER born 14 December 1844

Anna SHILLER born 23 July 1848

3. Johann SZORNOWSKY

Rosalie Szornowsky

Johanna Szornowsky

4. Josef JEZEK from Cermna No. 324, age 26

Rozina JEZEK wife, nee Shiller from Nepomuky No. 29, age 30, and children:

Rosalie JEZEK

Josef JEZEK 6 years

5. Josef LESIKAR from Cermna No. 307, son of Frantisek Lesikar and Veronica

Dusek, cousin of Josef Lidumil Lesikar, born 11 September 1816.

Anna LESIKAR wife, daughter of Josef Jezek from Cermna No. 307, age 35, and

children:

Vincenc LESIKAR born 8 April 1845

Josef LESIKAR born 12 January 1841

Teresie LESIKAR born 8 February 1843

Anna LESIKAR born 18 June 1847

6. Anton VOTAVA Nepomuky, 55 years

Anna VOTAVA wife, age 48 , and children:

Vincenc VOTAVA age 22

Rosalie VOTAVA age 17

Frantiska VOTAVA age 16

7. Josef RYPL Nepomuky No. 19, born 14 May 1827

Ann RYPL, daughter of Pavel and Johanna Shiller from Nepomuky No. 3, born 22 June

1820, and children:

Vincenc RYPL born 3 February 1849

Anna RYPL born 5 July 1851

Josef RYPL born 5 July 1851

8. Josef SHILLER Nepomuky No. 7, born 16 AUG 1830

Teresie SHILLER wife, daughter of Pavel and Johanna Shiller from Nepomuky No. 3,

born 5 OCT 1822, and child:

Anna SHILLER born 8 June 1850

9. Vincenc SHILLER son of Pavel and Johanna Shiller from Nepomuky No. 3,

born 22 MAY 1825.

Anna SHILLER wife, Nepomuky No. 6, born 20 NOV 1826, and children:

Josef SHILLER age 2

Vincenc SHILLER born 20 DEC 1850

10. Karel SHILLER Nepomuky No. 12, son of Pavel and Johanna Shiller, born 15

JUN 1818.

Anna SHILLER wife, nee Rypl, born 14 MAR 1824, and children:

Jan SHILLER born 16 JAN 1850

Anna SHILLER born 9 OCT 1845

11. Josef RYPL Nepomuky, born 30 OCT 1826

12. Josef SHILLER Nepomuky No. 3, son of Pavel Shiller and Kateriny Markove

from Nepomuky No. 7, born 24 SEP 1805

Rosalie SHILLER wife, daughter of Pavel and Johanna Shiller from Nepomuky No. 3,

born 30 MAR 1812, and children:

Vincenc SHILLER born 28 JAN 1837

Josef SHILLER born 20 APR 1839

Anna SHILLER born 18 MAY 1841

13. Josef MARES Cermna No. 140, age 30

Teresie MARES wife, nee Shiller, age 24, and children:

Vincenc MARES age 3

Frantiska MARES ---

14. Josef SHILLER Albrectice, son of Pavel and Johanna Shiller, Nepomuky No. 3,

born 14 MAR 1810.

Anna SHILLER second wife, nee RYPL, Nepomuky No.15, born 6 AUG 1817, and

children:

Jan SHILLER born 20 AUG 1843

Vincenc SHILLER born 18 MAR 1838

Frantisek SHILLER born 1 NOV 1845

Teresie SHILLER born 24 JAN 1851

Anna SHILLER born 8 NOV 1839

Rosalie SHILLER born 6 JAN 1849

15. Vaclav MOTL Cermna, born 1817

Anna MOTL wife, nee Shiller from Nepomuky No.17, born 1820, and children:

Josef MOTL age 6

Anna MOTL age 4

Rosalie MOTL ---

16. Jan RESLER Dolni Hermanice, age 46

Karolina RESLER wife, age 29, and children:

Ferdinand RESLER age 5

Jan RESLER age 3

Vendelin RESLER ---

17. Jan COUFAL Cermna No. 234, born 1820

Veronika COUFAL wife, nee Lesikar from Herbortice, born 1821, and children:

Vincenc COUFAL born 1844

Jan COUFAL born 1846

Anna COUFAL born 1849

 

APPENDIX II

Bark SUWA - Captain D. Schwarz

Left Bremerhaven Nov. 11, 1853

Arrived Galveston Dec. 23, 1853

84 Entries 206 Persons

New Braunfels Zeitung 13.1.1854

PASSENGER LIST

Bano, Heinrich - from Berlin

Bode, Joachim - from Berlin

Brunner, Johann- from Dresden

Bunte, Family - from Braunschweig, 7 persons

Carstens, Maria - from Oldenburg

Caufel, Amalie - from Vienna

Crach, Gustav - from Kassel, 5 persons

Diedrich, Maria - from Kassel

Dreves, Carl - from Berlin

Ezermack, Franz - from Vienna, 3 persons

Grote, F. W. - from Berlin

Hartman, Wilh, and Dor. - from Hanover

Heine, Fried. - from Hannover

Herzger, Edward - from Dresden

Hochen, Heinrich - from Hannover

Hopper, Heinrich - from Hannover

Huber, Christian - from Wittenberg

Janecek, Wenzel and Anna - from Vienna

Jires, Family - from Vienna, 3 persons

Juergens, Eriedrich - from Hannover

Junk, Sigismund - from Berlin

Kaule, Gotthelf - from Berlin

Kittel, Hernlan and Christiane - from Berlin

Klein, Family - from Berlin, 5 persons

Klober, Susanna - from Darmstadt, 5 persons

Klunker, Family - from Berlin, 3 persons

Kohl, Louis and Wilhme.- from Altenburg

Kroalik, Johann and Anna - from Vienna (mother and son)

Leschikar, Family -from Vienna,11 persons (2 families)

Lohmalln, Friedke - from Berlin

Lubbbert, Wilh. - from Detmold

Maak,Dorothea - from Berlin

Mandel, Family - from Hannover, 5 persons

Maresch, Family - from Vienna, 6 persons

Meier, Heinrlch - from Hannover

Mittler, Johann F. - from Munich

Moeller, Johann - from Berlin

Moreck, Franz - from Vienna

Muschke, Gustav - from Berlin

Ober, Philip - from Berlin

Obermeier, Johann H. - from Berlin

Ochs, Family - from Kassel, 4 persons

Paulicec, Franz - from Vienna

Pechack, Family - from Vienna, 9 persons

Peglich, Johann - from Cassel

Plasmann, Louise and 2 children - from Berlin

Pommervenke, Wilh. - from Dresden

Puls, F. and Friedke - from Berlin

Rabe, Johanna - from Braunschweig

Rausch, Hein. and Cath. - from Cassel

Rebentisch, C. F. - from Cassel

Reifer, Emil - from Cassel

Ribbel, Franziska - from Vienna

Rieke, Johann - from Berlin

Riemenschneider, Val. - from Cassel

Rippel, Franz - from Vienna

Rittel, Herman and Christianae - from Berlin

Ruprecht, Robert - from Berlin

Ruschek, Franz and Mariane - from Vienna

Sattler, Wilh. - from Berlin

Schaper, Christian - from Hannover

Schilde, J. G. - from Berlin

Schiller, Family - from Vienna, 38 persons

Schmldkamp, Bernh. - from Berlin

Schneider, Family - from Berlin, 8 persons

Schoke, Wilh. - from Hannover

Schulze, Johanna - from Berlin

Scheen, F. - from Hannover

Segger, Fried. - from Hannover

Selzack, Johann and Anna - from Vienna

Sieghorst, Carl L. - from Berlin

Slege, Hinerich - from Hannover

Soellner, Dor. - from Berlin

Strunke, Hein. and Johanna - from Berlin

Taiber, Joseph and Cath. - from Vienna

Tiekoetter, Family - from Berlin, 4 persons

Tresimer, Carl - from Berlin

Veinhorn, Family - from Hannover, 6 persons

Voessek, August - from Berlin

Vogt, Wilg. and Henriette - from Berlin

Wiegel, Christian - from Braunschweig

Wittbecker, Wilh. - from Berlin

Zachas, Joseph - from Vienna

Bark SUWA Surnames of the Czechs

Caufel - Coufal

Czernak - Cermak

Janecek - Janecek

Jirasch - Jires

Kroalik - Kroulik

Leschikar - Lesikar (Leshikar)

Maresch - Mares (Maresh)

Moreck - Marek

Paulicec - Pavlicek

Pechack - Pechacek

Ribbel - Rypl (Ripple)

Rippel - Rypl (Ripple)

Ruschek - Not Verified

Sachasch - Not Verified

Schiller - Silar (Shilar, Shiller)

Selzack - Slezak

Taiber - Tauber

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