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Perkins and Chase Counties--1880

   Czechs began to settle in Perkins County in 1880 and suffered great hardship. The women and children stayed on claims while the men went one hundred miles, sometimes afoot, to get work in the east, on railroad construction. The women yoked a pair of oxen to a wagon, put a barrel in it and went as far as eight miles for water, getting it usually from a creek. The barrel was covered, to keep out the dust, and the water used for drinking purposes. There were no stores, but a certain farmer kept flour and groceries. One Bohemian woman had four little children and as her husband was absent, she used to walk sixteen miles for provisions. She had to take her baby along and thus proceed on her dreary journey. In summer, under scorching skies, the trip was severe.

   John Nehriva, born in Ketkovice, Moravia, came in 1880, with his wife, born Marie Svoboda. Both died in 1924.

   In that year, too, came John Teply, born in Hartikovice, Moravia, with his family. He died too in 1924.

Mrs. Frances Vancura

   In 1893 when Mrs. Frances Vancura, now living in Elsie, came with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Krchal and the families of Joseph and John Novacek (twenty-three in all), there were about forty Czech families living in the vicinity, mostly in sod houses. That spring Mrs. Vancura saw corn piles about each farm, proving that the year preceding (1892) must have been productive. People were gay, especially the young folks, who often swept a space before the sod house, sprinkled it with water to lay the dust, and to the sounds of an accordion made merry with dancing. The year 1893 was not so good, 1894 meant a total failure, 1895 brought drouth and people suffered terribly. Homesteads were being opened in Oklahoma, North Dakota and Canada and many left, only twelve families remaining. At the present time there are about twenty-five families living in the vicinity.

Stanton County--1880

   The settlement here is really a part of that in Colfax County and is situated in the southern half, in the vicinity of Haymow and Stanton. A great many Czechs living here have as their postoffice address Howell and Clarkson, in Colfax County. The colony about Haymow consists of settlers who originally located in Dodge and Cuming Counties. The first to settle here were Vaclav Hobl, born in Kutna Hora, Caslav, who came in 1880.

   In 1881 came Charles Svoboda, born in Frysava, Nove Mesto, who later lived in Clarkson.

   Soon after that came the following and were the nucleus of the colony:

   Anton Soucek, born in Chotovice, Litomysle; Anton Kubik, Zderaz, Skuc; Joseph and Frank Tejkl, Bystrce, Lanskroun; Frank Pekny, Veseli, Tabor; Anton Urbanek, Bystrce, Lanskroun; Joseph Valla, born in Wisconsin; Alexander Hampl, Frenstat, Novy Jicin; Frank Bartak, Barchovice, Kourim.

Holt County--1880

   A large percentage of the early settlers in this county came from Colfax County.

Mr. and Mrs. John Zahradnicek

1880--The Following Came:

   In May of that year John Zahradnicek (born in V. Rimov, Trebic), John Coufal (Pribyslavice, Trebic) and Frank Dvorak (Lipnik, Hrotovice), all came from Colfax County and took up land. They went back to Colfax County and on their return were accompanied by J. Zeman (Pribyslavice, Trebic). These then were the first Czech settlers in Holt County. In this year too the following settled here: John Nozicka (Budisov, Trebic), Fr. Blazek (Predni Lhota, Caslav) and Joseph Horacek (born Dec. 11, 1856, now living in Belgrade, Nance County).

   In 1881 John Coufal went again to Colfax County and brought back with him a caravan of Czech settlers, among whom were his brother Matej Coufal, Riegl, Tomsik and others.

1882--The Following Came:

   Joseph Nikl, born in 1860 in Veverska Byteska, Moravia; Jacob Humpal, born in Ujezd, Vltavotyn; Wenzl Sramek, born in Okresanec, Caslav. This settler, after preempting and building a log cabin, had just $1.25 left with which to buy a sack of flour. Upon returning home after a few hours' absence, he usually found his abode adorned with a warning ordering him to vacate, but he braved it out and stayed.

Geo. Jonas

1883--The Following Came:

   John Bouska, born in Prijemky, Chotebor; Frank Jonas, born in Chynava, Unhost; George Jonas, his brother, also from Chynava, Unhost, where he was born in 1852. He came to Schuyler in 1872, where he preempted. Living at date of writing.

1884--The Following Came:

   John Baloun, born in Chrudim. Came from West Point, where he had worked as shoemaker; Frank Pacha, born in Klasterec; Frank Prusa, born in Ctineves, Roudnice. He came first to Iowa, then made entry in Nebraska City for a homestead in Saline County.

   Frank Jonas, in 1883, had written letters to be published in the weekly Slavie, telling about Holt County lands, which brought about twenty settlers there and founded the colony. Others followed and although at first they endured privations, for there was no mill and no timber in the vicinity, and the soil was not of the best, they persevered and stayed. Of the original pioneers at date of writing only about five are left, all in fair circumstances. In the early days the Zizka brothers owned a thresher and threshed for the rest. Some of those who lived there in the early nineties are as follows:

In the Town of Atkinson:

   Frank Krajicek, Romovice, Caslav; Anton Kavka, Osek, Strakonice; Joseph Vrzal, Korouhev, Chrudim; John Halamek, Ruda, Policka; John Pokorny, Boskuv Tyn, Znojmo.

In the Town of O'Neill:

   Frank and John Sobotka, from Hluboka, Znojmo; John Fanta, same place.

P. O. Atkinson:

   Ant. Kolena; John Liger, Caslavice, Trebic; John and Matej Coufal, Pribyslavice, Trebic; J. K., John and Anton Tomsik, Budisov, Trebic; Alois (Louis) Dvorak, Mezilesi, Pelhrimov; John Jonas, Colfax County; Frank Dvorak, Lipnik, Hrotovice; John Husak, Budisov, Trebic; Joseph Klimt, Caslavice, Trebic; Frank Bercha, Jemniky, Slane; Anton Ondracek, Chynov, Tabor; Cenek Novotny, Kolodeje, Vltavotyn; John Novotny, Risnice, Pelhrim; Frank Kaplan, Dolni Krupa, Nemecky Brod; Fr. Kozisek, Dolejsi Hradiste, Kralovice; Vaclav Krisl, Chotina, Plzen; Joseph Dobias, Sokolec, Podebrady; Joseph Veskrna, Pozdatin, Trebic; Vojtech (Albert) Kral, Chotina, Plzen; J. Zahradnicek, Rimov, Trebic; Fr. Mlynar, Klasterec, Zamberk; Anton Tazler, Kunvald, Zamberk; Anna Dobias, Sokolec, Podebrady; Joseph Friouf, Cekov, Zbirov; Joseph Mihulka, Helkovice, Zamberk; Frank Zizka Sr. and his brother, John, Kunvald, Zamberk; T., J. and F. Dobrovolny, all from Ratkovice, Hrot; Ferdinand Kodytek, Klasterec, Kr. Hradec.

A sod house in Nebraska

In and About Stuart:

   Joseph Skrdla, Predni Lhota, Caslav.

In and About O'Neill:

   Joseph Dvorak; Vaclav Burda, Kacerov, Kralovice.

   At present Czechs live in and about O'Neill, Atkinson and Stuart.

Boone County--1880

Joseph and Josephine Papez

   In this county but a handful of Czechs have lived in Albion, and most of those were employed at different times by Joseph Papez, the tailor. Mr. Papez was born March 28, 1843, in Jetrichoves and came in 1867 to Wisconsin, where he worked at his trade. While so employed in Mauston, the towns of Lisbon and Mauston contested for the honor of being county seat and he cast the deciding vote, for Mauston, his first voting in this country. In 1868 he came to Omaha, crossing the ferry there. He worked as tailor and in March, 1869, took a homestead three miles north of Richland, in Colfax County, adjoining those of his half-brother John Stibal and cousin Frank Stibal. January 29, 1870, he married Miss Josephine Vodicka, sister of V. L. Vodicka and began housekeeping on the claim. They had scarcely moved in their home, a 12x14 structure with a lean-to, minus door, ceiling and plaster, when a record blizzard raged, lasting three days. The bread, wrapped in newspaper and clothing and placed in the trunk, froze. The stove had no damper, so all the heat went up the chimney. They would have frozen to death, had it not been for the featherbeds Mrs. Papez had brought from Bohemia. Furniture was made of rough boards and all the livestock they had was a kitten. Mrs. Papez got in Omaha. But Mr. Papez tailored and Mrs. Papez made dresses for women and thus they soon earned enough to buy chickens, pigs and a cow. In 1872 they moved to Schuyler, where Mr. Papez established a tailor shop. In 1880 they left for Albion, travelling by stage from Columbus. Shortly thereafter the railroad was built through and the first train going east took the dead body of little Rose Papez, to be buried in Schuyler. After removing to Omaha in 1884 and back to Albion in 1885, Mr. Papez has lived there since. Both he and his wife are living, but his tailoring and clothing store is now conducted by his sons Edward B. and John S. Of the two daughters, Otilie is at home and Emilie B. teaches. January 29, 1926, Mr. and Mrs. Papez celebrated the 56th anniversary of their wedding. Mrs. Papez was born March 23, 1848, in Techonice, Bohemia, and came to this country in 1869 with her sisters Dora Junek, Eleonora Vodicka (later Mrs. Frank Mares of Crete) and brother Frank Vodicka, now living in Omaha. On August 19, 1869, they joined their brother Vaclav L. in Omaha, he having preceded them.

   When Mr. Papez arrived in Albion in 1880, a Mr. Masek and his wife were already there. Mrs. Masek was a physician, having studied medicine in Prague and Paris, and was considered competent. Mr. Masek was a farmer. They moved to Box Butte County.

   In 1885 Frank Sodomka worked for Mr. Papez, later moving to Clarkson, where he died in 1924.

   Other early settlers were: Vend Burda and John Bilek, the latter born in Golcuv Jenikov.

   John and Vaclav Hrncal and Vaclav Bame, with families. Vaclav Hrncal and Vaclav Bame later moved to Box Butte County.

   In the early nineties the following were living there:

P. O. Albion:

   John Fort, born in Zderaz, Skuc.

P. O. Closter:

   Joseph, Frank and Anton Hana, born in Drinec; Joseph Hulec, born in Brezi, Pisek.

   The following worked for Mr. Papez between 1886 and 1896, but did not stay because they missed Czech social life:

   Jacob Cerny, John Tvrz, Frank Pelan, Albert Kubicek (born in Komarek, Bechyn), Sylvester Suchanek, Frank Kucera, Anton Dolezal and Cenek Vyskocil. Anton Suchanek Sr. is still living there.

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