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Czechs Who Have Achieved Various Noteworthy Careers



   As far as known, Florian V. Kratky, who came from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to Wahoo, Saunders County, in 1878, was the first Czech lawyer in Nebraska. F. D. Dolezal of Fremont, at present the oldest Czech lawyer in our state, writes: "When I came to the state, January 1, 1881, there was only one Czech lawyer here, Mr. Kratky of Wahoo, then a man between thirty and forty years of age. He showed educational training and was a regular lawyer, whether he studied in a law school or got his training in a law office." --Kratky, in fact, read law with a pioneer Wahoo lawyer, Copp, and later entered into partnership with him, under the name of Copp & Kratky. Still later he had his own office. He died May 2, 1892, in Blair, Nebraska.

   Louis Berka, who settled in Omaha in 1883 and has practiced law there continuously since, is the third oldest Bohemian lawyer in the state. His biography is given in the chapter on political life.

   Another pioneer lawyer (so-called) was George Elbling, also of Wahoo, of whom Mr. Dolezal writes: "He was not able to conduct litigation in district and higher courts, but was active in justice courts and county court and did other work connected with law practice. He did not show collegiate training and I do not know how he came into law practice." The fact was that he had no collegiate or other legal training, but having been elected Justice of the Peace and holding that office for many years, he gradually grew to know the routine of law work. He was a titular lawyer only and like other "professionals", medical and legal, of those early days, achieved his position sans training and sans diploma. His biography is given in the history of Saunders County.

Fr. D. Dolezal

   Frank D. Dolezal, Fremont, now the oldest Czech lawyer in our state, was born in Dzbanov, County Chrudim, Bohemia, January 16, 1858, and came to the United States in the spring of 1867, to Iowa. Aside from common school and some special instruction, his education was completed at the Southern Iowa Normal and Scientific Institute, then located at Bloomfield, Iowa, where he graduated in scientific course. He then entered upon the study of law in the law office of Stivers & Bradshaw, Toledo, Ohio, and was admitted to practice in all the courts of Iowa upon examination in November, 1880. He came to Crete, Nebr., from Toledo January 1, 1881. In 1882 he settled in Fremont, where he has been since, except six months in 1897, when he was in Salt Lake City, Utah, as attorney for mining corporations. He is now in his forty-sixth year of practice in Nebraska and from the first confined himself to law practice as distinguished from collection and agency business.

   The following is a list of Czechs who have been admitted to the bar in Nebraska, the larger number of whom are still in practice here. It was not possible to get the addresses of all. However, the desire is to show the number, which is the main point, as with other professionals herein listed.

   Frank A. Barta, Center; Frank W. Bartos, Stanley Bartos, Wilber; Leo. N. Bartunek, Lincoln; J. E. Bednar, Louis Berka, Omaha; J. W. Blezak (Blizek) Plainview; J. L. Bouchal, Wilber; Thomas Capek, Omaha (now of New York); Frank C. Charvat, Omaha; Joseph Ernest Cherney (Cerny); Leland Wesley Cerney (Cerny), Omaha; E. A. Coufal, David City; F. O. Divisek; Charles W. Dobry; Frank D. Dolezal, Fremont; A. Z. Donato, Wahoo; T. J. Dredla (Drdla), Crete; Victor H. Duras, Washington & Paris; John W. Holoubek, Omaha; Ant. J. Jakl; Joseph Jiranek, Columbus; Wm. E. Kavan, Omaha; J. N. Kilian; B. V. Kohout, Wilber; Thomas Fr. Konop; Jos. J. Krajicek, Omaha; John Franklin Kreychik (Krejcik); Charles H. Kubat, Omaha; Charles A. Kutcher (Kucera); Leo. S. Legros, Spencer; Frank Lundak, now of Gregory, So. Dak.; Fr. F. Matousek, Ord; John E. Mekota, Wilber; John Thomas Milek; Fr. H. Mizera, David City; Jos. L. Padrnos, Omaha; Otto E. Placek, Wilber; Emil A. Placek, Wahoo; Jerome B. Pospisil; Fred E. Ptak; Otto N. Rada, Omaha; A. A. Rezac, Dunning; Walter B. Sadilek, Schuyler; Frank A. Safranek; Emanuel H. Shary (Sary); Sylvester V. Shonka (Sonka); Charles H. Slama, Wahoo; Joseph P. Spirek, Omaha; Victor M. Spirk; Hugo F. Srb, Dodge; Branson W. Stasenka; C. R. Stasenka, Franklin; Thomas Stibal, Schuyler; Ed. J. Svoboda, Ralph E. Svoboda, Omaha; Albert Adolph Tenopir; Philip A. Tomek, David City; Theodore E. Uhlir; George C. Uhlir; E. L. Vogletanz, Ord; Joseph T. Votava, Omaha; Casimir Zacek, Otto H. Zacek, West Point; Thomas Zacek, Julius J. Zitnik, Joseph Vojir, Joseph C. Wolf, Omaha.


Dr. John Mach

   As far as known, Dr. John Mach of Omaha is the first Czech graduate of a dental school in Nebraska. He was born May 8, 1877, in Omaha, his parents John and Josephine (Mizera) Mach, being pioneer residents of that town. His maternal grandfather was a pioneer of Saunders County. He graduated from the School of Dentistry in Omaha April 1, 1898. Married Miss Dorothy Hansen and has always lived in Omaha.

   As with physicians, it is not possible to give a complete list of dentists that are and were here. We can give only those who are at present (1926) engaged in the profession. However, we can record the name of the first and thus far only woman dentist, that of Miss Pauline Kubitcheck (Kubicek), who practiced in Omaha for a short time in the early part of the 1900 decade. Her office was situated on William street, between Thirteenth and Fourteenth and she was considered very good in her work. Inasmuch as the same name appears in the list given, it is likely that she came from Holt county, for Dr. Jacob Kubitchek's address is Atkinson and Dr. Fr. J. Kubitchek's is O'Neill, in that county.

   Dr. Jacob Kubitcheck, Atkinson (Kubicek); Dr. S. J. Jelinek, Brainard; Dr. V. L. Odvarka, Clarkson; Dr. Charles Tobiska, Crete; Dr. Robert Fred Kouba, Fremont; Dr. George C. Smaha, Dr. J. J. Tomiska, Grand Island; Dr. W. F. Sadil, Hastings; Dr. John Palensky, Howell; Dr. Hubert A. Capek; Dr. Adelmar Ballard Chaloupka, Lincoln; Dr. Joseph Vacek, Madison; Dr. Lyman L. Bohac, Dr. Francis J. Bohacek, Dr. Louis J. Chaloupka, Dr. Bretislav Dientsbier, Dr. Ed. R. Dostal, Dr. Charles Lukovsky, Dr. John Mach, Dr. Milton Mach, Dr. Joseph F. Mares, Dr. Frank A. Motis, Dr. Frank W. Novak, Dr. Adolph G. Sindelar, Dr. Emil Leo Soukup, Dr. Julius C. Soukup, Dr. Frank R. Vasko, Dr. James D. Vasko, Dr. Fred James Vaverka, Dr. Joseph Yechout (Jechout), Omaha; Dr. Fr. J. Kubitchek (Kubicek), O'Neill; Dr. J. G. Vacek, Pawnee City; Dr. Joseph E. Ruzicka, Plainview; Dr. Matej J. Ruzicka, Prague; Dr. Louis J. Fisher, Dr. A. W. Johanes, Dr. Louis Anton Proskovec, Schuyler; Dr. Benjamin Krajicek, Scribner; Dr. Jerome M. Pucelik, Spencer; Dr. Joseph L. Plihal, Table Rock; Dr. Robert B. Slepicka, Tobias; Dr. Charles D. Kratochvil, Verdigre; Dr. Roland E. Slama, Wahoo; Dr. James F. Woita (Vojta), Weston; Dr. Otto Karl Brt, Dr. F. J. Fisher, Dr. Charles Mallat (Malat), Wilber; Dr. Paul A. Bartunek, Wolbach.

Czechs in the Banking Business

   In the history of Colfax County is an account of the pioneer banker of Nebraska, Frank Folda, and of his son and nephews, who control six banks, as follow: Clarkson State Bank, Clarkson; Colfax County Bank, Howell; Farmers & Merchants Bank, Linwood; Pilger State Bank, Pilger; Bank of Rogers, Rogers and Banking House of F. Folda, Schuyler. The bank in Schuyler is the parent house and was established by Frank Folda in 1887. As far as known, it is not only the first Czech bank in Nebraska but in the United States anywhere. Thomas Capek, an authority on matters pertaining to history and social conditions of our people in this country, mentions it as such.

   Aside from the Foldas we have another banking family, the Kirchmans and their relatives, who control eight banks. While they entered the field a little later, they have achieved fine results. Mr. W. C. Kirchman, a Saunders county pioneer, whose biography is given in that county and who is now deceased, came to Wahoo in 1876 and was the founder of these banks. At first he engaged in general merchandise business, later becoming a county officeholder and then gradually entering the banking and land-holding field. His brother Frank J., who has succeeded him as president of several banks, was born in Klatovy, Bohemia, December 1, 1865, and came with his parents to Allegheny City, Pa., in December, 1868. In 1881 he moved with them to Chicago and in December, 1884, came to Wahoo, having obtained a position there in the Saunders County National Bank, where he has been since. The other relatives are: W. H. Kirchman, son of W. C.; Joseph F. Bastar, his brother-in-law; Dr. George F. Simanek (of Omaha), his son-in-law; Julius Petermichel, his nephew,--and George Kares, brother-in-law of F. J. Kirchman. In the eight banks controlled by them but five non-Czechs are interested as officials. F. J. Kirchman is president of the Saunders County National Bank, and Nebraska State Savings Bank, both of Wahoo; The State Bank of Colon; The Farmers & Merchants Bank of Weston; Oak Creek Valley Bank, Valparaiso; Farmers & Merchants Bank of Prague and Security Bank of Winner, South Dakota. Julius Petermichel is president of the State Bank of Touhy.

W.C. Kirchman    Fr. J. Kirchman

   It is interesting to note that there had been no Czech bank in Omaha until 1917, although this can be explained by the fact that the settlement there numbers a very large percentage of laborers, artisans and small business men, very few wealthy people. The Omaha Loan and Building Association has been their haven, as a savings bank, for many years. However, the Union State Bank, of which F. C. Horacek is president, established in 1917, has made wonderful strides. It does not depend, of course, altogether on Czech business. In the spring of 1927 a beautiful seven-story office building was erected at a cost of $800,000.00, on the northeast corner of 19th and Farnam streets. Mr. Horacek was born in Vomice, Moravia, February 10, 1875, and came to Brainard, Nebr., in 1890. He farmed near Brainard for eight years and married Miss Fannie Svoboda there in 1898. In 1905 he entered the banking business and in 1917 moved to Omaha.

   The following is a list of banks controlled by Czechs in 1926:

   First Trust Company, Ord; Abie State Bank, Abie; State Bank of Bee, Bee; Brainard State Bank, Farmers State Bank, Brainard; Bruno State Bank, Farmers & Merchants Bank, Bruno; Clarkson State Bank, Farmers State Bank, Clarkson; State Bank of Colon, Colon; Farmers, & Merchants Bank, Comstock; Dodge State Bank, Dodge; Dwight State Bank, Dwight; State Bank of Elk Creek; Elyria State Bank, Elyria; Enola State Bank, Enola; Goodwin State Bank, Goodwin; Farmers & Merchants National Bank, Havelock; Colfax County Bank, Farmers State Bank, Howell; Hubbard State Bank, Hubbard; Home State Bank, Humboldt; Home State Bank, Kennard; Leigh State Bank, Leigh; Lindsay Farmers & Merchants Bank, Lindsay State Bank, Lindsay; Farmers & Merchants Bank, Linwood; Loma State Bank, Loma; Malmo State Bank, Malmo; Farmers & Merchants Bank, Nebraska State Bank, Milligan State Bank, Milligan; Farmers State Bank, Morse Bluff; First State Bank of North Bend, North Bend; State Bank of Odell, Odell; Union State Bank, Omaha; Ord State Bank, Ord; Security State Bank, Osmond; Pilger State Bank, Pilger; Bank of Prague, Prague; Farmers & Merchants Bank, Prague; Richland State Bank, Richland; Bank of Rogers, Rogers; Bank of Scotia, Scotia; Banking House of F. Folda, Schuyler State Bank, Schuyler; Bank of Swanton, Swanton; Community State Bank, Table Rock; State Bank of Touhy, Touhy; Oak Creek Valley Bank, Valparaiso; Knox County Bank, Verdigre State Bank, Verdigre; Nebraska State Savings Bank, Saunders County National Bank, Wahoo; Farmers & Merchants Bank, The Weston Bank, Weston; Nebraska State Bank, West Point; Bank of Wilber, Saline State Bank, Wilber State Bank, Wilber.

Union State Bank Building, Omaha


   During the great World War (1914--1918) and for some time after, feeling against foreigners in this country ran high and the Americanization movement was begun. At first some of its advocates thought their first duty lay in eradicating from the hearts and minds of immigrants all memories of their native land. That spirit is passing. We know we cannot do that to anyone. Our immigrants must become good, law-abiding citizens, but we must not expect that they can put aside what means so much to them.

   When mature or elderly people cross the ocean to settle in a strange country, it is like transplanting old trees. Such people thereafter are never quite the same as native inhabitants. They are the span that bridges over the old generations in Europe with the new in America. Always they think with love and longing of the dear land of their birth, which is but human and noble. Did not the great Scottish bard say long ago:

Breathes there a man with soul so dead,
Who never to himself has said:
This is my own, my native land?"

   At the same time they know that our country offers a better future to them and their descendants. They love their native land as a man loves his mother; they love this country as a man loves his wife, who brings to him children that his line may continue. If they perform their duty as good citizens and give to the United States a future race, they have helped fully to build our splendid commonwealth.

   Czech pioneers who came to our beautiful state have indeed done their part toward changing it from a treeless plain to a verdant, fruitful region. In turn, they have every reason to feel grateful, for Nebraska gave them an opportunity, even though fraught at first with hardship, the like of which they could not have even dreamed about in their small and crowded native land.

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