Emma Elizabeth Calderhead Foster.

History of Marshall County, Kansas : its people, industries, and institutions online

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Fairland ; unable to locate it.

Franks-Fort, is now Frankfort, named for Frank Schmidt, of Marys-
ville, one of the founders of the town.

Gertrude, founded January 2, 1861, vacated, 1864, was located one mile
northwest of Marysville on the hilltop, west of the mill; it consisted of a
sniall frame house; its owner sold '"necessaries" to the emigrants.

Granite Falls, established on Little Blue near mouth of Fawn creek on
section 24, Waterville townsliip ; later also known as Marble Falls. ,

Guittard Station, a postoffice established in 1861 and taken up in 1901
by a rural route. XaA'ier Guittard was its postmaster for forty consecutive
years. This was the most noted stage station on the Ben Holladay Overland
stage line l)etween the Alissouri river and Denver, Colorado.

Fleasleyville, a stage station in Center township, named for Jerry Heas-
ley, a stage driver and early-day "character."

Lidependence Crossing, a trading post six miles south of Alarysville in
1848, located at the point where General Fremont forded the Big Blue in
1842, and where the Mormons crossed in later years. Still known as the
"Independence crossing," though no longer a ford.

Lagrange, a postoffice located on section 21, Clearfork township.

Lanesburg, or Lanes crossing, was on the Big Blue between Irving and
Blue Rapids.

Marble Falls, established in 1867 by Judge Lewis, father of Mrs. E. A.
Berr\-, of \\"aterville. 'When the railroad located Waterville, the buildings
were m.oved from ^Marljle Falls to W^aterville.

Merrimac, located southeast of Irving in 1858 and abandoned in 1864;
was at the present location of the Merrimac school house.


jMerrimac, platted in 1S67, ten miles west of Irving.

Nottingham, second postoffice established in county, located on the
homestead of D. C. Auld, section 2t,, Vermillion township, in 1857; moved
to Franlcfort in 1S6S.

Xew Dayton, located northeast of Barrett ; it never lived.

Ohio City was located in 1855 on the c|uarter section joining Barrett on
the southwest.

Otoe, a stage station on the Oketo cutoff in the Otoe Indian reserve.

Palmetto is the north half of Marysville. Incorporated in 1857.

Raemer Creek, a very short-lived postoffice, now Herkimer; it was
named for the Raemer Brothers, the early permanent settlers.

Reedsville, a postoffice in Center township named for Allen Reed, post-
master, keeper of a store and prominent settler.

Stolzenbach, a postoffice located on section i. Balderson township, at
the home of Peter Merklinghaus.

Sylvan, located in 1858, abandoned in i860. Andreas' history states:
''As early as 1859 efforts were made to move the county seat from Marys-
ville to Syl\'an a new town located on section 25, township 3, range 8 ( now-
Center township. ) The prime mover in this affair was T. S. Vaile, a mem-
ber of the Free State Territorial Legislature from Alarshall county. Marys-
ville at that time was reputed a pro-slavery town, and Vaile had an act passed
removing the county seat to Sylvan. The only official business transacted
at the new county seat was the canvassing of the vote of 1859. There being-
no house at Sylvan, the county commissioners, J. D. Brumbaugh, George G.
Pierce and S. Ostrander held their session in the house of George D. Swear-
ingen. a mile distant. In 1859, Marysville was again made the county seat
by a vote of the 'people'." For fifty years the name of Sylvan was but a
meniorv until 1909, when the I^nion Pacific railroad was extended from
Topeka to Marysville. and on the site selected for Sylvan now- stands the
thriving little town of Winifred.

Swede Creek was located one mile north of Cottage Hill in Cottagehill

Vermillion City, located in 1859 near where the Vermillion creek empties
into the Big Blue river, abandoned in 1859.

A\'ells, named for John D. Wells, the earliest permanent settler in the
county. It was a postoffice in Wells township, and John D. W^ells was the

White's Ouarrv was located on a branch of Spring creek ; it was a stone


quarry nsetl !)}• llic railroad in tlic early seventies; it had a few tents and a
shack, located southwest of i lonie City.

.'\sh Point, a stag-e station on the Overland trail hetween Seneca and
Guittard station, a few miles north of where Axtell now stands.

Afton — Ten miles southwest of Marysville.

Armour — Near Summerfield.

Ewing — Three miles west of Vermillion ; named for Ewing family.

Jelt's Town — Near Guittard.

Kantanyan — Probahly where California trail left Marshall county.

Pleasant Hill — Same as Swede creek.

Westella — Seven miles north of Beattie.
■ Woodson — -Same as Jett's towm.

Taos, where Salem church now stands. W. F. Robinson was postmas-

Robidoux, old station, section 19, range 9, township 2.

^^^^^^^HP^^^^^^V^ "'^ ^^^B^^l^^^l^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^l


1 W;"^ '

Ijy ^^


First Bohemian Settlers in

Marshall County.


Foreign Element in Marshall County.


Far across the Atlantic ocean where the kingdoms, empires and repubhcs
of Europe are now at war, John Pecenka was born, June 14, 1825, in the
village Ridky, near Litomysl, district of Chrudim, in the southeastern part
of Bohemia.

Pecenka was of rural parentage, but of a cultured family. His brother,
Josef, was educated for the Catholic priesthood and another brother, Vaclav,
held a degree as Professor of Sciences and Doctor of Law. John Pecenka
was a miller by trade and a musician by nature. Every moment not occupied
by business, was devoted to the study of music, v/hich was his greatest
delight. He operated a small grist-mill, propelled by overshot w^ater power
and ground the golden grain for his neighbors. After the day's toil he
dexterously wielded his bow in church, hall and opera. He had three sisters,
who, after some years of schooling, married neighboring peasants.

Jan, as written in the Cesky tongue, married at eighteen years, Katrina
Kasper. To this union was born on April 21, 1847, John, and two years
later, Anna, who died in infancv.

Shortly after this the mother and wife died and Jan married a second
time, choosing for his bride, Anna Flidbborn, born on October 31, 1830, in
the village of Osyk, in Chrudim, near Litomysl. This lady was of Swobodnik
parentage. The Swobodniks enjoyed peculiar privileges, being exempt from
taxation on real estate and were full citizens. To this union were born in
Bohemia, Joseph, Francis A., Anna, Vaclav and Katherina. The young
parents felt the responsibilty of their growing family and knowing their sons
would be claimed for military duty, they decided to come to America.

They with some other families left Bohemia in the month of August,
1 86 1, leaving from Janovicek, via Prague, Dresden and Leipsic to Bremen,
where thev took passage to America. In Bremen a sad event occurred.



Katlieiina nine nuniihs dd. :-ickcned ami died and as the ship was aljuut to
sail ihey were compelled Id lea\e llie body with the undertaking authorities
for burial.

\\'ith sad and beax}' hearts they embarked and after eight w^eeks of
rough sailing the little colony arri\ed in New York City late in October
and proceeded b\' rail via Philadelphia and Pittsburgh to Chicago, Illinois,
arriving there on November i, 1861. Here they spent a few w^eks and Jan
Pecenka visited his sister, x\nna Dosedel, and her husband, Vaclav Dosedel,
who had preceded him six months, bringing with them his son, John. At
the time of their arri\'al the War of the Rebellion was raging. Funds w^ere
low and the men of the party looked for work. Jan Pecenka was tendered
the leadership of a military band, but declined. Bohemian friends in Chicago
advised the colonists that eastern Iowa was opening for settlement and the
next move was to the counties of Linn and Johnson, near Shueyville, Iowa.

They found no government land, but some bought, and others rented,
land on shares. Winter w'as spent working at odd jobs. Jan, being a
musician, found employment teaching vocal and instrumental music and made
a living for his wife and family of four children. On one occasion having
played for a ball at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he carried a sack of flour on his
shoulders for eight miles, holding his vioHn case carefully and plowing
through snow three feet deep, while the stonn raged with fury. But the
little ones had to be fed and he braved the storm.

At that time wages were very meager and the country undeveloped.
Two weekly papers, Slovau Amcriky a Ccsky Casopis, published in Iowa
City, and' Slavic, published in Racine, Wisconsin, gave the news that
Bohemian colony clubs were being formed to promote the interests of
Bohemians and that a convention would be held in Chicago, Illinois, soon.
John Pecenka and a Air. Bures were sent to this convention as delegates to
accjuire definite information relative to settling on government land. Very
little good resulted from this convention. The colony remained in Iowa for
eight years and established a permanent colony there. But the desire to
own their homes prevailing, and the homestead law having been enacted,
those settlers paid heed to the advice of Horace Greeley, "Go West, and grow
up with the country."

John Pecenka took out naturalization papers on February 23, 1869, at
Marion, Linn county, Iowa ; rigged up two prairie schooners each drawn
by a team of horses and a yoke of oxen and, in company with Matthias Mozis,
who had a like equipment, led a caravan across the prairies, plains and
swamps of Iowa into the eastern part of Kansas.



On this journey while ]Dassing through Oregon City, Missouri, on the
Fourth of July, an incident occurred worth relating.

In honor of the day the wagons were decorated with the national colors ;
citizens of the town ol)jected to this and demanded of the leader, Pecenka,
that the American flag he hauled down. The leader refused to remove the
flags from the wagons, lea])ed into his prairie schooner, took down his double-
barreled shotgun and laid it across his knees and commanded "Buck" and
"Bright" to proceed. Thev did ; other teams followed, and the performance
was over. Our "show me" friends on the eastern border were not success-
ful in their attempt on Uncle Sam's colors and the flag w^as defended by the
Bohemians. The next day the party crossed the Missouri at White Cloud
and landed on Kansas soil on July 5, 1869.

Bleeding Kansas had been pictured to these people in the most horrible
manner, as the home of the grasshopper, chinch bug, perpetual and hot wdnds,
drought and the like, so that these homeseekers were almost persuaded to
believe these fallacious stories. But they were hopeful, persevering and
trusted in Providence that the "promised land" would be realized to them in
a different way, and would bestow on them happiness, prosperity and con-

On scanning the beautiful landscape, the undulating prairies, bedecked
with tall blue stem, and luxuriant verdure waving with the gentle swell of
the breeze, every nodding flow^er beckoning to these pioneers and whispering,
"Welcome, thou weary travelers, abide with us and make a home on this,
God's footstool."


That evening brought the party to the small town of Morrill, on the
Grand Island railroad and filled with hapi^ness e\en unto tears, this little
band manifested their joy with merry-making, music and dancing, as there
^\■ere fourteen in the party.

The landlord of the farm paid a visit to these strangers and invited them
to his house to play for his wife. A few choice selections were rendered and
the visitors were royally treated. After taking the party through the new
residence in construction, he invited them to locate in that vicinity. ]\Iany
inducements and favorable propositions were offered these prospective set-
tlers, as he had large tracts of land and would have sold to them on the best


possible term^^. lUil ilie jjarty were iinaljle to l)n}- and tliey were seeking free
government land homesteads "homeseds," in (he nali\e tongue.

The offer of the kind and generous man was not accepted. After
twenty-five years of toil, developing the plains of Marshall county, there
came to the city of Marysville a candidate campaigning the state for the
position of state executive. After the speech, with a hearty handshake, the
men who camped at his dooryard met the future governor of J<!ansas, Hon.
E. N. Morrill.'


The caravan reached the little city of Irving in time to help friends who
had preceded them to harvest and the party had their first experience in the
harvest fields of Marshall county on the Black Vermillion. /\fter receiving
reliable information that Congress had given all odd numbered sections to
the Central Branch, Alissouri Pacific railroad, and after building a log cabin
for the editor of an Irving paper, the party moved north, coming to Marys-
ville, where, while there was no railroad, there was a good grist-mill on the
west bank of the Blue river. In Marysville, Samuels kept a grocery, Frank
Schmidt, a dry-goods store and Charles Koester clerked for him; Brum-
baugh and Magill were lawyers, and David Wolf kept a saloon. They
traveled west over the California trail into now Logan township and located
on the preesnt site.


The first homestead entry of government land ever made from this part
of Marshall county, in the Junction City land office, by a Bohemian-Amer-
ican, was made Ijy John Pecenka on August 13, 1869, on the southeast c|uarter
of section 30, township 2, range 6 east, containing one hundred and sixty
acres. His son, John, made entry on the southwest quarter of section 30,
township 2, south of range 6 east, containing one hundred and sixty acres.
This land bordered on Washington county on the west.

"AA'e started in a strange land among strangers, but hope kept our cour-
age up and we went right on building a new home in the wilderness." Mr.
Pecenka, with the help of the family, made a dugout in the side of a hill,
about fourteen by sixteen feet, and set native uprights or crotches for beams
or pole support, upon which were laid split rails for rafters, covered with
slough grass, this in turn being covered with a layer of virgin sod, making a
warm and comfortable shelter. This was their first habitation on the hillside.



It had a door and two small windows on the south side and one side of
the roof was level with the surrounding ground, making it easily accessible
from that side. What might have been expected, happened. In most cases
the first settlers made the tracks, both foot and wagon road, and one of these
paths led right in front of the door across Walnut creek. One night a friend
and neighbor, ]\Iike Casey, a benighted traveler, going home from Marys-
ville, got off the track and drove on to the roof of the dugout. The horses
began to fall through the roof, the children screamed, some lamented, others
cursed, some thought the devil was trying to crawl through the roof. After
the catastrophe, with some apologies, the wrong was righted and Casey pro-
ceeded on the right trail and all sat and felt that while not injured, they were
badly scared.

John Pecenka procured a breaking plow and broke about six acres of
prairie for sowing down to spring wheat. The colony was strengthened from
time to time by the addition of other settlers. Albret Kaprel, a veteran
soldier of Bohemia, and Frantisek Kerhat came from Irving and, later, Jan
V^avruska came direct from Bohemia. On Alarch ii, 1871, the first child of
Bohemian parents was born in this part of the county, Anna Vavruska, now
living in Nebraska.

There are two distinct Bohemian settlements in Marshall county. One
is located west of ]\Iarysville and south of Bremen, in Logan and \\^alnut
townships, and the other south of W'aterville and Blue Rapids and southwest
of Irving, chielly on the Game Fork creek.

Although Bohemians are found in almost every township, they are most
numerous in the above mentioned localities.


On June 5, 187c, a large caravan of prairie schooners arrived from
Cedar Rapids. Among the settlers were Jiri Zabokstsky and a large family.
He bought a relinquishment from Asa Parks, of Alarysville. \A'ith him came
Josef Houder and a family of eighteen children. Vaclav Dosedel and wife
came from Racine, Wisconsin. Dosedel and John Pecenka were brothers-in-
law. John Brychta came from Cedar Rapids. Josef Stehlik came direct
from Bohemia; he was a tailor and piu'sued his trade until his death. Josef
Cejp bought out the claim of McChesney. Vaclav Kutis came from St.
Louis. In i86g a colony of sixty-five homesteaded near Hanover.


In June. \^J4. \'aclav Cejp and f;;niily came direct fmni Pjohcmia. He
bought out the claim of 1 )an Stuckey. julm linchla and ("ej|) were hmthers-
in-law. On Xoveniher 7, 1874, Josef Swoboda came from the sable pineries
of Racine, \\"isconsin. He bought out the claim of Michael Ouigley. Later
on, came Josef Sedlacek from the \illage of Sedliste, Bohemia. ])riniaril\- for
the purpose of scrutinizing the country. He came, he saw and was conquered,
went back with a favorable report and returned with a large family, bringing
many other families witli him.

Late in the autumn of 1873 came Jrm Alexa and a large family from
Minden. Micliigan, and with lum came Air. and AL's. Tuka, his wife's par-
ents. In autumn came Marie Pacha (also written Pejsa). a widow with a
large family of marriageable sons and daughters, from Minden, Michigan.
They settled in Logan township.

Frank Sedlacek, the eldest son of Josef Sedlacek, married and settled in
Marysville township, buying out the farm of George Bachoritch. In 1876
and 1877 Josef Bruna and Josef A. Sedlacek came direct from Bohemia and
settled in Walnut township. A\ ith tb.em came Frank Holota, w'ife and chil-
dren, locating in Logan township, and Maty Hlous settled in AA'alnut.


The history of the Bohemians in Alarshall county resembles in many
respects that of other first settlers. They came for the purpose of acquiring
homes of their own. \\^hile not wealthy, they possessed hope, endurance,
perseverance and industry in unlimited quantities. All of these qualities
were essential for the success of the first settlers and have brought them
wealth, happiness and contentment. Some of the pioneers came from the
respective states of their mother country and settled a short time in the East
before mo\'ing West, while others came to Kansas direct from Bohemia or

One of the first acts of an alien Bohemian is to take out his naturaliza-
tion papers. The Bohemians speak with pride of their newlv-adopted
country. Naturall}-, they think well of the mother country — and who does
not of his native land? — but they realize the great advantages and beneficent
laws of the United States and speak of it as "our new, beloved country."

The Bohemian people are industrious, upright and frugal, possessing the
utmost integrity of character and are scrupulous in all their dealings. Thev
take great pride in enjoying their religious and political freedom. Thev
make good, loyal, law-abiding American citizens and have contributed largelv
to the political and social development of the county. Bohemians, like all


Other nationalities, like to congregate together and speak their sentiments in
their nati^'e langnage. But they are not clannish ; on the contrary they are
pretty good mixers. There are various societies, lodges, corporations and
clubs in Alarshall count}- and Bohemians may be found in all. Religiously,
thev are largely Catholic, although not exclusively so.


The organization known as the Bohemian Roman Catholic First Central
Union of the United States had its origin in St. Louis, Missouri, in August,
1877. It is a fraternal order securing to its members sick benefits as well
as life insurance. The object of this order is to foster the practice of religious
duties and to promote Catholic interests, also to unite Bohemian Catholic
societies in works of charity and benevolence. Also, to cultivate and perpetu-
ate the mother tongue and many other good objects of social, moral and
spiritual life.

There are three hundred and one local unions in the United States with
a membership of seven thousand. The local lodge located in Hanover, Kan-
sas, is called Spolek Sv. A^aclava cis 23. This union had at one time thirty
members. At present there are eleven male and three female members. The
president is John Pecenka, of Bremen; secretary, Frank Jedlicka, Washing-
ton ; treasurer, A. Pejsa, Hanover.


Following the Pikes Peak Ocean to Ocean Highway, west from ^larys-
ville, to where it joins the county line of Washington county, the traveler
comes upon this quiet little cemetery by the side of the road.

There are not many graves within the enclosure, but an inspection shows
that many of those sleeping there came from Bohemia, far away in the heart
of Europe,, leaving the rule of monarchy, to become citizens of this republic
and pioneers of Marshall county.

They made homes in A\hat was then the Great American Desert, far
removed from the estates of their ancestors and scenes of their childhood
days and shared the hardships of their adopted country with her native-horn
children. No grave is neglected or forgotten in this quiet little cemetery,
with its velvet grass and whispering pines. The inscription over the arch-
way causes the thoughtful passer by to pause and reflect:

"Byli Jsme Co Vy Ste; Co ^ly Jsme Vy Budete."
"We were what vou are: what we are you will be."


Two pioneers of Alarshall county who rest here are John Pecenka, born
June i-i, iS_'5; ched on November ij, 1902, and Anna Pecenka, his wife,
born on October 31, 1830; died on January 5, 1897.

Here also sleep Wesley and Anna Dosedel, Mathias Swoboda and wife,
and Jan Machal, who saw ninety summers and winters.

Jan Alexa served eight years in the Austrian army and took part in the
revolution of Alayence in 1848. On Christmas Day last lie met the Conqueror
and was laid to rest beside his loved ones. And here sleeps Joseph Koles,
born on October 26, 1848. He fought with the boys in blue in 1862, for
liberty and the flag.


Undoubtedly, the first Dane who settled in Marshall county was a Cali-
fornia gold-miner — a "forty-niner" — John Nelson. He was probably the
only pioneer in the county who came from the West. He settled on Upper
Spring creek in 1855. Two years later he went to Denmark and on his
return brought his mother, a brother. Soren Johnson, and a widowed sister,
Elnora Johnson, and her two children, James and Dorothea. The party
traveled from St. Joseph in a wagon; M4-. Nelson's aged mother died on^
the way and was buried near Seneca. Kansas.

Air. Nelson again lived on his farm until 1874 when lie left for Placer-
ville, California, and remained there. In 19 12 he fell ill and the niece whom
he had brought from Denmark, now Mrs. Dr. E. L. Wilson, Sr., went to
California cared for him and at his death brought the remains here and made
interment in the Marysville cemetery. His nephew, James Johnson, farmed
Nelson's land for many years until he. too, left for the West and settled in

No other Danes settled around them, but a small settlement sprang up
in Walnut township, centering around five pioneers who cam.e in 1869. They
were J. I'. Lund, H. M. Johnson, N. H. White, Chr. Johnson and N. P.
Christiansen, all well-known citizens of the county. Christiansen is the only
one of the five now living.

Enough settlers soon came to that section' to organize and build a church,
which for some years was served by Danish-speaking ministers, but when
the influx from the older country slackened and the ranks of the old settlers
were thinned by death, the congregation discarded the mother tongue and
adopted the English language. These Danes and their descendants are


recognized as industrious, frugal and loyal citizens. They have won places
of dignity in the public affairs of the county and are always law-abiding
and upright citizens.


The following reminiscences of H. M. Johnson, as told in the history

Online LibraryEmma Elizabeth Calderhead FosterHistory of Marshall County, Kansas : its people, industries, and institutions → online text (page 19 of 104)