Peeking Into Lake City's Past
The Hucka Family
Are You A Descendent Of A Pioneer Family?
This is a story of one of Lake City's pioneer families who has commanded respect of their peers for 1 1/4 centuries. It is for the enhancement of our patriotic pride in the many achievements of the Hucka family that we dedicate this story.
The original Hucka homestead is one of several taken from the "Andreas Atlas of Iowa" published in 1875. Those shown in Jackson and Calhoun townships have been listed in past issues of the Graphic by your Historical Society.
It is interesting to learn that Frederick and Elsie Hucka were granted a patent of title to a farm in section 5, Jackson township on April 7, 1857 under the newly established Homestead Act, signed by president James Buchanan.
The Hucka family established residence in Jackson township in 1857, building their cabin in the timber along Camp Creek. That was 125 years ago, just a few months after Calhoun county's first settler, Ebenezer Comstock, built his cabin in timbered area near the western limits of what is now Lake City, and less that a year after Lake City was established.
If we really want to mentally experience the lives of our ancestors, let us look at Calhoun county through the eyes of Frederick and Elsie Hucka. Let's turn the calendar back to 1857 and pretend we are there. Through their eyes you will see a vast, unknown tract of rolling prairie impregnated with swamps and ponds stretching away in all directions, beyond the range of human vision. We find little groves of timber here and there along the creeks, river and lakes. Muskrats and waterfowl abound along the swamps and ponds. The Indians had recently departed and the only denizens of the county were wild animals, snakes along with big game which was plentiful, especially the elk, a few lynx and wildcats which we find in the little forests along the river creeks and lakes. Through the eyes of Frederich and Elsie you see beaver, otter, mink, skunk and other fur bearing animals inhabiting certain locations. You also see fox, wild prairie dogs and huge prairie wolves in large numbers whose howling during the nighttime caused children to shudder with fear as they cuddled in their trundle beds wishing daylight would soon come to their lonely cabin.
It was in this wild, desolate region that Frederich and Elsie Hucka, determined to conquer all obstacles, established their Jackson township home. It is to the many hardships endured by our pioneer ancestors who developed this area, that our generation is indebted. They paid a price to begin the development of the manifold comforts we enjoy today.
The Second Generation
In spite of hardship conditions, Frederich and Elsie bore 12 children. History tells us that many children of pioneer families died in infancy or before the age of ten years. The Huckas lost five of the twelve. Seven of the second generation survived. Their names: Frank, Henry, George, Ralph William, Etta and Charles. In order to simplify this sketchy genealogical story, we begin by listing part of the descendants of Charles Hucka who took over the original farm from the family, eventually selling the farm to the Pratt family. Many of the descendants of Charles live in or near the Lake City community. Of the third generation, offspring of Charles Hucka, I have chosen to follow the lineage of Richard Hucka, whose son Darwin furnished much of the material contained herein.
Charls Hucka (1867-1948) married Alice Johnson Feb. 1891, bore 3 children
Fred Hucka II (1893-1963) married Clara Reaman Dec. 1917, bore 4 children
Mary Hucka (1895-1950) remained single
Richard Hucka (1909-1958) married Evelyn Woody Dec. 1929.
Your Historical Society suggests that a genealogy of every family is a valuable asset to that family. Based on the number of descendants of second generation Charles Hucka, the original Frederich and Elsie must have over 200 descendants living today. That would make quite a reunion if they could all gather here in Lake City and hold a picnic in the woods on the original family farm.
I wish to thank Darwin Hucka (son of Richard and Evelyn) for information contained in this article.