May 1856); John (b. @ 1858); Albina (b. 16 Nov 1861); Charles (b. 6 Jun 1863); Teresa (b. 1866); Jakub (b. 24 Jun 1867); and Ann who died at age 14. Although their life had its ups and downs and was not bad, there was no chance for advancement in a small town, so in 1854 Barbara and Jakub decided to go to America. They were hearing such good things from America that every news was like a seed planted in their hearts, a seed that sprang hope, so they decided to leave for America. They came on the Bremen bark Weser on 3 Dec 1854. The sea voyage wasn't easy and took 9 weeks from the German port of Bremen to Galveston, TX. They didn’t want to go anywhere else because they knew Martin Hayek and others that came before them settled in TX. They hadn’t really even heard about any other states. Another reason for them to come to America was to bring Mzika Hayek, nephew of Martin, with them. They wanted to be with their old friend Martin Hayek so they set out for Houston only to find out along the way that he had died. What a blow this was. It was hard to change their plans. They had traveled for 16 days from Houston—again by wagon drawn by oxen. They didn’t have any feed for the oxen so they would unharness them, let them eat their fill, and then continue on. The caravan spent their nights in the wooded areas the best they could. (Some of the others from the group went by boat to Houston and spread out among the German immigrants in that community.) They got acquainted with some farmers who brought cotton to Catspring—their wagons drawn by oxen.
One day when they were at their campsites in the woods a young man came by. He told them his father was old and that he heard there was a Czech blacksmith in the group and he suggested that they settle there. (This was Catspring, TX where Catharine, the grandmother of Charles Ira, was born.) After thinking about it for a short time they decided to take the opportunity. The young man came for them with a sleigh and guess what they found? The blacksmith shop was dirty and the people living there were quite unfriendly. Their hearts were heavy and they were very worried. With the help of his wife Jakub cleaned everything up and for a time everything looked rosy. The new blacksmith, Pesek, worked cheap even though a German friend told him he was working too cheap. Thus he earned the title of “cheap blacksmith.” He worked cheap and had a lot of work and his earnings were such that in 2 years he was able to build a new blacksmith shop and a log house by the road. He bought 2 cows and a horse and some colts and also built additional buildings which were necessary. But one bad luck followed another. The Civil War broke out. This Czech Colony which inhabited the surrounding area sympathized with the North and would not take up arms against them. They hid in the woods and wherever they could. Barbara and other wives stood guard and whenever they saw the Cavalry coming they signaled to the men who were hiding. One unfortunate day they were found out and the Cavalry began searching for the men. They caught her husband, Jakub, and also Mr. Kalina, Vaclav Sonka, Votypka and others. There were 50 in the Cavalry group and they also had dogs with them. Barbara had a letter from the doctor stating that Jakub was an ill man but the Cavalry didn’t care about that and took him anyway. The Cavalry would search for men everywhere. The men were all very scared. One Kalina hid in a bale of cotton and they found him and pulled him out by his feet. It was a time of great trouble and anxiety. Rumors came that times will be hard for the Czechs if the South should lose the war. That was a bad time for us because we didn’t know where they were taking Jakub. Luckily a man by the name of Reymershoffer of Allentown, a dealer in cotton, came by the next day with his teamsters and told Barbara that her husband was taken to Frenstat. The following morning she got on her horse and rode all day till she reached Frenstat but she couldn’t find any word of him. “It is a wonder I didn’t faint.” Without any news she returned home again riding her horse for a long day. The children expected her to bring their father home and all cried when she came home with the sad news. They didn’t sleep well that night and the next morning she got ready and rode the horse to Allentown to talk to Reymershoffer again. He came to meet her and tried to cheer her up the best he could. He also had bad news for her—that her husband was in Columbus and that he was okay. She left the horse at Reymershoffer’s place and walked the 4 miles to Columbus along with some Mexicans who were traveling that direction. Reymershoffer had described the house where her husband was living and while she was looking for the place her husband saw her and came down the street to meet her. He had been discharged. Barbara was very pleased to know that Jakub was released from the Army but he had to haul cotton to the ships for the state. It was with the help of Reymershoffer that the Cavalry was reprimanded for taking men into the Army who were too old.
By this time many of the people of the Czech community decided to go back to the old country. The first thought was to go back too, but the decision was very difficult because they already owned a farm of 125 acres which Barbara had worked by herself. Finally in 1867 they decided to sell their land and go back to the old country. Their property was worth about $3,000.00 but the journey cost them $1,500.00 and they had to buy their food. Their destination was Brehova, County of Hlubok. Upon their return to Bohemia they purchased living quarters and there the 8th child (made in America) was born. In Apr they sold their living quarters and bought a “hospoda” (tavern) and 72 “strychu” of land in Zahaji. One strychu is a little more than our acre. That fall Jakub passed away. That was the hardest blow of all to Barbara. The children were all very young and so in 1869 she married Frank Tesar and with him had one child, a daughter Barbara (b. 9 Feb 1870). They all worked very hard and when they were able to enjoy the fruits of their labor the children started to leave. It was about a year later when some of the neighbors like Kabela and Sonka went back to America. The oldest daughter Marie, 17 years old, went with them. She served as a housemaid in Spillville, IA.
In 1874 John went to TX to the home of Uncle Malicek who had a blacksmith shop at Catspring. In the spring of 1878 Charles left for America and in 1881 Catharine,
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this page was last updated on Monday, 29 March 2021