Zbornik Family

(Helen Zbornik)

In the mid-1800’s the Zborniks braved the unknown and set foot on U.S. soil, settling in Winneshiek Co. About a century and a half later a Zbornik descendent left her native U.S. homeland to brave the unknown and settle in a new land. This is the “tides of time” for the Zbornik family.

Mathias (Maty) Zbornik (b. 23 Feb 1816, Chulupy, Bohemia) and Rosalia (Rosa) Kopet (b. 8 Apr 1818, Zdar, Bohemia) were married in Zdar on 24 Feb 1840 and emigrated to America. They arrived in New York on 26 Nov 1853 on the ship Patriot.. James, Mary, Catherine and Franz (children of Mathias and Rosa) emigrated to America at the same time. John Zbornik (the first Zbornik born in the U.S.) was born 18 May 1854 in Dubuque, IA -the site of the Zbornik’s brief residence at the time. A few months later, Franz (who may also have been called Thomas) was the first Zbornik to die in the U.S. Franz was 2 years old at the time of his death. He is believed to be interred in an Indian burial ground on the St. Clement’s Church acreage Sec. 25, Summer Twp. one mile southwest of Spillville (see page 122 of “They Came to This Place" by Cyril Klimesh). The last child of Mathias and Rosa was Joseph (b. 25 Jan 1858).

On 7 May 1855 Mathias bought 40 acres Sec. 17, Calmar Twp., Winneshiek Co. near Spillville, IA for $52. On 22 Feb 1865 he sold the farm for $500 and the following day bought 100 acres Sec. 9, Auburn Twp., Fayette Co. near St. Lucas, IA for $1100. On 18 Mar 1868 he bought 40 more acres in Sec. 16 for $550.

John Zbornik married Mary Busta 13 Jan 1880. Eight children were born to this union: Joseph (b. 3 Jan 1881); Wencel, known as ‘Jim or W.J.” (b. 13 Apr 1883); Mary (b. 29 Nov 1885); Francis, known as “Frank” (b. 28 Jul 1888); Mathias, known as “Mike" (b. 4 Jul 1891); Rose Zbornik Fend (b. 10 Sep 1893); Agnes Zbornik Maravetz (b. 12 Dec 1895); and Frances “Sister Alberta” (b. 24 Apr 1898).

In 1895 (the same year Ft. Atkinson, IA was incorporated) John and Joseph Zbornik (brothers) bought 280 acres in Sec. 11, Jackson Twp., Winneshiek Co. three miles west of Ft. Atkinson. The 280 acres was purchased from Bernard Vaughn, in 1907 two of John Zbornik’s daughters, Agnes and Frances, planted walnut trees on the farm. In 1911 John Zbornik named the farm “Clover Leaf Farm” since clover was grown for seed on the farm. The name is registered in the Recorder's Office in the Winneshiek Co. Courthouse. On 7 May 1912 Joe Zbornik obtained a patent on a hayrack wagon he had designed. For a short time prior to Frank’s induction into the U.S. Army, he was a telegraph operator at Sloan, IA. On 22 Feb 1918 Frank was inducted into the U.S, Army as Private First Class # 2174115 at Decorah, IA and received his initial training at Camp Dodge, IA. Frank was transported by train to Camp Devens, MA and sailed from Hoboken, NJ on 24 Apr 1918 aboard the troop ship the U.S.S. Leviathan . Nine days later on 2 May 1918 the Leviathan docked in Brest, a seaport in northwest France. Frank accompanied officers and men of the 304th Field

Artillery, Battery ‘A’, 77th Division as part of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) of World War I under the leadership of General John J. Pershing. Information indicates Frank Zbornik’s tour of duty in France included service in battles at Baccarat Sector, Vesne Sector, Oise-Aisne Offensive, Argonne Front and Argonne-Meuse Offensive. He was officially discharged on 18 May 1919 at Camp Dodge with an exemplary record of service to his country. Frank returned to his Ft. Atkinson home and farmed in Winneshiek Co.

When Frank was stationed near Bordeau, France, a tornado hit the Zbornik farm on 7 May 1918 and took the barn north of the woods. At the time of this writing, part of the old barn foundation still stands. At the time of the tornado a windmill wheel fell only a few feet from John Zbornik. Frank received news of this storm from letters written by the family.

Frank Zbornik married Elizabeth Maravetz of Schley, IA on 1 Oct 1923. To that union were born 4 children: Celestine (11 Jan 1928 - 11 Jan 1928), Ursula, Celeste, and Adrian.

On 26 Jun 1927 Frank R. Zbornik bought the east 140 acres of the original 280 acre farm purchased by John and Joseph Zbornik. On 12 Jan 1967 (40 years later) the same 140 acres was purchased by Adrian Zbornik.

Ten years earlier, Adrian Zbornik and Helen Shindelar from Calmar, IA were married at the St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Calmar on 7 Sep 1957. Six children were born to this union: Stephen, Susan, Catherine, Julie, John, and Sarah.

In the years between 1957 and 1984, Adrian (with the help of his family) did general farming - grew corn, hay and oats; farrowed to finished hogs; milked cows; and sold springing heifers. During this time, following the practices his father Frank initiated, Adrian continued to improve the Zbornik farmland by installing drainage tile to the entire farm. To conserve the soil and water run-off, Adrian, assisted by Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service guidelines, constructed terraces, applied contouring and established deadlands around all the farm fields.

The Zbornik family attended St. John’s Catholic Church in Ft. Atkinson. The children attended St. John’s Parochial School and Turkey Valley Community School. Adrian is actively involved in the church as a lay minister and lector.

In 1985 Adrian and Helen moved to a home in Ft. Atkinson (same house built by Adrian’s father, Frank, in 1956). Stephen and his family - Hannah and Stephen James - lived in the farm house as Stephen was the 4th generation of Zbornik to operate the farm from 1984-1992. Adrian was still active with the farm operation at that time and had also assumed the position of part-time senior citizen Transit Driver for Northeast Iowa Community Action.

In 1992 Stephen was hired by Country’s Reminisce Magazine as horseman for the history-making first six-horse Belgium Hitch to cross America from coast to coast.


Partial OCR transcription, some sensitive personal information such as birth dates of people that maybe living is not included.

See the associated scan to compare with the published information.

Please, contact the County Coordinator to submit additions or corrections.

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this page was last updated on Tuesday, 30 March 2021