RE: [TexasCzechs] The Story of Dubina
- Frank --
Thank you so much for forwarding the Dubina story to the list. The history
of Dubina and Ammansville is something that I have been curious about for a
while. I was very happy when I opened this e-mail! Does anyone on the list
know the history of Ammansville?
One set of my paternal great-grandparents, settled in Dubina when they first
arrived. (In fact, they are buried in the Dubina Catholic Cemetery.) The
other set of my Paternal great-grandparents, settled in Ammansville when
they arrived. According to our family history, they were brick masons and
laid the foundation for the Dubina Church when it was built.
From: FMikula@... [mailto:FMikula@...]
Sent: Sunday, June 11, 2000 2:42 PM
Subject: [TexasCzechs] The Story of Dubina
> ----------More insight into how it was for the very early settlers...here is the tale
> From: FMikula@...[SMTP:FMIKULA@...]
> Sent: Sunday, June 11, 2000 2:41:59 PM
> To: email@example.com
> Subject: [TexasCzechs] The Story of Dubina
> Auto forwarded by a Rule
of Dubina as published some time ago by the Dewitt County View.
The small community of Dubina, Texas is situated near and east of Navidad,
about four miles on the left side of the paved highway from Schulenburg to
Weimar, Texas. This community is 100% Czech-Moravian-Catholic. It is the
parish in the state that was founded and settled strictly by people ALL
coming from Moravia in Europe.
The history of this parish is best known from a lecture by August
Haidusek, given by him at a special parish celebration on the 4th of
November, 1906 in memory of the founding of this Czech-Moravian community
west of the Colorado River of Texas.
"It was in the beginning of the month of August 1856 when my father,
living in the small village of "Mysi" at the foot of a small mountain in
Kasnicova, between Frenstat and Pribor in northern Moravia, emigrated to
settle somewhere in America. At the same time, from the same village
emigrated with us Ignac Pustejovsky and Valentine Holub. We travel by a
to Bohumin where we met other families also moving to America. In Bohumin we
boarded a train for Bremen. There we rested for a few days and then were
loaded onto a small barge that took us to Bremenhaven by the river. In
Bremenhaven we took an ocean going sail boat to Galveston, Texas. The boat
was about 100 feet long with two masts. Barely a little tub compared to the
ocean liners of today. The first night out we ran into a severe storm and we
were tossed about like a little stick of wood. I will never forget to the
of my life - the difficulties, sickness, etc. of all the travelers, but
especially by the women and the children. The storm lasted a night and a
Thereafter the trip was practically uneventful up to Galveston, where we
landed after fourteen weeks of ocean travel.
The next day my father, with some more men, myself included, oared to
Galveston Harbor and we returned in a small steamer (probably a tug boat)
which pulled us closer to a large steamer they loaded all our baggage and
passengers and this boat took us by way of the Buffalo Bayou (now Houston
Channel) all the way to Houston. Here we landed the morning of All Saints
Day. In the group were Konstantine Chovanec, Joseph Janda from Trojanovice.
Benjamin Klimicek, Ignac Sramek, Joseph Kalic, Ignac Musny, Joseph Peter and
Francis Marak from Ticha, Francis Sugarek from Klokocov, Ignac Pustejovsky,
Valentine Holub and my father Valentine Haidusek from "Mysi" and Francis
from Sklenkov - also a single young man John Konvicka. Miss Johana Broz,
Rosalie Holub and two more single girls from Frenstat; all from Moravia.
Upon arrival in Houston, early next day, we set out on a journey in
wagons pulled by 5 pair of oxen. After six days we arrived in Cat Springs in
Austin County. Here we spent the night in a small forest. Here a man by the
name of Matusik came and talked to us and spoke in such an unfavorable way
about Texas that some families decided to return to Galveston and go to the
state of Iowa, where lived one of our countrymen, a Mr. Holub. A little
another Czech came around and he again talked in favor of Texas and to
our minds and stay in Texas.
He reasoned that we would arrive in Iowa in the dead of winter, which
season of the year was just as severe if not even worse than in our homeland
in Europe. So we all decided to stay and we rested in Cat Springs for about
two weeks. In the meantime my father with Joseph Peter, Joseph Lalich and
Frank Marak went out to scout the country. When they returned they could not
find enough words in praise of Fayette county, they said it was a fertile
beautiful country and had already leased for themselves some lands.
With them came two wagons, so we loaded up and started for La Grange. It
was at the end of November when all these wagons brought us here and
us under "Live Oaks" - all year green oaks. It was on a property that then
was owned by a Mr. Holub. This was early in the afternoon, with a strong
norther and a good bit of sleet. We had no cover except the oaks, so we were
soaked through and through. For miles around there was no settler anywhere.
We all felt miserable and forsaken, all alone. We built a large fire for the
night, no one slept for it was very cold and rained hard. Next day the sun
came out very bright, so everyone was able to work had to help out with work
- by nightfall we had built on our property a crude but substantial home.
We lived in this home for the next six months. It was snug and fairly
comfortable. It was a very primitive structure. In the morning, my father
found very near two large oak trees, close to each other. We cut some long
limbs, making two long beams, logs. We placed these down one end on the
ground and the other ends were leaned on the two trees at an angle and we
tied these with grape vines. Thus we had formed rafters. While men were
this work, the women cut grass and tied it into bundles, (the grass was
several feet high) which bundles I hauled on a horse to the construction
site. The roof was covered with these bundles of grass. And we lived here
six months. Even the strongest rain storms were held off by the grass. The
inside was warm and dry. After this Joseph Peter built a similar hut and we
were all happy and glad. There was no friction among the people at any time.
We stayed in our hut until 1867, when my father sold the farm and bought
another one some three miles west of Schulenburg. Hynek, my brother, still
lives on that farm today.
When huts were built for all, we started to clear and till the land. We
made rails (for fences) and before planting time came we each had several
acres fenced in. We planted corn about a foot apart, leaving three to four
shoots in a group, thinking that this way we would be able to reap a greater
harvest. Also cotton we planted into rather thick rows about a foot apart.
When corn was about to bloom a Mr. John Frude came and pulled out corn
stalks, thinning out the rows as corn should be. Of course we did not like
his destroying our crops. He talked and explained as he worked - as no one
us understood English, we did not know what he was saying. At harvest time
the rows of corn thinned out by Mr. Frude had large and full ears of corn
the rows not thinned out held only a bundle of shucks. All of the six
families together made only a small bale of cotton. We loaded it on a sled
and hauled it to La Grange to sell.
The first year was very bad for all of us, just about everyone had taken
sick about the same time with chills and fever. It was very difficult to get
over the illness. I did not get sick at all, perhaps because I was
and mean - so the sickness did not touch me at all. By this time I had
learned some words in English, so I went for the doctor and when necessary
acted as interpreter for him. I also acted as a nurse, bringing water and
giving it to the patients and also administered medicine. By this time we
all dug wells for drinking water.
The year after this one was even worse - although we were all well now -
we had nothing to eat and all the moneys brought from Europe were spent by
now. But we could not go hungry and die. We went to a German merchant in La
Grange who was a miller and we bought some corn from him, we paid two
a bushel. For flour we paid $20.00 per 196 pound barrel. Meat however was
very cheap. For a doctor we had to go to Bluff, Texas, for Doctor Meyenger.
The following year we knew a little more about farming. The younger ones
could also speak some English. The natives came from far and near to take a
look at us immigrants. They were very kind to us. They did teach us how to
our farm work. The next year we had cleared a very good crop of corn and
cotton. Thus it was better and better for us each year from then on. Soon we
forgot the hard difficult beginnings.
About four years later some more families immigrated and came to our
midst. They were lost in wonder and awe at the sight of our homes. Some
families did stop to remain here - the family of Valentine Gallia, my
father's classmate. When he inspected our home and living quarters he said,
"My friends! I had a much better pig sty at home". My father answered, "Yes,
you did, that is true - but I would rather live in this hut as an American
than in the palaces of the European rich and labor as a slave for the
We were the first czechomoravian family settled on the west side of the
Colorado River. Of those that settled here with us, still living here today
are Valentine Holub, Francis Kosa, Mrs. Johana Janak and Mrs. Syzink. Others
died or moved away and left us here. One day we will go and will our place
Thus far quoted from the lecture of Mr. Haidusek. Here he had truly
described the hard times, sorrows and self-denials of the first immigrants -
not only of those that came with us and lived around Dubina, but also of all
here and elsewhere no matter where they lived. These were the words of Mr.
Haidusek to Mr. Gallia, "We all had gladly suffered these hardships and
self-denials than go to do slave labor under the Austrian rule".
The first settlers around Dubina, though the times had made living
and much pleasant, were still not fully satisfied with their lives, their
mode of living. In their old country they had been accustomed to serve their
God and fulfill their religious obligations faithfully. They were missing
their CHURCH and their PRIESTS. In due time Father Gury, a Frenchman by
birth, visited this colony coming some sixty miles from Frelsburg, Texas. He
said Holy Mass here in the home of one of the parishioners. Thereafter
Gury came about three times a year. All had gathered around him for these
More settlers came year by year and in 1877 they built a small but neat
frame church building and dedicated it to SS. Cyril and Methodius. At this
time Father Rohosinsky would come from Praha, Texas a number of times a
He did this until 1876 when Father Brucklin took over the parish and its
responsibilities. Some time later Father Jerome Leagleder, a Bavarian by
birth, became the first resident pastor.
In 1895 the first Czech priest Father Francis Just was appointed to
Weimar, Texas as pastor with Dubina as a mission. He was followed by Father
Karel Benes coming here from Bluff, Texas.
By 1900 the farming community had erected a church building, mill,
gin, blacksmith shop, store and post office. A 1909 storm and a 1912 fire
caused extensive damage from which the town never recovered. As the first
settlement in Texas to be founded by Czech Moravians, Dubina remains an
important part of the state's regional and cultural history.
The Czechs who settled in Dubina were not the first Czechs in Texas.
There were many who preceded them; but all of these Czechs settled in
existing towns. The group of Czechs who found shelter from the elements
a gigantic oak tree in November, 1856 were the first in Texas who started
their own town.
Today the Czechs are among the larger ethnic groups in the state and
Czech is the third most popular language spoken in Texas.
>From the DeWitt County View------------------------------------------------------------------------
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