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Re: [TexasCzechs] REV JOSEF CHROMCIK

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  • Marie Neuman Gottfried
    The Young House Keeper -- Marie Hajek The Hajeks My great-grandmother, Marie Hajek, was the only daughter of Martin Hajek and Victoria Kulhanek, born 1864 at
    Message 1 of 5 , Jul 1, 2000
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      The Young House Keeper  --  Marie Hajek
       
      The Hajeks
      My great-grandmother, Marie Hajek, was the only daughter of Martin Hajek and Victoria Kulhanek, born 1864 at Frelsburg.  The family had moved to Fayetteville, living on the edge of town.  I would love to know exactly where!
       
      Martin was found dead on the trail, his teamster's wagon missing, in October 1880.  Victoria struggled raising their 6 sons and daughter.  Word was sent back to Horni Hermanice, Northeast Bohemia, for help.
       
      Nicodemus Kulhanek, first cousin to Victoria, kissed his wife and four children goodbye.  After all, he had planned to move to Texas, and this was the push needed for him to go ahead and set up in the new country, later to send for his family.  He landed at New Orleans in January 1881, and went to Fayetteville.
       
      "Uncle" Nicodemus taught Marie Hajek housekeeping skills since Victoria was very sick.  A year later, according to family story, Marie was to be in a school play, the evening of March 1882.  She was told to go to the play; her mother would be cared for.  When Marie returned home, Victoria had died. 
       
      My Gripe
      The reason I do not know exact death dates is because Rev. Chromcik kept very sloppy records and he did not write date of death, but date of burial.  H e was a people person, not a record keeper.  Of course, you can figure, according to the time of year and the story,  that the person was buried that day or the following day. 
       
      Father Ben Mazurkiewicz is the current priest.  He will not allow you to look at the records.  I have been trying since the early 1980's to get my hands on the books.   You can pay the priest's secretary to look for a record and then she will type an official letter with a seal.
       
      The problem with this is that "only I" know what to look for.  I know the creative spellings of the names.  Keeping in mind that Father Chromcik was not meticulous in his writing, this is very important!  There can also be clues in the records and in the records on the same page that tell you more about the ancestor or community. 
       
      Catholic Archives
      Yes, the records have been filmed and can be viewed in Austin, Texas, at the Catholic Archives.  A speaker is featured from the archives for the genealogy seminar in July.  (Another reason to attend!)
       
      I made the trip to Austin in the 1980's, after being written by the Fayetteville church secretary  that my records were not in the church book.  I read the microfilm or attempted to read it.  Back then, it was very blurry.  I don't know if that has changed.  When I got to the burial page where my Hajeks were to have been listed, I could barely make out the page, but I faintly saw their names!
       
      I sent another letter and money to the church secretary to get her to look again.  I got a certificate with a burial date, but I do not know if any other gems were written in the original book.  If they were, the microfilm copy certainly could not be read.
       
      Back to the Story
      Both Martin and Victoria Hajek were buried in the Catholic Cemetery at Fayetteville.  Their markers must have been wood because the graves could not be found in the 1940's when my Aunt Cecelia Rochen Hajek went to locate them. 
       
      Aunt Cecelia was told then by the priest that the unmarked graves were dug up and reused, thus someone else is resting in the Hajek graves.  The current priest told me in the 1980's that the story was impossible, but I believe strongly that is exactly what happened.  Look at the cemetery.  For the sizable Czech population in the 1860s-1900's, the cemetery is small.
       
      Nicodemus Kulhanek
      Before Victoria died in March 1882, Nicodemus received word from Bohemia that three of his four children had died that January from the diphtheria epidemic that swept the village.  Left in Bohemia were his wife and one son.  He sent for them and they arrived November 1882. 
       
      What to do with the orphaned Hajek children?  One son had married and settled in Columbus.  The others migrated across Texas, settling in communities near Bryan and West.  One son was found murdered on a box car, working for the railroad going through Tokyo Station (now West).  Wish I knew the dates, but this was a dark secret.
       
      Daughter Marie went to work for Rev. Chromcik as his housekeeper.  A marriage was arranged for her with Nicodemus's nephew, John Rocen (Rochen), the son of Annie Kulhanek.  This meant that the children of two first cousins were marrying, a common custom.  Nicodemus carved a cabbage (kraut) cutter for them as a wedding gift, now one of my most treasured possessions.
       
      The Scandal
      Marie Hajek and John Rocen married November 10, 1883.  Their first child was born April 6, 1884.  I would not call the child premature because he lived to be a toddler, being killed by a wagon that fell off its jack, crushing him.
       
      So, Marie was with child when she wed John Rocen.  I see this frequently in Europe where couples, unable to get permission to marry from their landowner, had relations anyway.  But I do not see this happening in my family research in America.
       
      Who is the father of the first child?  Possibly John Rocen was the father, but I have heard ugly rumors about Father Chromcik.  I had it whispered to me by someone from that area that in her family, it was known that the handsome priest was a "ladies' man".  That is as much as I could get out of this person.
       
      Gossip?  Rumors?  It can't be proved.  The dead toddler had no descendants, so no DNA testing can be done such as in the Thomas Jefferson paternity cases. 
       
      Does it matter?  Father Chromcik is a hero among the Czech Catholics in Texas.  He did many great things, but like the priest in "Thorn Birds", he may have been human.
       
      What became of Marie Hajek?  The tiny little girl had fourteen children, plumping her out to the size of a round ball.  It is a miracle she survived all those pregnancies.  One child had to be surgically removed from her because he was too large (around 18 pounds) to be born.  She was known as a strict and demanding mother-in-law, making my Moravian grandma's life pure hell.
       
      Knowing Marie's background, I cannot be harsh on her.  An only daughter, she did not have her mother when she needed her the most, depending on an unknown "uncle" for guidance.  Being ignorant of the ways of the world, she found herself pregnant before marriage.  That probably accounts for her judgmental behavior the rest of her life.
       
      What became of Nicodemus?  By the time of Marie's marriage to John Rocen, he had taken his surviving family to Praha.  Many more children were born.  He continued to dictate the lives of Marie and John Rocen, being responsible for their migration to Waller County in 1894.  Nicodemus lost his money on the move.  The Rocens prospered and remained.  All is written in detail in my book, The Church of the Sparrows, The Story of St. Mary Catholic Church of Waller, Texas.
       
      I am Catholic and I include these people in my prayers every night.  We should not pass judgement on them, nor put them on pedestals.  Their lives, including their faults, should be an inspiration to us.  Thank you for reading my story.
       
      Marie Neuman Gottfried
      Pattison, Texas
      Waller County
       
       
    • epereira@swbell.net
      You are right about being only human since this activity still occurs today. When you are in a town as small as Fayetteville everyone knows everyone s
      Message 2 of 5 , Jul 1, 2000
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        You are right about being only human since this activity still occurs today. When you are in a town as small as Fayetteville everyone knows everyone's business. I must say though the cemetery is quite large for such a small town. I also find it hard to believe that anyone would be buried over another unless the family allows it. This is a common practice in Houston. Glenwood cemetery dates back to the the late 1800's and many of my husband's family are buried atop each other but the records reflect this so you know who is buried where. I know Fr. C. was a hero in Fayetteville and the nuns made us all pay homage to his memory. I can admire the fact that he helped build the old church but I can not to this day understand why they tore it down. If you are wanting cemetery information for St. John's then I recommend getting it from the LaGrange Library archives since all the Fayette Co. cemeteries are in their database they can print their surname and it will come up with all the sites. There is also a listing of St. John's where you can look through the papers where you will catch the misspellings etc. Good Luck.......Lois Petter Pereira     

        Marie Neuman Gottfried wrote:

         The Young House Keeper  --  Marie Hajek The HajeksMy great-grandmother, Marie Hajek, was the only daughter of Martin Hajek and Victoria Kulhanek, born 1864 at Frelsburg.  The family had moved to Fayetteville, living on the edge of town.  I would love to know exactly where! Martin was found dead on the trail, his teamster's wagon missing, in October 1880.  Victoria struggled raising their 6 sons and daughter.  Word was sent back to Horni Hermanice, Northeast Bohemia, for help. Nicodemus Kulhanek, first cousin to Victoria, kissed his wife and four children goodbye.  After all, he had planned to move to Texas, and this was the push needed for him to go ahead and set up in the new country, later to send for his family.  He landed at New Orleans in January 1881, and went to Fayetteville. "Uncle" Nicodemus taught Marie Hajek housekeeping skills since Victoria was very sick.  A year later, according to family story, Marie was to be in a school play, the evening of March 1882.  She was told to go to the play; her mother would be cared for.  When Marie returned home, Victoria had died. My GripeThe reason I do not know exact death dates is because Rev. Chromcik kept very sloppy records and he did not write date of death, but date of burial.  H e was a people person, not a record keeper.  Of course, you can figure, according to the time of year and the story,  that the person was buried that day or the following day. Father Ben Mazurkiewicz is the current priest.  He will not allow you to look at the records.  I have been trying since the early 1980's to get my hands on the books.   You can pay the priest's secretary to look for a record and then she will type an official letter with a seal. The problem with this is that "only I" know what to look for.  I know the creative spellings of the names.  Keeping in mind that Father Chromcik was not meticulous in his writing, this is very important!  There can also be clues in the records and in the records on the same page that tell you more about the ancestor or community. Catholic ArchivesYes, the records have been filmed and can be viewed in Austin, Texas, at the Catholic Archives.  A speaker is featured from the archives for the genealogy seminar in July.  (Another reason to attend!) I made the trip to Austin in the 1980's, after being written by the Fayetteville church secretary  that my records were not in the church book.  I read the microfilm or attempted to read it.  Back then, it was very blurry.  I don't know if that has changed.  When I got to the burial page where my Hajeks were to have been listed, I could barely make out the page, but I faintly saw their names! I sent another letter and money to the church secretary to get her to look again.  I got a certificate with a burial date, but I do not know if any other gems were written in the original book.  If they were, the microfilm copy certainly could not be read. Back to the StoryBoth Martin and Victoria Hajek were buried in the Catholic Cemetery at Fayetteville.  Their markers must have been wood because the graves could not be found in the 1940's when my Aunt Cecelia Rochen Hajek went to locate them. Aunt Cecelia was told then by the priest that the unmarked graves were dug up and reused, thus someone else is resting in the Hajek graves.  The current priest told me in the 1980's that the story was impossible, but I believe strongly that is exactly what happened.  Look at the cemetery.  For the sizable Czech population in the 1860s-1900's, the cemetery is small. Nicodemus KulhanekBefore Victoria died in March 1882, Nicodemus received word from Bohemia that three of his four children had died that January from the diphtheria epidemic that swept the village.  Left in Bohemia were his wife and one son.  He sent for them and they arrived November 1882. What to do with the orphaned Hajek children?  One son had married and settled in Columbus.  The others migrated across Texas, settling in communities near Bryan and West.  One son was found murdered on a box car, working for the railroad going through Tokyo Station (now West).  Wish I knew the dates, but this was a dark secret. Daughter Marie went to work for Rev. Chromcik as his housekeeper.  A marriage was arranged for her with Nicodemus's nephew, John Rocen (Rochen), the son of Annie Kulhanek.  This meant that the children of two first cousins were marrying, a common custom.  Nicodemus carved a cabbage (kraut) cutter for them as a wedding gift, now one of my most treasured possessions. The ScandalMarie Hajek and John Rocen married November 10, 1883.  Their first child was born April 6, 1884.  I would not call the child premature because he lived to be a toddler, being killed by a wagon that fell off its jack, crushing him. So, Marie was with child when she wed John Rocen.  I see this frequently in Europe where couples, unable to get permission to marry from their landowner, had relations anyway.  But I do not see this happening in my family research in America. Who is the father of the first child?  Possibly John Rocen was the father, but I have heard ugly rumors about Father Chromcik.  I had it whispered to me by someone from that area that in her family, it was known that the handsome priest was a "ladies' man".  That is as much as I could get out of this person. Gossip?  Rumors?  It can't be proved.  The dead toddler had no descendants, so no DNA testing can be done such as in the Thomas Jefferson paternity cases. Does it matter?  Father Chromcik is a hero among the Czech Catholics in Texas.  He did many great things, but like the priest in "Thorn Birds", he may have been human. What became of Marie Hajek?  The tiny little girl had fourteen children, plumping her out to the size of a round ball.  It is a miracle she survived all those pregnancies.  One child had to be surgically removed from her because he was too large (around 18 pounds) to be born.  She was known as a strict and demanding mother-in-law, making my Moravian grandma's life pure hell. Knowing Marie's background, I cannot be harsh on her.  An only daughter, she did not have her mother when she needed her the most, depending on an unknown "uncle" for guidance.  Being ignorant of the ways of the world, she found herself pregnant before marriage.  That probably accounts for her judgmental behavior the rest of her life. What became of Nicodemus?  By the time of Marie's marriage to John Rocen, he had taken his surviving family to Praha.  Many more children were born.  He continued to dictate the lives of Marie and John Rocen, being responsible for their migration to Waller County in 1894.  Nicodemus lost his money on the move.  The Rocens prospered and remained.  All is written in detail in my book, The Church of the Sparrows, The Story of St. Mary Catholic Church of Waller, Texas. I am Catholic and I include these people in my prayers every night.  We should not pass judgement on them, nor put them on pedestals.  Their lives, including their faults, should be an inspiration to us.  Thank you for reading my story. Marie Neuman GottfriedPattison, TexasWaller County 
         
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      • slivaa@aol.com
        My grandmother, Anna Pisklak Sliva, received her first communion from Rev. Chromcik, on April 29, 1906. Allison Sliva-Scott
        Message 3 of 5 , Jul 2, 2000
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          My grandmother, Anna Pisklak Sliva, received her first communion from Rev.
          Chromcik, on April 29, 1906.
          Allison Sliva-Scott
        • Karin Galindo
          Anna Pisklak is a sister to Theresa Pisklak Sivek. Theresa married Joseph Edward Sivek, Sr. Karin Huffman Galindo ... Rev.
          Message 4 of 5 , Apr 23, 2008
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            Anna Pisklak is a sister to Theresa Pisklak Sivek. Theresa married
            Joseph Edward Sivek, Sr.

            Karin Huffman Galindo


            --- In TexasCzechs@yahoogroups.com, slivaa@... wrote:
            >
            > My grandmother, Anna Pisklak Sliva, received her first communion from
            Rev.
            > Chromcik, on April 29, 1906.
            > Allison Sliva-Scott
            >
          • Karin Galindo
            Anna Pisklak is a sister to Theresa Pisklak Sivek. Theresa married Joseph Edward Sivek, Sr. Karin Huffman Galindo ... Rev.
            Message 5 of 5 , Apr 23, 2008
            • 0 Attachment
              Anna Pisklak is a sister to Theresa Pisklak Sivek. Theresa married
              Joseph Edward Sivek, Sr.

              Karin Huffman Galindo


              --- In TexasCzechs@yahoogroups.com, slivaa@... wrote:
              >
              > My grandmother, Anna Pisklak Sliva, received her first communion from
              Rev.
              > Chromcik, on April 29, 1906.
              > Allison Sliva-Scott
              >
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