History of Czechs in America was written by Dr. Jan Habenicht, a Czech-born American who gathered data for thirty years prior to the 1910 publication. Written in the Czech language, as Dejiny Cechuv Americkych, the book was translated to English by Miroslav Koudelka, and published by Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International in 1996. Interlibrary loan service found it at Naperville Public Library, Naperville, Illinois.A valuable tool for researchers of Czech history and lineage, the book includes the names, birthplaces, American location, and other information on Czechs all over the United States, from their emigration to 1910. Included are photographs of some of those early pioneers, churches, Catholic priests, Czech schools, and a few “free-thinkers”. Obviously Catholic, the author’s discussion of the free-thinkers movement and its conflicts with Catholics provides a lesson on this important subject. Special attention is given to the first Czechs to arrive in a given town or county, with generous information on major Czech centers like Chicago and rural Nebraska. There is a surname index, a geographical index, and an explanation of initialed Czech organizations, like Z.C.B.J. (Zapadni Cesko Bratrska Jednota), in English Western Fraternal Bohemian Association.
Oxford Junction, Iowa is mentionned several times in this book. On page 239, “Oxford Junction, Jones County, is another Czech colony…….. The first Czechs arrived in 1855 to the countryside where the present-day little town of Oxford Junction is located. They are: Frantisek (Frank) Beranek from Dzbanov, Bohemia, Frantisek and M.B. Vosoba (Wosoba) from Kluky near Pisek, Vaclav (Wenceslaus) Jilek (sometimes seen as Elick/Ellick/Eleck in U.S.A.), born in Dzbanov near Vysoke Myto in 1813 and Vaclav Vilimek (Willimack), born in Kostelec nad Orlici in 1823.” And after continued discussion, “The neighborhood of Oxford Junction is plenty fertile and local Czech farmers are very wealthy, however, they also had very hard beginnings. Merchants in the little town enjoy great wealth too and they make a great influence in the town’s administration. It was the railroad, two lines that cross there, which most contributed to the advancement of the town, followed by the diligence, thrift and honesty of the Czech immigrants.”
And on page 156 — “Arriving (in Saline Co., Nebraska) soon after Herman, were Antonin Chaloupka and Vaclav Beck. Chaloupka came from Castolovice near Kostelec nad Orlici and now he is a rich farmer in Saline Co. Beck was born in Podrezov near Vamberk on February 11, 1826, and in 1855, he came to Oxford Mills, Jones County, Iowa. In 1868 he moved to Saline County where he then acquired great wealth. He died in Wilber ….”. Count Mr. Beck among the earliest Czechs in the OJ area.
Iowa was established as a territory in 1838 and admitted as a state in 1845. According to Habenicht, Czechs began migrating to Iowa in the beginning of the 1850s, particularly to the counties Howard, Johnson, Jones, Linn, Tama, Washington, and Winneshiek. In 1910 there were approximately 2 1/4 million people in Iowa, about 40,000 Czech.
I extracted from the book all names having Czech origins which I recognized as origins of people from Oxford Jct. See Habenicht’s Data. JN