+++ “In all of us there is a hunger, marrow deep, to know our heritage – to know who we are and where we came from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainments in life, there is still a vacuum, an emptiness, and the most disquieting loneliness.” Alex Haley, Roots
+++ CGSI (Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International) of St. Paul, MN published in March 1995 an index of surnames submitted by their members. Extracted names from South Bohemia:
Burda from Nepomuk went to St. Louis, Missouri.
Ceynar from Trebon went to Sauk Centre, Minnesota.
Chadt/Chatt from Chlum u Trebone went to Chicago, Illinois.
Jelinek from Chlum u Trebone went to Chicago & Cicero, Illinois.
Neolky from Trebon went to Sauk Centre, Minnesota.
Perkova from Chlum u Trebone went to (USA assumed).
Pussakove from Trebon went to Sauk Centre, Minnesota.
Rokusek from Mladosovice went to Chicago, Illinois & northeastern Pennsylvania.
Sembauer from Trebon went to New Prague, Minnesota.
Tuma from Bosilec, Trebon went to Lonsdale, Minnesota.
Vratny/Wratney from Trebon went to New Britain, Connecticut.
Submitters’ addresses are in the index. There is probably a newer version.
+++ Kolache recipe. If you were to ask someone in Oxford Jct., IA to name one Czech food, the answer would be kolaches. A tradition brought from the old country, they are a favorite pastry in Czech communities. Recipes are many and varied. Here is my grandmother Alvena’s:
1/2 cake yeast or 1/2 pkg. active dry yst (1/8 oz. or 1 1/8 tsp.), soften in 1/4 c. warm water and set aside.
Mix: 1/4 c. lard, melted.& 1 1/2 c. warm milk, & 1 tsp. salt & 6 Tbsp. sugar.
Add 1 or 2 egg yolks to the wet ingredients if desired, for color.
Mix the yeast into the wet ingredients, and mix in:
4 to 7 c. of flour. Grandma said “flour till dough very thick”. The amount will depend on the humidity in your kitchen, whether you’ve added eggs, & the feel of the dough. Mix till thick and shiny. Let rise in a warm place, 1/2 to 1 hr. Punch down and shape as a dinner roll, approx. size of a golf ball, and place on greased pans abt. 1/2 inch apart. Grease tops and let rise in warm place abt. 20 min. (not fully risen). Push down centers and fill with fruit filling: poppy seed, prune & apricot (best thinned with applesauce), rhubarb, cherries, strawberries, etc. If fruit sour, sprinkle with sugar. Canned fillings are okay. Rise 10 or 20 min. more and bake at 375 for 8 to 15 min. till browned slightly. Cool.
Makes approx. 40. Czechs eat with dinner, but they are good anytime.
+++ The Holy Bible was in the Czech language by 1370, per a history book. The German Johannes Gutenberg, ca. 1390-1468, invented printing from movable type in 1448. The Bible was first printed in Latin. Martin Luther (1483-1546) translated it to German in ca. 1530. I can only assume that a Bible in some language was translated to Czech by monks, by hand, if 1370 is correct. Another source states that the “Prague Bible” was the first ever printed in the Czech language, in 1488, and 12 copies survive in 2002, one owned by the Prague municipal library. According to the book Genealogical Research for Czech and Slovak Americans by Olga K. Miller, a committee of Bratrska Jednota (church organized in 1457 by the followers of Jan Hus) prepared an excellent and accurate translation of the Holy Bible (into Czech), published at Kralice and called the “Kralicka Bible”. In doing historical research, it is common to find conflicting information about a subject.
+++ Oxford Junction Heritage Museum in downtown Oxford Jct., IA has developed into a fine small-town museum. The growing collection is well-displayed and explained, and includes my grandmother’s treadle-style sewing machine, one of the Oxford Hayloaders (a farm implement invented and manufactured in Oxford Jct. by Lasacks who emigrated from the Suchdol nad Luznici area, there Lejsek), and other items too numerous to mention. To learn the hours or arrange a tour, contact VonSpreckens at 563 826-2113 or ask at the town hall. Don’t forget to leave a donation to this wonderful community project which represents the multi-ethnical heritage of the Oxford Junction area. The museum has a website that includes a long list of obituaries from the Oxford Mirror that you can order for a nominal fee from Rita Balichek, a tireless community activist. Museum website: http://www.oxfordjunctionmuseum.bravehost.com
+++ Tribute to outbound emigrants. At the Masaryk Train Station in Prague, Czech Republic there is a memorial tablet inscribed: “Hundred of thousands of Czech women, men and children passed through this gate after 1848 to seek a new home on the other side of the Atlantic. Dedicated to their memory and their part in the advancement of the American continent, by the citizens of the Republic, on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the discovery of the New World”. That station was the starting point for most of the emigrants from Bohemia and Moravia who then went either to Hamburg or Bremen on their journey to America.
+++ Genealogists’ prose. We live under the shadow of a gigantic question mark.
Who are we?
Where do we come from?
Whither are we bound?
Slowly, but with persistent courage, we have been pushing this
question mark further and further towards that distant line, beyond
the horizon, where we hope to find our answer. . . .
from chapter one of The Story of Mankind by Hendrick Willem van Loon.
+++ Coming to America — Immigration from East Europe by Shirley Blumenthal is a wealth of information for genealogists. The book describes life in “the old country”, the reasons for and process of getting here, and conditions in this new world in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
+++ The Uprooted by Oscar Handlin contains great background information for genealogists. On page 7: “The immigrant movement started in the peasant heart of Europe. Ponderously balanced in a solid equilibrium for centuries, the old structure of an old society began to crumble at the opening of the modern era. One by one, rude shocks weakened the aged foundations until some climactic blow suddenly tumbled the whole into ruins. The mighty collapse left without homes millions of helpless, bewildered people. These were the army of emigrants.” And on page 31: “So Europe watched them go — in less than a century and a half, well over thirty-five million of them from every part of the continent. In this common flow were gathered up people of the most diverse qualities, people whose rulers had for centuries been enemies, people who had not even known of each other’s existence. Now they would share each other’s future.”
+++ Land Use around Suchdol nad Luznici, South Bohemia. According to a Czech website:
Suchdol nad L. was 66% agriculture 14% woods 5% water 15% remaining.
Dvory nad L. was 38% 53% 2% 7%
Halamky was 20% 72% 4% 4%
Hrdlorezy was 17% 73% 3% 7%
Tust was 36% 38% 4% 22%, modern times?
+++ Photos of South Bohemian antiquities. The book Sto Let Jihoceskeho Narodopisu , in English 100 Years of South Bohemian Ethnography (the systematic recording of human cultures), was printed in 1995 by the South Bohemia Museum at Ceske Budejovice. Large, color photos of antiquities from So. Boh., a model of a typical village house, and discussion of same, in Czech, are in this book, borrowed on interlibrary loan. The crop rotation system is described: fallow, revive, field/meadow, crops, etc.
+++ German-Bohemians are the immigrants to other countries who have either lived or have ancestry in the outer rim of the Czech Republic. Once this region was part of the Holy Roman Empire of the German nation, when people moved and settled freely in Central Europe. When the nation of Czechoslovakia was created in 1919 out of the former Austrian crown colonies of Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia, the German-speaking outer rim came to be known as the Sudetenland, named for the terrain that separates Germany from Bohemia. On a map that marks the regions where Germans lived in Bohemia, the Suchdol nad Luznici area is included. Some surnames from the Suchdol area are Germanic (Benischek, Haumer, Schneider for example), and people who lived there could speak German as well as Czech (although this could be explained by the Austria-Hungary Empire’s requirement of German being taught in the schools and used in business and government offices). Further, I had the pleasure of knowing two emigrants, one from Hrdlorezy and one from Nepomuk by Salmanovice and thought their accents sounded German-like. The Suchdol area is not considered Sudetenland, but our ancestors from there might have been German-Bohemians. I suspect that one day when I trace my Benischeks back far enough, I will read “came from Bavaria with the noble Schwarzenberg’s purchase of 30 serfs”!
+++ Czech Language. In the family tree of language, Czech is classified as West Slavic, a branch of the Slavonic languages which branch from Indo-European. The chapter Languages of the Slavic Group in The World’s Chief Languages by Mario A. Pei, Ph,D., 1960, reads “This imposing group, extending from the shores of the Baltic and the Adriatic, across central and eastern Europe…….. Czech, the official tongue of Czechoslovakia, is native to over 7,000,000 inhabitants of Bohemia and Moravia, while its variant, Slovak, is spoken by about 3,000,000 (the rest of Czechoslovakia’s 15,000,000 inhabitants have German, Hungarian, Ruthenian, and Yiddish as primary tongues)……..The grammatical structure is very similar to that of Polish……..” Olga Drahozhal explained in an article in Nase Ceske Dedictvi, March 2000 issue, “In the early 9th century the Slavs…… had a spoken language but not a method of recording in the written manner.”
The reigning monarchs asked the Pope to formulate a written Czech language so that the Bible could be translated and read by all Bohemian people. Two multi-lingual brothers, Cyril and Methodius, developed the Czech alphabet after many years of research. The 9th century alphabet is still used today. To save space here, I will say that it is like our English alphabet except there is no q, w, or x, and y is never the first letter of a word. Additional letters are ch (after h), c,d,n,r, s, t,& z with caret or hacek (like a flattened v). All vowels can be marked with a carka (‘) for the long sound, and a u that is long and in the middle of a word has a krouzek (tiny circle). Commonly called diacritical marks or hooks, they are described as orthographic signs in the textbook Progressive Czech by Bohumil E. Mikula, 1965. The Czech k is more gutteral, more like g. T is softer than in English. There are no articles in Czech (a, an, the). Plurals have y, e, or a endings, some plurals e with caret, i, and ata. Word endings vary with neuter, whether adjective, verb, plural, etc. For example: proper – Marie, sweet – Marena, sweeter – Marenka, and sweetest – Marenicka. Joe T. Vosoba has researched the origin of certain Czech surnames and learned that a Czech speaking in the South Bohemian dialect puts a v before many words starting with a vowel, suggesting that Vosoba might have been earlier Osoba. Genealogists working on surnames starting with v and with vowels, take note. Although there is no w in Czech, many Czech names contain it. This is explained by the influence of the German language, the language of the Austria-Hungary Empire which required that German be taught in the schools and used for all official purposes. In German v sounds like f, and w sounds like v. If you are looking for a V surnames on passenger lists, remember that the manifests were written by German employees in the German ports that our Czech ancestors took to America. For reading grave inscriptions and documents, you’ll need the days of the month:
Jan.= leden May = kveten Sept. = zari
Feb. = unor June = cerven Oct. = rijen
Mar. = brezen July = cervenec Nov.= listopad
Apr. = duben Aug. = srpen Dec. = prosinec
born = narozeni, m. = snatek, d. = umrti & zemrel, groom = zenich, bride = nevesta, witness = svedci, name = jmeno, age = vek, father = otec, mother = matka, son = syn, daughter = dcera, widower = vdovec, child = dite, children = deti, bury = pohrbit/pohrbena, legitimate = zakonnost, illegitimate = nemanzelsky, natural = vlastni, baptize = kresti, Godparent = kmotri, cemetery = hrbitov, siblings = sourozenci, year = rok & let, day = den, month = mesic, at rest (seen on graves) = v odpocivat, on/at/in/for/as = v, at = u, female name-ending is ova, male name-ending is y.
Occupational words are on the page Peasant Levels & Occupations. Personal names are on the page Personal Names (see home page). Classes in the Czech language are given in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and probably in Chicago, Omaha, and other cities with Czech populations. Language instruction programs for computers are available, as are audio tapes. Educational Services Corp. of Washington D.C. has good quality language tapes. Living Language offers a single cassette with 300 words. The gift shop of the National Czech and Slovak Museum, Cedar Rapids, IA has a good selection of Czech music on tape and CD. If you plan to learn the language, try to hear it spoken. Some cities have Czech clubs which allow guests. Hearing the “sounds” of a language is important to learning it. And Czech is a beautiful language.
+++ Czech-English dictionaries. The bigger the better, for less frustration trying to translate to or from this Czech language of 99 word endings. In book form, Czech-English, English-Czech Dictionary by Nina Trnka, published by Hippocrene Books Inc., has 7500 entries in the 1991 edition. It is inexpensive, easy to find, and adequate. Anglicko-Cesky A Cesko-Anglicky Slovnik by collective authors, published by Nakladatelstvi Olomouc in 1997 has 65,000 entries. It gives the root of the word plus the varied endings, but was written for one whose first language is Czech. Velky cesko-anglicky Slovnik (large Czech-English dictionary), by Ivan Poldauf, professor of English at Charles University in Prague, published by Hippocrene, 1986, has 68,000 entries which is almost double Nakladatelstvi’s book because all of the words are Czech with English definitions. Poldauf’s book is more expensive, but the most helpful of the three. I’ve purchased two translator programs for my computer. The results of both were laughable. I think that one must spend several hundred dollars for a program that will translate Czech with success. Some translation services can be found on the internet. Teri Thorpe (editor of a weekly e-mailed newsletter for Czech researchers) suggested www.geocities.com/Heartland/Fields/1404/czech.html for assistance, and one of her subscribers has had success translating at www.slovnik.cz/bin/ecd I will add URLs here as I learn of them. Google Translate does a decent job. Human translators can be hired, of course. Your “Czech” document might be in Latin or in German, or in the old German script also called Sutterlin Schrift and Kurrent (see TRANSLATIONS candy). Unlikely for a church or civil record, but possible for personal letters is the Czech language written in the old German script. You will need a translator who can read both, or have the one who translates the old German script type the letter in Roman letters (like this), then seek a Czech translator. I can tranlsate all of it to English, JudyNelson08@gmail.com
+++ Borovany, the little book presented to the Oxford Jct. representatives by Staniglau Malik, mayor of Borovany contained some history of the area (Borovany is west of Jilovice and Suchdol nad Luznici). “The archaeological findings allow us to discover the earliest history of Borovany and its surrounding area…….the evidence of the presence of our Slavic forefathers in this region is confirmed quite well. The tumulus (mound grave) burial-place, ….. is one of the largest ones in southern Bohemia and the Slavs used it from around the end of the 8th century till the end of the 9th century A.D. They used to live in small settlements, not more than one kilometre away from their own burial place.” from page 4. And on page 31, “After the liberation (end of WWII) and especially after the year 1948 there were significant changes not only in society, but also in the economic sphere, which were connected to the liquidation of the private companies and establishment of the standard Farming Co-operative (1949). During the period the construction of the new Calofrig (peat processing plant) complex closer to the railway station was carried out, another plant for the production of crockery pipes was established between the year 1970-1973 and the factory became the largest employer of people from the surrounding areas.” Not your ancestors, but these factories might have employed some of your living or living-then relatives.
Also from this book: the railroad from Ceske Budejovice to Gmund was built in 1868 & 69. If the RR line that passes through Trebon and south through Suchdol was built later, then our departing emigrant ancestors would have used this railroad line. Gmund is southeast of Ceske Budejovice with Borovany lieing in between. The mail service around Borovany started in 1870. There were emigrants from this area in Oxford Jct. before 1870, and they wrote home, so some type of mail delivery must have been established, perhaps irregular, with no postal employees in the rural areas.
+++ Stropnice. A 22 page booklet, Through the Landscape of the River Stropnice was published in 2001, the English translation by Dr. Robert Dulfer of the Rozmberk Society. The river Stropnice flows from south of Nove Hrady which is approximately 24 kilometers south of Trebon, continues northeast for a bit and takes a turn to the northwest, a short distance from Oxford Jct.’s sister city Jilovice, passes between Borovany and Trhove Sviny and meanders on west. The photos and descriptions in this booklet convince me that it is a lush and beautiful landscape. There is a drawing of the village layout for Kojakovice in 1827 and actual photographs taken in Kojakovice in 1921 and 1930. Page four tells an interesting story…. At Jirikovo Udoli, between Salmanovice and the river’s big bend to the northwest, there was a glass factory started in the late 1700s. In 1817 the factory made a new kind of glass — black, very hard, and compact — called Hyalite. It was renowned throughout Europe. The photo of a Hyalite vase proves it was indeed elegant. The production process was so secret and well guarded that the “recipe” was lost. I suspect that surviving pieces of Hyalite are very, very valuable.
+++ History of the Czechs in Missouri 1845-1904, was published 1988 by the St. Louis Genealogical Society, editor June Sommer, translator Frank Frank. This book is actually a reprint of the chapter on Missouri in History of Czechs in America by Jan Habenicht with a tad bit from another source. Missouri was entered into statehood in 1821. The first Czech in the state was Simon Polak, a Jew born in 1814 in Domazlice, who went to Missouri in 1845. The first Catholic church in St. Louis was established in 1854. In 1904 there were approximately 8000 Czechs in St. Louis. Even though I had extracted names with known origins of Oxford Jct. people from Habenicht’s book which included this Missouri data, I scanned this book, too. The only additional name I saw was: Jan Josef Posler from Vamberk settled in Cainesville (MO) in 1859 or 60, having spent time in Caledonia WI and Cedar Rapids IA prior to that. Also noticed — Missouri received many Czechs from the Pisek area as well as lesser numbers from other Czech places.
+++ Grant Wood. On the title page of This is Grant Wood Country, prepared and published by the Davenport Municipal Art Gallery (in Dvpt., Iowa) where there is a large Wood collection: “Grant Wood is one of America’s great artists. He belongs to Iowa and he painted Iowa almost every year of his life. He viewed the hills, fields and people in a way that they had never been seen before. Grant Wood painted his vision of Iowa so strongly, so clearly that we too can see landscapes and scenes that look like Grant Wood paintings. He gave his images to the world and the work becomes more treasured with each passing year.” Wood was born in 1891 in Iowa and died there in 1942, burial Riverside Cemetery, Anamosa, IA. A regionalist painter most famous for American Gothic, his paintings are popular among Iowans. If you want to see what the countryside around Oxford Jct. is like, look in a book or website for the paintings Stone City, Young Corn, Fall Plowing, Iowa Cornfield, and Seed Time and Harvest. The Cedar Rapids (IA) Art Center also has a Wood collection. The Grant Wood Tourism Center and Gallery, 124 E. Main St., Anamosa IA 52205 has a good inventory and helpful staff. URL http://www.grantwoodartgallery.org “Suddenly I became aware that my very best ideas of art had come to me while milking a cow in Iowa.” — Grant Wood, 1939.
+++ Slavic Surnames by Margaret Tinashenka Clark, 1988. The title is seductive, but I am not able to get this book on interlibrary loan. It is owned as reference-only at Grand Rapids (MI) Public Library, State Library of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia?), and the public library of Edinboro, PA. A copy is also held by CGSI (Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International, linked from this site’s home page) in their library in Golden Valley MN. The book I.D. is Frgn Pol 074 Cla. They will do research for $5 per ½ hour for members or $10 per ½ hour for non-members, plus photocopy cost and postage. Write to: CGSI, P.O. Box 16225, St. Paul, MN 55116-0225. CGSI also has all the Baca volumes of Czech passenger lists (some on their website) and an index of deaths of ZCBJ members. Perhaps someone from one of those cities will read Slavik Surnames (over 2500 names) and send a book report that I can include on this website.
+++ The Presence of the Past — “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is nothing new under the sun”. So wrote the wise author of the Old Testament book Ecclesiastes (1:9). The search for roots and beginnings is really the quest for continuations. As the French philosopher Henri Bergson described it, time is “the continuous progress of the past, which gnaws into the future, and which swells as it advances.” The past is constantly alive and ever present. Ever since Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden, crisis and change have been built into the human experience. The more things change, the more they remain the same. That from Arts & Ideas, 6th Edition, by William Fleming, 1980.
+++ Old Czech greeting. After having some letters translated, I discovered that a standard greeting or opening line in letters from Czechs was “We greet you and kiss you a hundred times, and hope that our lines will reach you in good health”.
+++ Our affliction. Name a genealogist who isn’t behind in his/her genealogy work and I’ll show you one who’s in the first month of research. This activity expands itself. While the tangents it takes us on are usually interesting and life-enriching, the stack/list of “to do’s” can be frustrating. Calm yourself by remembering that this is a hobby and the only deadlines are self-imposed. I’ve found it helpful to go through the stack and prioritize ( I use priority 1, 2, and 3). Eliminate tasks that are not necessary. Perhaps you do too much for others — get selfish. Perhaps you’re on a tangent that you need to close and return to base. Move the unread newsletters to your nightstand and give up fiction reading and some TV until your genealogy reading is caught up. Consider giving a portion of your lineage to a related genealogist who promises to continue it. Hire someone to translate for you if you do it slowly with your double language dictionary. Consider narrowing your scope, like not wanting siblings of ancestors born before 1800. Replace office equipment and software that’s costing you time and trouble. Convince your spouse to develop a hobby so that he/she won’t resent (which limits) your genealogy time. Block out time on your calendar for genealogy and let yourself have it. Try to connect with others working on your lineage (message boards, newsletter queries, etc.) so that you aren’t re-inventing the wheel, seeking something that another genealogist has and will share. Organize your genealogical material for easy access to shorten the time you spend looking for things. Rearrange your work area for better efficiency. If you return frequently to the same book or CD at a library, buy a copy for yourself.
I hope there is something here you can use to ease your workload. Happy hunting!
+++ Images of Europe. The book What Life Was Like In Europe’s Golden Age, Northern Europe AD 1500-1675 has great art to show you what Europe looked like then. I’m sorry that I did not note the author or compiler.
+++ Michigan. Czech immigrants from the Trebon area who settled near Bannister, Michigan included: Bubla and Kostal from Trebon, Marek from Vesele, and Strnad from Spoli, Trebon. This from an article in Nase rodina, March 2002, compiled by Tom Bradley.
+++ Solomon Pence, pioneer of Oxford and Wyoming Townships in Jones Co., IA.
Solomon John Pence (1815-1885) descended from Heinrich Bentz of Germany and from a later Bentz/Pence who came to America during the Revolutionary War. Solomon and his brothers, Gabriel and Allen Wallace Pence were surveyors from Illinois, working out of the Galena Federal land office and surveying land acquired in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. In approximately 1839, they were working on the Old Military Road between Iowa City and Dubuque, usually surveying at night, using the stars for reckoning, and signaling each other with a lantern. There is a plaque on Highway 1 at Martelle, north of Iowa City, that designates the furrow dug with a plow to mark that early road for the construction crews. Highways 1 and 151 follow the route. The Pence brothers had an older brother George who may or may not also have been a surveyor. While in Galena, the Pence men became friends with a Ulysses Grant who loved his whiskey and poker playing. After the Pences moved to Iowa, Grant rode his horse from Galena to visit, but eventually they had political differences. Grant (1822-1885) was elected President of the United States in 1869 and served two terms.
The brothers liked the area around (now) Baldwin, planting Indian corn in the spring, returning in the fall to harvest it. They brought their families to that area. Solomon found the land in the lush area that became south Wyoming Township and north Oxford Township to be beautiful and desirable. The soil was rich and the water and timber abundant. Sometime between 1861 and 67 he claimed land there for himself, moved his family to the southwest, and added to his acres for several years. He owned in Sections 1 and 2 of Oxford Township in 1867. By 1877 he had 360 acres in Oxford and 280 in Wyoming. He finally owned 1000 acres, a huge farm for the times. His land became known as Pence Ridge. A country school there, Pence School.
There were still Indians in Oxford and Wyoming Townships in the 1860s. They called on the Pences, sat on the floor while they visited, and demanded flour which they were given. Solomon often went hunting and fishing with Indians, sometimes for weeks at a time. The friendship continued between the Sac and Fox Indians and Solomon’s son Solomon. Perhaps appreciation for the Indians’ culture began when the Pences first settled in Rock Island County, Illinois, coming from Indiana in the fall of 1827. In the Rock Island area they winter-camped in an abandoned Indian village. When the Indians returned to their village in the spring, the white men learned they had been staying in the lodge of Black Hawk (1767-1838). In 1828 the Pences moved down river, near Oquawka. The surveyors’ father, Judge John Pence, died there in 1841.
Czech emigrants were moving into northeast Oxford Township beginning in the mid 1850s. Pence hired them for breaking prairie, planting, and harvesting. Vincenc Luk arrived in 1854, just south of the Pence property. In Luk’s personal story of 1885 or 86, he wrote “In the spring all Czechs received work from a farmer sewing or planting corn. I received daily 50 cents….. That farmer……. his name was Solomon Prutz” (Pence). Nick Benischek arrived in Oxford Township in 1879. He also worked for Pence and lived in a brick house on Pence property. Benischek’s grandson still farms in that area.
Pence married Anna who died in 1838. He married again, Hannah Bees or Beers who had two daughters from a previous marriage, one Phoebe. Together Solomon and Hannah had ten children between 1842 and 1863. All died young except Curtis Monroe Pence (1842-1889), Solomon J. Pence Jr. (1858-1916), and Melissa (1860-1948) who married Joseph A. Mizaur Jr. There are descendants of Solomon Jr. and Melissa in Jones County in the 21st century. Wayne Pence of Onslow, Iowa treasures a watch that belonged to Solomon Pence Sr., recalls stories told him by Melissa, and has a copy of a journal from a Pence party’s trek across the country for gold. Though Solomon wasn’t in that party, his experiences would have been similar:
Solomon Sr. and his young son Solomon joined the 1849 Gold Rush, leaving with other Pence men in 1862 or 63. His daughter Montana (1863-1883) was named for the territory the adventurers were traveling in when she was born in Iowa. They were gone for two years and returned even richer. His land legacy continues today. He and several of his family are buried in the Pence Cemetery in Jackson County, on Highway 64 and northeast of the former Pence holdings.
Pence genealogy can be found at http://www.pipeline.com/~richardpence/
the work of Richard Pence, deceased descendant of Solomon Sr.’s brother George.
J.Nelson, with info provided by Wayne Pence.
+++ Nobility in South Bohemia……….. a future tidbit.