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Subject: Sadileks of Willa Cather's "My Antonia"
Author: William Skocpol
Date: Monday, April 16, 2001
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Whether or not you know of the classic novel
"My Antonia" about Czechs in Nebraska,
Sadilek researchers in the Czech Republic
can help make an interesting geneological
connection.
The real person who was the inspiration
for "Antonia" was Anna Sadilek of Red Cloud,
Nebraska, who was born March 16, 1869
in Karj Caslav, Bohemia (presumably the
western edge of the Caslav region).
Her father was Francis (Frantisek?)
Sadilek, and they departed from their
home town of Mzizovic (probably the village
of that name near the Ostredek exit on D1
southeast of Prague), in 1880.
When Willa Cather was looking for a
more interesting name than Anna for her
fictional heroine, she visited the
predominantly Czech-American community
of Wilber, Nebraska and was directed to
one of its elders, coincidentally also named
Frank Sadilek. She liked and selected
his daughter's name, Antonia. The Wilber
Sadileks were descended from two generations
of Jan Sadilek, both born in Ledec nad
Sazavou, Bohemia, just 40 km upriver
from Mzizovic.

The younger Jan Sadilek was born
May 18, 1817 and ran the traveler's inn
there. His father had been an estate owner
of some sort (sedlak). Any research that
carries either Sadilek line further back
might help establish whether they were
related, which would be an interesting
irony. The Wilber Sadileks (my great-great
grandfather) did not know of any specific
relationship.