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Wenzl Janisch (abt 1780) and Elizabeth Janisch Kapaun (abt 1800) Michelsdorf, Bohemia

Wenzl Janisch (abt 1780) and Elizabeth Janisch Kapaun (abt 1800) Michelsdorf, Bohemia

Posted: 1099704999000
Classification: Query
Edited: 1149877720000
Surnames: Kapaun, Wabra, Janisch, Springer
I am looking for information on the Kapaun, Wabra, Janisch, and Springer families from Michelsdorf, Bohemia.

Upon immigration to the US (1865 ) the Kapaun family lived in Marcellon, Wisconsin. In the early 1900's two brothers, Joseph and Julius moved to Fargo, North Dakota. This Kapaun famiy still lives in the North Dakota area.

It is unknown to us if other members of the Janisch, Springer, or Wabra families came to America.

These families were living in the Michelsdorf area until at least 1869. This is the date of the last immigration from Michelsdort to Wisconsin that we know of. It is believed that the Kapaun family moved to Michelsdorf from Alsace-Lorraine about the time of the French Revolution.

Known information from Michelsdorf records:

Birth record for Joseph Kapaun b. 27 May 1851 in Michelsdorf (Ostrov CZ) house # 175.

His father was also named Joseph Kapaun who was the son of Georg Kapaun of house #175 and Rosalia Wabra of house #152 in Michelsdorf.

His mother was Rosalia Springer who was the daughter of Joseph Springer of house # 272 and Elizabeth Janisch who was the daughter of Wenzl Janisch of house #259.

Any information on these families or the area of Michelsdorf would be appreciated.

Contact me at:

Re: Wenzl Janisch (abt 1780) and Elizabeth Janisch Kapaun (abt 1800) Michelsdorf, Bohemia

Lindsey Janisch (View posts)
Posted: 1108003477000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Janisch
My husband's grandfather was Walter Janisch of Janesville, Wisconsin. I know the family is originally from Bohemia. Don't know anything else yet. First time researching this.

Re: Wenzl Janisch (abt 1780) and Elizabeth Janisch Kapaun (abt 1800) Michelsdorf, Bohemia

Posted: 1151339288000
Classification: Query
Surnames: Kapaun
I just found your message on the Ancestry message boards from 1998 so will hope you are still at the same e-mail address.
My name is Mary Kapaun and Josef b.1836 was my husband's ggrandfather (his grandparents were Gustav b. 1874 and Marie Schmidt b.1884.) I would be very interested in sharing information with you - I have quite a bit on this family. My e-mail address is

Re: Wenzl Janisch (abt 1780) and Elizabeth Janisch Kapaun (abt 1800) Michelsdorf, Bohemia

Posted: 1214682002000
Classification: Query
I also have Kapaun family. My Kapaun comes from Michelsdorf also. Joseph Kapaun who married Rosalie Frodl. They married in 1870 I believe. They came to america around 1872. They settled in Minnesota. I have not had any luck in finding any information on them at this time. I do know Rosalie has 2 sisters one married a Sexton and the other a Suess. If you have any help for me I sure would appreciate it.

Re: Wenzl Janisch (abt 1780) and Elizabeth Janisch Kapaun (abt 1800) Michelsdorf, Bohemia

Posted: 1262644676000
Classification: Query
I don't know if you have had any luck finding your Kapaun relatives in MN. I can tell you that a Joseph Kapaun, wife named Rosa. and child amelia are buried in calvary cemetary, waterville township, le sueuer county, MN and that there are also Suess's buried there.

Re: Wenzl Janisch (abt 1780) and Elizabeth Janisch Kapaun (abt 1800) Michelsdorf, Bohemia

Posted: 1262800504000
Classification: Query
I have done a lot with my line but can't make a connection with any of the other ones. Need to get back to Bohemia I guess. My Joseph Kapaun married a Rosalia Frodl. This is my great Grandparents. There are so many Joseph and Rosalie's. Some where we all have to connect as are from the same area.

Re: Wenzl Janisch (abt 1780) and Elizabeth Janisch Kapaun (abt 1800) Michelsdorf, Bohemia

Posted: 1263016354000
Classification: Query
Joseph Kapaun b.1812 Michelsdorf, Bohemia (Ostroz, Cz) d.1885 Portage, Columbia, Wisconsin, USA and Rosalia Springer b.1822 Michelsdorf, Bohemia (Ostroz, Cz) d.1895 Portage, Columbia, Wisconsin, USA

They had children:
Joseph b.1851 Michelsdorf, Bohemia (Ostroz, Cz) d.North Dakota
Amilia b.1853 Michelsdorf, Bohemia (Ostroz, Cz) d. North Dakota
Julies b.1862 Michelsdorf, Bohemia (Ostroz, Cz) d.1931 North Dakota

According to 1900 Census Joseph Jr. came to America in 1867. He came with son, Joseph Jr., and daughter, Amelia.

Name: Rosalie Kapoun Year: 1870 Age: 46 Place: New York, New York Source Publication Code: 206.3 Primary Immigrant: Kapoun, Rosalie Annotation: Extracted from rolls 323 through 432 of Microcopy 237, "Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, 1820-1897." Provides data on country of origin, name of ship, and, sometimes, destination. Date and port of arrival. Copies of these books may be obtained from the author, 1707 Woodcreek, Richardson, TX 75082. Names abstracted from National Archives microfilm, rolls 65 through 322 of microcopy 237, "Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, 1820-97." Source Bibliography: BACA, LEO. Czech Immigration Passenger Lists: New York Passenger Lists. Richardson, TX: Baca. 1870-1880. Vol. 5, 1993. 190p. Page: 68

In October of 1870, Rosalie Kapaun and her 8 year old son, Julius Kapaun, would have passed through Castle Garden immigration center in New York before traveling on to Wisconsin to join their family already in America.

Name Arrival Date Age Gender Port of Departure Place of Origin Destination Ship Name
Julius Kpann 15 Oct 1870 8 Male Bremen Germany Austria USA Hansa
Rosalie Kpann 15 Oct 1870 46 Female Bremen Germany Austria USA Hansa

National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) microfilm, M237, rolls 95-580. New York Passenger Lists, 1851-1891 [database online]. Provo, Utah:, Inc., 2003. Original data: New York. Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at New York, New York, 1820-1897. Micropublication M237. Rolls # 95-580. National Archives, Washington, D.C.

I add this family story below only because I feel that it is very possibly true. While doing research on Kapauns and other German families from the Michelsdorf area other researchers had similar family stories.

Early Kapaun History
by Sharol Fletcher

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

According to Florence Kapaun McMahon, our Kapaun family lived in Elsass and Lothringen until about 1789. It is reported the Kapaun family, Germans, left the area because during the French Revolution the new French government was reclaiming the territory. The Kapaun family immigrated to Michelsdorf, Bohemia.

Florence is the great granddaughter of Joseph Kapaun Sr. Her father was Joseph E. Kapaun and her grandfather was Joseph Kapaun Jr., brother to Julius and Amelia. Florence resides in Alice, North Dakota and several years ago purchased the old grocery and general store that was previously owned by her grandfather, Joseph Kapaun Jr. and his brothers, Frank and Ernest.

Today, Elsass and Lothringen are known as Alsace-Lorraine, which is located in Eastern France along the German border.

Some early history of Elsass and Lothringen

Elsass and Lothringen were part of Celtic Gaul in Julius Caesar's time and were invaded by the Alemanni and other Germanic tribes in the 5th century. After the breakup of Charlemagne's empire in the 9th century, the region became the object of disputes between French and Germanic rulers, passing from the control of one to the other.

Lothringen was part of the kingdom of LOTHARINGIA, which was divided in 959 into the duchies of Lower and Upper Lorraine.

Elsass and Lothringen were part of the Holy Roman Empire until 1648. In 1648, part of the territory was ceded to France. In 1681, Louis XIV seized Strasbourg and the Treaty of Rijswijck added Elsass to France. Lothringen was an independent but much fought over duchy. The few remaining districts were seized by France after the French Revolution in 1789.

In 1871, the end of the Franco-Prussian War, Germany again took control of the region. The Treaty of Frankfurt obliged France to cede three eastern departments, Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin, and Alsace-Lorraine. Alsace-Lorraine stayed under German control until 1919.

From 1919 to 1940 the area again belonged to France. Controversies over state-run religious schools and attempts to suppress German newspapers contributed to an ultimately unsuccessful movement for home rule in 1920.

From 1940 to 1945 Germany again controlled the area, it was returned to France in 1945. Lorraine's departments of Meuse, Meurthe-et-Moselle, and Vosges remained French.

After the end of World War II, Alsace-Lorraine was returned to French control.

Geologically, western Lorraine is composed of clay vales separated by the north-south-trending limestone ridges of the Cotes de Meuse and Cotes de Moselle. The heavy soils of the vales support mixed farming--dairying, oats, and wheat.
The ridges are barriers to communication and invasion. METZ, NANCY, VERDUN, Thionville, and Toul are route centers and fortress cities defending gaps in the ridges. The battle for Verdun was one of the bloodiest of World War I. Nancy (1990 pop., 102,410), the traditional capital and university center of Lorraine, is located on the Rhine-Marne canal, which follows the routeway from Paris to Strasbourg.
The Lorraine iron ore fields, about 110 km (70 mi) long and 20 km (12 mi) wide, run from Nancy northward to the primary iron and steel district around Longwy, Thionville, and Metz. The French part of the Saar coalfield lies 64 km (40 mi) to the east. It contains substantial French reserves in easily mechanized, thick seams.
Southeastward, Lorraine rises gradually to the summits of the Vosges. This sandstone massif has a granite core exposed in the south, where elevations exceed 1,200 m (3,937 ft). The political and linguistic divide between French-speaking Lorraine and German-speaking Alsace runs along its crest. At the foot of the steep eastern slope of the Vosges is a famous vineyard region. An adjoining belt of fertile loess soils produces cereals, fruit, tobacco, and vegetables. It also produces hops for Alsatian and German breweries.
STRASBOURG (1990 pop., 255,937), a major port on the Rhine, is the traditional capital of Alsace. Its industries include oil refining, brewing, printing, food processing, and metallurgy. Famous for its university and its pate, Strasbourg is headquarters of the Council of Europe. The Rhine-Rhone canal connects Strasbourg with Mulhouse, the Burgundy Gate, and Lyon. Mulhouse, with a chemical industry based on local potash deposits, and Colmar are textile-industry centers of Alsace and eastern Lorraine. Regional temperatures average 0.6 degrees C (33 degrees F) in January and 19 degrees C (66 degrees F) in July. Annual rainfall ranges from 510 to 1,020 mm (20 to 40 in). (Richard, 1996)

Richard, Timothy J., The New Grolier Multimedia Encyclopedia, Release #8, ©1996.

Re: Wenzl Janisch (abt 1780) and Elizabeth Janisch Kapaun (abt 1800) Michelsdorf, Bohemia

Posted: 1263017885000
Classification: Query
My Joseph and Rosaila Kapaun never lived in MN but I do believe that many of the Kapauns that came to America from Michelsdorf probably are related.

Here is the information on the researcher that did research on my Kapauns in Czech.

Jiri Osanec, I.P. Pavola 26, 779 00 Olomouc 9, Czech Republic,

Re: Wenzl Janisch (abt 1780) and Elizabeth Janisch Kapaun (abt 1800) Michelsdorf, Bohemia

Posted: 1263018266000
Classification: Query
This is a very good article about immigration to America by Germans from Bohemia.

Landskroner Emigration to the American Midwest

by Edward G. Langer

Copyright 1998, Edward G. Langer
All Rights Reserved

Beginning in the early 1850s, numerous families left their ancestral villages in the provinces of Bohemia and Moravia in the Austrian Empire to start new lives. Some families moved to the German-speaking cities and towns of the Austrian Empire or the German principalities. Others traveled to distant countries such as the Russian Empire, South Africa or America. This is the story of some of these emigrants from the district of Landskron, Bohemia who decided to make new lives for themselves in the Midwestern United States, in particular in the state of Wisconsin.
The Old World
The district of Landskron (Czech: Lanskroun) is named after the town of Landskron. The town and district of Landskron are about 80 miles south of present day Wrocaw (Breslau) and about 115 miles north of the then-capital of the Austrian Empire, Vienna.
Landskron, the district, consisted of the town of Landskron and forty-two bordering villages. (1) In the 1850s, Landskron-town contained about 5,000 inhabitants and was connected by rail to the rest of the Austrian Empire. Second in importance to the town of Landskron was Cermná (Böhmisch Rothwasser), a Czech village of about 3,000 inhabitants. Historically, Cermná had market rights not granted to the other villages. Cermná's lower half was mostly Catholic and its upper half was mostly Protestant. (In 1936, it was split into two villages - Dolní Cermná and Horní Cermná). The other forty-one villages in the district of Landskron varied in size from a few hundred people to about 1,500 inhabitants. Roads connected the villages to the town of Landskron. Three-quarters of these villages were predominantly German, and the majority of both ethnic groups were of the Roman Catholic faith.

The inhabitants of these villages, both Czech and German, were divided into three broad social groups - the "large farmers" (German: Bauer, Czech: sedláci), the "small farmers" (Feldgärtner or zahradnici) and the day laborers (Taglohner or podruzi). The "large farmers" generally had farms over ten hectares (a hectare is 2.471 acres). They usually owned horses, cows and numerous smaller farm animals. These farmers were engaging in commercial farming and were able to ship produce to market in nearby towns. The "small farmers" had only a few hectares. They usually had a few cows and a number of smaller farm animals. The day laborers worked for small or large farmers as field laborers, stable hands and kitchen and house servants. In addition, some worked as weavers, carpenters, coopers or blacksmiths. Some of the day laborers, called "cottagers" (Häusler or chalupnici), owned a small house with enough land around it for a small garden and a few small farm animals such as goats. Most of the area's population consisted of day laborers scratching out a marginal subsistence.

Typical of the Landskroner village of the area was Ober Johnsdorf (Horní Tresnovec), located just north of the town of Landskron. Ober Johnsdorf contained about 1,000 inhabitants in the 1850s, most of them German-speaking but with a significant Czech-speaking minority. The neighboring villages to the north, Cermná and Nepomuky (Nepomuk), were predominantly Czech. The other nearby villages, Jokelsdorf (Jakubovice), Michelsdorf (Ostrov), and Nieder Johnsdorf (Dolní Tresnovec), were predominantly German. Ober Johnsdorf was comprised of 1,108 hectares, which is about four and one-quarter sections of land, or 2,738 acres. The average landholding in Ober Johnsdorf was about seven and a half hectares, with over half the farms smaller than five hectares. Only a dozen farms had more than 20 hectares. Since the town of Landskron was three miles distant, it is likely that excess grain from Ober Johnsdorf was transported by horse or ox-cart for shipment by rail to the cities of the Austrian Empire. Apart from farming, Ober Johnsdorf in the early 1850s had no church and only a basic school. For church services and any advanced schooling, Ober Johnsdorf's villagers traveled to Landskron-town. Given the limited educational opportunities available at the time, many of Ober Johnsdorf's inhabitants had only primitive reading and writing skills.

In sharp contrast to farming in America, Landskron-district farmsteads were not separate from its villages. Farm buildings were located on both sides of a road, and farm fields stretched straight back from the buildings until they bordered another village's farms. Farms might also end at the woods or at an untillable hill. Generally, farmers in Ober Johnsdorf cultivated contiguous fields, unlike the practice in other areas of Europe. It could, however, be a considerable distance from the farm buildings to each farm's property limits. Also, farmland that was wooded or low provided natural barriers separating tillable parcels within the farm.

Ober Johnsdorf's farm buildings also showed a distinctive configuration. Generally, the living quarters were physically connected to the farm buildings. More elaborate farmsteads were set up in a U-shape or square with a courtyard in the middle. The latter square form probably developed in an attempt to provide some protection against thieves and foreign soldiers, and it also allowed the farmer to secure his animals and harvested crops from marauding animals.

1848 - Year of Revolution
Until 1848, the people of the district of Landskron were still subject to feudal restrictions limiting their ability to move and requiring them to provide certain services to the local ruling class. As was typical of the time, a Landskroner's social position was determined more by birth than by personal accomplishments. In 1848, revolutions rocked much of Europe. When the Revolution of 1848 began in the Austrian Empire, the landless peasants hoped there would be a land reform that would give them land. Unfortunately for them, the land reforms that followed the Revolution only vested full title to land to the farmers who already had a limited title to land. These farmers received title free of feudal restrictions, which was a great benefit to them. The key benefit to the landless of the Revolution was receiving the right to emigrate from the Empire. Within a few years, they started to avail themselves of this right.
Early Emigration - 1851-1857
By the mid-1800s, improved food and sanitary conditions had caused such a population explosion that there were limited opportunities for young people, and people were crammed into small one-room houses. It is estimated that in Horní Cermná there were twenty-six houses holding ten or more occupants, and four similar families with a total of twenty-one people lived in one house in Nepomuky. There was little virgin land in the area, and subdividing the existing farms would have made them unprofitable. There was little local industry to provide work for the excess farm population. This lack of opportunity was a main reason why many individuals and families who had roots in this area stretching back hundreds of years decided to emigrate.
Another reason why people emigrated was to escape the effects of imperial wars. The Austrian Empire was involved in frequent wars, resulting in increasing taxes and the drafting of young men sent to fight in distant locations.

By the 1850s, numerous sources encouraged European peoples to emigrate to America. "How-to-emigrate" books extolled America's virtues, especially the freedom and cheap land available in America. (2) Rail and shipping interests made emigration sound very attractive in an attempt to increase their business. American states, such as Wisconsin, sent agents to European ports to encourage emigrants to settle in their states.

The following table shows the numbers of people who legally emigrated from Bohemia from 1850 through 1868 (3):

1850 166
1851 341
1852 427
1853 3419
1854 6128
1855 3021
1856 2088
1857 2167
1858 1341
1859 842
1860 1302
1861 1927
1862 1246
1863 1124
1864 1950
1865 2417
1866 3089
1867 7430
1868 3220

Emigration from Bohemia began slowly as word spread that it was possible to legally emigrate. (It has been suggested that the official statistics should be doubled to account for illegal emigration and record keeping defects). Once word spread that emigration was possible, there was an early rush to emigrate, peaking in 1854. The departure of these emigrants undoubtedly improved the economic chances of those who remained behind, causing emigration to taper off. It dipped sharply in 1859 for two reasons: word of America's economic crisis, the Panic of 1857, had filtered back by then and diminished America's economic appeal and the Austrian Empire's war with Italy in 1859 curtailed emigration opportunities. Further emigration slowed in the early 1860s due to the impact of the American Civil War, but it peaked again in 1867, following the Austrian Empire's humiliating loss in the Austro-Prussian War.

The first sizeable emigration from the district of Landskron occurred in 1851 and consisted of Czech Protestant day laborers primarily from the villages of Cermná and Nepomuky. These emigrants had little to lose by emigrating, given their low social status in Landskron-district -- they were poor, they were Czech speakers in an empire having a German ruling class, and they were Protestants in a country where the ruling class was ardently Catholic. When these poor Czech Protestants of the Landskron district began to explore the possibility of leaving the District of Landskron, the Austrian Government encouraged them to move to the Banat region of Hungary in search of a better life. Obviously, it was in the Austrian government's best interests to move these people to an underdeveloped part of the Austrian Empire where their efforts would hopefully add to the national wealth and keep them available for military service. However, after the prospective emigrants received correspondence from Joseph Bergman, a Protestant minister, extolling life in Texas, they decided to emigrate there. On November 6, 1851, about seventy-four Czechs started on their trip to America. The fact that over one-fifth of the total legal emigration in 1851 was from Landskron suggests how bad conditions were in Northeast Bohemia. The emigrants traveled by train from Ústí nad Orlicí (Wildenschwert) to Hamburg. They sailed from Hamburg to Liverpool, Great Britain and then transferred to the sailing vessel Maria for the long trip to New Orleans, Louisiana. In New Orleans, they transferred to a third ship to travel to Galveston, Texas. Then they took a fourth schooner to Houston. After traveling for three to four months, fewer than half of the emigrants reached their final destination, the Cat Spring area in Austin County, Texas. The others had died along the way, of illness caused by poor food, limited water supplies and poor living conditions on the long journey. The surviving emigrants sent a number of letters home relating their ordeal, and one emigrant recommended traveling on a ship directly to Galveston even though it would be more expensive. When a second group of about eighty-five Czech Protestants left their homes for Texas on about October 9, 1853, they followed that advice and boarded the Suwa from Bremerhaven, which took them directly to Galveston. (4) In later years, many other Czech Protestants from the district of Landskron emigrated to Texas. They were joined by some Czech and German Catholics from the district of Landskron. Some of the Czech Catholics who settled in Pierce County, Wisconsin, first traveled to Texas before settling in Wisconsin. There is however, no cluster of Landskroner emigrants in Texas of any size, as is the case in Wisconsin. These Texas emigrants assimilated into preexisting German or Czech communities.

When the first poor German Catholics applied for passports in 1852, they said they were going to Texas. For some unknown reason, they changed their minds and went to Wisconsin instead. Since they left so soon after the Czech Protestants, it is clear that the tragic journey of the Maria was not a likely basis for their altered plans. There are three possible reasons why these people chose Wisconsin as their final destination. First, they may have learned about the climatic difference between Texas and Wisconsin and decided that the Wisconsin climate was more favorable. Writers in the 1850s wrote glowingly of life in Wisconsin, emphasizing the good farmland available and a climate similar to central Europe's. Second, they may have learned that Wisconsin granted liberal voting rights to emigrants. One of the first thing many emigrants did after arrival in the United States was to apply for citizenship, which suggests the right to vote was important to them. Finally, just as the Protestants went to Texas at the behest of a Protestant minister, the Catholics may have gone to Wisconsin at the urging of their Catholic priests. In the early 1850s, John Martin Henni, a German-speaking Swiss, was the Bishop in Milwaukee. It is likely that some of the Catholic clergy in the Landskron area had learned of the presence of a German-speaking bishop in Milwaukee though the fund-raising activities of the Leopoldine Society, a Viennese missionary society. A Landskroner priest would logically encourage his flock to go to a state where there was a German-speaking Bishop to oversee their spiritual interests.

The primary destination of the German Catholic emigrants was the Watertown, Wisconsin area. In the early 1850s, Watertown, with about 5,000 inhabitants, was one of the largest cities in Wisconsin. The area's abundant rich, rolling farmland, some of which had been partially cleared by earlier settlers, would have appealed to Landskroners wanting to farm their own land in America. Wisconsin had become a state in 1848, and southern Wisconsin was no longer considered part of the western frontier. Railroads were starting to connect the major towns in the state, and farmers were able to sell their surplus product on the market.

Watertown was also a center of German immigration. As such, the Landskron emigrants would have found in the Watertown area German-speaking immigrants from the Austrian Empire, Bavaria, Prussia and other German-speaking lands, in addition to those Landskron-district families that had emigrated in earlier years. Watertown had a German Catholic parish (Saint Henry's) founded in 1853, a German newspaper, the Anzeiger, and a brewery.

The first group of German Catholic emigrants left Landskron in in the spring of 1852. This group sailed from Bremen in April, 1852 for Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. They arrived in the United States at Buffalo, New York in July of 1852 and arrived in southern Wisconsin by mid-July. Although there are no ship manifests for this group, other sources indicate this group consisted of at least the following: the John Doubrawa family from the village of Rathsdorf (Skuhrov), the Anton Fiebiger family from the village of Jokelsdorf (Jakubovice), the Joseph Pfeifer and Franz Langer families from the village of Michelsdorf (Ostrov), the Franz Veit family from Knappendorf (Knapovec), and Adolph Bartosch with his wife Amalia and her children from a prior marriage to John Gregor. (Franz Langer's grandson was William Langer, Governor and U.S. Senator from North Dakota).

John Doubrawa and Joseph Pfeifer both bought land on July 14, 1852 near present-day Waterloo, Wisconsin, which is just west of Watertown. They also applied for citizenship that day, as did Adolph Bartosch and Franz Veit. From this humble beginning sprang the Island community outside of Waterloo, Wisconsin. (5)

The second group of Landskroner emigrants to southern Wisconsin arrived later in 1852. The records of the Jason, which arrived in New York on December 7, 1852, from Bremen, show about sixty people from the Landskron district on board: the Johann Blaschka and Johann Klecker families of Hertersdorf (Horní Houovec), the Ignatz Yelg, Wenzel Blaschka and Johann Blaschka families of Tschernowier (Cernovír), the Joseph Veit family and Anton Wawrauscheck, Philip Zimprich and Ludwig Zimprich of Knappendorf (Knapovec), the Anton Fiebiger family of Jokelsdorf (Jakubovice), the Johann Fischer family of Riebnig (Rybník), the Joseph Zimprich family of Rathsdorf (Skuhrov) and the Wenzel Fuchs family of Hilbetten (Hylváty). Also on board were the following persons, whose place of origin may be the district of Landskron: the Wenzel Blaska and Anton Kobliz families, Barbara Detterer and Franz Meidner. The Jason added significantly to the nucleus of the Landskroner community on the Island.

On January 10, 1853, the Johanna arrived in New York from Bremen with seven families of thirty-two people from the Landskron district: the John Huebel, Johann Langer and John Stangler families of Rudelsdorf (Rudoltice), the Franz Pirkl, Franz Haubenschild and Johann Haubenschild families of Triebitz (Tebovice), and the Josef Rössler family of Michelsdorf (Ostrov). Also on board was the Franz Gilg family of Nikl (Mikule) in the neighboring county of Zwittau (Svitavy). A number of these families joined the Jason group near Waterloo, Wisconsin.

The total of Landskroner emigrants on these vessels was undoubtedly more than 100 people. Thus, approximately one-quarter of the total legal emigration from Bohemia in 1852 was from Landskron. Since most of these emigrants were German, this suggests how bad conditions were for both the German and Czech populations of Northeast Bohemia.

On June 17, 1853, the Oldenburg arrived in New York from Bremen, with 103 passengers from Bohemia whose stated destination was Wisconsin. The emigrants from the district of Landskron were the following: the Johann Meitner and Johann Schöberle families, Vincenz Klecker and Franz Schöberle of Ober Johnsdorf (Horní Tesovec), the Franz Hampel, Josef Jirschele and Josef Arnold families of Rathsdorf (Skuhrov), the Franz Langer, Ignatz Huebl, and Bernhard Leschinger families of Rudelsdorf (Rudoltice), the Franz Fischer, Johann Plotz and Engelbert Habermann families of Riebnig (Rybník), the Johann Smetana and Johann Kuckera families of Tschernowier (Cernovír), the Franz Foltin family of Königsberg (Královec), and the Anton Kristl family of Michelsdorf (Ostrov). Two other families were from neighboring districts: the Wenzel Scholla family of Pívrat (Pschiwrat) and the Joseph Pospischel family of Litomysl (Leitomischl). The other families from Bohemia were the Nicholaus Dank, Johann Czernin, Johann Strilesky, and Arnold Patsch families. The Johann Meitner, Johann Schöberle, Franz Hampel and Franz Langer families, along with Vincenz Klecker and Franz Schöberle, provided the nucleus of the Landskroner community of Watertown, Wisconsin. A number of these other families joined the Waterloo community.

Ship records indicate that emigration to America was not a solitary affair by a single individual or a single family. Rather, emigrants tended to travel with others from their home district to America where they often found fellow countrymen awaiting them.

Emigration between 1857 and 1865
In 1857, a financial crisis, the Panic of 1857, gripped America. The panic caused severe disruption in the young nation's economy. Nearly every railroad project in Wisconsin came to a halt. The city of Watertown, which had issued railroad bonds, was involved in litigation involving these bonds until 1889 when the United States Supreme Court issued an opinion in the city's favor. (6) Watertown, which grew quickly from its founding in the late 1830s to become Wisconsin's second largest city, virtually stopped growing, reducing its need for emigrant labor. Following the overall pattern of emigration from Bohemia, emigration from Landskron slipped to a relatively low level during this period.
The onset of the American Civil War in 1861 further discouraged emigration. Although the war improved the economy of the North and thus emigrants' job prospects, individuals contemplating emigration from Landskron presumably thought twice before coming to America.

Emigration after 1865
The catalyst for the second big push of emigrants from Landskron was a war that broke out in June, 1866 between the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia over whether a unified Germany was to be created, what lands would be included in the new nation and which country would be the leading force of the new German nation. (7) The Italians were a key ally of the Prussians, forcing the Austrians to fight on two fronts. Prussian General Moltke, who had learned crucial lessons on the use of telegraph and railroads from the American Civil War, was able to quickly move hundreds of thousands of Prussian troops into Bohemia. Simultaneously, hundreds of thousands of Austrian troops marched into Bohemia to meet them. Part of the Austrian army was quartered in the Landskron area, and other parts of the Austrian army marched through the area. At one point, 120,000 troops were in the Landskron area.
On July 3, 1866, the Imperial Austrian army and the Prussian army met northwest of Hradec Králové (Königgrätz), about 40 miles from Landskron. (The Battle of Königgrätz is also referred to as the Battle of Sadowa). The Prussian army was better equipped than the Austrian army, and its breech-loading "needle-guns" enabled them to fire from the prone position at the standing Austrian infantry, which used muzzle-loaders. The Prussian victory was sudden and complete.

After the Austrian loss, some Austrian troops retreated through the Landskron area, followed closely by Prussian troops. A skirmish occurred near the villages of Rudelsdorf (Rudoltice) and Thomigsdorf (Damníkov). The encroaching armies destroyed many growing crops in their wake, and confiscated the villagers' food as well. The Prussians occupied Landskron, and 10 to 20 soldiers took up residence in Landskroner homes. Grain was confiscated by the Prussian army and some Landskroner farmers were even forced to haul their grain some distance to feed the Prussian troops and animals.

The war had a direct impact on who emigrated from Landskron. Previously, most of the emigrants were poor German Catholics and poor Czech Protestants. After the war, German Catholics with sizeable farms also began to emigrate. It is likely that these relatively rich German Catholics decided that they had enough of life in Europe after their farms were occupied by Prussian soldiers and their grain confiscated. (8) These later emigrants heard firsthand accounts of the virtues of life in America from fellow emigrating villagers, and probably realized that emigration really was not such a gamble.

In addition to initiating emigration by some of the richer German Catholics, the war also sparked the onset of emigration by poor Czech Catholics. It is not known why the poor Czech Catholics did not emigrate en masse until after this war. Further research needs to be conducted to determine the relative living conditions of the poor Czech Catholics versus the poor Czech Protestants. Were living conditions better for the poor Czech Catholics than for the poor Czech Protestants? Did the departure of the poor Czech Protestants result in more opportunities for the poor Czech Catholics such that the poor Czech Catholics did not feel the need to emigrate until the war and the subsequent occupation by Prussians troops?

The Voyage to the New World
The emigrants probably traveled by rail from Landskron or the nearby town of Ustí n. Orlice (Wildenschwert) to the port of Bremen in present day Germany, where they caught a ship to America. Most of the emigrants traveled directly from Bremen to a port in North America. As noted above, the earliest emigrants to Wisconsin entered through the port of Quebec, as did some of the later emigrants. Much of their trip to Wisconsin would have been via ship down the St. Lawrence River and across the Great Lakes. Most of the Landskroner emigrants to the American Midwest headed to the port of New York or to Baltimore. The trip on these sail boats took six to eight weeks. When the early emigrants reached New York in 1852, the rail network was incomplete, and thus it is likely that a significant part of their trip was by boat. When the rail net began to fill in, the later emigrants were able to take the train via Chicago to a town like Watertown, where they intended to look for land. If the rail lines had not yet reached their final destination, they would have completed their trip by coach or wagon. The trip was long and arduous.
Life in the New World
Unfortunately, there is no record of how the first emigrants spent their first year in Wisconsin. It is not known whether they huddled in quickly constructed dwellings on their land outside Waterloo or whether they rented living quarters in Watertown. However, we do know that life for these early emigrants was difficult, as they constructed farms from scratch.
Conditions for later emigrants were not so difficult. When these emigrants arrived in America, previous settlers helped them find homes, farms and jobs. The Landskroners tended to live near each other, as the later arrivals would move near their countrymen. Sometimes these later arrivals would only stay near their friends and relatives for a few months or years before moving to find cheaper land. The expanding path of these Landskron emigrants can be traced westward from Watertown toward Sun Prairie, Wisconsin and south to Janesville, Wisconsin. A significant number of Landskroners settled in Pierce County, Wisconsin, just east of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. Both Germans and Czechs from Landskron settled in this area. The Czech community of Pierce County is still referred to today as Cherma, after their Bohemian hometown of ermná. Other Landskroner groups settled near Owatonna, Minnesota and Casselton, North Dakota, and other emigrants settled in Illinois, Iowa, South Dakota and Oregon. It is likely that further research will discover small groups of settlers extending all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

Two examples of this migration west are the Franz Langer and Franz Jansa families. The Franz Langer family of Michelsdorf (Ostrov) was among the first to have left the Landskron area for the Watertown area. This family lived in southern Wisconsin from 1852 until 1861, when they traveled west to the Plainview, Minnesota area. Later they moved to near Fargo, North Dakota. One of this family's famous descendants is the late North Dakota Governor and United States Senator William "Wild Bill" Langer.

The Franz Jansa family from Cermná (Böhmisch Rothwasser) came to Watertown in 1867. The Jansas had brought with them only a small chest which contained some household articles and Franz's blacksmith tools. The Jansas stayed with Mrs. Jansa's aunt and uncle, the Johann Roffeis family, for about a week when they first arrived in Watertown, until Johann Roffeis found them a small house. To help them set up their household, Johann Roffeis gave the Jansas a dozen eggs, a sack of flour and a rolling pin. The furnishings in the Jansa house were simple: an oven, boxes for chairs, their chest and bed. The bed was a box filled with straw and covered with blankets. From these humble beginnings, Franz Jansa was able to dramatically increase his standard of living. He worked as a blacksmith in Waterloo and Marshall, Wisconsin for 11 years, saving $3,000.00, after which the Jansas moved to Cherma in Pierce County, Wisconsin and bought a farm.

Although some emigrants settled permanently in the villages and towns of the American Midwest, the majority of the emigrants wanted their own land and went into farming. In America, farms were sold in rectangular plots based upon a survey system mandated by the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. Generally, farms were sold in 20-acre, 40-acre, 80-acre or 160-acre parcels. Farmsteads were located at a convenient place on the farmland, and as the farms grew in size, distances between the farmers' houses grew. Where in Landskron houses were commonly clustered together along a road, in America they were often located quite far from these roads. Farm buildings were free-standing, separate structures in America, and were not connected as in Landskron. The villages that arose were not farming villages, but rather provided a central location for tradesmen and craftsmen, along with community buildings such as a village hall, a school and a church. Where in Landskron, an hour's walk could take you past the houses of a thousand people, such a walk in America would likely take you past the houses of only a few dozen neighbors.

Emigrants with financial means were able to afford to buy a farm shortly after their arrival in America. One of the few "large farmers" among the early Landskroner emigrants was Johann Meitner from Ober Johnsdorf. Meitner arrived in New York on the Oldenburg on June 17, 1853. On July 9 of that year, he purchased an 80-acre farm several miles north of Watertown. That fall he purchased an additional 40 acres of farmland, and in May of 1855, Meitner bought another 40 acres. None of these purchases involved a mortgage. Meitner's resulting 160-acre farm was larger than most, if not all, of the farms in Ober Johnsdorf.

Since the overwhelming majority of these early emigrants were day laborers, they were not able to buy good land near a market town like Watertown so quickly. Their options were to save money to buy a farm, use credit, buy poorer land, or move west to find good, cheap land closer to the edge of the frontier. The poorer Landskroner emigrants used all of these methods. As noted above, Franz Jansa saved for eleven years in order to buy his farm. Johann Pitterle, a day laborer from Ober Johnsdorf who arrived in America in August, 1854, was first able to buy a farm in 1858. That year he bought an 80-acre farm north of Watertown, Wisconsin for $600.00. He bought the farm on credit at 10% interest, with $200.00 due on July 1, 1858, and $400.00 due on January 2, 1863. Many of the early emigrants to southern Wisconsin bought marshy land west of Watertown near what is now the village of Waterloo. Another early emigrant, Franz Pirkl of Triebitz (Tebovice) who arrived on the Johanna in 1853, headed to Pierce County in northwestern Wisconsin in about 1855 where land was much cheaper. His 160-acre farm was valued at $341.12 on the 1859 real estate property list.

It is logical to assume that the ames of the Landskroner men and women who settled near Waterloo and Watertown and in Pierce County, all in Wisconsin, follows. Included in the list are their known places of origin. (9)

The Watertown community
: The largest group of Landskroner emigrants in Watertown were from the villages of Ober and Nieder Johnsdorf (Horní and Dolní Tesovec). Other villages represented in Watertown were Cermná (Böhmisch Rothwasser), Dittersbach (Horní Dobrou), Lukau (Luková), Olbersdorf (Albrechtice), Rathsdorf (Skuhrov), Rudelsdorf (Rudoltice), Sichelsdorf (Sichlínek), Thomigsdorf (Damníkov) and the town of Landskron. The list of Landskroner families settling in Watertown include the following: Barrent, Bopp, Brusenbach, Clement, Dobischek, Frodel, Groh (Gro), Hampel, Heger, Huebl, Huss, Jahna (Yahna), Hecker, Hausler, Hübler, Janisch, Kalupka, Klecker, Köhler, Kohler, Kreuziger, Kunert, Kunz, Langer, Melcher, Meitner, Miller, Müller, Motl, Pfeifer, Pitterle, Richter, Roffeis, Roller, Schless, Schlinger, Schmeiser, Schöberle, Schmid, Schramm, Stadler, Stangler, Steiner, Uherr, Unzeitig, Warner, Wohlitz, Wollitz and Zeiner.
Other Landskroners who lived in the Watertown area for a period of time or who married in Watertown include: Benesch, Betlach, Gritzbauch, Jansa, Kratschmer, Marek, Maresh, Markl, Nagel, Wavra, Willertin and Wurst.

The Waterloo community
: Villages represented in Waterloo include Cermná (Böhmisch Rothwasser), Dreihöf (Oldichovice), Hertersdorf (Horní Houovec), Jokelsdorf (Jakubovice), Knappendorf (Knapovec), Michelsdorf (Ostrov), Rathsdorf (Skuhrov), Riebnig (Rybník), Rudelsdorf (Rudoltice), Tschernowier (Cernovír) and Zohsee (Sázava). The list of Landskroner families settling in Waterloo include the following: Barta, Bartosch, Benisch, Betlach, Binstock (Binenstock), Blaschka, Fiebiger, Filg, Haberman, Huebel, Jahna, Janisch, Klecker, Koblitz, Langer, Leschinger, Maresch (Mare), Mautz, Melchior, Miller, Motl, Neugebau, Peschel, Pitterle (Peterle), Rotter, Tilg (Yelg), Tomscha, Schieck, Schiller, Skalitzky (Skalitzka), Springer, Stangler, Veith, Wovra, Wurst, Zalmanová and Zimbrich (Zimprick).
The Pierce County Landskroners
: Although Franz Pirkl settled in Pierce County in 1855, most of the Landskroner emigrants to Pierce County arrived after the Austro-Prussian War of 1866. Many of these emigrants, both German and Czech, passed through Waterloo or Watertown on their way to Pierce County. Many Czech emigrants from Cermná (Böhmisch Rothwasser) settled here. Some Czechs traveled through Texas and not the Waterloo and Watertown areas. Other emigrants came from the villages of Hemanice (Hermanitz), Jokelsdorf (Jakubovice), Michelsdorf (Ostrov), Ober and Nieder Johnsdorf (Horní and Dolní Tesovec) and Sichelsdorf (Sichlínek). Among the Landskroner families eventually settling in Pierce County were the following: Appel, Benes, Brickner, Falteisek, Fischer, Gregor, Heinz, Huebl, Jahna (Yahna), Jana (Yana), Janisch (Yanisch), Janovec, Jansa, Kabarle, Katzer, Kitna, Klecker, Kreuziger, Kusilek, Langer, Marek, Maresch, Maresh, Meixner, Merta, Motl, Nagle, Neugebauer, Nickel (Nicol), Novak, Pecháek, Pelzel, Prokscher, Raeschler, Richter, Roller, Schmeiser, Schmied, Schöberle, Seifert, Steiner, Strofus, Svec, Tajerle, Tayerle and Yanovec.
The emigrants from Landskron to Wisconsin, both German and Czech, found the land and the freedom they desired and generally were able to attain a much higher standard of living than their relatives who remained behind in Landskron. They were also able to escape the horrors of war, Nazi rule, forced expulsion, collectivization and Communist rule that marked the lives of the Germans and Czechs who did not emigrate.

Selected Bibliography
Binkley, Robert C. Realism and Nationalism. New York: Harper & Row, 1941.
Blum, Jerome. Noble Landowners and Agriculture in Austria, 1815-1848. A Study in the Origins of the Peasant Emancipation of 1848. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1948.

Capek, Thomas. The Cechs (Bohemians) in America: A Study of Their National, Cultural, Political, Social, Economic and Religious Life. Boston and New York: AMS Press, 1969, reprint of 1920.

Current, Richard N. The History of Wisconsin -- The Civil War Era. Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1976.

Freeman, Samuel, The Emigrant's Hand Book, and Guide to Wisconsin Milwaukee: Sentinel and Gazette Power Press Plant, 1851.

Gauglitz, Franz J. C. Heimat Kreis Landskron. Bietigheim, Germany: Verlagsdruckerei Otto W. Zluhan, 1978.

Genealogical Society International, 1996.

Langer, William L. Political and Social Upheaval - 1832-1852. New York: Harper & Row, 1969.

Josef Lidumil Lesikar - Jeho zivot a doba. Horní Cermná: 1993.

Lidl, Josef. Der Schönhengstgau. Göppingen: Schönhengster Heimatbund, 1992 (out-of-print).

Neubauer, Johann. Der Bauernhof des Schönhengster Oberlandes. Göppingen: Schönhengster Heimatbund, 1989.

Peterson, Ursula, ed. Pierce County's Heritage, Volume Seven. River Falls, WI: Pierce County Historical Association, 1980.

Peterson, Ursula, ed. Pierce County's Heritage, Volume Eight. River Falls, WI: Pierce County Historical Association, 1986.

Pounds, N.J.G. An Historical Geography of Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Rippley, La Vern J. The Immigrant Experience in Wisconsin. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1985.

Rippley, La Vern J. The German-Americans. Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1984.

Rippley, La Vern J. with Paulson, Robert J. German-Bohemians: The Quiet Immigrants. Northfield: St. Olaf College Press, 1995.

Ruth, Albin. Landwirtschaft im Schönhengstgau. Göppingen: Schönhengster Heimatbund, 1988.

Schafer, Joseph. Wisconsin Domesday Book, General Series 4: The Winnebago-Horicon Basin. Madison: State Historical Society of Wisconsin, 1937.

Schlyter, Daniel M. Czechoslovakia, A Handbook of Czechoslovak Genealogical Research. Orem: Genun Publishers, 1985 and 1990.

Silar, Frantisek. "The First Nepomuky and Cermna Emigrants to Texas," written in 1966 and translated by Calvin C. Chervenka in 1967.

Thomson, Samuel Harrison, Czechoslovakia in European History. Hamden, CT: Archon Books, 1965.

Wallman, Charles J. The German-Speaking 48ers: Builders of Watertown, Wisconsin. Madison: German-American Cultural Society, Inc., 1990.

City of Watertown, Wisconsin -- Its Manufacturing and Rail Road Advantages and Business Statistics. Watertown, WI: Published by Order of City Council, 1856.

1. Please note that I refer to a town's name in the language spoken by the majority of its inhabitants in the 19th century. The name in parentheses is the name in the non-majority language, be it Czech or German.
2. For example, see Freeman, Samuel, The Emigrant's Hand Book, and Guide to Wisconsin. Milwaukee: Sentinel and Gazette Power Press Plant, 1851.

3. Capek, Thomas. The Cechs (Bohemians) in America: A Study of Their National, Cultural, Political, Social, Economic and Religious Life. Boston and New York: AMS Press, 1969, reprint of 1920.

4. For more information on the early emigration of Czech Protestants to Texas, please consult the works of Frantick Silar, such as "The First Nepomuky and Cermna Emigrants to Texas," written in 1966 and translated by Calvin C. Chervenka in 1967.

5. Because the land they bought was a pocket of dry land in the middle of a marshy area, this area was commonly referred to as the "Island".

6. See Amy v. City of Watertown, 130 U.S. 301 (1889), and Amy v. City of Watertown, 130 U.S. 320 (1889).

7. In the mid-1850s, the territory that makes up present-day Germany consisted of numerous small principalities, dukedoms, free cities and other small states.

8. For example, the Chronik of the village of Ober Johnsdorf reflects that Johann Langer of farm number 133 had grain confiscated by the Prussians on both June 21, 1866 and July 8, 1866. The next spring he sold his farm and emigrated to Watertown, Wisconsin.

9. Records of the time list the birthplace of many of these emigrants as simply "Landskron." It cannot be determined whether the reference is to the district or town of Landskron. In addition, the family name and birthplace of married women is often not recorded.

(The author, who is proficient in German, can be reached at 11430 W. Woodside Drive, Hales Corners, WI 53130-1143 U.S.A. His phone number is (414) 529-4822. His e-mail address is

Last update: 30-Sep-98 (ds)
Please forward any comments and additions to this WWW-Page to: Ed Langer or to: Disclaimers.

Re: Wenzl Janisch (abt 1780) and Elizabeth Janisch Kapaun (abt 1800) Michelsdorf, Bohemia

Posted: 1263018740000
Classification: Query
Other interesting Bohemia history that may help you to research or understand the whys and hows of your ancestors decisions.

(Germ. Böhmen, or formerly Böheim; Lat. Bohemia or Bojohemum), a cisleithan (i.e. west of the River Leitha) crown province of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, which until 1526 was an independent kingdom.
Bohemia has an area of 20,058 square miles. It is bounded on the northwest by Saxony, on the northeast by Prussian Silesia, on the southeast by Moravia and the Grand duchy of Lower Austria, on the south by the Grand duchy of Upper Austria, and on the southwest by Bavaria. It is enclosed on three sides by mountain ranges, namely: the Bohemian Forest (Böhmerwald), the Ore mountains (Erzgebirge), and the Sudetic mountains. The highest peaks of these ranges seldom rise above 4,593 feet. On the fourth, or southeastern, border Bohemia is separated from Moravia by a moderately high range called the Bohemian-Moravian highlands (about 1,968 feet high). The country resembles the flat bottom of a trough with a depression towards the north. The average height above sea-level is 1,460 feet. Bohemia is drained by the Elbe, which rises in the Isergebirge, a range of the Sudetic mountain system. After receiving the waters of the Moldau, a stream from the south, the Elbe, now greatly increased in size, passes out of Bohemia at Tetschen near the most northern point of the country. Besides the Moldau, which may be called the most important river of Bohemia, the chief tributaries of the Elbe are the Iser and the Eger.
Geologically the country forms the so-called Bohemian system of mountain ranges, the spurs of which run into Moravia and Silesia. The greater part consists of old crystalline rocks; in the south gneiss predominates, in the north the formation is chiefly cretaceous sandstone, with tertiary deposits due to the action of water from the south. This part of the country also shows volcanic action, as in the Bohemian mineral springs. The climate is moderate and, with the exception of the mountain districts, does not show great variations of temperature. The mean temperature of the year is about 46.41 Fahrenheit. Bohemia has much mineral wealth; it is especially rich in silver, tin, lead, semiprecious stones, such as Bohemian garnets, hard coal, and lignite.
According to the last census (31 December, 1900), Bohemia has a population of 6,318,697. It is one of the most thickly settled provinces of the monarchy, having 315 inhabitants to the square mile. The Czechs form 63 percent of the population, and the Germans 36 per cent. The Germans live chiefly near the boundaries of the country especially near the northern and northwestern boundaries.
Bohemia (home of the Boii) owes its name to the Boii, a Celtic people which occupied the country in prehistoric times. About 78 B.C. the land was occupied by a Suevic people, the Marcomanni, while the related tribe of the Quadi settled in Moravia and that part of Hungary adjoining Moravia. Some years after the birth of Christ, Marbod King of the Marcomanni, united the German tribes as far as the North Sea and the Baltic to form a great confederation which menaced the Roman Empire. When the Marcomanni and the Quadi left Bohemia and Moravia in the sixth century, there came in from the northeast a Slavonic people which was soon to appear in history under the general name of Cechen (Czechs). Before the close of the sixth century this Slavonic people came under the domination of the Avars of Hungary. But early in the seventh century they regained their freedom with the aid of the Frank, Samo, whom the Czechs elected as their king. In 706, Bohemia paid tribute to Charlemagne . Eighty years later Borziwoi, Grand Duke of the Cechen (Czechs), seems to have been tributary to Swatopluk, King of Great Moravia. In the confusion which followed the break-up of the Empire of Great Moravia Spitihnev I succeeded in uniting the various tribes of Czechs under his rule. From his time there is an unbroken succession of dukes of the Premysl line. One duke of this line, Wratislaw II, received the title of King for life from the German Emperor, Henry IV. After 1158 the title of King became hereditary. Ottokar I and Ottokar II were the most conspicuous rulers of the Premysl dynasty. After this line became extinct (1306) Bohemia came under the sway of John of Luxembourg (1310-46). The Bohemian rulers of the Luxembourg line, from Charles I, of Bohemia (the Emperor, Charles IV), until the extinction of the dynasty at the death of Sigismund (1437), were all German emperors. Bohemia reached the height of its prosperity under the Emperor Charles IV who conquered Silesia and also occupied for a time the Mark of Brandenburg and the Upper Palatinate. In 1348, Charles founded the University of Prague, the first university on German soil. By his Golden Bull, Charles IV gave Bohemia the highest secular electoral dignity of the Holy Roman Empire. After 1437, Bohemia was ruled by kings of various lines until the death of Ludwig II, of the Jagellon dynasty, who was King of Bohemia and Hungary. He fell in the battle of Mohácz (1526). Both Bohemia and Hungary after this battle came into the possession of Ferdinand I of Hapsburg who had married the sister of Ludwig II. (For the further history of Bohemia see Austro-Hungarian Monarchy).
Fritigil, Queen of the Marcomanni, in 396 applied to Ambrose of Milan for instruction in the doctrines of Christianity . In 846, fourteen princes of the Czechs were baptized at Ratisbon. Although the two brothers, Cyril and Methodius, the Apostles of the Slavs, never entered Bohemia, yet Methodius was able to win over the Bohemian Duke Borziwoi to Christianity when the latter was at the court of Swatopluk, Grand Duke of Moravia. In 878, Borziwoi was baptized by Methodius at Welehrad. Soon after this Borziwoi's wife, Ludmilla, and most of his relations were also baptized. The grandson of Borziwoi and Ludmilla, St. Wenzel I (Wenceslaus), was murdered in 935 at Alt-Bunzlau by his brother and successor Boleslaw I. Religious and national motives prompted this act. Christianity made such progress in Bohemia that in the latter part of the tenth century (973) the German Emperor Otto I gave the country a bishop of its own with his see at Prague, the capital of the country. Bohemia had until then formed a part of the diocese of Ratisbon. In 1344, the Diocese of Leitomischl was founded, while Prague was made an archbishopric with the Diocese of Olmütz as suffragan. The thirteenth and fourteenth centuries may be called the golden age of Christianity in Bohemia. In 1384, 240 ecclesiastics were attached to the Cathedral of Prague. Bohemia contained at that time 1,914 parish priests with many assistants; there were one Hundred monasteries, and almost a third of the land belonged to the Church. But when John Hus was condemned by the Council of Constance for spreading the errors of Wyclif, and was burned at the stake in 1415 by secular authorities, the Hussite wars followed (1420-34), and the Church in Bohemia met with losses which it took centuries to repair.
The causes of this religious-national movement were the excessive numbers and wealth of the clergy, their moral decay, and, in addition, the national reaction against the disproportionate power of the Germans, and the weakness of the secular government. Notwithstanding the death of the leaders, Hus and Jerome of Prague, the fire of revolution broke out when the followers of Hus demanded the Lord's Supper under both kinds (Utraquists). Those in revolt encamped with their leaders, Ziska, Procopius the Great, and Procopius the Less, upon Mount Tabor, and from 1419 to 1434 they made marauding expeditions from that point in all directions. The army of Sigismund, In the Fifth Crusade , accomplished nothing. An agreement was made finally with the moderate Utraquists (called Calixtines) in 1433. By this agreement, which is called "the Compactata of Basle" or "of Prague," the cup was granted to the laity; at the same time the teaching of the Church as to the Real Presence of Christ under each form was insisted upon. From the descendants of the radical Taborites sprang later the Bohemian and Moravian Brethren.
A great number of parishes and other cures of souls had been obliterated during the Hussite wars; in those which still remained there, was a woeful lack of priests especially for the German population. It was, therefore, easy for Protestantism to make rapid advances, especially as it was looked on with favor by both the nobility and the people. Desertion of the Church was accompanied by treason against the hereditary dynasty part of the population took sides with the League of Smalkald, and in 1618 Bohemia was the starting point of the Thirty Years' War which brought such terrible disasters upon the whole of Germany. During this war the population of Bohemia fell from three millions to eight hundred thousand. The Hapsburg dynasty finally gained the victory. The nobility were punished for their treason, either by execution or by banishment, with confiscation of property; the rebellious cities lost their freedom, the common people either emigrated or returned to the Catholic Faith. In 1655, the See of Leitmeritz was founded; in 1644 the Emperor Ferdinand IV erected a new bishopric at Königgrätz, to take the place of Leitomischl, which had disappeared during the Hussite wars. Finally, in 1784, the Emperor Joseph II made the new Bishopric of Budweis out of the southern part of the Archdiocese of Prague.
Bohemia is divided ecclesiastically as follows: The Archdiocese of Prague includes the northwestern and central parts of the country, the Diocese of Leitmeritz embraces the northern part, the Diocese of Königgrätz takes in the eastern part, and the Diocese of Budweis the southern part of the country. In addition to its share of the territory of Bohemia, the Archdiocese of Prague also includes the countship (Grafschaft) of Glatz in Prussian Silesia.
Religious Orders
There are in the archdiocese 14 orders of men, having 35 houses; the total number of the orders is 704, of these 416 are priests, 135 are clerics preparing for the priesthood, and 153 are lay brothers. Special mention should be made of the Benedictines at Emans, of the Jesuits at Prague, and of the Premonstratensians at Tepl. There are also 21 orders for women, with 1,517 members. The Diocese of Leitmeritz has 13 orders for men, with 31 houses. The members of these orders include 136 priests, 15 clerics preparing for the priesthood, and 49 lay brothers. The Cistercian Abbey of Osseg and the Jesuit college at Mariascheim are worthy of special mention. There are 10 orders for women, with 62 houses and 651 members. The Diocese of Königgrätz has 9 orders for men, with 88 priests; and 8 orders for women, with 442 members. The Diocese of Budweis has 13 orders for men, in 32 houses; these orders include 131 regular priests; the orders for women are 7, with 419 members. The Cistercian Monastery of Hohenfurt, founded in 1259, should be mentioned in connection with this diocese.
Educational and Charitable Institutions
In the Archdiocese of Prague there are: 1 seminary for priests, 1 private gymnasium, 3 homes for university students preparing for the priesthood, 52 hospitals, homes for the poor, orphan asylums, etc., over 200 endowments for the aid of the poor, and 34 associations of St. Vincent de Paul. In the Diocese of Leitmeritz there are: 1 theological school, 1 high School for boys, 5 homes for university students preparing for the priesthood, 11 Catholic primary Schools, 2 grammar-schools, 8 boarding-schools, 18 industrial and advanced schools, 20 orphanages, 7 asylums for children, 14 kindergartens, 20 creches, and over 130 homes for the poor, hospitals, etc., as well as 13 Conferences of St. Vincent de Paul. In the Diocese of Königgrätz there are: 1 theological school, 1 seminary for priests, 1 boys' seminary, 7 boarding-schools for girls, 2 training-schools for women teachers, 10 other schools for girls and young women, 21 institutions for the care of children, 67 orphanages, hospitals, etc., 8 conferences of St. Vincent de Paul, and numerous endowments for the aid of the poor. In the Diocese of Budweis, besides 1 theological school and 1 seminary for priests, there are under ecclesiastical control: 1 boys' seminary, 1 home for university students preparing for the priesthood, 12 public and industrial schools 23 kindergartens, 7 boarding-schools, about 140 stipends for students, 99 hospitals, homes for the aged and the poor, and 8 conferences of St. Vincent de Paul.
Since the last years of the reign of Maria Theresa, and especially since the time of Joseph II, the Catholic Church in Austria has suffered from state interference. According to existing laws, the State at present guarantees to the recognized denominations freedom from molestation in the management of their internal affairs. The State avoids every interference in matters of faith, of ritual, and of ecclesiastical discipline, but it also claims that the religious associations, like all other associations, are subject to the general state laws in their "outward legal relations." The sore point in this condition of affairs is this: that the State assumes for itself the right to define the boundary between internal and external legal relations. At present state control shows itself in the appointment of ecclesiastical officials, in the cooperation of the State in determining and collecting church dues and taxes, in measures for the protection of the property of the Church, and in a certain supervision of the church press, which is hardly perceptible. The legal position of the Catholic Church in Austria rests on the Imperial Patent of 8 April, 1861, and the Law of 7 May, 1874.
Incorporation of Churches
In the Archdiocese of Prague there are 32 parishes incorporated with the Premonstratensian foundation at Tepl, the other orders in the diocese have 28 parishes incorporated with them; in the Diocese of Leitmeritz the Cistercians at Osseg control 11 parishes, the other orders for men, 12; in the Diocese of Königgrätz there are 10 parishes united with the Benedictine houses, and 6 with the Premonstratensian; in the Diocese of Budweis the Monastery of Hohenfurt controls 16 parishes, the other orders have 13 incorporated with their foundations.
Taxation of Churches
Churches, public chapels, and cemeteries are exempt from the income tax, ground and dwelling-tax.
Privileges of the Clergy
Theological students are exempt, both in war and in peace, from all forms of military service, from military training, exercise with weapons, and reserve service; but after they have been ordained they can be called upon to serve as army chaplains in case of the mobilization of the whole army. Parish priests are exempt from paying the direct and the local taxes, and from jury duty. Parish priests have the right to accept an election to community and district boards of commissioners. Regularly installed ecclesiastics have the right of legal residence in that community in which they live permanently. Without regard to the actual payment of taxes they are entitled to vote for the local boards, for the provincial diet and for the imperial parliament (Reichstag); as a rule they are included in the first class of the electoral body. Only one-third of the fees of a parish priest can be attached for debt; besides this, his income cannot be reduced below 1,600 kronen ($320), nor the income of a retired priest below 1,000 kronen ($200). According to the law of 1898, which was intended to equalize clerical salaries, the salary of a parish priest at Prague was set at 2400 kronen ($480); in the suburbs up to a distance of over nine miles from the capital, and in cities with over 5,000 inhabitants, at 1,800 kronen ($360); in other places at 1,600 kronen ($320) or 1,400 kronen ($280). In Prague the salary of an assist priest was set at 800 kronen ($160) or 700 kronen ($140).
Marriage, for Catholics, rests on the Law of 25 May, 1868, with which the second main section of the civil code, treating of the law of marriage, came again into force. According to this anyone can enter into a marriage contract when there is no legal impediment. Apart from the impediments arising from the duties of certain positions and those due to the army laws, these impediments rest on: (1) lack of consent; (2) lack of ability for the married state, and (3) lack of the necessary formalities.
Under the first head are (a) impediments from inability to give consent, as mental disease (violent mania, lunacy, imbecility); minority, and control of guardians, or lack of free choice; (b) impediments resting on lack of actual consent, as compulsion through well-grounded fear, seduction, mistake in the identity of the future consort, pregnancy of the woman before marriage by another person.
Under (2) belong (a) the impediment of impotency and (b) impediment from the lack of moral ability, such as an unexpired sentence of imprisonment for felony; a still existing previous marriage; consecration to Holy orders, or a solemn vow of celibacy ; difference in religion (e.g. the marriage of a Christian and a non-Christian); relationship in the ascending and descending line, or close family connection (as brothers and sisters, cousins, uncle and niece, aunt and nephew); degrees of affinity parallel to the forbidden degrees of consanguinity; adultery proved before the contracting of the new marriage; and murder or attempted murder of a consort.
In (3) are (a) the impediments arising from the lack of publication of the banns, and (b) those from lack of the prescribed formalities of a marriage contract. Lastly, there should also he mentioned the impediments, enacted by the Catholic Church (for Catholics), of participation in the cause of divorce, and the impediment caused by the lack of a certificate of birth. A temporary impediment exists for widows, who are not allowed, as a rule, to marry again before the expiration of six months after the death of the husband. Some of these ecclesiastical impediments to marriage can be set aside; others are irremovable. Among the latter are all those which would give an appearance of guilt to a marriage contracted under the existing circumstances. Dispensation from these impediments are granted by the civil authorities. Catholic married couples can be separated from bed and board. A dissolution of the bond of marriage does not take place; that is, no married Catholic, either husband or wife, can enter upon a new valid marriage before the death of the consort.
A secular cleric has the right to free disposal of his property both in life and at death. The bishop of a diocese has no testamentary control over those objects which belong to his office and which by law descend to his successor, such as mitres, vestments intended to be worn during Mass, etc. In consequence of the vow of poverty, members of religious orders are incapable of inheriting or disposing of property. Large legacies to a church, a religious or charitable foundation, or a public institution must be announced at once by the court to the governor or president of the province. A half-yearly list of smaller legacies must be sent to these authorities. Legacies for the benefit of the poor, those intended for religious or charitable foundations, for churches, schools, parishes, public institutions, or other religious and benevolent purposes must be paid over or secured before the Heirs can inherit the property.
Old graveyards are ordinarily regarded as dependencies of the parish church, and as such are considered, even by the Law of 30 April, 1870, as being ecclesiastical institutions. But in sanitary regards, as places of burial, they are controlled by the police regulations of the community. Denominational cemeteries can be enlarged or laid out anew. For this, however, the consent of the civil authorities and of the parties interested is necessary, although, if the parish community refuses to enlarge the cemetery, the responsibility for providing a proper burial-place falls on the civil community. But a parish community or a church vestry cannot be compelled by the authorities to enlarge or lay out a church cemetery. If in the same community both a town cemetery and a Catholic cemetery exist, the burial of the dead in the public cemetery is not obligatory, but every Catholic has the right to bury the members of his family in the Catholic cemetery. When a Catholic cemetery serves also for the burial of non-Catholics, a part of the cemetery is to be set apart for the exclusive use of the non-Catholic community. Where a part of a Catholic cemetery is used for non-Catholic burial without the formal separation of the parts, the non-Catholic clergyman must follow the regulations of the law; he may conduct the burial with prayer and benediction, but there can be no singing nor address.

SCHINDLER ed., Das soziale Wirken der katholischen Kirche in Oesterreich (9 vole.); LANDENBAUER, Die Diozese Budweis (Vienna, 1899); SCHINDLER Die Erzdiozese Prag (Vienna, 1902); ENDLER, Die Diozese Leitmeritz (Vienna, 1903); BENES, Die Diozese Königgrätz (Vienna, 1897); KIRCHHOFF ed., Schematismen der Diozesen Prag, Leitmeritz, Königgrätz, und Budweis in Landerkunde von Europa, Pt. I, 2d half; SUPAN, Oesterreich-Ungarn (Vienna and Prague, 1889); Die osterreich-ungarische Monarchie in Wort und Bild (1894-96): Bohmen (1894-96) 2 vols.; Mitteilungen des Vereines fur Geschichte der Deutschen in Bohmen, and the other publications of this society; FRIND, Kirchengeschichte Bohmens (Prague, 1866-78); ID., Geschichte der Bischofe und Erzbischofe von Prag (Prague, 1873); GINDELY, Geschichte des 30 jahrigen Krieges (Prague, 1882); ID., Geschichte der Gegenreformation.
Transcribed by Dick Meissner
The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume II
Copyright © 1907 by Robert Appleton Company
Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight
Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York

Hapsburg Rule
The accession (1526) of Archduke Ferdinand (later Emperor Ferdinand) began the long Hapsburg domination of Bohemia. Ferdinand began the gradual process by which Bohemia was deprived of self-rule. He also introduced the Jesuits in order to secure the return of Bohemia to Roman Catholicism. The religious situation remained explosive. The conservative wing of the Utraquists had become almost indistinguishable from the Roman Church, and there had arisen a frankly Protestant movement, the Bohemian Brethren (Moravian Church). The Brethren and their close allies, the Lutherans, won equality with the Utraquists by inducing Emperor Maximilian II to declare (1567) that the Compactata no longer were the law of the land. Rudolf II was forced to grant freedom of religion by the so-called Letter of Majesty (Majestätsbrief) of 1609. When in 1618 Emperor Matthias disregarded the Majestätsbrief, members of the Bohemian diet revolted and dramatized their position by throwing two imperial councilors out of the windows of Hradcin Castle on May 23, 1618.
The so-called Defenestration of Prague precipitated the Thirty Years War, which came to involve most of Europe. Matthias's son (later Emperor Ferdinand II) was declared deposed, and Frederick the Winter King was elected king of Bohemia. Frederick and the Protestants were crushed in the battle of the White Mountain (1620) by Ferdinand II. The Protestants were suppressed, and in 1627 Bohemia was demoted from a constituent Hapsburg kingdom to an imperial crown land; its diet was reduced to a consultative body.
The Thirty Years War laid Bohemia waste; after the Peace of Westphalia (1648), forcible Germanization, oppressive taxation, and absentee landownership reduced the Czechs, except a few favored magnates, to misery. The suppression (1749) of the separate chancellery at Prague by Maria Theresa and the introduction of German as the sole official language completed the process. Joseph II freed the serfs and permitted freedom of worship, but he incurred the hatred of the Czechs by his rigorous policy of Germanization. Leopold II tried to conciliate the Czechs; he was the last ruler to be crowned king of Bohemia (1791). During the later 18th cent. the foundations of industrialization were laid in Bohemia, but the German population fared better than the mostly peasant Czechs.
Czech Nationalism and Nationhood
The 19th cent. brought a rebirth of Czech nationalism. Under the leadership of Palacky a Slavic congress assembled at Prague in the Revolution of 1848, but by 1849, although the Czech peasantry had been emancipated, absolute Austrian domination had been forcibly restored. The establishment (1867) of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy thoroughly disappointed the Czech aspirations for wide political autonomy within a federalized Austria. Instead, the Czech lands were relegated to a mere province of the empire. Concessions were made (1879) by the Austrian minister Taaffe; Czechs entered the imperial bureaucracy and parliament at Vienna. However, many Czechs continued to advocate complete separation from the Hapsburg empire.
Full independence was reached only at the end of World War I under the guidance of T. G. Masaryk. In 1918, Bohemia became the core of the new state of Czechoslovakia. After the Munich Pact of 1938, Czechoslovakia was stripped of the so-called Sudeten area, which was annexed to Germany. In 1939, Bohemia was invaded by German troops and proclaimed part of the German protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia.
After World War II the pre-1938 boundaries were restored, and most of the German-speaking population was expelled. In 1948, Bohemia's status as a province was abolished, and it was divided into nine administrative regions. The administrative reorganization of 1960 redivided it into five regions and the city of Prague. In 1969, Bohemia, along with Moravia and Czech Silesia, was incorporated into the Czech Socialist Republic, renamed the Czech Republic in 1990. The Czech Republic became an independent state when Czechoslovakia was dissolved on Jan. 1, 1993.

See C. E. Maurice, Bohemia from the Earliest Times to the Foundation of the Czecho-Slovak Republic in 1918 (2d ed. 1922); J. Macek, The Hussite Movement in Bohemia (tr. 1965); S. Z. Pech, The Czech Revolution of 1848 (1969); E. Beneš, Bohemia's Case for Independence (1917, repr. 1971); R. Miller, Bohemia: The Protoculture Then and Now (1978); G. Levitine, The Dawn of Bohemianism (1982).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2004, Columbia University Press.

The Nature of Austria-Hungary
The reorganization of Austria and Hungary was made possible by the Ausgleich [compromise] of 1867, a constitutional compromise between Hungarian aspirations for independence and Emperor Francis Joseph's desire for a strong, centralized empire as a source of power after Austria's defeat in the Austro-Prussian War of 1866. The Hungarians gained control of their internal affairs in return for agreeing to a centralized foreign policy and continued union of the Austrian and Hungarian crowns in the Hapsburg ruler.
The agreement to establish the Dual Monarchy, which was worked out primarily by the Austrian foreign minister, Count Beust, and two Hungarians, the elder Count Andrassy and Francis Deak, divided the Hapsburg empire into two states. Cisleithania [Lat.,=the land on this side of the Leitha River] comprised Austria proper, Bohemia, Moravia, Austrian Silesia, Slovenia, and Austrian Poland; it was to be ruled by the Hapsburg monarchs in their capacity as emperors of Austria. Transleithania [Lat.,=the land on the other side of the Leitha River] included Hungary, Transylvania, Croatia, and part of the Dalmatian coast; it was to be ruled by the Hapsburg monarchs in their capacity as kings of Hungary. Croatia was given a special status and allowed some autonomy but was subordinated to Transleithania, which also nominated the Croatian governor.
Austria-Hungary was the greatest recent example of a multinational state in Europe; however, of the four chief ethnic groups (Germans, Hungarians, Slavs, and Italians) only the first two received full partnership. The Hapsburg-held crown of Bohemia was conspicuously omitted in the reorganization. Both Cisleithania and Transleithania elected independent parliaments to deliberate on internal affairs and had independent ministries. A common cabinet, composed of three ministers, dealt with foreign relations, common defense, and common finances. It was responsible to the emperor-king and to the delegations of 60 members each (chosen by the two parliaments), which met to discuss common affairs. The regular armed forces were under unified command and currency was uniform throughout the empire, but there were separate customs regimes.

See H. Kohn, The Hapsburg Empire: 1804-1918 (1961); A. J. May, The Passing of the Hapsburg Monarchy, 1914-1918 (2 vol., 1966) and The Hapsburg Monarchy, 1867-1914 (1951, repr. 1968); Z. A. B. Zeman, The Twilight of the Hapsburgs (1970); E. Crankshaw, The Fall of the House of Hapsburg (1971, repr. 1983); L. Valiani, The End of Austria-Hungary (1973); R. J. Evans, The Making of the Hapsburg Monarchy: 1550-1700 (1979).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright 2004, Columbia University Press.
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