As the Czech ambassador to the United States, H. E. Petr Gandalovič noted in his foreword to this book—Míla Rechcígl has written a monumental work—representing a culmination of his life achievement as a historian of Czech America.
The Encyclopedia of Bohemian and Czech-American Biography is a unique and unparalleled publication. The enormity of this undertaking is reflected in the fact that it covers a universe, starting a few decades after the discovery of the New World, through the escapades and significant contributions of Bohemian Jesuits and Moravian Brethren in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, and the mass migration of the Czechs after the revolutionary year of 1848 up to the early years of the twentieth century and the influx of refugees from Nazism and Communism.
The encyclopedia has been planned as a representative, comprehensive, and authoritative reference tool, encompassing over 7,500 biographies.
This prodigious and unparalleled encyclopedic vademecum, reflecting enduring contributions of notable Americans with Czech roots, is not only an invaluable tool for all researchers and students of Czech-American history, but also a cart blanche for the Czech Republic, which considers Czech Americans as their own and as a part of its magnificent cultural history.
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Encyclopedia of Bohemian and Czech-American Biography
By Miloslav Rechcigl Jr.
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2016 Miloslav Rechcigl, Jr.
All rights reserved.
A. Secular Pioneer Colonists and Travelers
Johann Berger (ca. 1502-), b. Osoblaha (Hotzenplotz), Moravia, in 1519, took part as a soldier in the expedition of Hernán Cortés (1485-1547) against Aztecs.
Jacob Boehm (1668-1759), whose descendants claim that he was of Bohemian origin, settled near Lancaster, PA in 1715. They later changed their surname to Beam.
John Henry Burchsted (1657-1721), from Silesia, a physician, lived in Lynn, Essex Co., MA, around 1692.
Mathias Bush (1722-1790), b. Prague, Bohemia arrived in New York City in the early 1740's and around 1742 moved to Philadelphia where he became a pioneer merchant.
Jacobus Fabritius (1618-1693), a Lutheran pastor from Silesia, was given permission to become pastor in New York in 1669. In 1670 he became pastor of the Swedes on the Delaware.
Juriaen Fradel, from Moravia, was listed, in 1645, in the archives of the Reformed Dutch Church of New Amsterdam, as marrying Tryn Hersker.
Emanuel von Friedrichsthal (1809-1842), b. Brno, Moravia, was a traveler, daguerreotypist, botanist, and amateur archaeologist, who traveled through the Balkans and in Central America and documented his findings. He was educated in Vienna at the Theresian Military Academy and entered Austrian government service, but soon left to pursue scientific travels. He traveled through Rumelia (the Balkans) in the 1830s, publishing his findings in two books: Reise in die südlichen Theile von Griechenland (Journey to the Southern Parts of Greece, 1838) and Serbiens Neuzeit in geschichtlicher, politischer, topographischer, statistischer und naturhistorischer Hinsicht (Modern Serbia in Historical, Political, Topographical, Statistical, and Natural-Historical Respects, 1840). These publications acquired for him in particular a reputation in botany for their descriptions of the flora of Greece and Serbia. In 1840 he was posted as first secretary of the Austrian Legation to Mexico, where he became interested exploring the ruins of Maya civilization after reading the writings of John Lloyd Stephens and Frederick Catherwood. He discussed his plans with historian William H. Prescott during a trip to Boston, and bought a daguerreotype apparatus in New York City. He went to the Yucatán in mid-1840, and traveled throughout the Yucatán and Chiapas, becoming the first person to take daguerreotypes of the Mayan ruins, and the first European in the 19th century to visit the ruins of Chichen Itza. He fell ill during his travels, probably with malaria, which necessitated his return to Europe in 1841, where he died in Vienna in 1842. This early death prevented him from publishing the results of his Central-American travels, but he had put on an exhibition of twenty-five daguerreotypes in New York, in the British Museum in London and in Paris, for which he was honored by the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres.
Joachim Gans (ca. 1560-d.), b. Prague, Bohemia, a metallurgist, in 1585, was a member of the first English colonization effort in America (Roanoke, NC).
Bernard Gratz (1738-1801), b. Langendorf, Silesia, immigrated via London to America, settling in Philadelphia, PA in 1754. Together with his brother Michael, he became a prominent merchant.
Michael Gratz (1740-1811), b. Langendorf, Silesia, immigrated to America, settling in Pennsylvania in 1758.
Thaddeus (Tadeá) Haenke (1761-1817), b. Chribská, Bohemia, a noted Czech naturalist, in 1789, entered the service of the Spanish Government as botanist, in order to accompany Malaspina in his tour around the world. Having reached Spain too late, he embarked at Cadiz for Montevideo, and, after suffering shipwreck, finally joined Malaspina, in Chile, accompanying him in his voyage to the north, along the American coast as far as Nootka Sound in Vancouver Island, Can.
Henry George Hauptmann (ca. 1692-d.), b. Prague, Bohemia, immigrated in 1723 to St. Charles, Louisiana, where he was married that year. His son Antoine Henry changed his name to Hoffman (1728-1792) and left numerous descendants.
Augustine Herman (1621-1686), one of the earliest immigrants in America from Bohemia, was creator of the first accurate map of MD & VA.
Martin Hermanzen Hoffman (1625-1712), b. Revel, Estonia, presumably of Bohemian ancestry, is said to have been Rittmaster in the army of King Gustavus Adolphus. Prior to his departure for America, he lived a short time in Holland. He came to New Netherlands in 1657, and settled first in Esopus (1658), and two years afterwards in New Amsterdam. He must have brought over considerable wealth with him, as in 1661 he resided on Lower Broadway, and was a large taxpayer. Life on Manhattan does not seem to have agreed with him, because after a few years he moved to Albany, then known as Fort Orange, where he resided for nine or ten years. Again he changed his residence and settled in Esopus, or Kingston, where he passed the remainder of his life. He was a man of great energy. Besides managing his property and opening up new territory in Ulster County, he had a large saddlery and leather business, which he conducted for several years.
Burger Jorissen (Citizen Jorissen) (1612-1671), native of Silesia, in 1637, settled at Renssalaerswyck on Hudson River, New Amsterdam. He was a blacksmith by trade, who bought and conducted business on Hudson River.
Jirí Krytof Kaplír ze Sulevic (?-1649), b. Bohemia, is thought of being one of the first Czechs to enter Brazil in 1647.
Matthias Kreisler (later Crisler) (1678-d.), from Silesia, landed with his three sons (Theobolt, David and Michael) in Philadelphia in late December 1709. The family first settled in Germantown, 12 miles from the port of Philadelphia. Later Matthias and his two youngest sons moved to their land patent at Madison, VA, leaving Thebolt behind in Philadelphia.
Jan Nepomuk Kubícek (1801-1880), b. Trebon, Bohemia, a carpenter by trade, was among the first group of Czech immigrants to arrive in Brazil (in 1823). Nicknamed as João Alemão ('German John'), Jan Kubícek settled in Diamantina, Minas Gerais, and became the first patriarch of the Kubitschek family in Brazil. He was one of the great-grandfathers of the former Brazilian president, Juscelino Kubitschek.
Frederic August Lotter (1741-1806), b. Malá Úpa, Moravia, was attached as botanist to the expedition that was sent by the Spanish government around the world under command of Captain Malaspina. He explored the interior of Mexico as far as Lower California. Afterward he visited Peru, Chile and the Argentine provinces.
imon Kohout z Lichtenfeldu (-1648), b. Bohemia, was a Prague physician who came to Brazil in 1647 where he soon died from swamp fever.
Andrés Morab (Morales) or Andrés Aleman, possibly born in Brno, Moravia, in 1536, was accused of heresy by the inquisition in Mexico.
Philip Ott, a native of Bohemia, in 1732, landed in Philadelphia and after a few years of residence in Pennsylvania, moved to South Carolina. His descendants spelled their name Otts.
Frederick Philipse (1626-1702), a descendant of Bohemian aristocratic family, was the wealthiest person in New Amsterdam (New York).
Johann Baptist Emanuel Pohl (1782-1834), b. Ceská Kamenice, Bohemia, was a botanist, entomologist, geologist, and physician. He studied in Prague and graduated as Doctor of Medicine in 1808. In 1817, he accompanied the Archduchess Leopoldine to Brazil on the occasion of her marriage to Dom Pedro I, and then was chosen by his government to participate in the Austrian Brazil Expedition in charge of mineralogy and geology. After the return of Dr. Mikan to Europe, he was responsible for the botany collections as well. Pohl spent four years between 1817 and 1821 in Brazil, during which time he explored mainly the provinces of Minas Gerais, Goias, Bahia as well as the province of Rio de Janeiro as far as the District of Itha Grande. His voluminous collections, among them some 4000 specimens of plants, were housed with the rest of the expedition collections in the Brazil Museum of Vienna, which included also two live specimens, a pair of Botocudo tribe people. The woman died soon after and the man was eventually returned to his native land. After his return Pohl served as a curator at the Vienna Natural History Museum and the Vienna Brazilian Museum until his death.
Juriaen Probasco (1627-1664) of Silesia immigrated to New Amsterdam in 1654.
Fannie Quigley (née Sedlacek) (1870-1944), b. Wahoo, NE, at the age of 27, left her Bohemian homestead in Nebraska to join the gold rush to the Klondike, Alaska. From the Klondike to the Tanana, Fannie continued north, finally settling in Kantishna near Mount McKinley. She grew into the crusty old wilderness character; she wore rough men's clothes and swore loudly. She hunted and trapped and thrived for nearly forty years in an environment that others found unbearable.
Francis Xavier Richter, commonly known as Frank Richter (1837-1910), b. Frydlant, Bohemia, was a pioneer settler, miner and rancher in 19th century Washington and British Columbia.
Ezekiel Solomon(s) (1735-1808), b. Berlin, Germany, of Bohemian ancestry, who served with the British Army, arrived at Michilimackinac, Mackinaw City, Michigan, in the summer of 1761. He is Michigan's first known resident of the Jewish faith. Solomon was one of the most active Mackinac fur traders until his death in 1808. He was one of those who narrowly escaped death in the massacre of 1763. During the Revolutionary War, he and other hard-pressed traders pooled their resources to form a general store. In 1784, he was a member of a committee of eight, formed to regulate the Mackinac area trade. Ezekiel Solomon's business often took him to Montreal, where he is believed to have been buried and where he was a member of Canada's first Jewish congregation Shearith Israel.
John Stephen Steiger (1688-1736), of Bohemia, in 1712-14, settled in Germantown, PA, where he lived until 1727. His descendants later changed their name to Styer.
Marcus Thiel of Burkvíz, Moravia was listed in the 1724 Louisiana Census; he was a shoemaker by trade.
Jaques Touchet (orig. Tutzek or Tucek) (ca. 1721-ca. 1763), b. Prague, Bohemia, in 1730, came to Louisiana.
Hans Trumpel (aft.1500-d.) was one of the minors from Jáchymov, Bohemia, who left for America in July 1528, via Antwerp and Seville, sailing off for San Domingo on the island of Haiti.
Johann Peter Varn (1718-1774), b. Varnsdorf, Bohemia, settled in Orangeburg, Berkeley Co., SC in 1735.
Johannes Wildfang (1695-1769) and his wife Elizabeth (Gruber) Wildfang (1700-1763) arrived from Bohemia with their two children in Philadelphia in 1734 and took the oath of Allegiance at the court house on the same day as arrival.
B. Jesuit Missionaries
Maximilian Amarell (1651-1696), b. Prague, Bohemia, a Bohemian Jesuit, entered the S.J. Order in 1667. He studied philosophy and theology in Prague. In 1686 he was sent to Mexico as a missionary, sailing on the same ship as fellow Jesuit Jirí Hostinsky. He worked as a missionary in Teopari, Sonora district.
Stanislaus (Stanislav) Arlet (1652-1717), b. Opole, Silesia, a Bohemian Jesuit, joined the S.J. Order in 1679. He studied philosophy in Prague and theology in Olomouc, Moravia. He left for mission work in Peru in 1693. Just like F. Boryne, he worked on the territory of the Moxos Indians. He established his own reduction which he named San Pedro. Later he worked as a rector of the Jesuit College in La Plata.
Franciscus Azzoni (1717-1775), b. Prague, Bohemia, entered S.J. Order in Prague in 1734. In 1753 he was sent to Quito, SA. He became professor of theology and a preacher at the Jesuit school in Quito. For a short time he also served as rector and vice provincial. He returned to Bohemia in 1769 and died in Prague in 1774.
Jan Joannes Baptista (1655-1702), b. Jaromer, Bohemia, a Bohemian Jesuit, entered the S. J. in 1672. In January 1691 he sailed from Cadiz, arriving in Buenos Aires in April. He first worked at the mission of St. Thomas and then at the mission of St. Anna. He died in Santiago.
Johann (Jan) Just (1655-1732), a Bohemian Jesuit, entered the S.J. Order in 1672. He was sent to Paraguay as a missionary in 1689.
Juan Xavier Bischoff (1710-1786), b. Kladsko, a Bohemian Jesuit, entered the S. J. Order in 1729. In 1746, came to Lower California. He initiated a broad campaign to reduce the incidence of undesirable conduct, such as excessive drinking, loitering and gossiping. He served in the following missions: San Luis Gonzaga (1746-50), Santa Rosa (1751-52), Loreto (1753-57), La Purísima (1758-66), Todos Santos (1767-68). He was expelled to homeland in 1768. Hed died in Prague.
Franciscus Borinie (Frantiek Boryne) (1663-1721), b. Malonice, Bohemia, a Bohemian missionary, studied philosophy in Olomouc and theology in Prague. In 1695, he was sent with other missionaries to Peru, where he remained until he died in 1722. He worked among the Indians of Moxos tribe in Bolivia. The first 7 years he spent in St. Francisco de Borja Mission, Bolivia. He then founded San Pablo Mission in Beni, North Bolivia, where he arrived in 1703. He was one of the best missionaries who christened hundreds of unknown Indian tribes. According to his contemporaries, Boryne worked more effectively than twenty missionaries altogether, converting to Christianity over 100 different tribes. He founded a whole series of new posts, built beautiful churches, introduced new agricultural practices and new trades, taught native women how to spin flax and men how to weave. On two occasions he was wounded by Indian arrows, and to illustrate the remoteness of his station, he complained to a friend in Prague that, during 23 years, he had been away, he had received no news from Bohemia. He died on July 26, 1721 in the mission.
imon Boruhradsky (1650-1697), b. Polná, Bohemia, a Bohemian Jesuit joined the S.J. Order in 1670. Brother Boruhradsky was sent as a missionary to Mexico, where he changed his name to Simón de Castro. He started as a treasurer of Jesuit College but is best known as an architect and builder. His name will be forever remembered in Mexican history for his melioration structures that saved several cities from devastating floods and his part in the rebuilding of the vice -regent's palace after it was burned down by Indians. He died on his way to Marian Islands.
Georgius (Jirí) Brandt (1654-1690), b. Wartemberg, Silesia, entered the S.J. in 1670. He studied philosophy in Prague and theology in Olomouc. In 1684 he left, together with other missionaries, for Peru. He worked among the Moxos Indians in the reduction of St. Jacob. He died in Santiago, Chile.
Wenceslaus (Václav) Breuer) (1662-1729), b. Cesky Dub, Bohemia, a Bohemian Jesuit, entered S. J. in 1692. In 1693 he was sent to South America as a missionary. He worked in Peru and Colombia.
Václav Brzoka (1732-1796), a Bohemian Jesuit missionary, entered the S.J. Order in 1753. The same year he was sent to Quito, Ecuador. He died in Uherské Hradite, Moravia in 1796.
Albert (Vojtech) Bukovsky (1658-1717), b. Chotusice, Bohemia, Bohemian Jesuit, entered S. J. in 1678. He was sent to New Granada in 1692 and excelled as a missionary in the region of today's Venezuela. He was a scion of an old family of Bohemian Knights of Hustirany.
Jirí Burger (1654-1720), b. Vykov, Moravia, a Bohemian Jesuit missionary, entered S.J. in 1669. He was sent to South America in 1684 and served in the Chilean province and also in Peru. His Spanish far exceeded that of most native speakers. In 1700 he was put in charge of a college in Chillan.
Georg Josef Camell (Kamel) (1661-1706), b. Brno, a Bohemian Jesuit, entered S.J. in 1682. He was a trained pharmacist. He left through Spain to Mexico and then left for Manila, Philippines. He worked as a pharmacist and botanist.
Jan Josef Cermák (1726-1787), b. Moravské Budejovice, entered the S.J. in 1757. He was sent to South America in 1764 and worked as a missionary in Chile.
Václav Christman (Chrisman) (1647-1723), b. Prague, Bohemia, entered the S.J. Order in 1664. He was one of the earliest Jesuit missionaries in Latin America. He worked in Paraguay in the reduction of San Loreto among Guarani Indians. Later he worked as a director of a school at Santa Fé. Christman remained in Latin America until the end of his life in 1723 and spent most of that time in Paraguay.
Matthias Cuculinus (Kukulín) (1641-1696), b. Mohelnice, Moravia, a Bohemian Jesuit Father, in 1678 was one of the first Bohemian Jesuits to be sent to America. But he never made it to Mexico and instead went to Philippines and eventually, together with Strobach, sailed to Marianas Islands. There he attained the rank of a provincial. In Aganda, he witnessed an uprising against the Spanish rule about which he left an important account.
Martin Dobrizhoffer (1718-1791), a Jesuit from Bohemia, joined the Austrian Province of the Society of Jesus in 1736. He was sent to Paraguay in 1749 and spent 18 years working principally among the Abipon Indians who were incorporated into the mission system of the Guarani Indians. He was a keen observer of native customs and rituals and became fluent in their languages. Before the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767, he worked in the reduction (Indians' settlement organized by the missionaries) of San Joaquin in the Gran Chaco, north of Ascunción. Between 1777 and 1782 he composed a three-volume history of the Abipones in Latin, which is considered one of the key sources for the history of Paraguay missions, as well as a pioneering work in the field of ethnology.
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Table of Contents
I. Pioneers, 1,
II. Leadership, 53,
III. Business, 102,
IV. Religion, 236,
V. Government & Politics, 298,
VI. Law, 419,
VII. Music, 546,