The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947 Page: 237
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The Czechs in Texas
were subjected to the process of Germanization in schools, gov-
ernment, and church that is now familiar. Books were de-
stroyed; names were changed; executions, banishment, exile,
and confiscation were the rule. The population fell from three
million to less than one million. Thereafter, for a century, tradi-
tion was kept alive only by word of mouth in the huts of the
peasant folk. Because of this procession of usurpers many people
of Czech blood have surnames that reflect the nationality of an
invading political power at a given time.
The first recorded Czech immigrant to America came to New
Amsterdam from Bohemia in 1633. He was Augustine Herman,
a surveyor and cartographer of note. Frederick Philipse came
shortly after. Still later, during the American Revolution Wil-
liam Paca was high in the intimate councils of General Wash-
ington and signer for Maryland of the United States Declaration.
In the 1840's many individual Czech families came to Texas,
landing at Galveston. One was that of Josef Ernst Bergman, who
settled, in 1849, at Cat Springs and whose name had been changed
from Horak. These, and the immigrant groups who followed in
the fifties, were often listed by the German, Polish, or Magyar
equivalent of their real surnames. At that time Czech language
journals were not permitted even in Bohemia. Frederick
Lemsky, who played "Come to My Bower" in the Battle of San
Jacinto, came to Texas in 1836 and lived in Harris County for
over twenty years. Jorge Fisher, who at one time claimed the
Czech name, Rybar, appeared on the Texas scene as a customs
collector in the thirties but finished a colorful career in Cali-
fornia. In the early twenties, Karl Anton Postel, or Postl, born
in Popicich u Znojma, Moravia, and often referred to as an
Austrian, wrote tales of early Texas under the name of Charles
Sealsfield or Seatsfield. His stories were widely read.
The first real Czech immigrant group landed in Galveston
in 1852 as the result of oppression following the revolutionary
year of 1848 in Austria-Hungary. They came via New Orleans
and Galveston with money to buy productive land and the de-
termination to stay in Texas. They usually brought their fam-
ilies; none came alone, planning to send for their kin later;
none returned to Europe after a competence had been accumu-
lated in Texas. For eight years the tide of immigration in-
Ironically, the outbreak of the Civil War, set up in Czech
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947, periodical, 1947; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101117/m1/282/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.