and SPJST Hall
The site of Velehrad
is marked by a historic marker (text below) on the south side of County
Line Road. It's easy to miss, so look for the SPJST Hall and granite
marker. The school marker is 100 yards east of the SPJST marker. The
cemetery is just south of the building - and the stones are visible
from the road.
County Line Road
a Historical Marker
community was settled in the 1850s; the settlement was named Velehrad,
or "Big Castle" for the Czech city of that name. The first marked
burial in the local cemetery dates to 1855. From its earliest days,
the community organized school classes in private homes. Children
were taught in Czech because most area settlers were Czech immigrants.
As the area population grew to 50 or 60 families, the settlers made
plans to build a schoolhouse on land west of the cemetery. As was
common, the one-room structure was placed on the lower part of the
tract so that the building would be as close as possible to a water
source. Classes were conducted in English when the school opened its
doors about 1879. In 1887 school trustees sold off one acre of land
which later became the site of S.P.J.S.T. Lodge Hall No. 19.
Site of Velehrad School
By the turn of the 20th century, the area's population was growing.
The Kahanek family operated a cotton gin just north of the school
property in Fayette
County. In 1924 the Velehrad School District traded land for 5.5
acres around their school that included the S.P.J.S.T. Lodge Hall
property. The schoolhouse was moved onto the new land to be used as
a vocational workshop, and a new two-room school with a stage was
erected on the original part of the property to accommodate the increasing
student population. Trustees added another room in the early 1930s.
As the area population declined in the next decades, Velehrad School
closed and its students were transferred to the Moravia School District
No. 7. The Moravia District, in turn, closed to consolidate with Hallettsville
schools in 1972."
responsible for Velehrad's Inclusion:
Dear Texas Escapes:
I have talked to people for ages and no one has ever heard of [Velehrad].
My mother went to school there, and if not for her talking about it,
it probably would've been lost.
She talked about the hard work on the farm and going to dances on
Saturday night, singing and making merriment. She talked about the
good time[s] they had. Plenty hard work, but they enjoyed the good
life. This is one time the Bohemians lucked out and got some good
land. I am currently in the awful blackland in Van
Alstyne, Texas. I'm trying to grow a garden without much success.
My dream (if my health holds out) is going back to Schulenburg
or Weimar. My wife and I
are from Houston and she died in July. Yes, I miss her terribly after
55 years of marriage. Thank you for all the information, which I am
passing on to a nephew who is recording the family history. We do
know [my mother's] people came in at Galveston
and made it to the Colorado River and then by oxcart to Praha,
etc. My father (Richard Schumann) and my mother (Albina L. Ermis)
were married in the the Praha
County). My mother lived there until 1920.
- Harrold Schumann, Van Alstyne, Texas, October 2006
Saga of Frank Ermis
Courtesy of Richard Schumann
Schumann's Great Grandfather Frank L. Ermis is one of the early Bohemian
settlers of Fayette
Born in 1848 the village of Frankstad in Moravia Province, Bohemia,
he came to the United States at the age of 18. Frank Ermis, his father,
was a farmer and quarryman who brought his family here in 1866 on
a 12 week voyage from Bremen where their ship was blown 400 miles
off-course. After finally arriving in Galveston,
the family rode the railroad to its terminus at Alleyton
where a wagon and nine oxen were procured to take them the rest of
their journey. Their first stop was High
Hill where they were greeted by countrymen and they then settled
in Oso (now a Fayette County ghost town).
After Oso, the family moved to a farm near Praha
where Mr. Ermis worked until his death in 1873. Frank's wife Mary
survived her husband by 34 years, dying at Praha in 1911. Both had
helped build the Praha
church and were married in that landmark building.
Frank's son was first employed as a quarryman at fifty cents a day
(and board), and also clerked in a Flatonia
store. He was able to save enough money to purchase a farm at Velehrad
where he lived for ten years, turning raw land into a productive farm.
Taking a hiatis from farming, he then moved to Hallettsville
where he became a general merchant and cotton buyer. After five years
he joined three partners to buy 9,000 acres of school land in Lavaca,
Dewitt and Gonzales
his share of the property, Mr. Ermis used his cotton buying knowledge
to construct a gin and applied for a post office under the name Hermis,
Texas. He kept store, gin and post office for seven years before
turning it over to his son. In 1912 the Ermis family moved to Engel
and bought 18 acres there. He served as school trustee for schools
Velehrad and Shiner.
On September 2, 1870, Mr. Ermis married Clara Michni, the daughter
of Vancil Michni (who was born in the same village in the old country
as Mr. Ermis). The children from this union were James, Louisa, Frank,
Joseph, Charles, Louis, and Willie.
The spelling of the family name as Hermis or Ermis has become something
of a family mystery. It may have had something to do with the post
office application was submitted.
Book Hotel Here
The death of Filip Bucek of Velehrad
Being married to a Bucek, I have to say the Philip Bucek you talk
about was spelled Filip and he was married to Johanna Bucek. Filip
passed away in 1877 when a tree fell on him as it was struck by
lightning. He was buried in Praha
and later reinterred in Velehrad community cemetery. Mr. Filip Buchek
came from Moravia and gave the land
for the cemetery. There will be a historical marker erected this
spring in his honor. - Bonnie Oneal Bucek, College Station, December
Velehrad and Schulenburg
Dear TE, My father Richard Schumann lived in Schulenburg and was
courting my mother (Albina Ermis) in the very early 1900s. Leaving
her place in Velehrad, one dark evening, he got his truck stuck
on the muddy road on the way to Engle.
At that time he was working for the railroad at Schulenburg and
one of his duties was to meet the midnight passenger train. His
initial panic gave way to fast thinking and he grabbed the railroad
lantern from his truck and ran to the tracks as he knew a freight
train was due very soon.
He lit the lantern and started waving it in front of the oncoming
frieght train. The engineer stopped to find out the emergency and
my dad said: "I'm stuck down the road but I have to meet the midnight
passenger train in Schulenburg." The enginner told him to hop on.
As the train gathered speed, the engineer then informed him that
he would not be stopping in Schulenburg since the delay had put
him behind schedule. "...but I will slow down for you to jump off"
the engineer said and this he did. I have heard my father tell that
story many times.
P.S. I have spelled Velehrad everyway imaginable. I hope I have
it right this time. - Harold Schumann, Van Alstyne, Texas, November
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Velehrad, Texas, please contact
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