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  Texas : Towns A-Z / Central Texas South :

VELEHRAD, TEXAS

Lavaca County, Central Texas S
County Line Road (Fayette/ LaVaca County Line)
15 miles N of Hallettsville
6 miles N of Moravia

Population: Unknown

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Velehrad Cemetery And SPJST  Hall, Texas
Velehrad Cemetery and SPJST Hall
TE photo, October 2006

Velehrad Today

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.
Fayette LaVaca County Line Road
Fayette/ LaVaca County Line Road
TE photo, October 2006

Velehrad School Marker, Texas
Velehrad School Historical Marker
TE photo, October 2006

History from a Historical Marker

Site of Velehrad School

"The Velehrad 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. 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."
Velehrad Cemetery  marker, Texas
Velehrad Cemetery marker

TE photo, October 2006
Velehrad Cemetery tombstone, Texas
Velehrad Cemetery tombstone

TE photo, October 2006
The Letter 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, Velehrad, Shiner, etc. My father (Richard Schumann) and my mother (Albina L. Ermis) were married in the the Praha church (Fayette County). My mother lived there until 1920.
- Harrold Schumann, Van Alstyne, Texas, October 2006
Velehrad Texas SPJST Hall

Velehrad's SPJST Hall

TE photo, October 2006

The Three-County Saga of Frank Ermis

Courtesy of Richard Schumann
Mr. Schumann's Great Grandfather Frank L. Ermis is one of the early Bohemian settlers of Fayette County.

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 (Colorado County) 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 Counties.
Hermis Road sign, Velehrad Texas
Hermis Road sign

TE photo, October 2006
On 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 in Hallettsville, 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.

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Velehrad, Texas Forum
  • Subject: 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 20, 2006
  • Subject: 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 10, 2006


    Anyone wishing to share stories, memories or vintage photos of Velehrad, Texas, please contact us.


    John Troesser
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