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Homesteading in Rush County


Immigration to the United States from Czechoslovakia began in the 1850's. The immigrants came to gain independence, land, and opportunity. After first settling in towns and cities because they were used to community life as opposed to unsettled rural areas, Czechoslovakians from both Bohemia and Moravia began to come to the open spaces of Kansas in 1875. Looking for land to homestead or buy from the railroads, they moved farther and farther west. In 1878, Joseph and Anna Schroter left Christa, Bohemia and came to the Timken area with their five children to settle on land that had been located for them by their oldest son, Joseph Schroter, Jr., who, with two of his brothers, Charles and Frank, had come to America two years earlier and had been working in Chicago. Jacob Method Pivoka and his wife, Antonia Dvorak Pivonka, came to Rush County in 1880 from Chrohenice, a small village in Moravia, Czechoslovakia. They settled first southeast of Rush Center, then moved to the Timken area.

Other Czech-speaking families followed, including the Veseckys, the Hamrdlas, the Holopireks, Bizeks, Bohols, Schuhlons, Kriklans, Chlumskys, Dvoraks, Smrckas, Pozaleks, Kottals, Lapkas, Petriks, Fialas, Jechas, Kraisingers, Brazdas, Pechanecs, Vondraceks, Obornys, Spickas, Vseteckas, Tomaceks, Besperats, Serpans, Stejskals, Kirklans, and Oliveriuses. Many Czech also spoke German as their homeland had been part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Rush County - Timken lumber
Humburg Lumber Company in 1915

Rush County - Timken Smrcka store
Smrcka Store in 1905

Rush County - Timken Santa Fe depot
Santa Fe Depot being moved to LaCrosse


Information from Judith Reynolds

Algrim, Gene, et al. Rush County Kansas...125 Years in Story & Pictures. LaCrosse: The Rush County News and Creative Printing, 2001.


Hours and Contacts

Spring Hours:
Sun:             1:00 pm - 2:00 am
Mon-Thurs: 7:30 am - 2:00 am
Friday:         7:30 am - 7:00 pm
Sat:            10:00 am - 5:00 pm

For current month(s) and detailed information, please select desired month under announcements (below).

Phone: 785.628.4434
Fax: 785.628.4096
Contacts Directory
Mailing Address:
   Forsyth Library
   600 Park Street
   Hays, KS 67601
Physical Address:

   502 South Campus Drive
   Hays, KS 67601-4099