Anne Arundel County, Baltimore, Biloxi, Bohemia, Brooklyn, citizen of the United States, cousins, dedecek, Eastern Shore, Frantisek Tomášek, Holy Cross Cemetery, Klikov, Maryland, Mississippi, naturalization, nephew, nieces, Rosalie Bednářová, row boss, row house, S.S. Hermann, seafood canning industry, siblings, Southern Bohemia, St. Wenceslaus Church, Tomasek family
In keeping with the genealogy bloggers theme, today I will share a treasured item I have in my possession. It is a picture of my Bohemian great-great grandparents, Frantisek “Frank” Caraciold & Rosalie Bednářová Tomášek. I will also tell you a bit about them.
They lived in a tiny village in Southern Bohemia near the Czech-Austrian border called Klikov (or Klikau in German). According to Wikipedia, Klikov lies off the main supply routes, near the river She-Devil. It has no significant square, the houses are scattered along the road. It was founded in the late 1700’s by German iron miners from nearby Františkovská, which was, at one time, the largest iron works in Bohemia. There was a glass works there, but it closed in 1880, the same year my family immigrated. Most villagers today work outside of the village, although there are a few ceramics/pottery workshops in business there today. You can read about the preservation of these workshops here, if you like.
Baba (short for “babicka”=grandmother) and Deda (short for “dedecek”=grandfather) and their first son, Frantisek, Jr. entered the U.S. onboard the S.S. Hermann, from Bremen, Germany to Baltimore, MD, USA on August 12, 1880. According to family lore, Josef Tomášek, Deda’s father, was the Bürgermeister or mayor of the village of Klikov. The Tomášek family was rather well-to-do and had a maid, Rosalie. Secretly, Frantisek and Rosalie started a love affair and Rosalie became pregnant out of wedlock. This was a disgrace to the family, not only was she pregnant, but she was socially beneath the Tomášeks. The idea was to send Rosalie away, but Frantisek wanted to marry her. His parents would not agree to the marriage, so they left the town and married elsewhere. In October, 1879, Frantisek, Jr. came along and about 10 months later, the little family was on their way to the United States to begin a new life.
The family eventually settled in the Bohemian neighborhood in Baltimore, near St. Wenceslaus Church, where the family attended and all the children were baptized. According to the church history, by 1870, Baltimore was home to over 1000 Roman Catholic Bohemians. As this population swelled during the next decade, the community pressured the Archbishop of Baltimore to send them a Czech priest, which he did.
About 11 years after he arrived in Baltimore, Frantisek, now called “Frank”, became a U.S. citizen. I don’t have the document to download here, but below is the transcription:
State of Maryland, City of Baltimore, To Wit:
At a Criminal Court of Baltimore, begun and held at the Court House in the City of Baltimore, in and for the City aforesaid, on the Second Monday of September in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and ninety four for the trial of all felonies and other crimes, offenses and misdemeanors committed in said City –
PRESENT, The Honorable Henry D. Harlan, Judge. John Quinn, Esquire, Sheriff. Among other were the following proceedings –to wit: Be it Remembered that on the 18th day of September in the year aforesaid, Frank Tomasek, a native of Germany and at present residing in the State of Maryland, appeared in open Court here, and applied to be admitted to become a CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES. And it appearing to the satisfaction of the Court here, that the said Frank Tomasek had declared on oath,taken in the Baltimore City Court on the 23 day of September in the year on thousand eight hundred and ninety one, two years at least before his admission, that it was bona fide his intention to become a Citizen of the United States. And it also appearing to the satisfaction of the Court here, upon the testimony of John V. Ives (?), Citizen of the United States, that the said Frank Tomasek hath continued to reside within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States, five years at least, and one year at least immediately preceding this application within the State of Maryland, that during the said term of five years, he hath conducted himself as a man of good moral character, attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States, and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same, and the said Frank Tomasek, having declared on oath, taken in open Court here, that he will support the Constitution of the United States, and that he doth absolutely and entirely renounce all allegiance and fidelity to every foreign Prince, Potentate, State or Sovereignty whatever and particularly all allegiance and fidelity to the Emperor of Germany. The Court here, thereupon admits the said Frank Tomasek to become a Citizen of the United States.
Signed, Hiram G. Dudley, Clerk
Frank was listed in the census records as a “common laborer”, but family members say he was employed as a “row boss.” He oversaw Bohemian and Polish migrant farm workers while they picked fruits and vegetables in the town of Ridgely on Eastern Shore in Maryland. In the winter, when the weather was cold, he took the workers by train to Biloxi, Mississippi to work in the seafood canning industry there. It was hard work, to be sure, but paved the way for Biloxi’s economic development. (I will write more about my connections to Biloxi in the future.) Later, when he was older, Frank worked for Tindeco (Tin Decorating Company), the largest tin can manufacturing and decorating plant in the world at the time.
Rosalie must have been a good cook. I’m sure she made all of the recipes from the old country. Pork dishes with sauerkraut and potato dumplings, but I guess today, my siblings, cousins, kids, nieces, nephew and I can say that kolaches are our favorite. If you don’t know, a kolache is a small filled pastry, covered in powdered sugar. To make them, you start with a sweet yeast dough and fill with any filling – cheese, poppy seed, prune, apricot, or any other filling you desire. Mmmm-good!
Meanwhile, the family grew. Out of 9 children, 5 grew to adulthood. They were Frank Caraciold, Jr. (1879-1942), Anna Christine, my great-grandmother (1885-1966), John T. (1890-?), Mary (1894-?) and Rose (1896-1976). Then came 10 grandchildren.
When they grew older, Frank and Rosalie eventually moved out of their row house on Chapel St. in Baltimore and moved in with their daughter, Anna “Annie” and her husband, Anton “Andy” J. Levy in Brooklyn, Anne Arundel County, MD.
There they remained until they died. They are buried in Holy Cross Cemetery on Ritchie Highway in Anne Arundel County.