First Czech newspaper in Texas
On this day in 1879, the first issue of the Texan, the first Czech newspaper in Texas, appeared. Though the periodical, published by E. J. Glueckman, lasted little more than a decade, it reflected the rich influence of the Czech culture in Texas and was just the first of many publications to come. Czech immigrants came to Texas in the early 1850s and were inspired by the glowing descriptions of countryman Josef Arnošt Bergmann. This pioneer, known as the “father” of Czech immigration to Texas, wrote of the freedom and fertile land available in the Lone Star State. Austin, Fayette, Lavaca, and Washington counties in Central Texas saw the growth of Czech settlements. The immigrants brought with them their family-oriented farming way of life and many religious and social societies. They also added to the fabric of the state’s ethnic culture with a wealth of folk stories, music, dance, and food. Immigration to Texas reached its zenith in the years before World War I, when foreign-born Czechs numbered over 15,000 in the state. By the end of the twentieth century, more than thirty Czech newspapers and periodicals had been published, and a number of societies and festivals honored the Czech heritage in Texas.