Josef Lidumil Lesikar, a politician, farmer, and journalist best remembered for his contribution to the settlement of Czechs in America, was born on May 16, 1806, at Herboritice, in what is now the Czech Republic, to Josef and Rozalie (Prokop) Lesikar. On February 18, 1828, he married Terezie Silar; the couple eventually had four sons. As a young man Lesikar settled in the village of Nepomuky and worked chiefly as a tailor and farmer. He engaged in politics to obtain more freedom for his fellow Czechs from the dominance of Austria. He was elected representative to the Czech parliament in Prague but did not serve because of the revolution in 1848. Shortly after the revolution he was instrumental in organizing two groups of about 160 Czechs to immigrate to Texas, in 1851 and 1853. Although about half of the first group died, Lesikar, his wife, and their four sons reached Galveston with the second group on board the Suwa in late December 1853. The family bought farmland in New Bremen, Austin County. The men felled trees and built a log house that still stands, with a Texas historical marker before it. Lesikar wrote articles for periodicals published in various parts of the United States as well as in his native land, and his writings encouraged many Czechs to come to America. As one of the founders of Národní hoviny, a Czech newspaper published in St. Louis, he helped to lay the foundation for Czech journalism in America. In his writing he opposed secession. He died on October 21, 1887, near New Ulm and is buried in the New Ulm Cemetery.
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Clinton Machann, ed., The Czechs in Texas (College Station: Texas A&M University Department of English, 1979). Clinton Machann and James W. Mendl, Krásná Amerika: A Study of the Texas Czechs, 1851–1939 (Austin: Eakin Press, 1983).
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
John T. Kroulik,
“Lesikar, Josef Lidumil,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 25, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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