Biography of Vaclav Novak

Vaclav Novak was born in Bohemia in March 1832 and became a notable violinist and music teacher in his homeland. After the death of his first wife and subsequent remarriage to Barbara Hurkova in 1861, Novak emigrated to the United States in 1870, settling in Yankton County, South Dakota. He purchased and cultivated 320 acres of farmland. Novak had a total of eleven children, four born in Bohemia and seven in the United States. He passed away on September 22, 1899, leaving a legacy of integrity and community respect.

Vaclav Novak. — It is customary when a life record has been ended to review the history and note the points that are worthy of emulation, and in an analyzation of the work of Vaclav Novak we see much that is commendable. He was born in Bohemia in March, 1832, and none of the sons of that land who have come to the United States have been more worthy of public regard or the confidence of their fellow citizens than was Mr. Novak. He acquired his education in the schools of his native country and became a teacher of music there. His parents were wealthy people of that land, having extensive property interests. Mr. Novak had excellent opportunities to cultivate his artistic tastes and won more than local fame as a violinist. He played the violin in one of the Catholic churches of his native country. At the age of twenty-two years, he was married in Bohemia, and to this union were born two sons, one of whom died in that country. The other son, Vaclav, enlisted in the American army during the Spanish-American War and is now in the Philippines. The mother passed away just four years after their marriage and in 1861 Mr. Novak was again married, his second union being with Miss Barbara Hurkova, who was born in Bohemia, where the wedding was celebrated. They had four children who were born in Bohemia and after the emigration of the family to the new world seven more children were born.

It was in 1870 that Vaclav Novak came to the United States, his destination being South Dakota, for he had received favorable reports concerning this portion of the Union. He at once purchased one hundred and sixty acres in Yankton County and with characteristic energy began its development and improvement. He was systematic and methodical in his work, progressive, practical, and enterprising and not only did he place his farm under a high state of cultivation, but also extended its boundaries by the purchase of an additional quarter section, so that at the time of his demise he was the owner of three hundred and twenty acres of valuable land which he personally managed and cultivated.

The children of Mr. and Mrs. Novak born in Bohemia were: Mary, Lewis, Anton, and Antoine, while those born in the new world are Joe, Albert, Julia, John, Annie, Cecelia, and Sophia. All married with the exception of Cecelia. Mary is now the wife of Frank Kulis, a resident farmer of Yankton County. Lewis wedded Annie Slaba and carries on agricultural pursuits. Anton is now living in Omaha, Nebraska, where he occupies the position of salesman in a clothing house. Antoine is now the wife of Frank Kastron, a resident farmer of Yankton County. Joe, who was engaged in business in the city of Yankton, died March 1, 1904, aged thirty-two years. Albert wedded Mary Sterna and is a farmer of this county. Annie is the wife of N. Kaiser, who also carries on agricultural pursuits in this county. John married Miss Mary Kronaizl, a young lady who was born in Bon Homme County near Tabor, while her parents were natives of Bohemia and are still living upon the farm which they purchased when they came from the old country to the new world. Sophia is the wife of Joe Kaiser, a resident of Yankton County. Julia is the wife of James Petrik, a resident of Bon Homme County. Mr. Novak departed this life on the 22nd of September, 1899. He was a member of the Roman Catholic Church and a gentleman whose integrity was above question. His conduct was ever manly, his actions sincere, and his sterling worth was widely recognized so that his death was sincerely mourned throughout the entire community by young and old, rich and poor.


Robinson, Doane, History of South Dakota: together with mention of Citizens of South Dakota, [Logansport? IN] : B. F. Bowen, 1904.

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