Król – Kroll
Franz Król – Kroll, an Immigrant from Zębowice
by Mary Ann Moczygemba Watson
A humble man whose surname translates to “king” emigrated from Silesia to Texas in 1856. On February 28, Franz Król contracted with agent Julius Heinrich Schüler for passage to America scheduled to depart Bremen, Germany, on April 1, 1856, bound for Galveston, Texas.
Franz was from the village of Zębowice in Upper Silesia. On the Schüler Agency List, Franz declared in 1856 that he was 33 years old, determining his birth year circa 1823, and that he was an einlieger by occupation [free agricultural laborer]. The sacramental records for his parish were destroyed during World War II, so his birth date cannot be confirmed.
Though documentation is not available, the wedding of Franz Król and Anna Respondek was probably celebrated around 1849 when Anna was about 20 years old. Two children were born to this union and later cleared for travel to America with their parents: Anton, age 6 [born circa 1850] and Maria, age 1 7/8 [born circa 1854].
The Król’s first Texas-born baby was named Josepha, and when eight days old, she was baptized on September 21, 1856, in Panna Maria at the Immaculate Conception of the BVM Catholic Church (entry #22). Next, a son Joseph was baptized on March 12, 1859 (entry #84).
In 1859, Franz appeared in the tax records of Karnes County. His miscellaneous property was listed as 6 hogs valued at $6, and he paid a poll tax of $1. Franz and Anna experienced their dream of becoming property owners on December 27, 1859 (Volume B, p. 488, Karnes County Deed Records).
The 1860 census enumerated the Franz Król family in Karnes County with personal property valued at $300. In this same year, the Król’s fifth child Jadwiga was born. She was baptized on October 7, 1860 (entry #128). In 1862, tax records of Karnes County verified ownership of five acres of land appraised at $10 and seven head of cattle valued at $42. The following year, another daughter Francisca was born on September 8, 1863, and baptized three weeks after her birth (entry #233).
On November 20, 1866, a baby son Francis was born. He was baptized on November 25, 1866, in Panna Maria with a tragic notation added to his baptismal record (entry #301). The priest recorded in Latin that the child was the son of Anna Respondek and Francisci Krol “qui obit die septima Octobris hujus anni” [who died October 7 this year]. The child was obviously named in memory of his recently deceased father. A tombstone in the Panna Maria cemetery engraved with the name “Franc Krol” marks the final resting place of the Król progenitor.
Anna appears as head of household in the 1870 Karnes County census, but by 1880, Anton, her oldest son, had assumed this role. Anna, with three of her children, Josepha, Francisca and Francis, were listed as residing with Anton and his young family. Anna celebrated the marriages of six of her children:
Anton: married Anna Kowalik, daughter of John Kowalik, 31 January 1876, Immaculate Conception of the BVM Catholic Church, Panna Maria, Texas (p. 2, 2nd entry).
Mary: married Felix Gabryś, son of Gervas Gabryś, 19 November 1878, Immaculate Conception of the BVM Catholic Church, Panna Maria, Texas (p. 5, 4th entry).
Josepha: married Francis Bronder, son of Caspar Bronder, 3 February 1885, Nativity of the BVM Catholic Church, Cestohowa, Texas (p. 267, 2nd entry).
Joseph: married Mary Pruski, daughter of Jacob Pruski, 9 February 1886, Nativity of the BVM Catholic Church, Cestohowa, Texas (p. 268, 3rd entry).
Jadwiga/Hedwig: married Alexander Gabryś, son of Gervas Gabryś, 11 February 1890, Nativity of the BVM Catholic Church, Cestohowa, Texas (p. 276, 1st entry).
Francisca: married Thomas Grier, son of Robert Grier, 13 December 1881, Immaculate Conception of the BVM Catholic Church, Panna Maria, Texas (p. 8, 1st entry).
Franciscus/Francis: died 30 June 1889 and was buried on 1 July 1889 at the Nativity of the BVM Catholic Church Cemetery, Cestohowa, Texas (p. 351, 1st entry).
According to the sacramental records of the Nativity of the BVM Catholic Church in Cestohowa, Anna died on November 10, 1898, and was buried at the parish cemetery the following day (p. 363, 6th entry). She was recorded as 70 years old at the time of her death.
Spelling Variations: Król, Krol, Kroll, Krull
Reference: Franz Król’s family is listed in the “Ravaged by War” section (p. 241) of Silesian Profiles II: Polish Immigration to Texas 1850s-1870s.
Note: The in-law families of Franz Król who have been fully profiled in the Silesian Profiles books are: Bronder, Gabryś and Kowalik (Vol. I), and Pruski (Vol. II).