Immigrant – Prukop

Anton Prukop Family
by Mary Ann Moczygemba Watson

In 1856 Anton and Marianna Prukop with their two young sons, left the village of Knieja in Upper Silesia, Poland, on a journey to America.  They had made an arrangement with travel agent Julius Heinrich Schüler for passage to Galveston, Texas.  Written in German, the 1856 Schüler Agency List describes the Prukop family, passengers 148-151, as Anton, age 33, a kolonist (settler, planter); his wife, Marianna Buczek, age 28; Adam, age 5; and Johann, age 2.  Because some of the sacramental records of their parish church located in Zębowice were destroyed during World War II, the information on this 1856 list constitutes the only known European documentation linking the Prukop family to Silesia, Poland.

Departing from the port of Bremen in Germany, the Prukop family was filled with hope and anticipation for their new life in Texas, but some unknown tragedy caused the death of Anton.  Family legend suggests that he died on the voyage (The History and Heritage of Victoria County, Volume Two, p. 692). Already expecting their third child, Marianna gave birth to a son on August 10, 1856, who was named Anton in memory of his father.  On December 26, 1856, the baby was baptized at the Immaculate Conception of the BVM Catholic Church in Panna Maria. Sponsors for this sacrament were Stephan Titzman and Josepha Nieslony (entry #4).

On January 23, 1859, Marianna Buczek Prukop married Simon Kolodziejczyk, a widower, in Panna Maria (p. 6, entry #11).  After living a few years in Karnes County where their first three children were born, the family moved to Goliad County (1870 Federal Census, written p. 54).  By the time the federal census taker visited the Kolodziejczyk family in 1880 (written p. 20), the three sons of Anton Prukop were not enumerated in this household nor was their mother Marianna recorded.  No further information about her has yet been found.

Adam, the oldest son of Marianna Buczek and Anton Prukop, married Johanna Dlugosch on May 28, 1872, in Yorktown (Catholic Chancery Archives Microfilm VS391, entry #1). Johanna was the daughter of Silesian immigrants, Rosalia Ploch and Francis Dlugosch.  For several years, Adam and Johanna lived in the Meyersville area and then moved to Inez in Victoria County (1900 Federal Census, sheet no. 13) where they raised their ten children.  Adam was a farmer and a much sought after water well driller (The History and Heritage of Victoria County, Volume Two, p. 692).


Back row: John (1891), Peter (1896), and Frank (1894) Front row: Johann and Cyprian (1899) Yorktown, Texas, about 1900 Photograph courtesy of: Hedwig Prukop Kotara and Andrew J. Prukop, McCook, TexasNote: In 1925 the Frank Prukop family purchased land in Hidalgo County, Texas, and helped establish the Polish settlement of McCook (Texas Historical Commission, McCook Community, 1979; McCook and the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 60th Anniversary). 

Johann, the second son of Marianna Buczek and Anton Prukop, was only two years old when he departed the tiny village of Knieja in his Silesian homeland.  He grew up in the farming communities of DeWitt and Goliad Counties and began accumulating livestock and farm equipment. In the Goliad County property assessments, he was recorded next to his brother Adam’s 130-acre farm.  Johann owned 4 cattle, 3 goats, and miscellaneous property valued at $35.  He paid poll tax and state and county taxes totaling $1.72 (Goliad County Tax Assessments, 1875). The 1880 Federal Census of DeWitt County recorded Johann Prukop in the Nick Bomba household employed as a farm worker (stamped p. 387C). On Sunday, December 28, 1890, the first banns of marriage between Johann Prukop and Marianna Pokluda were announced at the Catholic Church in Yorktown.  As was custom, the banns were read the following two Sundays, and on January 13, 1891, the wedding of Johann and Marianna was celebrated (p. 193, first entry).  Marianna and Johann endured the death of an infant daughter Maria (p. 5, entry #4) but were blessed with four sons (see photograph). The family resided in the Yorktown area, although in the 1900 Federal Census of Goliad County (stamped p. 170A), Marianna was not enumerated.  No further information about Marianna Pokluda Prukop has yet been found.  In 1920 Johann was recorded by the census enumerator as a widower, age 65, living with his son John and his young family in DeWitt County (stamped p. 160).

Anton, the third son of Marianna Buczek and Anton Prukop, was born in Texas soon after their arrival.  Though he is recorded in the Federal Census of 1860 in Karnes County (written p. 147) and 1870 in Goliad County (written p. 54) with his mother and stepfather, no further information about Anton has yet been found.