HISTORY NEBRASKA MANUSCRIPT FINDING AID
RG0821.AM: Jan Stepan Broz, 1865-1919
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Rev. Jan Stepan (John Stephen) Broz was born December 25, 1865, in Kardasova Recice, County of Tabor, Bohemia. He studied four years in his birthplace, later in the gymnasia in Jindrichuv Hradec, where he graduated. With his friend John Vranek he entered the University of Styria, in Gratz, for at that time it was almost impossible to gain entrance to a seminary in Bohemia, when the applicant had no influential friends. In the Styrian seminary Emanuel A. Bouska also was a student and the three became fast friends. Inasmuch as the German element prevailed, conditions became unpleasant and the three students asked leave to attend the university in Chur, Switzerland. Rev. John Hodyc, who also came to Nebraska, entered there too the following year. All four were ordained July 14, 1889, and all came to Nebraska, as did also another student from Chur, Rev. Joseph Koutek.
Rev. Broz arrived in Chadron, Nebraska, May 1, 1890, to assist Rev. J. Brophy. The territory comprised Sioux, Dawes, Box Butte and Sheridan counties, with faculties in northern Wyoming. Rev. Broz was to look after the Czechs, Poles and Germans. The country was sparsely settled and there were no churches, for the drouth meant no crops and disappointed settlers. Northwest of Chadron was a good-sized Czech colony, but it became almost extinct after 1890. In Box Butte County were two large colonies, one west of Hemingford and one east, but both have become almost depopulated of Czechs. There was also a small German mission on the Niobrara River in Box Butte County, numbering twelve families but having no church. In Sheridan County he served in a public school house, fifteen miles north of Rushville. Twelve miles south were Czech and Polish families, these he served also in a schoolhouse. East of the Niobrara Valley was a Dutch and German colony, the people living in dugouts. He had to conduct services out in the open, on account of the flies and mosquitoes, an old rocking chair serving for a pulpit. In northern Sioux County, near the South Dakota boundary, lived a number of Germans who had come from Wisconsin. There they had taken their church apart, brought the material to Nebraska and rebuilt it again. This settlement was named Montrose. Rev. Broz served mass several times in Fort Robinson and met with Indians while at Gordon. His work was entirely of a missionary kind, as it was impossible to effect any organization under the circumstances.
At the close of 1890 Rev. Broz was made rector in St. Paul, Howard County, a Czech-Polish-German-Irish parish, from where he took care of Warsaw, six miles west, the Czech parish Geranium (Netolice) and the Polish parish Bolesczyn in Howard County. Once a month he went to Ravenna, then a mixed parish. In 1894 he was made rector in Dodge, from where he took care of Howell and where he built the first Catholic school in the state in which Czech is taught as a part of the course. On June 24, 1914, he celebrated the silver jubilee of his priesthood, Bishop Koudelka of Wisconsin participating. From Dodge he was transferred to Schuyler, then to South Omaha, where he died Sep. 2, 1919.
SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE
The collection consists mostly of biographical information about Jan Stepan Broz, a Catholic priest at Dodge, Nebraska, 1889-1894, and other Nebraska towns. Included are personal documents from his years in Bohemia. There is also an illustrated pamphlet titled “Short Historical Sketch of St. Venceslaus’ Catholic Church at Dodge, Nebraska,” which was a supplement to the Dodge Criterion, October 14, 1904; and a program honoring Broz in 1914, which includes his picture. Also included are some unsigned, undated poetry attributed to Broz and an issue of Katolicky Delnik (Catholic Workman), Sept. 1, 1944, containing information about Broz.
Folder – various materials relating to Jan Stepan Broz
Broz, Jan Stepan, 1865-1919
Catholic churches — Nebraska — History
Czechs in Nebraska
Dodge County (Nebraska) — Churches
St. Wenceslaus Church (Dodge, Nebraska)