PESEK BOHEMIAN - Antrim Co., MI
THE BOHEMIAN SETTLEMENT OF
In 1861, a group of 20 travelers came to Antrim City, Banks Township, Antrim Co. Antrim City a name not to be found on todays maps, was located, due west of Ellsworth on the shore of Lake Michigan.
The homesteaders were Czech people and had emigrated from around Tuckapy, near Tabor, Bohemia, Czechland.
In May of 1869, a small group of the Bohemians sailed from Charlevoix on a twin massed " Mackinaw Boat" owned by James Holden, to McLeans Landing (now Rogers Bridge ) located on the Jordan River at the tip of the South Arm of Lake Charlevoix. From there they set out on foot, after buying a yoke of oxen from "Mac" McLean. Carrying all their possessions, the party led by Josef Kubicek walked to their new home, through the woods following Indian trails, 10 miles to the north boundary of Antrim Co., now known as the Bohemian Settlement, marked by the St Johns Church at M32 and St. Johns Road.
One of the families was Frank and Barbara Pesek. Their farm,Stonehedge, is still a working farm today, with the original log home, stone hedge, and out buildings. Frank and Barbara homesteaded 400 acres in Antrim and across the road in Charlevoix Co. Some of the reasons for picking the location, was the good soil, the timber and that the land was high up and no crops would tend to freeze.
Frank was a successful farmer and lumberman. Because of his love for the forest, he set aside 40 acres in each Charlevoix and Antrim Co. and said, "These trees will never be cut". Shortly before his death in 1930, at the age of 97 (just 9 days after Barbaras death at 92), he summoned his 3 sons, Frank, Joseph and Dominic together, asking for a renewed pledge that the trees never be cut. The sons cared for the forest, and in 1947, in their aged years, asked the East Jordan Chamber of Commerce and the East Jordan Sportsman's Club to form a committee to ask the state to help preserve and protect the forest. Rejecting fabulous offers from lumber companies, they offered the property to the state for one dollar, in hopes that it would be made a state park, and preserve their fathers wishes. However, the state refused the offer, and in 1965, shortly after the death of the eldest and last remaining son, Frank, at the age of 93, the forest was sold for timber. One giant elm measured 16 feet around the trunk, and another had 349 rings. Unfortunately, none of the Pesek sons had married so there were no heirs to carry on their father's wish. The last large stand of privately owned virgin timber of Michigan's majestic forest was lost to the lumbermans axe.
The Settlement, with the old Church, some of the farms with the original buildings, are worth seeing today, as I enjoy them daily, I remember an excerpt from the poem, "The Preacher", by John Greenleaf Whittier, 1770.
Over the roof of the pioneers
Gathers the moss of a hundred years;
On man and his works has passed the change
Which needs must be in a century's range.
The land lies open and warm in the sun,
Anvils clamor and mill-wheels run,-
Flocks on the hillside, herds on the plain,
The wilderness gladdened with fruit and grain
If you would like to contribute your family information to the Antrim pages,
please write to Margaret Fallone
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