in a Pecan Shell|
First settled in the 1850s, the town was named
to honor D.D. Nelson, local storekeeper in the mid 1860s. Nelson soon had competition
in the form of Isaac Lewis who opened his own store and raised the stakes by building
The first sizable population was provided by Bohemian
settlers in the late 1860s and early 1870s. A post office was granted in 1872
with the town’s doctor also serving as postmaster.
The population reached
100 in the mid 1880s and by the turn of the century it had increased to around
150. After the closing of the post office in 1909, it returned to 100.
maintained five businesses into the middle of the Great Depression, but they disappeared
over time and the proximity of Bellville
discouraged new businesses from opening.
Today, the town is a tranquil
farming community with the church being the town’s centerpiece. The population
remains around 100 – the number given for both the 1990 and 200 census.
Historical Marker: First Czech Immigrants
Czech Immigrants in TexasPeople
from Czechy began to come to America for liberty as early as 1633. First known
Czech in Texas was Jiri Rybar (George Fisher), customs officer in Galveston
in 1829. Others arrived individually for years before letters sent home by the
Rev. Josef Arnost Bergman, an 1849 Czech settler at Cat
Spring (9 mi. S), inspired immigrants in large numbers.
Lesikar (1806-1887) was instrumental in forming the first two large migrations,
1851 and 1853, with names of family parties listed on ship logs as Silar (Shiller),
69; Lesikar (Leshikar), 16; Mares (Maresh), 10; Pecacek (Pechacek), 9; Rypl (Ripple),
7; Coufal, 6; Rosler (Roesler), 6; Motl, 5; Jezek, 4; Cermak, 3; Janecek, 3; Jirasek,
3; Kroulik, 2; Tauber, 2; Marek, 1; Pavlicek, 1.
With Pastor Bergman's
counsel, many of the Czechs began to farm in Austin county. Other immigrations
occurred in the 1850s, and became even heavier in the 1870s. Czechs eventually
spread throughout the state, gaining recognition for industry, thrift, and cultural
attainments. To preserve their heritage they succeeded in having a chair of Slavic
Languages established (1915) at the University of Texas, and later at other schools.
Their ethnic festivals have been held in various cities for many years.