Bergmann, Josef Arno_t (1797-1877). Josef Arno_t Bergmann, Czech pioneer, was
born on August 13, 1797, in the village of Zápudov near Mladá Boleslav (Jungbunzlau)
in what is now the Czech Republic, the son of Josef and Katerina (Sindelar)
Bergmann. He dropped the name Josef early, perhaps to avoid conflict with his
father, and used the name Arno_t or Ernst for the remainder of his life.
Bergmann began training for the Catholic priesthood at Litomysl, but he left the
Catholic Church to study in the Protestant theological department at Breslau,
Prussia, and was ordained a minister in 1830. His first assignment was at
Strou_n_ (today Pstra_na) in the Glatz district in Poland (then called Silesia).
Bergmann married Marie Berndt on December 15, 1830, and their first six
children were born at Strou_n_. On October 2, 1849, he preached his last sermon
there and announced his plan to move to Texas. The family embarked on the
Alexander at Hamburg on December 20, 1849, and arrived at Galveston on March
2, 1850. They went by coastal and river steamers to San Felipe and then by
oxcart to Cat Spring. The German colonists hired Bergmann as their schoolteacher
and preacher. He preached their Easter service in March 1850 at Cat Spring.
Bergmann bought the tract of land currently called Kollattschny Cemetery, and
there preached and taught school in a small log building. A fifth Bergmann
daughter was born and died in 1853, and two daughters died of yellow fever in
1855 or 1856.
Bergmann wrote a long letter back to Strou_n_ soon after his arrival in
1850. This letter told of the freedom to be found in Texas, the large amount of
land available at cheap prices, and how he had already acquired many chickens,
hogs, cows, and a horse. His letter was eventually published in the Moravské
Noviny (Moravian News), and people in Moravia began to discuss plans
for following the Bergmann family to the great free state of Texas. Groups of
Czech families came in 1852, 1853, and 1854, and this started the waves of
migration of Czech and Moravian people to Texas. Bergmann, credited by many
Czech immigrants and their descendants as their reason for immigrating to Texas,
was the father of the Czechsqv in Texas.
Bergmann preached and taught school at Cat Spring until 1871, when he
moved to Corsicana to be nearer
his daughters, who had married German men and moved there with the railroad. In
the evening of April 6, 1877, he told his wife that he was going to die and
asked her to bring his Bible, gather the family, and light the lamp. He died
quietly at midnight and was buried at the
Oakwood Cemetery, Corsicana. His
wife died in Hempstead on September 14, 1888, and was buried alongside her
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Dorothy Klumpp and Albert J. Blaha, Sr., The Saga of
Ernst Bergmann (Houston, 1981). Clinton Machann and James W. Mendl,
Krásná Amerika: A Study of the Texas Czechs, 1851-1939 (Austin: Eakin Press,
Albert J. Blaha, Sr.
"BERGMANN, JOSEF ARNOST." The Handbook of Texas Online.