| || Notes for ANNA JANEK:|
The Life of Anna (Janek) Horak as told by
Reverend Joseph Hegar of the
Unity of the Brethren Church
Article Submitted by Kathy Horak Smith.
Originally published in the Ceský hlas/The Czech Voice, Vol. 17, No. 4, November 2002.
Frank and Anna (Janek) Horak
[Editor's Note: The first time I read the following material, I realized that it is a special treasure. Not only does it provide historical information on early Texas Czech-Moravian immigrants and settlers; but, it also gifted with the wording and insight of Rev. Joseph Hegar of the Unity of the Brethren. I am very grateful to Kathy Horak Smith of submitting it. The origins of this narrative is as follows:
Kathy Horak Smith explains: "This was taken from the sermon that Rev. Josef Hegar preached at Anna (Janek) Horak's funeral and appeared in the Brethren Journal. I am not sure which Brethren Journal. My father wrote it up for the 1985 Horak Reunion. It's hard to tell what Rev. Hegar wrote and what my father wrote because of where the quotation marks are on the copy I have. I've gone through and tried to correct it. I'm also including the sermon from my great-great grandfather's, Frank Horak funeral. Also conducted by Rev. Hegar and the West Paper."
Anna, nee Janek, Horak was born November 12, 1868, in Hodslavice, Moravia, in the same home where eighteen years later Rev. Josef Hegar was born. Anna, (Janek) Horak died October 7, 1934, and the funeral services were held on October 9, 1934. Josef Hegar writes: "Our birthplace doesn't stand today. It had been torn down. In its place is built a large new high school. The school was named the Memorial School of Palacky. A drawing of the home now hangs in the Palacky museum. When Anna's son, Frank Horak, visited the home of his family in 1928, the school was being built and in honor of his mother, Frank was able to make some kind of gift.
This is a picture of the Janek home in Hodslavice, Moravia, Czech Republic. It hangs in the Frantisek Palacky Museum of what a typical farm looked like during the 1800's. The Horak home was torn down in 1960/1970's and another house rebuilt on it's spot. The Janek family can be traced back to 1665 in Hodslavice. The owned farm #67 from 1665 until 1880 when Frantisek and Suzanna (Byma) Janek moved to America. The Horak family owned a mill (Mlyn #48) in Hodslavice beginning in 1758 and then Cottage #61 from 1804 until Joseph Horak moved with his family, wife, Marie, and children John, Frank, & Marie to America in 1880. Joseph, the eldest son, moved in 1879. Before living in Hodslavice, the Horak family owned a mill in Morkov dating back to 1730.
"Anna Horak came from the old Brethren family of Janek, daughter of Frank Janek and Zuzanna, nee Byma, Janek, another old Brethren Family. Her mother, Zuzanna Byma, was a sister of the mother, Julianna Byma Hegar of my father, Joseph Hegar. So Anna Horak was a first cousin of my father and of his brothers, Frank and John and his two sisters, Annie Barton (mother of Pastor Josef Barton) and Mrs. Rosina Blaha."
The grandmother of Anna (Janek) Horak (the mother of her father Frank Janek) came from the family of Adam and when the son, Frank Janek, sold his homestead and moved his family to America, it was bought by his brother-in-law Josef Hegar, the grandfather of Rev. Josef Hegar. So it happened that the grandmother of Anna Horak retired at the homestead which was now Hegar's. When Josef Hegar, father of Rev. Hegar, took over the homestead from the elder Hegar, he also took in Grandmother Janek, including her retirement of earthly possessions. Since Rev. Hegar was born in the same place where Anna Horak was born, the Old Grandmother Janek was Rev. Hegar's "baby-sitter." So during this time Rev. Hegar's real grandmother, being much younger and more agile, went out into the fields to work.
On the lap of Grandmother Janek, Grandmother of Anna Horak, Rev. Hegar grew up and it is that he had no more vivid recollections of anyone from his childhood then he had of her. Rev. Hegar stated: "If I started to write it out even though I could not do it chronologically, it would be a big book despite the fact that our intimate acquaintance lasted only five years, seven months." After this time the Hegar family moved to the neighboring village of Zasove and from there he was happy to hurry back to Grandmother Janek every opportunity he had. Of this part of his childhood Rev. Hegar had remembrances that were so very dear him. Not once did I come to Grandmother Janek that I didn't see the open Bible (Bible of the Moravians). Many times we would sing a duet together--she with her trembling voice and I with my child's voice. Other times she would read to me from her Bible, other times even blessing me out for not sitting still, but most of the time I would listen breathlessly. When she would see that I was getting sleepy, she would close the Bible, wrap it neatly in her sash and put it up on a shelf (or up above the stove) and with a piece of bread and butter, would set me on the bench behind the table. Often it would seem to me that I would hear angelic singing. I would wake up and Grandmother would be singing or reading out of her Bible.
When they were confiscating our Bibles, it was said that the Czech women could have written the Bible from memory and Grandmother Janek (as far as I was concerned) could have written the Bible from memory herself. When she died, close to the age of 100, I stood beside her coffin as a fifteen-year old lad. However the funeral itself is not that vivid to me as many of the happenings of my childhood."
From those kinds of roots came Anna Horak and her dear mother, Zuzanna. This is a very dear family heritage. In Hodslavice, Anna Janek Horak spent her first twelve years of childhood and in the month of October 1880, she left with her parents to live in America. They came to Galveston in the middle of November. They went first to Weimar and soon after on to West. They came by rail on the HT & C to Waco. From Waco by wagon to the community of Bold Springs because there was not West or MKT station. They spent a few days with acquaintances and then moved to a 168-acre farm which her parents bought which was about three miles east of West in the Cottonwood Community. There Anna (Janek) Horak spent her youth and growing years with her parents in the Texas pioneer's life until on November 26, 1889, she gave her hand to her chosen (also a son of Hodslavice) Frank Horak and spent the next 45 years with him in a happy marriage. The happy couple immediately moved to the Horak farm, about six miles south of West, not far from Leroy, where they homesteaded together until the time of 8:15 p.m., Saturday, October 6, 1934, when death for a time, separated them.
To this union, the Lord blessed with six children (two of them, a daughter and a son, died in infancy): two sons-Frank and Adolph; two daughters-Caroline (Mrs. Joseph Foit) and Libbie (Mrs. A. V. Owen). They all stood at her bed and after a joint prayer, led by her son Frank, she closed her lovely eyes forever. To give Anna Horak value with pen, you can only do it with a heart.
I knew her from the stories of her grandmother who so much liked to talk about that Janek girl. When I met her personally, and that was when I became a Pastor, I often thought I could see in her character her dear grandmother. She was a woman of good habits and a deep religious faith. "No bad hands" stood in her way. What was bad around her she surmounted with love. She could squash her shoulders down, lift a finger, and that was sufficient to stop anything that did not answer to her firm habits and her word straightened out much that was crooked. Her strong attitudes of faith she got in her cradle, over which was the Open Bible. She had the welfare of her children continually upon her heart. Her sincerity and love went even further. For everyone she had a good word and a hope for better days. When I was a young and inexperienced preacher coming to West, Aunt Horak always had an encouraging word concerning my labors and abilities, a word of peace and understanding. Thankfully I mention that here.
Besides her children, she also reared the youngest orphan of her youngest sister, Caroline Novotny ( this was Bertha), and to all other orphans she endeavored to supplement the mother (take the mother's place as much as she could in a Christian way. She also became 'mother' to V. J. Janek, son of her brother Victor, who had become a widower.
She was a faithful wife, a dear mother, busy and energetic and a good hostess. She had a sincere heart in which there was no falseness or pretense. She was a co-organizer of the Brethren Congregation at West and the organizer of the Christian Sisters and often was a working officer. She was also one of the oldest of the West area Brethren women. She died after much suffering over a period of six months. The last weeks were particularly difficult. She died of complication from the terrible disease known as tuberculosis. So tutored in suffering, she died quietly, Saturday, the sixth of October at 8:14 in the evening surrounded by her husband and children.She wanted so to live. She wanted to still be here longer as she wanted to live for her congregation, her children and her grandchildren, but when she understood that God judged otherwise, she peacefully accepted His will. She reached the age of 65 years, 10 months and 24 days: Besides her husband, Frank Horak and her already mentioned children, she also leaves four brothers: Joseph; Emil; Victor of Penelope and, Andrew of West. Two brothers, Frank and John, and one sister, Caroline Novotny, preceded her in death (The first thirty-one years ago, the second, twelve years, and the third, ten years ago.). Further she left fourteen grandchildren and a whole host of additional families of Horak, Janek, Hegar and other families married into these families who will long remember her. May her memory live among us for many years."