The subject of this sketch enjoys the distinction of being the oldest settler of Cloud county, residing on his original homestead. Mr. Czapanskiy is a native of Prussia, Germany, born in 1831. His grandfather was a Russian, and books that were published in the Ianguage of his country when he died were buried with him, as is the custom of that country, when a peasant possesses books that can not be interpreted. Our subject worked in a mill in his native country for eleven years, and in the meantime was married to Miss Julia Fischer, in 1857, a young German woman. When their family consisted of but one child, Lewis, they decided to cross the ocean and find a home in America. They joined some of their countrymen in Wisconsin, with whom they had corresponded, and after having worked there about four months, he, with three other German families determined to seek homes on the frontier. Had they known all the difficulties and privations it involved it is doubtful if they would have braved them. They fitted themselves out with ox teams, some with one yoke and some two, our subject being among the former, and thus equipped with the necessary requirements, or such as their means justified, the little colony embarked over the "prairie schooner" line for the wilds of Kansas. After a journey of seven weeks, made more or less eventful by varied experiences, they arrived on the beautiful but unsettled prairies of Shirley township, Shirley county (now Cloud), Kansas, the mecca of their dreams. The families of J.M. Hagarman, J.M. Thorp and August Fenskie, comprised the only settlement on Elm creek at that time. The other two families were much discouraged at the outlook and returned. One young man enlisted in the army, but Mr. Czapanskiy had cast his lot in the new country and he had an abiding faith in the future, however distant it might be, and he immediately began preparations to secure a home. He sent a dollar to Junction City by Mr. Hagarman to pay for the filing on his land. The following year he raised a small crop of sod corn on the ten acres he had broken, hauled the proceeds one hundred and fifty miles to Ft. Kearney to buy the requirements of the household, and when he homesteaded in the spring of 1863, he felt like a duke, would scarcely have exchanged his possessions for a baronetcy. But later when the settlements fell victims to the Indian raids, the grasshoppers and the drouths, life on the frontier became a lonely dread. However, they were fortunate in not having suffered by Indian depredations other than the suspense incurred from the extreme danger to which they were exposed. About four hundred Iowas were passing through the country and attempted to raid their watermelon patch, but Mr. Czapanskiy boldly confronted them and with loud talk and suspiciously emphatic language ordered them to go. One old Indian took him by the shoulders and shaking him said "You little man, won't kill Indian." A neighbor locked himself in the house and when the maurauders had gone he found his melons, along with the vines, ruthlessly cut and torn in pieces. Mr. and Mrs. Czapanskiy's family consists of five sons and one daughter. Lewis, a well-to-do farmer five miles south of the old homestead; Gustavus, owns three hundred and twenty acres of land cornering his father's farm; Gotleib, owns one hundred and sixty acres adjoining the home place on the north; Rudolph's farm of one hundred and seventy acres, joins his brother Gotleib on the north; William, now owns two hundred and fifty acres and will inherit the homestead as the other heirs have been paid off. Their daughter Julia, is the wife of Henry Taylor, a hardware merchant of Palmer, Washington county, Kansas.
The sun never shown on fairer ground than the one thousand and twenty fertile acres included in the estate of the Czapanskiys. The sons are industrious, progressive fellows and have assisted very materially in accumulating this fine proporty.
Our subject visited Germany a year ago, where his parents both died poor peasants, and says he would not exchange his American freedom for the cramped conditions of his fatherland, but prefers his Kansas home. A brother and sister followed to this country; the latter is Mrs. Walno and lives near her brother on a farm. The Czapanskiys are members of the Lutheran church.
Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm.
Home Page for Kansas
Search all of Blue Skyways
The KSGenWeb Project