Albert & Rosalia Spena
Albert Spena, born July 14, 1838 at Burotitz, Bohemia, and Rosalia Hotary, born November 22, 1844 at Dievonikach, Bohemia, were married in 1863 at Dushnick, Bohemia. They came to America in 1866, settling first in Chicago, Illinois, where he worked in a shoe factory. Then they moved to Chelsea, Hamilton County, Iowa. In 1879, thirteen years later, they came to Trego County where they homesteaded land in the Banner neighborhood, twelve miles south of WaKeeney.
They came to Kansas by covered wagon with eight horses, eight cattle and seven children, Frank J., Antonia, Joe, Jim, John, Tom and Charley. One child, Anna, a twin to Antonia, died on the trip to America and was buried at sea. Henry, the youngest child, was born in Trego County. He died in 1907.
The family found it took a lot of hard work to make a home in this new country. First they had to search for water, then they had to break sod to build a house for the family. The next job was to help the others in the neighborhood to build a school house for their district. But Mr. Spena was a thrifty and hard-working man and soon owned three quarter sections of land, 125 head of cattle, 11 head of horses and enough new machinery to farm his land. When each son left home to start his own life, he was given a team of horses and a hammer from his parents. Mr. Spena died May 25, 1904, and Mrs. Spena died July 4, 1924.
Their son, Frank J. Spena, born in 1864 in Dushnick, married Mary Zeman in 1886, and they were the parents of five children: Henry, Josie (Mrs Fred Schmitt), Bill, Edward, and Agnes. Later they divorced, and he married Della Kessler, and they were the parents of Mabel Spena Albers, who is now deceased.
Antonia Spena (and her twin Anna) were born in 1865 at Dushnick. As a young girl Antonia taught school until her marriage to Joseph J. Keraus on November 23, 1887. They lived on his large ranch where he raised cattle and horses until 1898, when they moved to town and he and John Spena bought a hardware store. This store was started on the east side of Main Street where the present Fabric Shop is located. In 1924, a new building was built on the west side of the street where they continued their business until 1961, when the store was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Orma Welch. Antonia was born September 13, 1867 & died June 20, 1954. Joseph J. was born February 2, 1864 & died November 3, 1928.
After World War I, Art and Ed joined their father in the hardware business, continuing it after their father's death in 1928.
Mr. and Mrs. J. J. Keraus were the parents of three sons, Arthus S., Edward and Paul.
Arthus S. Keraus was born May 9, 1889, and died August 9, 1970 at WaKeeney, Kansas. He spent his early years on the family homestead south of WaKeeney, moving to WaKeeney with his parents in 1899. He was in the U.S. Navy from 1917-1919, serving on the U.S.S. Pocahontas with the Navy Band.
Upon his return from service he and his brother Edward joined their father in partnership in the Keraus Hardware Store operating the business until 1962.
Art was active in many community organizations and projects. One of his favorite projects was planning and constructing, with J. H. Heckman, the beautiful Christmas decorations that are displayed each year in the center of WaKeeney's downtown area. He served on the City Council and was Mayor from 1935-1939.
On May 23, 1924 he married Velma Smith at WaKeeney. To this union were born four daughters, Ellen, Margaret, Ruth and Janice. After Velma's death in 1953, Art married Helen (Blair) Cole of Denver, Colorado, on May 25, 1963. She died June 29, 1970 at WaKeeney.
Velma Ruth Smith, born January 30, 1900 at Cambridge, Nebraska, was the oldest daughter of William and Isis Smith. When a small child, she moved with her family to Emporia, Kansas, where she completed her education and was graduated from College of Emporia in 1922.
Velma came to WaKeeney in September, 1922, as a music and Spanish teacher in the high school. Velma died April 17, 1953 at the hospital in Kansas City, Kansas.
Joe H. Spena married Anna K. Papes in 1897, and they were the parents of four children, Fred, Alfred, Rosa and Harry. They lived on a farm three miles west of WaKeeney. Joe died April 9, 1955 and Anna died November 14, 1964.
Fred Spena married Alice Anderson on September 7, 1924, and they lived on a farm west of WaKeeney. Fred was active in the American Agriculture farm program, played in the WaKeeney City Band for many years. Fred died August 28, 1972.
Alfred F. Spena married Estella Spitsnaugle, and they, with their daughter, Rosemyre (Mrs. Ronald Long) were members of the church. Later they divorced and Alfred married Lena Wiles. They are the parents of a son, Robert. Alfred was born February 2, 1902 and died January 5, 1969.
James M. Spena married Elizabeth Kutina on May 10, 1898. They lived on a farm two miles west of Big Creek Hall and were the parents of five children, Walter, Clara, Laurence, LaVerne and Glen. James died in 1908, and his wife later married George Stradal.
Clara Spena married Albert Krhut, and they were the parents of two sons, Gifford and Frank. Albert died in 1965.
Charley Spena married Mary Hladek in 1902, and two years later she died of a fever. In 1906, he married Carrie Cummings, and they were the parents of two daughters, Grace and Gladys. They lived on a farm four miles west of WaKeeney until 1920 when they moved to a farm at the north edge of WaKeeney.
Charley died July 20, 1958. Carrie was born August 15, 1888 at Nodaway, Iowa and died December 31, 1961, WaKeeney.
Grace Spena married Henry Boxberger, Jr., on April 8, 1928. They are the parents of two daughters, Darlene Boxberger Veh and Celia Dee Boxberger Wolfe.
Gladys Spena married Bernhardt Deines on April 22, 1930. They are the parents of twins, Marlene Lee and Myron Lee. Ben was a building contractor and died January 27, 1969. Gladys died 2-13-2002.
Gayle M. Garrett ....WaKeeney, KS