35 – Welcome to Wisconsin

Joseph and Josephine Teply immigrated from Bohemia to Caledonia, Racine County, Wisconsin.

In 1867 they emigrated to America and located in Wisconsin

Alice Teply Karr – 2003

Caledonia, Racine County, was one of the first Bohemian farming settlements in Wisconsin and quite possibly the United States. Many Bohemians settled in Caledonia and Racine starting in 1848.

By the time Joseph and Josepha Teply arrived in 1867, it was a well-established Bohemian community.

Caledonia is about 15 miles south of Milwaukee.

Joseph Teply died

In 1867 Joseph Teply died. I haven’t found a death record or obituary. Someday we need to visit Wisconsin to research.

In 1867 Joseph died (I was told he was killed by a train – nothing go on.)

Alice Teply Karr – 2003

Josephine married Joseph Swoboda

Josephine Teply married Joseph Swoboda on November 4, 1869 in Caledonia.

Marriage registration – Joseph Swoboda and Josephine Teply – 1869

There are a couple interesting details on the marriage registration.

  • The marriage was Lutheran, so presumably Joseph was protestant like Josephine
  • Josephine’s parents Anton and Theresa are listed. This was a crucial clue to finding the Teplys in Bohemia

and they lived in Caledonia

In June 1870, six months after they married, we find the Swobodas (Swabotter) in the 1870 US Census in Caledonia, Wisconsin. Joseph and Josephine, with three daughters Catie, Fanny, and Anna from Joseph’s previous marriage.

Swobodas – Caledonia, Racine, Wisconsin – 1870 US Census

Notice that Anna, age 2, was born in Wisconsin. That implies that Joseph’s previous wife died about 1867 or 1868.

And, by the way, where is 5-year-old Frank Teply? Why isn’t he listed with the family?

Frank Teply lives with Machals

Frank is living in the household of John and Johana Machal (Marichal) in Caledonia.

Machals and Frank Teply – Caledonia Racine Wisconsin – 1870 US Census

As we will see later, Frank Teply lives with the Machals until he’s an adult. Why? I don’t know.

And who are John and Johana Machal? Relatives of Joseph Swoboda or Josephine Teply? Friends? People from hometown in Bohemia? Neighbors? I don’t know.

Joseph Swoboda’s farm

Based on the the adjacent names in the 1870 census, we can see where Swobodas lived on an 1873 map of Caledonia Township in Racine County.

J.S. is Joseph Swoboda’s 10 acre farm – 1873

J.S. shows the 10 acre farm of Joseph Swoboda. His neighbors are listed on the same page of the census – Kremer, Haskeck, Nowak, Hoffman, Braceline, Stephan, Fox, etc.

The farm is on the east side of Caledonia township, a few yards from Lake Michigan.

John Machal’s farm, and Frank Teply

Based on the the adjacent names in the 1870 census, we can see where Frank Teply and the Machals lived on the 1873 Caledonia Township map.

J.M. is John Machal’s 15 acre farm – 1873

J.M. shows the 15 acre farm of John Machal. His neighbors are listed on the same page of the census – Danek, Billhorn, Bouska, Stratsky, etc.

This is where Frank Teply lived from age 4 1/2 to age 8.

The farm is on the east side of Caledonia township, a short distance from Lake Michigan. And less than three miles from Joseph Swoboda’s farm.

It’s not like Bohemia

We don’t know where Joseph Swoboda or Frank Machal came from in Bohemia. But for Josephine Teply, Racine County is quite different from Pustá Rybná.

The population of Caledonia Township is 2,800, and Racine County is 26,000.

Let’s go west

Machal immigrated in 1854, and Swoboda probably around 1865.

By 1873, Swoboda had a farm of 10 acres and Machal 15 acres. Probably not what they had hoped for.

By then, they were ready to leave Wisconsin behind and head west.

Nibbles Extra Credit

The 1872 presidential election is the only presidential election in which a nominee died during the election process.

President Ulysses S Grant defeated Republican nominee Horace Greeley.

On November 29, after the popular vote was counted, but before the Electoral College cast its votes, Greeley died. 

In Caledonia Township, Ulysses Grant edged out Horace Greeley by a vote of 239 to 201.

But wait. That’s 440 votes in a township full of immigrants. How could they have such a high voter turnout with so many immigrants?

Because if a white foreign-born male had applied for citizenship, he could vote. Women no. Non-whites no.

From Wikipedia

  • Wisconsin 1848: “Every male person of the age of twenty-one years, or upwards, of the following classes, who shall have resided in this State for one year next preceding any election, shall be deemed a qualified elector at such election. 1st. White citizens of the United States 2d. White persons of foreign birth who shall have declared their intention to become citizens conformably to the laws of the United States on the subject of naturalization …”; “

Frank Joseph Teply 50005
Joseph Teply 50004
Josepha Petras 50003


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