Josef Blahnik 1854-1932
Josef Blahnik 1829-1912
was born January
25, 1854, Smrzovice, Bohemia; in Bohemia, and died 1932 in
Michigan1. He married KATHERINE LIPSH.
JOSEF BLAHNIK: Left for America at the age of 15
- possibly in the 1870's
This eldest son, Josef, in America in
Kewaunee, Wisconsin had 6 children who were in sequence: Adolph, Emily, Joseph,
Alios, Frank, & Otto. He also had 5 brothers and sisters who moved, to America.
They were; Jan, Vaclav (who was a blacksmith), Frantishek (who was a
cabinetmaker and had a wife from the house #24 in Smrzovice called 'od Tondu'),
Anna (who married Josef Koutnik from Lhota), and Katherine (who married Kveton
from Lhota--'od Stasku'). Another sister, Barbara married Vaclav Halama who was
a cottager in Lhota ('u Sloupiku'). The farm #16 in Smrzovice went to a younger
brother, Jakub, who was born on January 5, 1863. This brother, Jakub, married on
May 20, 1890, Anna, who was the daughter of Martin Sedlak, a farmer from
Cernikov in house #55. The father, Jakub, of these children died in Klatovy (in
the hospital) on September 21, 1931, and his wife, Anna, died in Smrzovice on
July 2, 1936. They are buried in the Blahnik family grave in the Loucim church
----- Original Message -----
From: Joel Blahnik
To: Ken & Lori Dollevoet
Sent: Wednesday, May 30, 2001 9:02 AM
Subject: Re: Blahnik family
My great grandfather, Josef, married a
Katherine Lips (Lipsch) who was here in USA before him. She is the "Mystery
woman." We do not know from what village she came from in CZ--we have it in
spelling, but it does not exist. The Lipsch cemetery is located at West Krok at
the Catholic Church in Kewaunee County. I can take you to the grave markers. But
we do not know the correct village from where her parents came from. We have it
as 'STREMTADY' but there is not such an village anywhere on current or old Czech
maps. It could be a misspelling. Anyhow, I think it could be, again, from SW
What do you know about the Blahniks and
the old Blahnik Mausoleum in the Antigo cemetery?
END EMAIL/new Email================
Blahniks in U.S. Author:
Deb Date: 9 Jun 2000 1:23 AM In
Reply to: Blahniks in US by: Dorothy janca
Dorothy, I found out a little more when I found
Josefs obituary. When he died in Oct. of 1932, he was survived by 1 sister, Mrs.
Joseph Koutnik (Anna). One clipping says from Menominee,
Mich. and the other says
Wallace, Mich. It also lists attendance by Jacob
Kveton and son Joseph and daughter Helen. Mr. and Mrs. Frank Kveton. I believe
these were Katerina's husband and children. There was also a Mrs. John Blahnik.
They all came from Menominee, Mich. I know Josef worked for awhile In Menominee.
While there he lost several fingers on his right hand. His parents had a left
handed corcnet made for him in Czech. and sent to him. My brother now has that.
That's it for now. Deb.
1880 census Wisconsin
Joseph BLAHNIK Male
Birth Year <1854>
Birthplace BOHEMIA Age 26 Occupation Farming
Status M <Married>
Head of Household Joseph BLAHNIK
Source Information: Census Place Carlton,
Kewaunee, WI Family History Library Film 1255431 Page
1880 US Census - 4
1. Joseph BLAHNIK - 1880 United States Census /
Wisconsin Self Gender: Male Birth: <1854>
2. Katharina BLAHNIK - 1880 United States Census / Wisconsin Wife
Gender: Female Birth: <1853> BOHEMIA
3. Emilia BLAHNIK - 1880 United States Census / Wisconsin Dau Gender:
Female Birth: <1875> WI
4. Adolph BLAHNIK - 1880 United States Census / Wisconsin Son
Gender: Male Birth: <1879> WI
More About JOSEF
Emigration: 1869, age 15
Notes for KATHERINE
1880 census: Katharina BLAHNIK Household Female
Information: Birth Year <1853>
BOHEMIA Age 27 Occupation Keeping House Marital Status M <Married>
Head of Household Joseph BLAHNIK Source
Information: Census Place Carlton, Kewaunee,
Wisconsin Family History Library Film 1255431
Page Number 188B
More About KATHERINE
Fact: Lupsch (two dots over the "u")
BLAHNIK and KATHERINE LIPSH are:
b. January 01, 1875, Wisconsin, USA; d. May 03, 1950, Kewaunee County, WI.
b. Aft. 1880
b. Aft. 1880; d. July 25, 1959, Kewaunee County, WI (Source: Kewaunee County
Records - Deaths, Vol. 16, 459.). Cause of Death:
Coronary Occlusion. Single
b. Aft. 1880.
b. December 01, 1884, Kewaunee County, WI; d. January 18, 1966, Kewaunee County,
b. March 26, 1890, Kewaunee County, WI; d. April 17, 1966, Kewaunee County, WI.
Article from the Antigo Newspaper - no date available.
Laminated copy at the Antigo Museum, Antigo, WI
BLAHNIK FAMILY HAD MUSICAL TRADITION
(editor's note: local historian Harold Klessig has been studying the history of
the Blahnik family, well-known craftsmen and musicians. A story in Wednesday's
newspaper looked at the family's furniture making endeavors. Today's article
focuses on their musical talents).
By Harold Klessig
Woodworking may have been their principal craft, but the Blahnik family of
Antigo also had another special talent.
While widely known as the manufacturer of quality church and other furniture,
they were probably better known for the Blahnik dance bands that entertained
throughout the entire area for almost five decades. (See Band Page 11)
The probable originator of the musical talents was Joseph Blahnik, the father of
Adolph Blahnik, who was the father of the Blahnik family that moved to Antigo in
1936. Joseph was born in Czechoslovakia. He was educated in Prague where he
learned to play several instruments, especially the trumpet. In the 1850-s he
sailed for America.
Arriving in New York he was offered a job with a symphony orchestra. Joseph had
other plans, however. He wanted to farm in Wisconsin and turned down the job
offer. He bought a farm five miles south of Kewaunee.
It wasn't long, according to his grandson, Milas Blahnik, before he was involved
with the Schauer Brass Band, one of the first bands in that area. Later Joseph
started his own band.
Besides Adolph, Joseph had four other sons, Frank, Louis, Joseph Jr., and Otto.
All played in bands in the Kewaunee area but Adolph was the first to start his
own band. Later some of the other brothers also had their own bands.
Adolph also conducted an orchestra for silent movies in the old Kewaunee opera
The first Blahnik musician to come to Antigo was Adolph's oldest son, Edward.
Antigo's famed American Legion Marching Band was in need of a trumpet player in
1934. A local Legionnaire had heard of the Blahnik musicians of Kewaunee and
contacted Edward who was working in Manitowoc. The promise of a job at the
Vulcan Last plant here induced Edward to come to Antigo and play in the Legion
Two years later the Adolph Blahnik family moved here to start a cabinet and
furniture manufacturing firm on Sixth Avenue near Spring Brook.
All of the Blahniks were versatile musicians and all could play several
instruments. Adolph, however, was the only one who could play clarinet. Adolph
also arranged music for his won and other bands in the area. The first Blahnik
band here was started by brothers Edward and Melvin. It was an immediate
? ? ? ? with the orchestra along with their father Adolph Sr.
Sylvia Blahnik was the only daughter to play with the band. Her sister, Mabel
played in the Kewaunee High School orchestra and with her brothers, Melvin and
Milas played in the high school band that performed at Green Bay Packer football
The band here played mainly in Langlade, Shawano and Marathon counties although
several times during the years they played in other parts of the state and
occasionally returned to their home grounds in Kewaunee.
They played at dance pavilions such as Mayflower, Riverview, Post Lake,
Tigerton, and Eau Clair Dells. They also played at weddings and many of the high
school proms in the area including the Antigo proms.
A number of musicians in the Antigo area played with the Blahnik band on a
regular basis. They included Roland Schmiege, Ruben Meyer, Ray Cornelius,
Norbert Kautzn, John Novak, Paul Masek, Jerry Smetana and Alvin Fischer. Other
musicians also filled in occasionally.
During the years in Antigo the members of the Blahnik family at times played
with other bands.
Three of the brothers at times played with the popular Romy Gosz Band. Melvin
was with Gosz in 1941, Milas in 1942 and Edward was with the Gosz band during
WWII when he worked in a Manitowoc shipyard.
They also played in the American Legion Band, which was well known throughout
Wisconsin during the 1920's and 30's. Later they were part of the city's
Cosmopolitan Orchestra and after that of the Centennial Orchestra.
They were also part of the Veterans of Foreign Wars band started after WWII by
then Antigo High School band director Joseph Bauschka.
After playing in the band most of their lives, some of the brothers began to
retire about 1990 and that was the end of the Blahnik Band era. Some of the
brothers, however, continued to play with other bands.
Even today, according to Milas, some of the brothers get together with other
musicians. They play ????
The musical talent continues with Josef's
Great Grandson Joel Blahnik pictured on the left at a production for the Czech
Genealogical Society International conference held in Madison, WI in Oct 2007.
Shown below on the left. Center is Michael Cwach, Anita Smisek.