The Jindra Family

written by Michael Jindra

On May 20, 1868 Jiri “George” and Maria “Mary” (Krcmarik) Jindra journeyed to the Roman Catholic church in nearby Dlazdova to obtain a baptismal certificate for their 8 year old son Jiri Peter Jindra, Jr.[1] Jiri and Maria were about to emigrate to America. They farmed near Miletic (about 15 miles southeast of Domazlice) in western Bohemia (present-day Czech Republic), which was where Jiri Sr. was born in 1831. Jiri was the son of Vaeslava Jindry and Marie Streka, and he married Maria Krcmarik, the daughter of Josefa Krcmarika, a small farmer, and his wife Marie Valdmann, from Dlazdova.

(See info from Pathfinders research)

In September of 1868 they landed in New York and the names of both Jiris were Americanized and became George, their English equivalent. Few details remain from this period. No ones knows why they emigrated, or how they decided to live in Manitowoc, although the history of that period in Bohemia does indicate some turmoil. [2]

County plat books from 1872 and 1878, and the 1880 census, indicate that they settled on 40 acres southwest of Francis Creek on Riefs Mills Road, where “G. Gendra[3] is listed as owner.[4]

Shortly before 1880, George Jr. left home to work as a cook in a logging camp near Crystal Falls in the U.P. of Michigan. He returned to Kossuth by 1885, the year he married Mary Lenhardt, who had come to America with her parents in 1868 from Germany (about 50 km west of Mainz) at the age of 5. The marriage was conducted on May 6, 1885 in Mishicot by Rev. J.P. Koehler of St. Peters Lutheran Church. Witnesses were Frank Lenhardt, Katherina Reinart(?), Charles Meyer and Lena “Yindra” (probably the younger sister of George).

The next plat book published, in 1893, shows George Jr. and his mother Mary on the corner of old County V (now Samz Rd. and Cherney roads). The move from Francis Creek to Mishicot was probably made between 1880 and 1885, because George and Mary’s 1885 marriage certificate lists his residence as Mishicot township. In fact, the marriage was probably either a cause or effect of the move, since this is where Mary’s parents owned land. [5] This farmhouse was built of log buildings. Details about farm life in this early period are sketchy. It is known they used oxen at first, and later switched to horses. George Sr. lived on what was later the Novak farm (see plat map) and when George married Mary Lenhardt he moved just south to the Lenhardt farm, which later became the Dirkmann farm after it was sold.

Across the road was the Fred and Katherine Freiss farm. Katherine was Mary’s sister, and Fred their first cousin. (First cousin marriages were not uncommon at the time). Also see info gathered on the Freiss and Lenhardt families through a re-connection with Freiss family relatives still in Germany.

In 1888, George Sr. and George Jr. were naturalized and became U.S. citizens. Two years later, George Sr. died at the age of 59. He had been crippled earlier when he fell off a load of hay. His widow, Mary, stayed in the farmhouse where son Frank also lived. (Frank Jindra worked as a carpenter and remained unmarried and lived with his mother on the old Novak farm (but not farming) before moving near Kings Bridge, across the road from Wenzel.)

On Christmas Eve, George Jr. and Mary would visit and eat “delkas” (a biscuit with prunes) and pea soup. Mary Sr. was called “babichka,” or “babi?ka” which is Czech for “grandma,” and was also known to smoke a pipe. She died in 1929 at the age of 92.

The Children of Jiri (George) Jindra Sr. and Mary (Krcmarik) Jindra are:

Additional Photos:


[1] Father Karel Korbelec signed the document. Peter Krobel(?), a tailor at Dlazdova, and his wife Katerina were the godparents.

[2] See “History of Czechs in America” by Jan Habenicht (1996) or “To Reap a Bountiful Harvest: Czech immigration beyong the MIssissippi, 1850-1900” by Stepanka Korytova-Magstadt, 1993.

[3]Variant spellings were not unusual in this early period. The three plat books from 1872, 1878 and 1893 list George and Mary’s last name variously as Genra, Gendra, Gindra, and Yendra before the 1903 book lists Jindra.

[4]This land was originally purchased from the government on May 16, 1849 by Gottfried Summer.

[5]The Lenhardts (one of whom George Jr. married) had 80 acres of this land in 1878, as shown on the plat book for that year. By 1893, 80 acres to the north was under Mary’s name (probably the widow of George Sr.), which by 1903 was under Wenzel’s (George Jr.’s brother, b. 1874), and 80 was under George’s name, 40 of which was the Lenhardt land. Fred Freis (Mary’s uncle or cousin, since her mother was a Freis) became the owner of the other 40.


One Comment on “The Jindra Family

  1. Mike says:

    COUSINS BREAKFAST

    The “cousin’s breakfast” began as a gathering mostly of the Zell family children and spouses, and in June 1994 expanded to any descendants/spouses (mostly retired) of George and Mary Jindra Jr. They originally met only for birthdays, but later went to monthly meetings, generally the second Monday, at various restaurants in Manitowoc County. As of 2008, attendance ranged from 12 to about 18.


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