They Came to Wisconsin (New Badger History)
Czech Republic (Nations in Transition)
Republic in Pictures (Visual Geography Series)
History Highlights: Delving
into the Past
A Cultural and Literary History (Cities of the Imagination)
of the Czech Republic
The Coasts of
University of Wisconsin: A
THE ALPHA CHI
From Good King Wenceslas to the Good Soldier Svejk: A Dictionary of
Czech Popular Culture
Matriarchies to the
Map of Wisconsin:
Portrait of the State
Jonas (1840-1896: Czech National Liberal, Wisconsin
and Slovak Touches: Recipes, History, Travel,
Memories: Stories and Recipes from a Czech- American Home
& Slovak Republics
Moravian Texas (Charles & Elizabeth Prothro Texas
wo Petura families came to America from
Bohemia in the 1800s and settled in Racine, Wisconsin.
The first -- Joseph and Katharine Petura and their son John -- came in 1857. The second Petura family -- Wenzel and Elizabeth
Petura and sons John and Joseph -- arrived in 1874. The city of Racine was popular for
immigrants from Bohemia, a region today part of the Czech Republic. Caledonia just north
of Racine was a well known Czech farming community.
The younger Joseph Petura who arrived in 1874 soon married
a woman named Mary. They had two daughters, Mary and Agnes, and then a son -- Frank Joseph Petura -- who studied chemistry and
engineering at the University of Wisconsin and became a successful business executive in
New York. Here is a Petura family sketch.
GO TO: Wisconsin | Petura
Families | Frank J.
Petura | Czech
Coming to Wisconsin & Racine [ Top ]
|Czech Pioneers in
Wisconsin: in 1860, 1870 and 1880, Wisconsin led America in Czech
immigrants. Milwaukee, Manitowoc and Racine were key urban locations. North of Racine is
Caledonia, then a key Czech agricultural community. Many individuals and their origins
mentioned including Frantisek Korizek who published the first
Czech newspaper in America, a periodical that became Slavie.
Czechs in Wisconsin:
they settled along Lake Michigan from Racine to Manitowoc and inland in places such as
Champion Valley in Vernon County where an annual Czech celebration is held.
in Racine Area: north of the city of Racine was a farming area called Caledonia, later called Tabor,
known to the Bomhemian immigrants as Czech Bethlehem. As early as 1850 there were Czech
schools here, and this Bohemian Schoolhouse, as pictured, was built there in 1888.
by Jan Habenicht, Miroslav Koudelka
Great Ships: An
Two Petura Families Come to Racine [ Top ]
38, and his family arrived Castle Garden, N.Y., on August 8, 1857, having sailed
from Bremen and Southhampton on the ship Argo. With him were wife Catha.,
33, and son
John, 9. All three gave their last residence as Popowetz, a town in eastern Bohemia.
of Czechs in America mentions the arrival of Joseph Petura and his
family in Racine on August 14, 1856 [p. 304]. He was born in Vinary while his son was born
in Popovec [Popowetz] on December 25, 1846, this volume states. Both villages are near Vysoke Myto in
region of Bohemia. This Joseph Petura died Nov. 11, 1900.
They Came in Ships:
Passenger Lists, Vol. VIII, shows the arrival in Baltimore from Bremen
on May 23, 1874 on the ship Braunschweig of Wenzl Petura, 57, an economist,
Elizabeth Petura, 54, and sons Johann, 29, and Josef, 25, all born in Bohemia. They
settled in Racine, Wisconsin, as confirmed by naturalization papers for Joseph Petura,
father of Frank
|1880 Census for Caledonia,
Racine County, Wisconsin, had the following Petura families:
with Joseph, 61, farming, and
wife Katherine, 56, born in Bohemia, and son Wensel, 16,
at home, born in Wisconsin, and Macak Thomas, farm laborer.
||· Joseph Petura Household
with Joseph, 31, farming, and Mary, 28, born in Bohemia; daughters Mary, 2, and Agness, 9
months, born in Wisconsin, and Joseph's mother Alberta, 61, born in Bohemia
L. Petura Household
with John. L Petura, 34, no occupation listed, and wife Katherine, 24, keeps house,
both born in Bohemia. [He is the son of the elder Joseph Petura].
Petura Household with
John Petura, 35, keeps a saloon, born in Bohemia, his wife Anna, 20, keeps house, born in
Wisconsin to parents born in Prussia, and daughter Helen, born in Wisconsin.
|In the 1880 Census, the John L.
Petura and John Petura households were recorded as adjacent to each other.
Joseph and Marie Petura Family in Racine [
and Marie Petura with dates, places of birth and death, with sources, and
their daughter Agnes who married twice. Joseph and Mary also had a daughter Mary and a son
Frank Joseph Petura.
J. Petura was born October 29, 1881, the son of Joseph and Mary Petura and
brother to Mary and Agnes.
Farmers & Land Owners Directory: Joseph Petura Sr., Joseph Petura
Jr. and John L. Petura owned land in the Caledonia area, served by the Tabor Post Office.
The designations Sr. and Jr. simply meant the older and younger Joseph, not father and
son. Joseph Petura Jr. was the father of Frank Joseph Petura.
|1900 Census for
Racine County shows the following four Petura families enumerated in Caledonia, shown on page 5B
|· John [ L. ] Petura,
53 (born 12/1846), farmer, wife Katie Petura, 43, married for 24 years, and niece Louisa
M. Petura, 9, born in Bohemia.
|· John Petura, 54,
born in Bohemia,
and wife Annie, 39, Wisconsin native, married 20 years, daughters Libbie
|· Joseph Petura, 51,
and his wife Mary, 48, wed for 25 years, were both born in Bohemia, living with their
daughter Agnes, 20, and son Frank, 17, Wisconsin natives.
|· Wencel Petura,
35, a Wisconsin native, wife Annie, 33, born in Bohemia, and 7 children: Joseph A., Libbie
K., Katie A., John, Wencel, and Caroline; and Wencel's mother Katherine who came from
Bohemia in 1856 and had 3 children, 2 living (Note: John L. and Wencel). See 10A
Directory of Leading Farmers of Racine and Kenosha Counties included -- in
Caledonia -- J. Petura, Section 19, and Wencil Petura, Section 21, both served by the
Racine Post Office.
Frank Joseph Petura [ Top ]
Frank Joseph Petura earned a bachelor's degree in
engineering at the University of Wisconsin in 1904. He was:
· a freshman
in the College of Mechanics and Engineering, 1902
· a sophomore
in electrical engineering in 1903, from Racine
· a junior
in electrical engineering in 1904, from Racine
· in the Class
of 1904, shown as Frank Joseph Petura, Racine, called
"Pete," a member of Alpha Chi Sigma (chemistry fraternity) and
Tau Beta Pi (engineering honorary), with Engineers' Club roles and
engineering thesis on high tension and dust collection. Photo.
While in Madison, he also:
· was a founder of Alpha
Chi Sigma chemistry fraternity, which he
helped name, incorporate and served as a national officer (see photos
as collegians and later in life. Frank was also an Alpha
member while on the UW faculty
· completed a bachelor's thesis
on high tension alternating current
discharges, with co-author William Bradford.
· was tapped for membership in Tau
Beta Pi engineering honorary
fraternity in 1903 and was listed in his senior
· was a UW instructor during 1904-1906
for a salary of $720 and
expenses of $25.16 and during 1906-1908
at a salary of $100,
having served as an instructor of electrical
1904-1907, listed new
in 1905, and again as EE instructor for 1907.
Frank J. Petura of Racine was in 1901
Wisconsin Engineer Undergraduate Directory. In 1902, Frank
lived at 524 State Street, Madison.
1905 Class Note: Frank J. Petura reported leaving a job with Lincoln Gas
& Electric to become a UW engineering instructor.
Frank J. Petura was listed as having university faculty status as an
alumni member of Alpha
Chi Sigma and Tau Beta Pi.
1907 Class Note: Frank J. Petura reported moving from Madison, Wisconsin, to
a job with Denver Gas & Electric Co., Denver, Colorado.
At the first Alpha Chi Sigma
biennial conclave held in Madison in 1908, F. J. Petura, Alpha chapter, represented Eta
chapter (University of Colorado). At the end
of this reminiscences
article from 1913, F. J. Petura's career was reported as "helping to run Wall
1909 Class Note: Frank J. Petura reported being transferred from Denver
Gas & Electric Co. to the general office of the Doherty operating company, 60 Wall
Street, New York, N.Y. (Henry
L. Doherty and Co.)
Grace Miller of Madison, University of Wisconsin Class of '04, was in the
College of Letters and Science, and did her thesis on the influence of physical
environment on primitive societies. See photo.
She placed second in dramatic
readings as a freshman, did recitations
at a Castalia event in 1901, was on the student roster in 1902,
was the recording
secretary for the Oratorical and Debating Society, placing second in 1903 for
on Joan of Arc, member of Castalia club as a junior
and spoke at the 1904 Senior
Class Day where she gave the farewell
to undergraduates, which she gave again at the June 6 Commencement
ceremony. In Fall 1904, she was an elocution and English teacher in Manitowoc
at the northside high
1911 Class Note: The engagement of Frank J. Petura and Marie Grace Miller,
both Class of '04, was announced by her parents Mr. and Mrs. Carlton E. (Ensign) Miller,
with the wedding set for August 1911. She had been assistant principal at Chilton High
School for three years, while he was an expert gas engineer with the Doherty company.
Their marriage was noted in the October 1911 alumni
of a Son: In a January 1914 UW Class Note, Frank J. and Marie Petura
announced the birth of son Frank Ensign Petura. Their son Richard Carlton Petura was born
UW Engineering Alumni Directory lists F. J. Petura, '04, as an engineer with
Henry L. Doherty and Co., New York City.
and Mrs. F. J. Petura (Marie MIller) reported in a 1917 Class Note that they
were living at 166 Harrison Avenue, Westfield, New Jersey.
Petura elected president of the University of Wisconsin's New York Alumni
Club in May 1918. In June 1919, he and Marie attended a UW alumni
University of Wisconsin Alumni Directory: Frank Joseph Petura listed as
earning a B.S. degree in electrical engineering in 1904 and working as a general
purchasing engineer for H. L. Doherty & Co., New York. (Doherty was the founder of
Cities Service Co.) Mrs. Frank J. Petura (Marie
Grace Miller) listed as earning a B.A. degree in 1904 and living at 535
Highland Avenue, Westfield, New Jersey, where they had moved in 1920.
In 1923, F.
J. Petura '04 was one of three New York alumni who led an effort to raise
private funds for the UW Alumni Association Endowment.
Altotus: when this Alpha
Chi Sigma advisory body was created in 1932, Frank Joseph Petura was listed
first, having been the first person to serve as the fraternity's national leader or Grand
UW Alumni Directory showed Frank and Marie in the same roles as seen in the
1921 directory listings, above. They reported that son Frank
Ensign Petura had graduated from Lafayette College and gone to work for
General Electric at Schenectady, New York. They were still living in Westfield, N.J., in 1946.
UW Alumnus article: Frank J. Petura was reported as vice president and
director of Electric Advisers Inc., one of 10 Badgers with prominent positions within the
Cities Service Co.
1952 Class Note: Frank J. Petura reported retiring from Cities Service,
but continuing as president and director of Westfield (NJ) Savings and Loan Assn. Later
that year, it was noted that he and two other founders of Alpha Chi Sigma
attended its 50th
J. Petura's death in 1959 in Florida was listed among other alumni. He died
in September 1959 in Orange County. The death
of Mrs. Frank J. Petura (Marie Grace Miller) in Washington, D.C., was listed among alumni
in the January 1973 issue.
Chi Sigma at 100: the fraternity Frank J. Petura helped found in 1902
had 45 active chapters and 54,000 members at its centennial.
Frank and Marie's sons' birth and death records: Frank
Ensign Petura and Richard
Petura Surname [ Top ]
Surname: Novak is the most frequent Czech name while Petura is seen
infrequently. A 2004 study found 17 individuals with the name Petura and 31 individuals
named Petura with an accent mark on the t.
Immigrant Origins: those arriving in New York listed Popowetz, Bohemia or
Hungary as their place of origin. See other family
discover the Petura families who settled in Racine, Wisconsin, in the 1800s, including the
grandparents and parents of Frank Joseph Petura.
from Eastern Bohemia to the USA in the 19th century with map
of key cities that people left and map
with statistics on legal, illegal emigration.
Cyndi's List Czech Resources:
Genealogy Forum: post your queries, search previous queries
Rod & Clan:
Czech genealogy Web site where you can search for surnames, post yours, more. Includes a
Czech Surnames: of the estimated 40,000 Czech surnames, some are
frequent, many are rare.
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