While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Albert J. Blaha, Sr.
Czech-Moravian Brethren Church
Photograph, The Czech-Moravian Brethren Church, which Jan Zvolanek helped to establish, in Fayetteville in 1894, after Zvolanek's death. Rev. Jindřich Juren (center) led the congregation. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

ZVOLANEK, JAN (1815–1890). Jan (Johann, John) Zvolanek (Zwolanek), minister and physician, son of Jan and Anna (Kafka) Zvolanek, was born on August 3, 1815, in Sobinov, Bohemia. The Zvolanek family had lived in Sobinov for at least 200 years and were well-to-do members of the Protestant Brethren Church. Zvolanek received his education as a physician in Vienna and, at his mother's insistence, studied theology at Basel. His first church was at Hab_ina. He married Amalia Elizabeth Lojka at Humpolec, southeast of Praha. Their daughter, Julia Johanna, was born at Hab_ina. In 1847 Zvolanek was assigned to the district of Vsetin in Moravia and served the Protestant churches at Usti, Leskovec, Polanka, Hovezi, Halenkow, and Zdechov until 1853. Zvolanek immigrated to Texas, arriving at Galveston with his wife and daughter on the bark Weser on December 3, 1854. They settled at San Felipe, where Zvolanek bought a house and practiced medicine. The Czech-Moravian Brethren Church in Texas was founded and grew under Zvolanek's ministry. In 1855 he was called to serve the Czech and Moravian families at Ross Prairie. He was probably the first minister ever to preach in Czech in Texas, and perhaps in the United States. He also became associated with the Evangelical Lutheran Synod in Texas and preached in German in Lutheran churches. In 1859 the Zvolaneks left Texas and went to Gnadensutter, Ohio, where there was a Moravian church. Then, about 1862, the family moved to Santa Fe, Indiana, and about 1864 to Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Zvolanek and his wife were divorced on August 8, 1868. He moved alone to Muscoda and the Blue River valley, where he served the Czech Evangelical Church. There, on November 19, 1879, he married Mary Schafer, a former patient of his some forty years his junior. They had four sons. Reverend Zvolanek died in 1890 and is buried in the Blue River Church Cemetery near Muscoda, Wisconsin. His second wife died on December 23, 1914.


Christian Sisters Union Study Committee, Unity of the Brethren in Texas, 1855–1966 (Taylor, Texas: Unity of the Brethren, 1970). Jan Habenicht, D_jiny _echuv americk_ch (St. Louis: Hlas, 1910). Estelle Hudson and Henry R. Maresh, Czech Pioneers of the Southwest (Dallas: South-West, 1934).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Albert J. Blaha, Sr., "ZVOLANEK, JAN," accessed May 26, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fzv01.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on April 4, 2016. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...