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DUBINA, TEXAS. Dubina, the first Czech settlement in Texas, is five miles east of Schulenburg in southern Fayette County. In November 1856 a group of Czech settlers found shelter from a strong north wind and hail under a grove of large oak trees in what is now Dubina. Among the group were Frank Marak, Joseph Kahlich, Ignac Sramek, Joseph Peter, Valentine Holub, Ignac Muzny, Valentine Haidušek, and Frank Kossa. The next day the settlers built a shelter and, as the months progressed, planted crops; they made a total of one bale of cotton the first year, but through perseverance and hard work, the community prospered.
When the Civil War broke out, many were unwilling to fight for a cause they didn't believe in, but most were drafted, among them Augustine Haidušek, who learned English during the war and became the first lawyer of Czech descent in the United States. He was also county judge of Fayette County, mayor of La Grange, state legislator, and publisher of a Czech-language newspaper called Svoboda (freedom). After the war members of the community built a gin, general store, saloon, meat market, blacksmith shop, hotel, mill, zoo, telegraph office, and post office, the last of which operated from 1885 to 1910. Most of the town's property was owned by Joseph Peter, who was elected state representative from Fayette and Lee counties.
The community was first called Navidad and later Bohemian Navidad. Augustine Haidušek renamed it Dubina, Czech for "oak grove." As favorable reports about Texas reached the old country, the number of Czech settlers entering Dubina increased greatly, and Dubina became the stopover place for Czechs entering Texas.
In 1876 a Catholic church, the first in Dubina, was built on land donated by Joseph Peter. Later a school was built on land donated by Ignac Muzny. In 1900 the church served a parish of more than 600 families. In 1909 a hurricane destroyed the first church, and in 1912 the building was replaced. Dubina's social life revolved around the church, and a number of Catholic social organizations were established, including a Katoliká jednota texaská (Czech Catholic Union of Texas) lodge in 1887, a St. Ann's Society (1889), and a Cesko-rimská katolická podporující jednota zen texaskych (Czech-Roman Catholic Aid Union of Women in Texas) society (1900).
In 1873 the railroad bypassed Dubina, and in 1912 a fire caused extensive damage to the town; many settlers left the area. In the mid-1980s Dubina had a Catholic church, a community hall, a restaurant, several historical buildings, and many giant oak trees, one measuring twenty-six feet in circumference with a 110-foot spread. The population ranged from 160 to 500 in the late nineteenth century. The community was still listed in 1990. In 2000 the population was forty-four.
BIBLIOGRAPHY:John Janacek, St. Cyril and Methodius-Diamond Jubilee, 1877–1952, Dubina, Texas (2d ed., Yorktown, Texas: DeWitt County View, 1979). La Grange High School, Fayette County: Past and Present (La Grange, Texas, 1976). Clinton Machann, ed., The Czechs in Texas (College Station: Texas A&M University Department of English, 1979).
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Ed Janecka, "DUBINA, TX," accessed May 21, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hrd43.
Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.