Rev. Josef Opocensky was born March 9, 1814 in
Klaster, Bohemia. He was the son of Rev. Jiri
Opocensky, Superintendent of the Church in Moravia,
at Jimramov, Moravia
Rev. Josef Opocensky also had two brothers in the
ministry, Karel and Benjamin. A sister, Karoline, was
the mother of Rev. Adolph Chlumsky's wife, Julie.
Rev. Josef Opocensky served for thirteen years at
Zadverice, Moravia. When the members of his
congregation at Zadverice imigrated to Texas in 1855,
Rev. Josef Opocensky promised he would come and
serve as their minister. He served three more years at
Miroshav, replacing Rev. F. Kun.
Rev. Josef Opocensky immigrated to Texas and came on the ship WESER into Galveston
on November 27, 1859. The family first settled at Cat Spring and then moved to Fayetteville
for one year. In 1860, he was living in Alleyton next to the family of Jan Reimerschoffer.
He then moved to Industry.
After Galveston fell to the Federal army in 1862, it became quite evident that many would
have to serve in the Confederate Army. Rev. Opocensky was opposed to slavery, and he,
amongst many others, took his family to Mexico in 1862.
Six months later in early 1863, Rev. Josef Opocensky returned to Industry as the
conditions had settled down and the vigilantes had cooled down. In 1864, Rev. Josef
Opocensky moved to Wesley, Texas, where he organized the first Czech-Evangelical
Congregation in Texas.
Among his supporters and the first Czech and Moravian settlers in that part of Washington
and Austin County (Wesley and Latium) were former members of his congregation in
Zadverice in Moravia, and pioneers to Texas:
Peter Mikeska Jiri Psencik
Josef Skrivanek Mataus Rubac
Paul Sebesta Tom Chupik (father of Johanna, wife of Rev. Ludvik Chlumsky?)
Frank Sebesta Ernest Schuerer (married to Marie Opocensky, niece of Rev. J.O)
Karl Rypl Vinc Silar
Josef Rypl Josef Silar
Jan Zabcik Josef Jezek
Jan Baletka Josef Masik
One of these supporters, Vinc Silar, hauled cotton to Mexico during the war. On one of
these trips he became seriously ill, and his wife was somehow notified. The message said
to come and get him as he was dying. Mrs. Silar pleaded with Rev. Opocensky to take her
to the place where he was ill. Opocensky owned a horse and buggy, and they made the trip
to bring him home where he eventually recovered.
This church of the Czech-Moravian Brethren, built in 1866, was recently declared a
national historic landmark and renovated.
Rev. Josef Opocensky died July 17, 1870, and is buried at the Wesley, Texas church.