After all the Norwegian programs we’ve had lately, now we’re going to switch to another Vernon County immigrant group: the Czechs. Quoting from our own “Our Heritage – Discover it!” brochure, “The Czechs settled … in the bluff and coulee country of La Crosse, Vernon, Grant and Crawford counties. Their communities were founded specifically for farming, as most had been peasant farmers in Bohemia and Moravia before emigrating to America.”

“The Czechs were attracted to Wisconsin by low taxes, inexpensive land, similarities to their homeland in soil and topography, political and religious freedom, and liberal residence requirements (males could become voters after six months if they swore an intent to become a citizen)…. In Vernon County, the Czechs settled almost exclusively in Champion Valley, which stretches south from Dilly to Yuba in Richland County…. These Czechs, like their countrymen elsewhere in the state, readily maintained their cultural traditions.”

The next meeting of the genealogy class will be all about these Czech immigrants, and their ancestors and descendants. The class will be held Thursday, Oct. 12, at 10 a.m. at the museum. Betty Havlik of Hillsboro will be the guest teacher. She is of Czech ancestry herself, and has been active in local historical societies for many years. New students are always welcome to attend the genealogy classes. Vernon County Historical Society members attend for free, and non-members are asked to pay $5 per class.

Here is a schedule change for the month of October: The museum will be closed Friday, Oct. 20, so that staff can attend a history conference in La Crosse. Both the museum and the Sherry-Butt House will be open Saturday, Oct. 21, from 1-5 p.m. to the general public and also to conference attendees.

And here is a quick “save the date” announcement: The Vernon County Historical Society’s annual banquet will be held Sunday, Nov. 5, at the Viroqua American Legion, 120 N. Rusk.

The American Legion was founded by World War I veterans, and we are currently commemorating the World War I 100th anniversary, so this venue is especially appropriate. We’ll have a social time beginning at 12:30, and a full meal at 1 p.m. Tickets are $15 each and an RSVP is required. More details coming soon.

The Vernon County Museum, 410 S. Center Ave., Viroqua, can be reached at 608-637-7396 or museum@vernoncountyhistory.org.

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Angie Cina is editor of the Vernon County Broadcaster. Contact her at 608-637-5616.

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