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An Account of Family Heroism

Jiri (aka Jura Petra) Mikeska (1706) and Jakub Lomica:
Two Historical Figures in a Peasant Uprising during the Dark Days of Austrian Oppression

--- Both of these historical figures were 5th great-grandparents of Vernon R. Kostohryz (1935) ---

Most of the information for this account was taken from Robert Janak´s, The Mikeska Family, Book III, which in part translates into English this account by Jan Mikeska and others, Zadverice-Rakova (Prague, 1983), pp.41-44.

Note:  Jiri Mikeska was also referred to as Jura, a variant of Jiri.  Jacob and Jakub also appears interchangeably.

Jiri Mikeska was born around 1706 in Zadverice, Moravia.  He was also known as Jiri Petru ( the descendant of Petru) because his grandfather was named Petr Mikeska.  JiriMikeska, or Jiri Petru, was the son of Matous Petru (1681) and his wife Zuzana Kolinkova (1688).

Jiri Petru was a central historical figure.  In the dark days of  Austrian oppression in the mid 1700’s he stood up for rights he and his neighbors had inherited from their ancestors.  Jacub Lomica, the other 5th great-grandfather also participated and given a stern sentence for his part.

In the olden days the peasants living in the area around Zadverice enjoyed several traditional rights in the forests of  the Vizovice mountains.  They could cut and gather wood for their personal use. They could keep bees and gather honey from wild hives.  They could graze their livestock.  These rights were enjoyed by the peasants living in the dominions of Vizovice, Brumov, Luhacovice, and Zlin; and the peasants considered the mountains to be their common property.

In 1567 Zdenek Kavka Ricansky came into possession of the Vizovice dominions, which included the village of Zadverice.  He shortly began to deny his subjects their rights of the Vizorvice mountains.  Specifically he sought to keep the peasants from gathering wood, the smiths from burning charcoal, and the tanners from stripping bark.  What is more, he made the townsmen tear down their mills and stills.

Kavka’s subjects brought a complaint against him before a territorial judge and got a ruling in their favor.

In 1574 Kavka sold his Vizorvice dominions to Jan the younger of  Zerotina.  Several years later, in 1582, Zdenek Kavka was murdered near Zelechovice.  He may have been shot by one of his subjects or by one of his many enemies.  In the same year Jan the younger of Zerotina confirmed his subjects’ rights to gather wood from the Vizorvice Mountains.  These rights remained basically unchanged for the next 166 years.

During the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) this region of Moravia was completely devastated.  Farms were deserted and old boundaries forgotten.  As a result no one knew just where the boundaries of the dominions around the Vizovice Mountains lay.

On August 24, 1748 the lords of the dominions of Svetlov, Luhacovice, Zlin and Vizovice met in a gamekeeper’s lodge near Zelechovice.  They proposed to divide the Vizovice mountains among themselves.  They presented their plan to the territorial authorities, but they kept it from their subjects.  When the subjects found out about the plan of their lords the people of Vizovice complained before the territorial government in Brno.  The government found that their complaints were justified.

On August 16, 1766 a surveyor charted the boundaries of the Zlin, Luhacovice, and Vizovice dominions.  The following year, on October 1, 1767, a special commission came to set up the boundary stones along the surveyed lines.  The peasants knew of their plans, however, and 500 of them from the Vizovice region and another 200 from the Luhacovice dominions gathered at the gamekeeper’s lodge to confront the commission.  Five men stepped forward as spokesmen for the group.  They were
Jiri Petru, Tomas Schovajsa, and Jiri Vrla from Zadverice, and  Jan Machu and Pavel Lomica from Lipa.

The five peasant leaders proclaimed that they all depended on these mountains, and that they should not be surveyed according to what they claimed were forged maps.  Then the angry peasants removed some of the boundary stones and the commission had to leave the area.

The commission reported the “peasant rebellion” to the authorities, and it was decided that the peasant leaders should be imprisoned.  The mayors of the villages in the area were ordered not to oppose a new survey, and soldiers were dispatched to Provodov, Lipa, and Zelechovice.  Another contingent of soldiers was assigned to protect the boundary commission.

When the purkmistri and village elders heard of the order, they commissioned a scribe to write a letter to protest the new boundaries being forced on them.  Jan Ventrcek, purkmistr of Zadverice, paid Vaclav of  Vizovice 48 krejcars to write the letter, and Jiri Petru had a great influence over what was written.  Jan Kosina and Pavel Psencik of Zadverice delivered the letter to the authorities in Uherske Hradiste, but they were immediately imprisoned.  News of their fate spread quickly.

The new survey was scheduled to be made on December 15, 1767.  Early that morning at least a thousand peasants from area villages met at the spot where the first boundary stone was supposed to be placed.  They carried clubs, wooden hatchets, and forks.

The regional commissioner, Jan Kucera, was not very experienced, and thinking that the thirty soldiers that he had with him were enough to hold off the angry peasants, he ordered the first boundary stone to be set.  Someone shouted, “Kill them!  Kill them all!”  The commissioners and soldiers alike took out in flight.  The peasants began to attack them with their primitive weapons.  The soldiers fired.  Some people were killed and others were wounded.  The dead included Martin Svacina from Zelechovice, and Martin Vecera and Pavel Janula from Rakova.

A special commission was appointed to investigate and try the rebel leaders.

Once again Jiri Petru from Zadverice spoke for the group.  He told the judge that they were not opposed to seeing the mountains surveyed.  They just did not want it done without their knowledge.  He also pointed out that their ancestors had used the mountains for 500 years, and added that they could not allow anyone to keep them from using them now.

On March 30, 1768, sentence was handed down:

Jiri Petru from Zadverice  --  1 month in prison
Jakub Lomica from Zadverice  --  6 months fortification work on Spilberk castle in irons and chains
Martin Vrlicek from Zadverice  --  6 months fortification work on Spilberk castle in irons and chains
Tomas Schovajsa  from Zadverice  --  public work plus imprisonment
Jiri Vrlu from Zadverice  --  public work plus imprisonment
Pavel Nedbalek from Zadverice  --  6 months fortification work on Spilberk castle in irons and chains
Jan Strazik from Lutonia  --  6 months fortification work on Spilberk castle in irons and chains
Vaclav Cizmar from Provodov  --one week public work in irons and chains plus imprisonment
Martin Malanik from Provodov --  one week public work in irons and chains plus imprisonment
Vaclav Petru from Provodov  -- one week public work in irons and chains plus imprisonment
Petr Sovak from Provodov  --  one week public work in irons and chains plus imprisonment
Vaclav Bacu from Provodov  --  public work plus imprisonment

On August 16, the boundary commission set in place 93 boundary stones dividing up the mountains; and the subjects of the neighboring dominions had to submit.
Click logo on left to return to: 
Kostohryz - Rydel:  Looking Back 400 Years                                                                .
A pictorial genealogy site relating to the 
Kostohryz - Rydel ancestry.