North Unity and Bohemian Settlement

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About the author:
Norbert Bufka grew up in Good Harbor in Leelanau County and his book about Good Harbor told the first definitive history of that area. He has now done the same for North Unity and Bohemian Settlement where he was a member of St. Joseph's Catholic Church. He has published ten other books since he retired in 2006. He was a teacher, financial planner, entrepreneur, and religious educator before retirement.

North Unity and Bohemian Settlement

Authored by Norbert Bufka

This is the fourth book about Leelanau by local historian and author Norbert Bufka. The other three are "From Bohemia to Good Harbor", "Good Harbor Michigan", and "News from the Neighborhood".

In 1855 German and Bohemian immigrants in Chicago joined together to establish a village on the west shore of Good Harbor Bay in Leelanau County. They called the village North Unity because it was in the north and it reflected the unity of their groups.

Theirs was a remarkable endeavor. Catholics and Lutherans, Germans and Bohemians (Czechs) all lived and worked together in the wilderness. They came in August and November, without a clue about the harsh winters, but they survived.

Until now, the history of North Unity has been shrouded in mystery. Legend has it that the village burned down in a fire, in 1871. That year there were many fires in Chicago, Wisconsin, and Michigan. But the reality is the village had been abandoned by 1865. This book tells the story of those early pioneers, the struggles they faced, and what happened to their village.

At one time a wide area was known as North Unity, including the entire area now known as the Port Oneida Rural Historic District. Some Bohemian families who came in 1855 stayed in the area and were followed by other Bohemian families from Chicago. At the time of the Civil War, to establish farms under the provisions of the Homestead Act of 1862. The community that grew up around their homes, the Roman Catholic Church that they built and the public school which was established in the area became known as "Bohemian Settlement."

This book includes genealogies (and stories) of those families, as well as of some German families who influenced North Unity. Recently located land and tax records, items from local newspapers, early maps, and immigration records shed new light on the history of North Unity and the Port Oneida Rural Historic District.

The extensive detail of this book is largely due to the work of the non profit Port Oneida Community Alliance, whose particular interest is in adaptive re-use and stewardship of the William Kelderhouse farm, and the Port Oneida Schoolhouse.

Publication Date:
1532995571 / 9781532995576
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
8.5" x 11"
Black and White
Related Categories:
History / United States / 19th Century

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