The Family of Ignac & Zera (Zedell) Cesnik
Transcribed by Janet
Source: 1918 History of Clark Co., Wisconsin by Franklyn Curtiss-Wedge, pg. 427 - 428.
Ignac Cesnik, the chief promoter of the village of Willard, Hendren Township, where he now resides, and who has had much to do with the development of this township, is a man with a remarkable history. He was born in Austria, July 31, 1878, a son of John and Helena Cesnik. When only 14 years old he was seized with the ambition to come to the United States, but had to run away in order to do so, and accordingly crossed over the frontier line into Italy, where he tried to buy a ticket to this country. The agent refused to sell him a ticket to the United States but advised him to go to South America. He therefore went to that part of the Western Hemisphere and stayed there nine years, meeting with various adventures and at one time being sold as a slave. He was married in Brazil to Zera Zedell, a native of Austria, and later came with two children to the United States. Locating at Joliet, Ill., he engaged in the real estate business and with remarkable energy built up a subdivision to that city and also the village of Rockdale, a few miles from there, now having a population of 1,250 people.
In 1908 Mr. Cesnik engaged with the Foster Lumber Company to come to Clark County and develop the section around what is now the village of Willard, though there was then no village there. He arrived on a hand-car on the Fairchild & North Eastern Railroad and at once set to work to start immigration to this locality. The result of his efforts is a now prosperous community, with stores, a cheese factory and other profitable industries, giving employment to a growing population. His work has been truly beneficial to this part of the county and he is a man held in high respect.
He has represented his township three terms on county board, as town chairman. He was also the first director of the school district, serving six years. Mr. Cesnik and wife are the parents of four children: Mary and John, who were born in Brazil, and Anna and Ignes, born in Joliet, Ill. John is now department agent at Willard.
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