Biography of Frank Kotouc, Jr. of Humboldt

Frank Kotouc, born September 20, 1875, in Jitkov, Bohemia, is a notable businessman in Humboldt, Nebraska. The son of Frank and Mary (Hon) Kotouc, he emigrated to the United States in 1882, settling in Humboldt. Frank, along with his brothers, founded Kotouc Brothers, a successful general store in Humboldt, which expanded to include a branch in New Raymer, Colorado. Their business is known for its extensive and high-quality inventory. Frank, an active community member, has also invested in substantial land holdings in Colorado. Politically a Democrat, he is engaged in various fraternal organizations and supports local churches.

Frank Kotouc, Jr.
Frank Kotouc, Jr.

The name Kotouc has long been one of the best known in the western portion of Richardson county, and it is a name that has stood for enterprise, public spirit and good citizenship in general. One of the best-known members of the family is Frank Kotouc, a member of the firm of Kotouc Brothers, dealers in dry goods, clothing, furnishings, shoes, groceries, etc., at Humboldt. He was born on September 20, 1875, at Jitkov, Bohemia, and he is a son of Frank and Mary (Hon) Kotouc. The father was born on October 25, 1839, at Ransko, Bohemia, where he grew up, resided until 1874, when he removed to Jitkov, and engaged in business until 1882, when he brought his family to the United States, where he followed the trade of harness-maker, but in the old country he was a merchant. He had two children when he came to America, and he settled with his family at Humboldt, Nebraska, where he soon became prominent in local affairs. He helped to organize the Bohemian school, in which school he taught for about twenty years. working at his trade the meanwhile, giving one day out of each week to the school work. He retired from active life in 1902. He was a member of the C. S. P. S. Bohemian Lodge from 1882 until his death, which occurred on December 25, 1916. He was a son of Joseph and Anna (Ruzicka) Kotouc, who lived and died in Bohemia. The mother of the subject of this sketch was born on April 24, 1850, in Hermanuv-Mestec, Bohemia, and her death occurred on September 12, 1913. These parents were married on June 15, 1872, at Kruoemburk, Bohemia. They attended the Evangelical Lutheran church. Their family consisted of the following children: Frank, the first, died in infancy; Frank, the second, subject of this sketch; Lute B., who is manager of the Kotouc Brothers store at New Raymer, Colorado, married Emma Novak, and they have one child, a daughter; Milton, the first, died in infancy; Milton, the second, lives in Humboldt, and is a partner with his brothers in the store; Otto, who is cashier in the Home State Bank of Humboldt, married Camille Cernik, and they have two children.

Frank Kotouc, Jr., of this sketch, was six years old when his parents brought him to Humboldt, Nebraska, and here he grew to manhood and attended the public schools. Before leaving, school he began working at the Standard Printing Company’s office, receiving fifty cents per week for his work. He remained with that firm until in May, 1893, when he began clerking in a general merchandise store, but he soon began working for Morris Friend in his general store and a few months later he took a position with R. W. Coleman, with whom he remained until Mr. Coleman sold out, after which he worked for J. W. Housek, a merchant, during the year 1894, when he went to work for the F. L. Crane Jewelry Company. In October, 1896, in partnership with his brother, Lute B., he opened a new store at DuBois, Nebraska, starting on a small scale, carrying only an eleven-hundred-dollar stock. This proved to be a fortunate venture and the business gradually increased, and thev maintained a store there for eight years. They erected the first brick building at DuBois and did much to boost the town. Then, in 1906, they sold out and, in partnership with R. E. Watzke, opened up “The Famous Store” in Humboldt, which they operated four years, then sold out to Mr. Watzke, after which the Kotouc brothersFrank, Lute B. and Milton started their present business, with a capital stock of fifteen thousand dollars. They purchased a brick building in Humboldt, which they remodeled and repaired extensively. including the installation of an elevator, the building, when completed, costing ten thousand dollars alone. The business was very successful from the start and they have enjoyed a large and growing trade all the while, many of their customers coming from remote parts of the country. They carry a large and carefully selected stock of dry goods, clothing, furnishings, shoes and groceries. Their store would be a credit to a town much larger than Humboldt. It is one of the most popular stores in Richardson and adjoining counties, for their customers know that they will never fail to be treated with courtesy and honesty. In 1916 the Kotouc Brothers opened a branch store in New Raymer, Colorado, which has had a rapid and satisfactory growth under the management of Lute Kotouc. These brothers also own, beside their stores, four hundred and eighty acres of valuable land in Weld county, Colorado, which they expect to put under a high state of cultivation and improvement. They also own their store building in New Raymer, and considerable city property in Humboldt, Nebraska.

Frank Kotouc has remained unmarried. Politically, he is a Democrat, but is inclined to vote independently. Fraternally, he belongs to the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, also the blue lodge and the Eastern Star. He is not a member of any church, but attends and contributes to various denominations.


Edwards, Lewis C., History of Richardson County, Nebraska : Its People, Industries and Institutions, Indianapolis : B.F. Bowen, 1917.

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