A Real Bohemian Family of SF

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“Once upon a time it seemed San Francisco artists visited Los Angeles only on condition they were tripping on LSD, or some other hallucinogen.”

I am finding many articles that lament the loss of the Bohemians and their lifestyle from San Francsico. My ancestors came from Bohemian and Austria. They lived in San Francisco. Carl Prazak became the second husband of Christine Braskewitz who was married to Wensel Braskewitz. Prazak is the City of Prague in Czech Republic. For the reason this Exodus is very newsworthy, I am cutting all members of my family, a break. History will now be good to you – regardless! So far, I have not located another real Bohemian Family who lived in the City by the Bay. For the reason that all people who hold, or held, the name Presco, were involved in the advancement of the world famous artist, Christine Rosamond Presco, and her teacher and brother, Gregory Presco, as my kindred preferred to call me, we are historic. WE are in the same league as the Bohemians, Jack London, and George Sterling, who founded the Bohemian enclave in Carmel, where Christine had two galleries.

Christine was named after Christine Marie Roth, who was named after, Kristine Krause, the wife of Gregory Roth. The name ROTH has a RED element that I trace to HROTHMUND, that I suspect is the true source of the name HROSMUND-ROSAMOND. Thus GREGORY ROTHMUND. CHRISTINE and GREGORY are the Family Artists name after a lineage of ROTH, a Father and Daughter.

Old High German rod, Old English rod, roð. German: from a short form of any of the various Germanic personal names with the first element hrod ‘renown’. Compare Rode 1, Ross 3.

Above is a photograph of my father, Victor William Presco, son of Victor Hugo Presco. In his arms in my brother, Mark Broderick Presco. I am putting together our genealogy on Ancestry.com. where I have the results of my DNA test.

Here is a rare view of inside the Bohemian Club.

Jon Gregory Presco

President: Royal Rosamond Press and Rosamond Publications.

Copyright 2016

The Bohemians: The San Francisco Writers Who Reinvented American Literature

Prazak Name Meaning Czech (Pražák): habitational name for someone from the city of Prague, Czech Praha, or from the surrounding region.

Source: Dictionary of American Family Names ©2013, Oxford University Press

Braskewitz, Christina (38) … marr. lic. in —- to Prazak, Carl (40) … SF1899-11613

Gregory Roth

Born on 1824. Gregory married Kristine Krause and had a child. He passed away on 1894.


Born in Stuttgart, Germany on 6 Jun 1861 to Gregory Roth and Kristine Krause. Christine Marie married Wensel Braskewitz and had 3 children. She passed away on 10 Nov 1937 in San Francisco, California, USA.

Wensel Braskewitz

 Born in Bohemia on 1851. Wensel married Christine Marie Roth and had 3 children. He passed away on 1921.





gregj6 barb10Greg 1975 Ken, Vicki & Christine Greg 1975 Christineboh5.jpgboh22.PNG


German and Jewish (Ashkenazic): nickname for a person with red hair, from Middle High German rot, German rot ‘red’. As a Jewish surname it is also at least partly ornamental: its frequency as a Jewish surname is disproportionate to the number of Jews who, one may reasonably assume, were red-headed during the period of surname adoption.

Roth Name Meaning German and Jewish (Ashkenazic): nickname for a person with red hair, from Middle High German rot, German rot ‘red’. As a Jewish surname it is also at least partly ornamental: its frequency as a Jewish surname is disproportionate to the number of Jews who, one may reasonably assume, were red-headed during the period of surname adoption. German and English: topographic name for someone who lived on land that had been cleared, Old High German rod, Old English rod, roð. German: from a short form of any of the various Germanic personal names with the first element hrod ‘renown’. Compare Rode 1, Ross 3.

Old Norse
hróðr = ‘fame’ [1] [2] [3]
Old Saxon
(h)rôth = ‘fame’ [4] [5]
Old High German
hruod = ‘fame’ [6]
Old Frisian
(h)rêd = ‘fame’ [5]
Old English
hrōð = ‘fame’ [6]
Related Names
See Hróða and Hróði and and HrøðingR and Rolle and Ros

Gregory Roth

Born on 1824. Gregory married Kristine Krause and had a child. He passed away on 1894.


Origin and Meaning
Germanic name element
Ancient Germanic
*hrōþa- = ‘fame’ [1]
*hrōþiR = ‘fame’ [2]
Old Norse
hróðr = ‘fame’ [1] [2] [3]
Old Saxon
(h)rôth = ‘fame’ [4] [5]
Old High German
hruod = ‘fame’ [6]
Old Frisian
(h)rêd = ‘fame’ [5]
Old English
hrōð = ‘fame’ [6]
Related Names
See Hróða and Hróði and and HrøðingR and Rolle and Ros

From Nordic Names wiki – http://www.nordicnames.de – All rights reserved.

Male Name
Old Norse
Origin and Meaning
Old Norse name
Combination of HROD and MUND [1]
Related Names

Jack London never actually lived in “Piedmont”, because in 1900, Scenic Avenue was in unincorporated Oakland. After marrying Bess Maddern, the newlywed couple settled in a redwood bungalow in the eastern hills of unincorporated Oakland, later to become part of the present-day city of Piedmont. At the time, this area was growing into a community for artists. It was here that London wrote his novel Call of the Wild.[3] London’s two daughters, including Joan London, were born during this time.[1]

In 1902, London moved to 206 Scenic Avenue, and “tried to create a childhood he never had,” Piedmont historian Ann Swift wrote.[3] He entertained “Peter Pans of both sexes,” flew kites, held bubble-blowing contests, and competed to see who could swallow the most soda crackers.[3]

London’s friends included fellow Bohemians George Sterling, James Whitaker, Xavier Martinez, and Charmian Kittredge. After divorcing Bess Maddern London in 1904, he married Kittredge.

The Bohemians were characterized by living non-traditional lifestyles as artists, writers, musicians, and actors. Unlike their wealthier neighbors, the Bohemians of Piedmont could not afford to have their homes constructed for them and instead built them themselves.[3]

In 1908 Havens built an art gallery where the tennis courts are today. Carrie Sterling, estranged wife of George Sterling, nephew of Havens, served as curator.[1]

Called “the Blessed Damozel” by George Sterling and photographed here by Laura Adams ArmerElsie Whitakerserved as a “muse” for the Bohemians of Piedmont, and would marry Xavier Martinez.



The Family is a private club in San FranciscoCalifornia, formed in 1901 by newspapermen who left the Bohemian Club. The club maintains a clubhouse in the city as well as rural property 35 miles to the south in Woodside.

Once home to bohemians, artists and poets, San Francisco has become a city for the mega-rich and up-and-coming high-tech workers. The tension between the haves and have-nots, in fact, is rising fast where those with extraordinary wealth are buying up real estate in droves and leaving those in the middle class floundering.


How else to survive the concrete landscape and endless traffic, the airheads and flakes, the tinsel and hustle and sheer vapidity of a metropolis which considered la-la-land a compliment?

So the beat poets and hippies and all the other bohemians would make fleeting forays south before returning to their foggy bay area sanctuary with tales of sun-frizzled vulgarians.

Then everything changed.

“San Francisco turned into this billionaire playground. Everything I identified with was being pushed out. The community that I loved was crumbling and disappearing,” said Andrew Schoultz, a painter. “I just didn’t want to be in that city anymore. So I moved to LA.”

Schoultz, 41, who does installations and public murals, moved in 2014 and was among a group of bay area migrants featured in the new site 7×7. “It’s been very amazing. It was a good decision. A lot of art curators, galleries, museums don’t do San Francisco anymore.”

If California were a kingdom, Jessie Benton Frémont would have been its queen. From her Gothic cottage on Black Point, a steep prominence overlooking the city’s north coast, she beheld the glittering breadth of San Francisco Bay like a sovereign surveying her realm. She loved the sea and the sky. And the sounds: the crashing surf, the fluttering sails, the plaintive warble of the fog bells. It was like living in the bow of a ship, she wrote. When she tired of the view, she took her carriage into the city—a “true city,” she remarked to a friend, with “very good opera” and “lots of private parties.” Beautiful, brilliant, and tremendously self-confident, she would’ve cut a conspicuous figure anywhere in the country. But in California she commanded special respect, on account of the two legendary men whose names she bore: Benton and Frémont.

Her father, Thomas Hart Benton, was one of the eminences of antebellum Washington, a five-term senator from Twain’s home state of Missouri. A disciple of Thomas Jefferson, Benton thundered early and often in Congress on behalf of western expansion. He acquired such an outsized reputation that the hero of Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, after seeing the statesman in the flesh for the first time, comes away disappointed that he isn’t twenty-five feet tall—“nor even anywhere in the neighborhood of it.” During his three decades in the Senate, Benton urged the construction of an overland route to the Pacific. Cutting a path across the continent would “realize the grand idea of Columbus” by opening a western passage to India, Benton believed, enriching America with the Asia trade. But he saw more than the West’s material advantages: he grasped its cultural potential as well. “The nations of Europe hold us in contempt because we are their servile copyists and imitators,” he declared, “because too many among us can see no merit in anything American but as it approaches the perfection of something European.” In the West, America could cast off the lingering influence of the Old World and blossom into a truly original civilization.

His daughter would carry this idea with her to California. Jessie inherited her father’s grit and his undying faith in the future of the Pacific coast. She also absorbed his stubbornness, a fact starkly demonstrated by her decision, at age seventeen, to elope with a handsome army officer eleven years her senior named John Charles Frémont. Once the senator’s anger subsided, and he reconciled himself to the match, he found an excellent partner in Frémont. An intrepid explorer, Frémont shared his father‑in‑law’s enthusiasm for the West. With Benton’s help, he embarked on several expeditions to the far side of the continent. He collaborated with his wife on the published reports of these journeys, crafting rip-roaring adventure stories that became hallmarks of American popular literature.

Furnished with thrilling vignettes and gorgeous scenery, Frémont’s tales created the founding myths of the Far West. They also provided a wealth of practical information for westward emigrants in the 1840s, and became an indispensable guide to those traveling overland during the gold rush. Frémont himself was hailed as a national hero, known to Americans everywhere as the Pathfinder, after James Fenimore Cooper’s frontier novel of the same name. A consummate self-promoter, Frémont won many symbolic victories, but relatively few real ones. On the eve of the Mexican-American War in 1846, he waved the Stars and Stripes within sight of the Mexican garrison at Monterey before retreating. A decade later, he ran for president as the Republican Party’s first candidate, and lost. He never made much of a scientist, soldier, or politician; but as a storyteller, as a forger of useful fictions, he went a long way toward fulfilling Benton’s fantasy of a peopled, prosperous West.

One can imagine Harte’s reaction when, one day in 1860, he heard that the Pathfinder’s wife wanted to meet him. He hadn’t been in the city a year and was already rocketing into the upper reaches of California society. She had enjoyed hisEra pieces, and requested his presence at her parlor at Black Point. He swallowed his social anxiety and accepted. He came on a Sunday, his only free day, and on many Sundays after that, with his manuscripts under his arm. “I have taken a young author to pet,” Jessie confided in a letter. A gardener, she liked watching things grow. Now she had something new to nurture: a writer who, with the proper pruning, might redeem the promise of her father’s beloved West.

As 1860 ground on to its catastrophic conclusion, with the election of Abraham Lincoln in November and the secession of South Carolina the following month, the mood at Black Point turned grim. For the Frémonts and their Republican abolitionist friends, the coming crisis marked the final breaking point after decades of deadlock over slavery. They feared for the Union’s future, yet welcomed a struggle that would purify it of its founding sin. In the chaos of early 1861, as one Southern state after another seceded, Jessie mobilized to ensure California would remain steadfast. She enlisted another of her protégés to lead the crusade: Thomas Starr King, the Unitarian minister. In places like Missouri, the struggle over secession would be fought with guns. In California, it would be fought with words: in the pages of its newspapers and in the populist theater of its streets and saloons and tree stumps. “I do not measure enough inches around the chest to go for a soldier,” King told Jessie, “but I see the way to make this fight.” At her urging, he transformed himself from a slight, sickly preacher into a fiery evangelist for the Union cause. He gave Californians what they wanted: rhetorical fusillades to inflame them, bursts of wit to buoy them, and a vision of divine righteousness every bit as riveting as their favorite entertainments.

Harte, too, answered the call. The moral clarity of the moment exhilarated him. He made an American flag out of flannel, which he flew proudly from his house. He wrote patriotic poems, which King read aloud at pro-Union speeches throughout the state: stirring songs of battle feverish with “patriot pride” and “clashing steel.” Together the two men made a good team. King understood poetry. At the height of the Civil War, he gave lectures on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Russell Lowell, and other living legends of American letters. A product of New England, King knew many of these luminaries personally, and persuaded them to contribute original verses, which he then delivered to crowds of enraptured Californians. To be honored by these distinguished men, whose volumes graced their shelves, whose poems they memorized and recited as solemnly as Scripture, made westerners swell with pride. It served King’s purposes brilliantly. “The state must be Northernized thoroughly, by schools, Atlantic Monthlies, lectures, N. E. preachers,” he wrote James T. Fields, the editor of the nation’s most powerful literary periodical, theAtlantic Monthly. These would build an unshakable foundation for national unity, King believed, and help realize the region’s potential. In his sermons he praised the natural beauty of the Far West, and urged Californians to create inner landscapes as majestic as the ones outside. He exhorted them to build “Yosemites in the soul.” Like Benton before him, he prophesied not merely a prosperous future but a transcendent one. When King told Californians they belonged to America, they listened. When he told them that they, too, could create great literature, they believed.

“The uncrowned King of Bohemia (so his friends called him), Sterling had been at the center of every artistic circle in the San Francisco Bay Area. Celebrated as the embodiment of the local artistic scene, though forgotten today, Sterling had in his lifetime been linked with the immortals, his name carved on the walls of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition next to the great poets of the past.”The Carmel Bohemians
by Stephen LindsleyIt was mid-November, and after a week of perfect weather in Carmel the fog had rolled in to stay. Cold and moisture hung in the air, turning midday into a protracted dusk. Nora May French sat alone on the front porch of George Sterling’s bungalow, listening to the ocean. All she could see through the pine trees between the house and the beach was a few pearly sparkles of water, but the sound of the waves rolling onto the shore, now soft, now booming, was strong and constant.It had been a glorious summer in the little village of Carmel-by-the-Sea in the year of 1907. Yet, only the year before the great San Francisco earthquake had brought tragedy into the lives of thousands. George Sterling was the first poet laureate of San Francisco, a dominant literary figure whose close friend Jack London called him “the Greek.” Sterling was at the center of a small group of artists and writers who frequented the Bohemian Club and trendy cafés such as Coppa’s, exchanging ideas and planning periodic dramatic works and “High Jinks.”When the earthquake struck many of their favorite haunts crumbled and burned. Sterling and his wife had built a cottage in Carmel the year before. Now they were trying to convince friends to abandon the city and forge a rustic community among the cypress trees and eucalyptus groves. Nora May had been among those who accepted. She came not as a wife or a lover, but as a literary peer to these Homeric poets and artists, the last of the classical romantics.At night they gathered on the beach in small groups, roasting abalone and mussels over driftwood fires, drinking wine and singing songs. They could not help but be inspired by the pure spectacle of their surroundings – a place where the perfect commixture of elements reveals nature’s full dynamic grace. Grand romantic epic poems were dreamed in their entirety in those evenings on the beach, and other kinds of romance blossomed as well.The romantic life had been a blessing and a curse for Nora French. She was young and lovely, with a strong nose, piercing blue eyes and wispy blonde hair that seemed to glitter with moonlight, even in the daytime. She loved horses, walking on the beach and strolling the needle-strewn paths that threaded Carmel’s old pine forest. Her poetry reflected her coastal life, but also betrayed a melancholy that few recognized as portentous. She had followed her star where it would take her, and by the time she arrived in Carmel by way of San Francisco, Los Angeles and originally Albany, New York, she had already loved and lost more than once, and seen much that the world could offer. And now she was deeply in love once more, but she knew the man she loved thought of her only as a friend and nothing more. At the age of just 27 years she had the sense that her life was already behind her.She had carried the cyanide with her for some time. Sterling and several of his close friends all had identical vials they carried in little envelopes marked, “Peace.” It sharpened Nora’s senses to know that death was just an impulse away, though she had already seen death in many forms, from the devastation in San Francisco to the termination of her unborn child. In her life and in her writings she celebrated art, drama, literature, the beauty of the land and sea, the wonder of life and the mystery of death. Her poems had been published alongside those of the best of her age, and she had eaten, drunk and slept among many of them.But this afternoon she was wistful. The melancholy had seeped back into her mind, propelled by the fog that had shrouded the Carmel River valley. It left her strangely calm. She had done nothing half way. Her life had been lived to a romantic ideal that could not be matched with words on paper. And now, with love lost once more, Nora May had come to a moment of peace. She knew that at this moment, sitting alone on the edge of the continent in the most beautiful, magical spot imaginable, she was as happy as she was ever likely to be.Ten minutes later she was dead.When they gathered at Point Lobos to scatter her ashes into the sea, emotions ran high. This small group of men had lived their lives by the example of the gods of Olympus. Yet they seemed to have forgotten how much tragedy and destruction the Olympians wrought. They called her “sister,” but failed to treat her as one. Through their hubris and narcissism these men had calmly condemned this young beauty, and also themselves, to a terrible fate. The cries of the seagulls and the sound of waves crashing on rocks below swept past them as they faced the cold November wind. There were sharp words of contention, and a scuffle broke out among them. Nora May’s dust returned to the world in a moment of passion. Her influence remained strong, even then.Caroline Sterling endured her husband’s philandering for another 10 years, and then she left him for good. Soon after, she followed the tragic example of the woman she had most admired and reviled. She was the next one to open her envelope.Eventually George Sterling returned to San Francisco permanently, where the Bohemian Club became his only residence as the years wore on. He continued to publish his writings and the work of others, mostly without notice. By November 1926, when Sterling was to host a dinner at the club for noted author H.L. Mencken, the measured life of the businessman had long supplanted Sterling’s former bacchanalian ethos. In the process he had become marginalized, while more modern authors such as Mencken garnered the favorable reviews.The night of the party Mencken was late in arriving, so Sterling retreated upstairs to his rooms alone. He poured himself a glass of brandy and paced back and forth, thinking back on his career, the life he had led and the people he had known. In a crystalline vision he saw what lay before him – a slow descent into obscurity and death. His hand reached into his pocket to touch the small envelope, now worn with age. The word “Peace” was faded but still legible. Those best acquainted with him knew it was only a matter of the right moment for him to make use of it. They wondered why he had waited so long. His wife and former lovers were now a faded memory, and most of his closest friends had followed them beyond the pall. Ambrose Bierce had drifted alone into Mexico in 1913, perhaps to join the Zapata revolutionaries, but never to be seen or heard from again. Jack London had died a painful death a decade ago at the age of 40; the victim of a life lived in utter disregard for any of his body’s needs, save the most superficial and carnal ones. And Nora May French had shattered her own fragile beauty so many years before, while drawing a fey vapor down upon her entire generation as her light expired.At long last the moment was right. The time had come. Suddenly the brandy tasted sharply of almonds as Sterling sat back in his favorite chair.For a scant few days thereafter, George Sterling was once again foremost in the minds of the San Francisco literati. And as a result, perhaps for the last time, the name Nora May French was once again briefly upon the lips of those few who knew her and cared to remember.

Name: Carl Prazak
Age in 1910: 51
Birth Year: abt 1859
Birthplace: Austria
Home in 1910: San Francisco Assembly District 39, San Francisco, California
Street: Fourth Avenue
House Number: 335
Race: White
Gender: Male
Immigration Year: 1889
Relation to Head of House: Head
Marital Status: Married
Spouse’s Name: Christine Prazak
Father’s Birthplace: Austria
Mother’s Birthplace: Austria
Native Tongue: English
Occupation: Brush-Maker
Industry: Brush Factory
Employer, Employee or Other: Wage Earner
Home Owned or Rented: Rent
Farm or House: House
Naturalization Status: Naturalized
Able to Read: Yes
Able to Write: Yes
Years Married: 10
Out of Work: N
Number of weeks out of work: 0
Neighbors: View others on page
Household Members:
Name Age
Carl Prazak 51
Christine Prazak 48
Oscar R Presco 20
Marie M Shadburne 26
Thelma M Shadburne 6
John Lang 48
Does the Carl Prazak in this record match the person in your tree?

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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1 Response to A Real Bohemian Family of SF

  1. Reblogged this on Rosamond Press and commented:

    Sausalito school board of trustee» learned that Oscar Presco and Sons who had appeared to be low bidder on the construction job last week made a slight clerical error of about 824,000 too little on their bid. After a great deal of discussion on whether they should let Presco withdraw his bid or reject it, they decided to reject the bid. Thereby Presco was able to take back his bid bond of approximately $20,000 which would have been forfeited if the bid was withdrawn.

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