History of the town upto 1848

Polish by origin, the House of Vlček of Dobré Zemice came from the Cieszyn area. The elder Jan Vlček settled in Opava, and changed his nationality to Czech. Right after his arrival in Klimkovice, he acted quite recklessly and his actions provoked bitter disputes with his vassals (he often punished them by imprisonment). He died in 1613 and was succeeded by his son Mikuláš (born in 1592) – Mikuláš was also a provincial judge of the Principality of Opava. In 1615, Mikuláš Vlček reaffirmed all previously acquired rights and privileges of the vassals. In 1618, the Thirty Years War broke out and several mercenary bands passed through the county. Mikuláš Vlček had to face many accusations. As a Protestant, he stood on the side of the uprising, but did not support them very much. He was more involved in the invasion of the Danish chieftain Mansfeld, whose troops invaded the Opava area in 1626, and even occupied Klimkovice for several days. Mikuláš Vlček, like many other nobles of evangelical religion, was not secretive about his sympathy for that religion. Due to this fact, he had to face the punishing hand of the emperor after the Danish forces backed down. Mikuláš Vlček then had to work hard to defend himself against confiscatory Commission. In his defence, he claimed that he did not side with the enemy and that he secretly fled to Poland, and that the occupation of Klimkovice happened in his absence and his farm was completely destroyed. He was sentenced to a fine of 4000 thalers.

We can estimate the size of Klimkovice during the time of Mikuláš Vlček. In 1643, there were 13 inn houses, 14 artisans, 9 cottagers, 3 and 2 gardeners Hofer admitted in Klimkovice. Based on the available data, it is apparent that local farming at that time was well developed. In animal husbandry, there were 2,200 sheep, 484 cows, 120 pigs, 170 horses and 22 mares. In the estate, there were 4,508 sheep, 724 cows and 400 horses.

Mikuláš Vlček was married to Anna Bludovská, with whom he had one son Kašpar, who in 1655 married a noblewoman Zuzana Borkovna in Cieszyn. He also became the new owner of the estate, but all his duties were taken care of by his father. Mikuláš Vlček died on July 21, 1664 at the age of 72, and is buried in the family tomb. His son did not survive him for very long. He died a year later on December 3, 1665. He was survived by his second wife Anna Kateřina Pačinská and two sons, Kašpar and Jindřich Vilém. The older son, Kašpar, died young at the age of 14. The whole estate was administered by his uncle Frederick George Vlček, because William Henry (born September 17, 1665) was not of legal age yet. Vlčkové accepted a new religion, changed the language of their ancestors, became German and rewrote their surname to Wilczek.

Thanks to the adoption of the new religion, young William Henry Wilczek had open way to high ranks and offices. When he was 20 years old, he took over the estate of Klimkovice, entered the imperial military service, where he eventually reached the rank of field marshal, and became imperial Chamberlain and the secret counsel. In the years 1709 - 1712 he was appointed as Austrian ambassador in Russia at the court of Tsar Peter the Great. In 1714, he was promoted to imperial count, and after 1716, he was successively appointed as ambassador to Poland, Prussia and Denmark.

He married the rich countess Marie Charlotte Saint Hilier, with whom came a large farm Kreuzenstein in Lower Austria. In the Cieszyn area, he either inherited or bought Ráj, Koňskou, Zámrsk, in Ostravsko Heřmanice, Vrbice, Muglinov, Hrušov and Slezska Ostrava, in Opavsko Velkou Polom with villages Vřesina, Čavisov, Horní Lhota, Malá Lhota, Budišovice and Krásné Pole and also Poruba, Dolní Polanka and Hlučín. During his life, he founded two settlements near Klimkovice - Janovice (1709) and Josefovice (1715), which he named after his elder son Josef.

William Henry Wilczek died at Breslau on March 19, 1739 and at his own request, he was buried in Klimkovice in the family tomb, which was built before his death in the years 1730-1738 as a side chapel of the parish church. It's a building in Byzantine style with a dome, which gives the church a special architectural character. His tomb with a life-size bust is located on the west side of the chapel.

William Henry Wilczek was survived by two sons. Younger Josef Maria Baltazar was given estates Ráj and Zámrsk in Cieszyn, other estates (including Klimkovice) were given to the older son Josef (Maria Leopold Adam) Wilczek. He reached high positions, was c.k. secret counsel and the imperial court counsel. He was born into a dismal time - there was a seven-year war in Europe at that time. Even our region had been plagued by incursions and pillaging by the Prussian army. In addition, the Prussian army dragged insidious disease to Silesia. In 1758, plague epidemic struck Klimkovice itself. By mid-1759, the plague killed 381 people out of a total of about 1000 inhabitants of Klimkovice. Because of helplessness against this disease, special religious services devoted to St. Šebestián took place, and believing that their prayers were heard, in 1760, the believers built a statue devoted to St. Šebastián in the middle of the square (now located near the parish church).

During the reign of Josef Wilczek, there were peasant uprisings in Opava and Cieszyn. Farms destroyed by war, loss of population due to the plague epidemic, but also expensive and glamorous life of the nobility forced the nobility to disproportionate exploitation of servants, who were forced to perform their duties under the threat of corporal punishment and imprisonment. It is not surprising that under these conditions, there were unrests and peasant uprisings. These disputes with the authorities were not resolved until the abolition of serfdom in Silesia in 1784.

Despite extraordinary Klimkovice’s political and economic development during the reign of the most powerful of Wilczek, Klimkovice remained small, largely agricultural town. William Henry Wilczek managed to secure another annual market (2nd overall) and two markets for cattle and wool and a weekly market (Monday) for the town. Wilczkoves, however, were looking out for other interests and their personal benefits, and did not support development of production and crafts. The number of craftsmen in the town did not increase. Maria Joseph Wilczek had not used great and tempting offers of his time. There were first discoveries of coal in the Ostrava region - first discovered in Klimkovice Pod Vinohrady and in Silesian Ostrava. However, Wilczkove refused a profitable state offer to mining, which was obviously to the detriment of the city, which could have become a centre of industrial development of the region.

Maria Joseph Wilczek died in 1777. He was succeeded by his son Francis Joseph Wilczek, who died in 1834 and is the last of the Wilczkove Counts buried in the family tomb in Klimkovice.

From 1792 to 1848, Klimkovice estate was administratively incorporated into the county of Těšín. At that time, the estate reached the largest spatial scale and included 19 villages with which Klimkovice consisted of 328 houses and 2482 inhabitants, mostly of Czech origin. Klimkovice was said to be the only purely Czech town in Silesia, and it is worthy of admiration, that the town kept its character in Germanized surroundings.

It is therefore astonishing, that in the memorable revolutionary year of 1848, the national revivalist movement did not receive any understanding or support from Klimkovice. Conversely, as a black shadow in the history of Klimkovice, a petition was sent to Prague on June 22, 1848, saying that the town opposes demands of St. Wenceslas Congress and refuses to link the countries of Silesia with the Czech crown. The only explanation is that the citizens of Klimkovice had no idea that the petition was sent.

This was not the only dark shadow of 1848 though. On August 30, 1848, the town burned down. The fire broke out one hour before midnight in the local pub on the square, and soon, 98 houses and 37 barns with grain and brewery were turned into ashes. The fire also claimed three lives. Not even six years passed by, and another disaster happened. On April 21, 1854 at 3 o'clock in the afternoon a fire broke out at the local parish and soon transferred to the church tower, the castle, and another 28 houses and 17 barns burned down. The fire claimed 2 lives. The poor state of the burned down castle forced Count Jan Nepomuk Joseph Ambrose Wilczek to transfer the family estate to Lower Austria in 1854. In 1848, all the privileges of the nobility and the feudal system finally ended and with it, the dominion Klimkovice.