Today, Onward To Our Past® is pleased to continue our exclusive English translation of the 1878 tour de force by the Czech-American annual journal, Amerikán Národní Kalendář, with our journal of Czech settlers and settlements all across America!
e began with a primer on the world as it was in 1878. Then in Installment#1 we ‘visited’ the states of Arkansas and California. In Installment #2 it was on to Connecticut and the Dakota Territory. In Installment #3 we began our tour of rural Illinois and Installment #4 concluded this tour of Illinois and we moved on to Iowa.
Today we continue crossing the great state of Iowa.
Amerikán Národní Kalendář
Volume: II, Year: 1878, Pages: 97-108
STRUČNÁ STATISTIKA: Osad, míst a okresů ve Spojených Státech Čechy obydlených (Jak daleko nám bylo možno letos dopátrati se dál. Budoucího roku budeme pokračovat)
BRIEF STATISTICS: Of settlements, towns and counties at United States, inhabited by Czechs (As far as we were able to find this year. Next year we will continue.)
“Cedar Rapids, Marion County, has among its 10,000 dwellers approximately 2000 Czechs. Thirty-two of them have their own businesses: twelve innkeepers, eight grocery shop owners, one large dry goods shopkeeper, two bakers, eight butchers, eight shoemakers, three tailors, two blacksmiths, two belt makers, one joiner, two tinsmiths, and two clerks. There is a Czech lawyer Mr. Jos. Sosel. Mr. P. Jakub Polak has a large limekiln and he produces an excellent cement not very far from the town. The earliest settlers have lived here for 22-23 years already. They are Sosel, Svab, Polak, Zidek, Stepanek, V. Vitousek, and Gregor. Czech social life is very active here and all of the Czechs of the older generations are patriots and the younger ones follow them.
The following Czech organizations operate here at this time:
- Readers Society, which has 54 members and a nice hall. It also has its own gymnastic section (Sokol), dramatic and singing groups, and now is working to establish a Czech-English school, that is needed here. Before, as a private teacher for Czech children Mr. Jos. Suster worked here. The Readers Society prospers well, and all of its debts have already been paid off. They also hold theatre performances and plays monthly.
- The “Thalia” Society has its own hall and 10 members. They provide plays and theatre productions.
- Czech Fraternal Supporting Society has fifty members and its own hall.
- The Church Society of St. Vaclav (Wenceslaus) has 120 members.
- Unity of Sokol has 80 members and operates in the hall of the “Thalie” Society. The Society of St. Vaclav has its own Czech church and its parson is P.F. Chmelar. Czechs started to settle here first in 1853. All of the Czech organizations in Cedar Rapids work very well.
Chelsea, (near Toledo) Tama County, has about 400 inhabitants, which includes around 50 Slavic Czechs. Two of them have grocery stores, one is innkeeper, four are dry goods shopkeepers, one is a butcher, two are shoemakers, two are tailors, two are blacksmiths, one is a belt maker, one is a tinsmith, four are pharmacists, and two are physicians. In the surrounding area live some 400 Czech farmers. There is not any Czech-English schools, but there are three churches. The first is situated ¾ of a mile from Chelsea, the second is six miles away, and the third is nine miles distant. The first is dedicated to St. Antonin, the second to the Holy Trinity, and the third to the Virgin Mary. The churches are administrated by Mr. P. J. Zlebcik and are attended by about 500 Slavic Czech families living in the area. There are no additional Czech societies here, but the people have begun to care about their community and perhaps we will establish a Czech-English school, which is necessary for our children in order to avoid their assimilation.
The earliest settlers here were: Fr. Matula, M. Musil, Fr. Kolos, and Mr. Budka – all of them arrived here some twenty years ago and then after them followed more Czech settlers.”
Be sure to join us tomorrow as we continue on with our tour of America as we look for all the Czechs!
Onward To Our Past®