Welcome to today’s new installment of our exclusive English translation of the wonderful 1878 article from Amerikán Národní Kalendář, “STRUČNÁ STATISTIKA: Osad, míst a okresů ve Spojených Státech Čechy obydlených (Jak daleko nám bylo možno letos dopátrati se dál. Budoucího roku budeme pokračovat), translated as “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.)”
We 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. Installment #5 we continued with our travels in Iowa. Installment #6 featured more towns and rural Czech communities in Iowa. Click on any of the links and you can catch up if you missed portion of this wonderful Czech genealogy and history article.
Today we continue with more details and Czech communities in Iowa. Enjoy!
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.)
“Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, has a large number of Czechs who meet together and organized a Sunday school for their children. There also organize an annual celebration with the killing of a rooster.
Newport, Johnson County, has in its surrounding area 56 Czech families. All of them are farmers and one Czech owns an inn. Each year there arrives at least one new Czech family.
Maquoketa, Jackson County, has about 700 dwellers includes about twelve Czech families. One of them is a brewer, one is a cigar-maker, two are tailors, and two are joiners. Not far away is the town of Baldwin with 100 dwellers, which include 10 Czech families. Two of them are dry goods shopkeepers, two are blacksmiths, and one is a shoemaker. Close to here is also the town of Johnson and among its 60 inhabitants live some twelve Czech families. One of them is a physician, one is a tinsmith, one a dry goods shopkeeper, one is a shoemaker, two are grain traders, and three own saloons. In the surrounding area of these towns live about 120 more Czech families of wealthy farmers. Among the first Czechs who settled there in 1854 were Fr. Kubrt, Josef Kobza, Fr. Foral, Fr. Prokop, Vaclav Prokop, Josef Seda, and Josef Rot. In 1862 hey built a Czech church “Holy Trinity”, but only a few of them attend the church because of the intolerance.
Ridgeway has a large Czech settlement and is situated in parts of 4 counties, namely: Floyd, Winneshiek, Chikasaw, and Howard. It is 18 miles long and 12 miles wide. All the area is settled almost solely by the Czechs, with the few Germans who did settle in the area having had to learn Czech.
In this area are also located two towns: Spillville and Fort Atkinson. The Czech population predominates here. There are around 500 Czech families and about 360 of them are farm owners. In the area are also two Czech Catholic churches and a third one will be built soon, located about eight miles to the west of Spillville. The first Czechs settled here in 1853 and 1854. They were Fr. Bouska, Voj. Jaros, Fr. Hrnecek, Martin Lukes, Fr. Mlek, Fr. Mykota, Jan Mykes, V.F. Lukes, Jos. Linhart, Ignac Benda, F. Pecinovsky, Fr. Svehla, and Jos. Zahajsky. All of them were poor when arrived here. They prospered well here while only two years were years of poor crops. That was in 1858 and 1876. All available land is now occupied already and there is not any land for speculation any longer.
Spillville, Winnishiek County has among their 500 inhabitants 470 Czechs. One of them is is a grocery store shopkeeper, five innkeepers, one brewer, one butcher, three shoemakers, one tailor, two blacksmiths, one belt maker, two joiners, two millers, and two pharmacists. Local farmers own between 40 – 400 acres of agricultural fields. There is a church dedicated to St. Vaclav in Spillville and a church dedicated to St. John in Fort Atkinson. The names of the Czech priests are: P. Fr. L. Mikota, and P.E. Ehrenberger. The local Catholic school looks very nice and is attended by approximately 85 children and its teacher is Mr. Jan J. Kovarik. In reference to Czech organizations there are some run by the church and there is also the Czech Fraternal Supporting Organization, what was halted because of opposition of priest. The number of churchgoers in the area is 1,500. There are also two Czech halls located at the houses of Mr. Mart. Dvorak and of Mr. Jos. Svehla. Both of them have great success where two to three times per a year amateur enthusiasts give plays and theatre performances.”
Tomorrow we conclude our tour of Czech communities in 1878 Iowa and move on to new states, new towns, and new Czechs!
Onward To Our Past®