Welcome to our second installment of “From the Experiences of American Czechs” found in the 1886 edition of the Czech genealogy and history volumes of Amerikán Národní Kalendář.
Today we conclude our translation of the establishment of an early Czech benevolent society in Pishelville, Nebraska. Lots more surnames and a wonderful story of grit!
Amerikán Národní Kalendář
Volume IX, Year 1886, Pages 153-191
Ze zkušeností Čechů Amerických
Pořáda F. B. Zdrůbek
“From the Experiences of American Czechs”
Compiled by F. B Zdrůbek
“The Beginnings of societies in Pishelville, Nebraska”
By J. F. Lundák
In the following meeting the club was joined by Jan Mladý. The order then thrived until the meeting of October 3, 1880 when one of the 18 members, Jan Tuša, resigned leaving the club with only 17 members. That did not end the trouble, however. The club also had to look for a new meeting hall. The brother F. Marshal volunteered to loan his home for that purpose and the problem was temporarily solved. Some members, however, did not agree with this solution and resigned. This left the club, so to speak, on a “half broken bridge”. Then, a special meeting was convened due to the passing of brother Jan Růžička on April 8, 1881. His funeral took place on April 10th and was attended by several brothers of the order ”Bílá Hora“. After the financial support was properly paid to the widow, the brothers learned what was happening, which brought new life into the club. New members started to join, young and old, giving the club renewed strength. Eventually, the order had to find another meeting hall, this time in a school.
On August 7, 1881 the club was joined by F. Lundák, and shortly after Jos. Šedivý (who is now a member of the order “Bílá Hora“) and Fr. Kukál. The order held its meetings in the school until May 7, 1882 when they changed the meeting location to the home of brother Jos. Dryák. The ever-changing meeting location caused some members to complain, but eventually the issue was resolved when the town built a new school where the order rented a space for 50 cents per meeting. Eventually the brothers decided they would like something to read and established a library. However, it is still small and contains only about thirty volumes. The order continued in this way until Václav Dobřichovský joined on April 6, 1884, when someone suggested that it would be sound to build a meeting hall. Some others agreed, thus a three-member committee was selected to find a plot, develop a plan, etc. It was announced that a 20’ x 40’ x 13’ hall would be built, with the first floor serving for public meetings and balls and the second floor for the meetings of the order. Four lots were purchased from brother A. Pišl that measured 50’ x 150’, in the middle of which the construction started. The estimated cost was to be $1,200 for the completed building, including the interior.
The biggest disagreements were over the money as there was not enough in cash. Brothers F. Tuch and Václ. Dobřichovský loaned a portion of the amount, which meant an immediate help and is very much appreciated.
The order now has 16 members, thus it is probably the smallest order in the state. However, it is the first one to soon have its own hall. We hope it will continue successfully in the future.”
Be sure to join us tomorrow as we move on from Pishelville into a new Czech community as reported in the Amerikán Národní Kalendář of 1886.
Onward To Our Past®