Welcome back to the continuing translation of the 1886 wonderful 39-page article “From the Experiences of American Czechs” brought to you by Onward To Our Past® Genealogy and History Services Company.
First we were in Nebraska. Then we moved on to Minnesota and today we continue in the heartland of America with a truly mind-boggling story of difficulties, determination, and grit by this group of early Czech immigrants to America.
We know you will enjoy this intense first-person recounting and all the surnames in it from 1886.
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
From Oxford Junction, Iowa
By Vincenc Luk
“All of the Czechs got a job in the spring on one farm – to plant corn. The farmer paid us fifty cents per day and I was eventually able to buy a pair of two-year-old ox and a cow. The farmer who helped us Czechs was named Solomon Prutz. That year, I also ploughed eight acres. I had to earn the wheat that I planted. The following winter was dry and the end of December, when we beat the crops, it was so cold we could barely stand it.
In the spring I planted wheat on those eight acres, but in the summer hail destroyed all of it. We all had to work for others again and our employers gave us what ever they felt like giving us for our work. I also worked for a Czech man by the name Jan Ludvík, who kept telling me that I eat too much and drink too much coffee. During the winter I worked for one farmer who paid me fourteen dollars per month. The very same winter it snowed a lot, the snow piled up, followed by freezing rain that made the whole prairie look like a giant mirror. Horses had to have their legs wrapped in cloths, but even then they would often injure them. At home, we had nothing to eat and nothing to burn; my legs froze from the cold. Farmers could not make it to the mill and so we grind our flour in a coffee grinder. My wife had to cut out an old oak from the ice in the river. She burned it to keep our hut warmer. The next summer I ploughed the prairie for farmers. One of them did not have money and gave me a piece of land instead. Sometimes I waited up to three years to get paid for this work! There were also a lot of dangerous insects and snakes. A snake once bit my foot, but fortunately the shoe was thick enough. One summer all our hay burned and that winter we had nothing to feed our livestock.
These are the names of the compatriots who came here along with us: Vác. Pavelka, Fr. Kašpar, Fr. Kadidlo, Josef Dostal, Fr. Pazourek. All of them are now dead. František Kadidlo ploughed the prairie with me for so many years that we do not even remember exactly how many hundred of acres we worked on. We did not get to keep the money we made for long back then. We were saving for taxes the whole year. Now we are all much better off and our future is safe.”
What will tomorrow bring? Stay with Onward To Our Past® to find out!