Welcome back to 1894 and our exclusive translation of the wonderful article, filled with biographies of early Czech immigrant settlers from across the United States as reported in the wonderful Czech genealogy and history publications Amerikán Národní Kalendář!
We continue our story today of one of these amazing settlers who never let up and followed his dream of a new life in America. We have the added plus of his being a ‘forty-eighter’ too.
Enjoy it here since Onward To Our Past® is your exclusive home for new and original English translations of these incredible stories!
Amerikán Národní Kalendář
Year: 1894, Volume XVII
S 68 obrázky vážného i žertovného obsahu.
“With sixty-eight images plus serious and funny content”
Edited by Josef Jiří Král
Paměti českých osadníků v Americe
“The Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America”
“A report on the first settling activities of our fellow countrymen and the situation in Czech colonies”
In St. Louis I worked as a machinist for long until I got a very good job in Keokuk, Iowa where I made four and a half dollars a day. I was the only Czech there until my future wife’s brother Fialka moved in.
We were doing quite well but suddenly the Civil War broke out and there was no other remedy but to go and fight. I joined the third regiment of the Missouri infantry. We spent two weeks learning the exercise and then were sent to Camp Jackson where the first captives and injured soldiers were. When they found out I was a machinist, I went to join the railway service. There was a great lack of people who understood the locomotives. For three years they kept me at the Missouri Pacific railway; most of that time I spent in Fulton and Jefferson City. Finally the war was over and I could return to my family who were anxiously waiting for me in St. Louis, Missouri. When we met in the end, we were filled with joy. When I got enough of St. Louis I looked for another job which I found in Keokuk, Iowa. I worked for the Des Moines Valley R. R. and I spent nine years there. We were able to amass a nice amount which I used to set up a big locomotive workshop.
I was the only mechanic in the city and was doing very well. These days there are more workshops here so I let go of the big shop, which cost me a lot of money, and only kept a smaller one.
We lived a quiet and happy life but that was supposed to end. My wife got sick and although we took her to the best doctors there was no helping her. So my dear companion died. Two of my daughters are married yet, my older son works as a machinist on the railway and the younger one had to stay at the locomotive workshop.
I often miss Czech company but I am too old to move anywhere else. It makes me happy that all my children have learned to read and write in Czech and I hope they will keep teaching their children the language their beloved grandmother used to speak.”
At the end, he also told me: “If you meet another forty-eight revolutionist on your travels, give him my best regards. Believe me, all of those people were true and sincere lovers of freedom and those who fell will always be remembered with gratitude.”
If only the current generation paid more attention to freedom and wanted to propagate it among the conservatives! Their ideas have spread around lately in a terrible way and in certain places they even take control of the whole districts. The American people should be liberated from them, and that is my ardent wish.”
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. We are spending the day with family and will not have a new translation.
Onward To Our Past®