We continue our amazing story of another Czech immigrant family as they work their way north to try and find their future in the new lands of the United States.
Welcome back to 1899 and enjoy our continued exclusive translation, only here at Onward To Our Past®.
Amerikán Národní Kalendář
Year 1899, Volume XXII, Pages 187 to 203
“Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America”
“But by March the Mississippi River was still frozen in some of its locations. Therefore the compatriot Factor advised them to go buy a wagon with team and to begin their jouney to St. Paul immediately. They agreed. So they bought some farming tools, and started their journey to St Paul on the 1st of April, 1855. But the roads were in terrible shape, streams and rivers had flooded entire area and as a result their travel from Dubuque to St. Paul took a whole time of 6 weeks. When they were about 10 miles from St. Paul they built a camp and the father of the Tobias family, together with the father of the Kalina family, were sent to the town to find their compatriot, Pavel Dusbabka. It was he who had invited them to go to live there. But they came back to the camp without any success because they could not find him and no one there could give them any information about him at all.
But Mrs. Kalina knew him better and therefore she decided to go search for him again and went to the town with Mr. and Mrs. Tobias, again. This time they finally found Mr. Dusbabka at the harbor. He said he was there because he bought some land nearby in the town of Faribault (it was just a small village in that time) and he had come to St. Paul only due to the fact that some of his belongings were sent to St. Paul by mistake, instead of to Hastings. This was during his moving from Indiana to Minnesota). They all agreed to meet each other in Northfield, Minnesota since the Tobias family had to go via this town to get to St. Paul.
They meet each other the next day there in Northfield and together they continued on to the town of Faribault going through brush, forest, swamps, and more. Father of Tobias claimed for himself 160 acres there. He had some troubles with one American, who contested his appropriation. However, he finally succeeded although he had to visit Winona and several other places many times in order to own the land, de jure.
However, their money was running away like a water. They had to go for flour to Hastings, which was located 60 miles from their place and there had to pay $20 for just one barrel. They bought a corn for $1.25 for only one bushel. That first year was bad for them. Their food was made from corn-flour, milled at the “mill” of our Jan. Their ‘mill’ was a coffee-mill and Jan worked it hard to mill enough of the corn kernels to make meal. A bottom-up wash-tub was their table for dinner, but they enjoyed every one of their meals there and they hoped for a better future. It is not necessary to describe all of their experiences, because I am sure readers can imagine their situation.
They began cutting trees in the forest and then during harvest season they worked for other farmers to earn some money. Father Tobiáš started to work as shoemaker, and earned a few pennies in this way too.”
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