Continuing our fabulous exclusive translation today from the 1904 edition of the pages of the amazing annual editions of Amerikán Národní Kalendář!
Today’s story is amazingly detailed and moves us along in the life of one Czech immigrant from his home in “The Old Country” to America!
We know you will learn from and enjoy this wonderful story today!
Amerikán Národní Kalendář
Year: 1904, Volume: XXVII, Pages: 256-266
“The Memories of Czech Settlers in America”
“I set off for these places and I stopped in a small Czech settlement in Kazilki that was administered by the elders Pospíšil and Hájek and I filed a preliminary claim for 10 desiatinas (for 370 rubles). As a down payment I gave them 10 guilders, and I returned home where I encountered the resistance of my wife who declared that instead of going to Russia she preferred to go to America.
That is what happened. We came to America on the 9th of May, 1879 and there we bought 160 acres in Ryan. There were several of us Czechs and we were managing life as well as we could. I built a stone shed in the hillside and it was only half-built and to earn a salary I was forced to work on the railroad all the way to Colorado. I spent three months there and when I learned that they also needed railroad workers in Kansas, I returned from Colorado.
After three years slaving on the railroad, I was only able to start to think about the beginning of farming in the fourth year, since prior to that there was no money for a team and tools. I had nice neighbors who, while I was away working, were constantly measuring lots with their ropes, so that supposedly they would not shortchange anyone. They were measuring so long that they also included in their land the well which my wife and my children had exhaustingly dug out.
What we initially endured cannot be described. The surrounding little towns did not have any railroad connections, and so everything was expensive whenever we wanted to buy something, and for our produce such as butter or eggs, we hardly got anything. However, necessity is the mother of invention, [need taught Dalibor how to play the violin], so several of us entered into an agreement and we shared the expenses and took our crops either 25 miles to Zarned [Larned?] or 34 miles to Great Bend where we received somewhat more for our crops and where we bought cheaper necessities.
In this way the farming paid off somewhat for us, even though of course the road was torturous and long and as a rule would take up to 3 days since the roads were not completely passable and also often we would get lost and have to spend the night on the prairie.
Of course after all was said and done all of the difficulties were overcome. We were still living in a sod house and after only seven years of settling I was able to start the building of a more acceptable dwelling. Finally we reached our goal and today I can happily look at my past troubled life. I have provided well for all of my sons with land except for the youngest one for whom I have 320 acres of land set aside and my daughter is well married in Larned, Kansas –In our vicinity there are 55 Czech families and all of them are settled on land.
We plan this year to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Czech settlement.”
Come back tomorrow as we continue our exclusive translation of this marvelously detailed story from 1904 and the pages of the fabulous Czech-American journal, Amerikán Národní Kalendář!
Onward To Our Past®