Today we are back in 1904 America and listening to the stories of two early Czech immigrants to America.  One in Iowa and one in Texas.  Vastly different, yet strikingly the same!

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Amerikán Národní Kalendář

Year: 1904, Volume: XXVII, Pages: 256-266

“The Memories of Czech Settlers in America”

1904 Kosnar image

My wife and I (Ed: Kosnar) got used to the local climate soon and after the harvest we moved to Richmond where I started my trade.  About half a year later an opportunity presented itself to buy a small house and I scraped several dollars each from my acquaintances, about $100 altogether and with those I started the purchase.  I was successful in my trade and soon I took part in the local Free Thinking Activities.  When my sons, through their own work on farms, saved some money, and an amount came into my possession, we put the money together, whatever each one of us had and we bought a farm.

The building on it was quite dilapidated.  The roof was full of holes.  The ceilings were gone, but we started the work with energy.  We repaired the building and we started to clear out the fields.  What is true is that I did learn how to swear abundantly while I was digging out tree stumps.  When my sons then acquired and furnished each one their own farms I sold everything and went to live with the younger Vincenc, where I have been living up till now.

My wife, with whom I lived for 33 years, bid goodbye to me in the year 1886, and I remarried with Anna Nováková, born Neprašová, the mother of my daughter-in-law, Anna Košnářová.

Both of my sons have beautiful farms and are fathers of families and ardent members of associations, Czecho-Slavonic Support Association (Č.S.P.S) in Vining and the Western Czech Fraternal Association (Z.C.B.J.) in Clutier and are almost constantly holding some village offices where they were called by the trust of the citizens.

When I see the numbers of followers around myself, I think that the countrymen who shook off the priest yoke early or never experienced it are lucky.  For us, the elders, it took a lot of work and thought before we reached our own ideas.

1904 Morisak image

[picture of MR. JIŘÍ MORIŠAK]

“Mr. JIŘÍ MORIŠAK settled in Flatonia, Texas.  He is already 84 years old and with his age came to him a bitter fate, blindness.

He was born in Kozlovice in Moravia and in 1860 he set off on the road to America.  He undertook his voyage across the ocean on a sailing ship and it lasted 7 weeks.  Before Christmas he disembarked onto American soil in Texas, and he turned to Mr. Haidušek who had been in Texas several years prior.

He was trained at home in the trade of carpentry and so he took it up here and at that time he supplemented his livelihood with it.  The first winter that he spent in Texas was such that he does not remember another one like that.  There was a frightful amount of snow and whole herds of cattle perished on the prairies.  In such conditions, of course, there were also very bad wages, so that it was barely possible to make enough for the most pressing life needs.

Both spouses, childless up to that point, received an offer to go and serve on a farm in Halletsville; she doing the cooking and he the work around the house, whatever there was.  Therefore they went there, but after some time they were persuaded that the priests were no joke and that their best administration was that of the female cooks.”

Don’t miss a thing!  Come back tomorrow to read more of this marvelous biography and follow even more Czech immigrants as they reported their lives in the 1904 pages of Amerikán Národní Kalendář!

Onward To Our Past®

A Genealogical Historian, who is focused on family history and genealogy of the highest quality, but with a dose of fun. Avid about documentation and evidence. Loves helping folks of all levels in their genealogy pursuits, especially in the areas of Bohemia, Czech Republic, Italy, Cornwall, Kent, United Kingdom, U.S. Immigration and Cleveland, Ohio.

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