More, more, and more fabulous details of the lives and times of early Czech immigrants in America today from the pages of the Czech-American journal Amerikán Národní Kalendář!
We have more of the life of one 100-year old immigrant and the details are full and enjoyable!
Amerikán Národní Kalendář
Year: 1904, Volume: XXVII, Pages: 256-266
“The Memories of Czech Settlers in America”
“— Later they moved back to Milwaukee. In St. Francis he started to sew for people and after he moved to Milwaukee finally the start of a better life arose for them. The trade was flourishing. The son was a quick thinking young man. He bought the cloth and his father sewed along with three employees. The family prospered significantly. In 1864 the son Václav moved to Kewaunee and his father went there too, since at that time he was already 61 years of age.
His son Václav Seyk opened a clothing store in Kewaunee and Grandpa Seyk helped in it until 1872. Václav Seyk built the first mill in Kewaunee and his father left for a well-deserved retirement when he was 69 years old. From that time on he has lived constantly with his son. His wife died in 1888. Until her death they worked the land and spent their time raising vegetables for their own and their son’s household. During his whole life Grandpa Seyk, as he is usually called in Kewaunee, was very moderate and careful with his health. He liked to use snuff and he preferred the snuff tobacco from Hlaváč in New York. He abandoned his snuff habit when his son Václav built a wonderful residence on Milwaukee Street above Lake Michigan. The residence is furnished with all the comfort that prosperity offers. The floors are covered with beautiful carpets and so that he would not stain his son’s carpets with his snuff tobacco and wouldn’t dirty it he abandoned snuff of his own free will.
He learned to smoke only at the age of 95. He had never smoked before that. Each day he smokes two or three small pipes. He does not want to ride in a horse-drawn carriage. This year he wished to have a look at the mill of his son in Tisch Mills. His son had the horses hitched up to the family carriage, and he and his wife rode with his father. Along the road to Tisch Mills that is about 14 miles long, they were afraid that the father would not withstand the journey. When they had traveled about six miles grandpa asked how far it was still to Tisch Mills. When he learned that they had not driven even half the way he commented on the pleasure of riding. While in the town he does not allow himself to be driven anywhere, he says that it is healthier to walk one mile than to ride ten miles. He says that his walking outside keeps him healthy. Not long ago, the town newspapers published a story about the oldest people in Kewaunee County and in first place they mentioned Grandpa Seyk, however, the editor having never heard his first name thought that most likely he has the same name as his son Václav and so he named him in the reporting as “Václav Seyk.” It was during the winter. The streets were covered with ice, sleet had fallen. The very next day early in the morning after the publication of the newspaper Grandpa Seyk walked on foot to the editing room to tell them that his name was not Václav, but Frank. The editor eagerly published the correction.
While he was still at home in Bohemia he subscribed to a newspaper along with his teacher. The second newspaper was subscribed to by the priest. Mr. Seyk liked to read Havlíček’s newspaper. He still likes to read and in the end we should be reminded that Grandpa Seyk is a great-grandfather and the family Seyk has four generations. The son W. Seyk is the president and head of W. Seyk Company that is composed solely of members of Seyk’s family. The company owns the mill in Tisch Mills and they own another mill in West Kewaunee. They also own a large factory for processing of peas in Kewaunee, the production of which amounted this season to over 1 million cans. – The company owns large granaries, docks, and a coal yard. The son of Václav Seyk, Eduard is the secretary of Seyk Company and two of his sons are the fourth generation of the living family Seyk.
Everyone hopes that Grandpa Seyk will live a longer time in good health. J.V.I.”
Tomorrow we will bring you the final installment of this wonderful 1904 translation with one last biography for your enjoyment and your learning!
Onward To Our Past®