Welcome to the second installment, and second complete story, of a Czech immigrant from our exclusive translation of the 1904 article “The Memories of Czech Settlers in America” from the pages of the truly wonderful volumes of Amerikán Národní Kalendář!
Today, after being in South Dakota, we venture to another state and follow yet another Czech immigrant’s path as he follows his dreams of a new life in America.
Amerikán Národní Kalendář
Year: 1904, Volume: XXVII, Pages: 256-266
“The Memories of Czech Settlers in America”
[A picture of FRANK ŠAFRÁNEK]
“FRANK ŠAFRÁNEK was born on the 26th of July, 1860 in the village Žísov near Veselí nad Lužnicí in the Třeboň Region. He finished the local grammar school in Veselí nad Lužnicí and after that he went to České Budějovice to the home of Mr. Hein for an apprenticeship in the butchering and smoking of meat. After the apprenticeship time he successfully passed the exam and received his apprenticeship diploma. After a longer time in České Budějovice he went for his experience journey and he worked in several European towns.
In 1880 he left for America to seek his fortune. After arriving in New York he went to the state of Pennsylvania to the town Latrobe where he made the acquaintance of previously settled Czechs who had already been living there for some time. These compatriots worked mostly in the coal mines and upon their advice he also took up this work. After one month of training in the mines he started to dig his own coal with the help of his brother, Josef. By the second month he had already made 75 dollars. He started to like America somewhat more at that time.
After half a year in that town he saved a few dollars and went back to New York where he got involved in the cigar making trade.
Because of a lack of knowledge of English he had had to give up being a butcher. On the advice of a doctor he had, however, to abandon even this new trade and went back to the town of Latrobe. There he once again started to work in the coal mines. After six months he allowed agents to change his mind and together with his acquaintances he went to the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. However, at that time in Milwaukee there was no work and after a three week stay he went to the little town of Dorchester, Wisconsin where he worked in the woods during the winter and at the lumber mill during the summer. This was also where he was married.
When his wife fell sick he had to leave, upon the advice of a doctor, for Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he worked in several workshops in order to once again save some dollars.
He then started an independent butcher shop in December of 1888 in which he has, since that time, successfully continued to this day.”
Tomorrow we begin another new Czech immigrant biography, complete with details about the life and times of Czechs in America. As always we offer our thanks to the incredible foresight and concern for the history of Czechs in America shown by the editors of the great Czech-American annual journals of Amerikán Národní Kalendář!
Onward To Our Past®