Welcome back to our exclusive translation of a wonderful Amerikán Národní Kalendář article from 1904! Today we are pleased to bring you installment #3.
After our first installment took us to South Dakota and our second to Wisconsin, we begin a new biography for a third Czech immigrant in a new location as well. It’s another good one, so enjoy and learn!
Amerikán Národní Kalendář
Year: 1904, Volume: XXVII, Pages:
“The Memories of Czech Settlers in America”
“Among the representatives of our periodical we also have Mr. Josef Straka who used to live in Minneapolis, Minnesota. By now he is settled in Glenville, Minn.
His biography is a list of fights for life and therefore with his kind permission we are publishing these events from his remembrances: “I was born on the 11th of January 1846 in Sklenná Huť in the Prague district, and only at the age of 8 did I start to go to school, since the village in which I was staying with my parents was part of the school district that was one hour’s walk away. However because my parents and sisters had started to teach me how to read and write beforehand my learning at school advanced very quickly and I was able to successfully attend school in Břasy (a German school founded for children of upper administrators) at the age of 12.“
To this day he reminisces about one of his classmates, Otakar Feistmantel, later a doctor in the Dutch services and a noted traveler, by now deceased. Already then he had developed such a distaste for priests that he preferred a school where the priest came only once a year for exams. After that his parents wanted him, because of his intelligence, to devote himself to further studies and his mother even took him to Rokycany, but the young man did not think that he should study while all his other siblings stayed home, and therefore the idea of studies was abandoned. He therefore left with his father to work in the ironworks in Rokycany iron valley and he managed to reach the position of gas machinist with the Prague Iron Company in Břasy by Rokycany and later that of the supervisor of the blast furnace. He took over the inn keeping trade in his native village from his parents in 1872, for which he succeeded in getting permission to sell tobacco.
His yearning for the free air of America took hold of him in 1875 and together with several other families he did not hesitate in the execution of his goal. Since he was not completely free of his military duty, with the help of a lawyer he worked on requests for permission to emigrate and when it did not come for a long time he sent his wife accompanied by her parents and several others ahead of himself to America and when after her departure, only a week later, the permission came for him to emigrate, he said goodbye to his native village forever and energetically went to America. He went by the ship ‘Oder’, the same that later sank. After 12 days of sailing and on the 1st of November 1875 he reached New York and after only the most necessary delays he rode to follow his wife to Pittsburgh, where she was waiting at the home of Mr. Funfár.”
Tomorrow we continue this wonderful Czech immigrant story! Stay with us!
Onward To Our Past®