Here we go! Welcome back to 1904 and a brand new wonderful Amerikán Národní Kalendář story of the life and times of an early Czech immigrant to America! We are in a new state with a new Czech and another marvelous, detail-filled account!
We know you will enjoy this great story!
Amerikán Národní Kalendář
Year: 1904, Volume: XXVII, Pages: 256-266
“The Memories of Czech Settlers in America”
[picture of J. M. PIVOŇKA]
M. PIVOŇKA, who is nowadays postmaster in Ryan, Rush Co., Kansas and our representative, looks at his 71 year run of life as if it were kaleidoscopic pictures. In a long appendix, in answer to our request, he narrates about his life in the following terms: “I was born on the 9th of July 1832 in Obrazenice in the district of Znojmo and at the age of 13 I was put by my parents into the saddle making trade, as was the custom for that age. I was 17 when I finished my apprenticeship and I went for a trade journey with the goal of reaching Hungary.
After three years of wandering around I returned home and fell into the hands of the military lords, having been drafted into the 6th Cuirassier Regiment in Vel. Varadin. After the 11 month-long training I was assigned as a regiment saddler and when in the year 1854 our regiment was ordered to occupy the Galician-Russian border near Podwoloczyska, they also took me with them. All soldiers serving mainly in the cavalry regiment probably remember the constant displacement from place to place well and it was no different with our regiment.
In November of the same year we started a return march from Podwoloczyska to Debrecen in Hungary from where in the year 1855 I departed to Transylvania, where for 11 months we were chasing the famous Hungarian ruler of the Hungarian plains, Rozsa Sandor.
In April 1856 during this time I was wounded in my left leg and I lost my horse, so I was sent back as a sick person to the regiment, and after a month and a half I was given leave. That, however, did not last long, because already after four months of staying at home I was called back to the regiment in January of 1859 and they assigned me to the defense guard of the 12th Artillery Regiment with which I then set off to the Italian battlefield. There a true difficulty started. We were wandering from place to place, and I lived, luckily, through more clashes, until in one of them I received a blow from the lance of a French lancer, from which I regained consciousness only in the field dressing station. When I recovered from it in about three months I received a discharge from the army, this time a complete one. I returned home and, having married in 1862 I took over my father’s small farm with an inn and I also founded a small grocery store. I was making it reasonably well, however, the fateful year of 1866 brought me to the edge of annihilation. The gluttonous Prussians requisitioned everything there was and also in my place they wreaked lot of havoc so I slowly fell into debt without any help. This is how it went on until the year 1876 when Bohemia and Moravia were hit by the emigration fever to go to Russia, mainly to the Caucasus. I went there alone to find out. However, in Odessa they talked me out of the plan to go to the Caucasus and they pointed out that new Czech settlements had been founded in Kherson and Nikolaev.”
Tomorrow we continue this amazing story! The details continue to flow and offer incredible insights into the life and times of early Czech immigrants in both the Czech lands as well as the United States.
Onward To Our Past®