Our exclusive and wonderful translation continues from the pages of the Czech-American annual journal, Amerikán Národní Kalendář!
More surnames! More details! More information on the early struggles of those Czechs in America who were intent on maintaining pride in their roots, their home country, and their personal histories! It was not easy, nor did it always meet with success.
Enjoy today’s installment!
Amerikán Národní Kalendář
Volume: LVII, Year: 1934, Pages: 187-213
“FROM THE MEMORIES OF OLD CZECH SETTLERS IN AMERICA”
Translated by Layne Pierce and Dr. Mila Saskova-Pierce
©Onward To Our Past®
“From the History of Caledonia, an Old Czech Settlement in the State of Wisconsin.”
(From the Recollection of J. L. Peťura, deceased on the 13th of March 1930)
“I was present at the Eliáš home when Mráček came there, and he was so weak that he could not even walk. I have a memento from him; we bought a small heating stove from him for five dollars for which not even a Jew would pay a dollar. Next, in the introductory article it was announced that Slavie would be published only once a week on Wednesday. According to the wishes, it was supposed to be printed in the format of a big square, so that it could be bound into a book and in this way preserved for descendants. I have two bound years, the first and second. It is a beautiful memento and today it is a rarity. These two years were in Chicago twice, and they almost ended up being lost. Further it was noted that for a readership that was used to reading only in fraktur print (švabach), so that they would not be discriminated against, in the future an entire half of it would be printed in fraktur. At that time, the talks with the Russian government progressed so far that they agreed to pay the journey of two representatives that we would elect. Upon that once again a big meeting was called and it was understood that it was at the Eliášes home. There F. Mráček and J. Bárta Letovský as a Moravian farmer were elected to journey to Russia. At that time Mráček was editor only from October to December 4th of the year 1861, when he once again said goodbye to the readership: “With this issue of Slavie I am handing over my editorship to our esteemed countryman Mr. Vojtěch Mašek, who is kind enough to take over the editorship of Slavie on an interim basis for the period of eight to ten months, that is until my return from Amur.”
Thereupon those two went along with Count Malinovski to Russia and Mr. F. Mráček never returned to America. He stayed there for good. J. B. Letovský, since he had his family here came back unsuccessful. It would have been the stupidest thing if they had moved to Russia then—That would have been a blow for us.—It was constantly being written: “Let’s keep with Russia, that will save us sometime in the future”, and so far we have always been terribly disappointed in Russia. Mašek, who was a former classmate of Karel Jonáš remained the editor of Slavie until the 5th of June, 1863, when he once again took his leave from the subscribers to the paper:
“Having had in my plans to travel around America for some time, and namely to visit Czech settlements so that I would learn about their situations and the conditions of their Czech inhabitants, I am handing over the editorship of Slavie during my travels to Mr. Karel Jonáš, up to now a collaborator on this paper. I underline that the perspective will remain the same. I satisfy myself with the hope that the national good-naturedness of many of my friends will be transferred for the time of my journey onto my deputy and friend.”
I have to stress that Mašek went neither to Bohemia, nor did he travel, but upon the advice of his old friend Josef Novotný, and later the “good old man” Bedřich Jonáš, he got married. With the help of Novotný he went to Kewaunee and there for 500 dollars he bought only the interior furnishing of an inn. Mašek was a kind and honest soul and that is why he gained trust and good credit. This loan was offered to him by Anton Kroupa at that time a quite rich and very well-known businessman in iron goods. When a certain firm asked about Mr. Mašek, the little Kroupa answered: “He is as good as gold!” Mašek prospered very well, since in a short time he became one of the rich Czechs on the north side. He had his own ships and sent poles, wood, bark, and shingles to Chicago.”
Tomorrow our fabulous story continues with many details and surnames from our exclusive translation from the 1934 edition of the Czech-American journal, Amerikán Národní Kalendář!
Onward To Our Past®