We are back! Back in the 1800s in America with our fabulous autobiography of a Czech family as they search for their dreams and future!
Having left Bohemia, we have followed this family across the ocean and now are with them in the Midwest. Two sons chose to remain in Cleveland, Ohio and the rest of the family has left for Kansas.
Today this amazing story from the pages of the Czech-American annual journal, Amerikán Národní Kalendář. continues in its detailed and wonderful style!
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®
John Zajíc, Sr. Edgerton, Alberta, Canada.
“My horses were only old veterans, and so with uncommon courage I therefore hitched the horses onto the planter. I saw that the horses were not afraid of it. Each one got into his place, and it worked well! As soon as I planted corn I had to plow around the first one, and even then the horses knew how to do it by themselves. I learned what the corn wants to be nice. It wants as much as the sugar beets. It wants to be over and over plowed around and to have the weeds cleaned. Even when it is already tall, up to 6 feet. For that I had one experienced horse. He had the same nature as his boss and that is only to work.
I got such a seed that even my neighbors had not dreamt of it even though they were old and experienced farmers, and later on they were buying it from me. Often I saw extended arms sticking out of the train cars that were going by pointing to my fields. Those fields were only green. My neighbors had fields that were nicely yellow as gold (sunflowers). In the fall I harvested 6,000 bushels of corn while my predecessor the year before had harvested only 600 bushels. I sold the corn to the cattle farmers for the money I got, I bought a bunch of cattle and that was the end of misery.
This is how I continued for a full six years. During that time I did not lose one single head of cattle, however, quite a few horses. For the winter I called one son to my farm, and the second one four years later when he was already married. I was thinking about getting my own farm, however, it was not possible. Six years before that such farms were being sold for thirty dollars an acre, however, doing the later time the same farms were sold for a hundred dollars an acre. I said: “If we wait a hundred years, we cannot buy even the smallest farm (without debt).”
In the year 1910, together with my oldest son, we made a transit journey across Canada with the result that we made a claim in Alberta on 4 homesteads, 160 acres each and later we purchased an additional 7 quarters. My sons own their own property here in Alberta.
This beautiful country was not propitious to us old folks. In 1914 our beloved daughter married Josef Svoboda from St. Paul, Nebraska in the year 1914. She died six years later after a long sickness. Both my wife and I got sick from it with an enlarged heart and high blood pressure. We had to come home to Alberta where we had to outfit ourselves once again and for twelve years of sadness we farmed on one farm here.
Our sons warned us not to work anymore, that we did not need it. Also the doctors were warning us, but we did not know how to heed them, since from our childhood we were used to working. Work made the time pass. I knew that I had an incurable sickness. I provided for my wife by making her the universal inheritor of all my possessions and I was not trying to escape death. I was doing all the work with the horses. I thought that death would encounter me most likely during hard work on a machine, but I was mistaken.”
We can only wonder what the future will hold for our amazing Czech family! Now in Canada and having laid their stake in Alberta! See what happens tomorrow…only here and only from Onward To Our Past®!
Onward To Our Past®