We continue today with a brand new, exclusive translation from the pages of the 1934 Czech-American annual journal, Amerikán Národní Kalendář!
We move across the country to a new city and bring you the story of the life of the Czech immigrant, who earned the nickname “the noble gentleman”!
It is another wonderful story and another excellent look into the world of our Czech ancestors who settled in America!
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®
Frank Mašek – We are all subject to timeless laws of Nature, to the laws of beginning and end. That is the reason why the ranks of our old settlers are constantly becoming sparser
Last year, once again, one famous and energetic worker left. He tried to aid in the realization of the most beloved ideals of humanity, not only through words, but also through action. This is how he left, through his noble activity, an honorable memory and a visible trace in the history of the American branch of our dear nation.
This was Frank Mašek, known under the soubriquet “the noble gentleman”, a building contractor, inspired national activist, energetic Free Thinker and devoted worker in associations, fighter for the rights of the working people.
Frank Mašek was born on the 7th of October 1856 in Horažďovice in the region of Písek in Bohemia as the youngest of four siblings, among which sister Františka is still living in the old country. His parents, while living in modest circumstances, sent the 12 year old František into service after he finished school and then three years later to a trade apprenticeship to become a bricklayer since the father was also employed in this profession. Both parents died at a blessed age; the father at the age of 84, and the mother 79 years old, soon after the arrival of František to this country.
At the age of eighteen Mašek went to Vienna and later to Germany as a brick laying journeyman to acquire practical experience for his future life. During the second year of his stay in Vienna he was seriously injured while working on a construction site and for a long time he underwent treatment in the local general hospital. Because he had to stay idle for a long time, as a young man of 19, who was raised in strict Catholic beliefs, he thought bitterly about God’s providence that had allowed him, an honest believer, to be stricken although blameless and, being deprived of his health, to be sentenced to be idle and without hope. There in the hospital, as he often would narrate to his friends, after further reflection and reading of books by progressive authors he reached the idea of further travel though the world, and the conviction that a person can count only on himself and through his own awareness and freedom of spirit seek his fortune. This change of conviction offered him spiritual relief and determination to always work in this direction according to possibilities.
Armed with this progressive conviction and unhappy with the local situation he set off for America with money which his father had borrowed and which he paid off already during the first year of his stay in America including interest. So František Mašek came to America at the age of 24, already a convinced Free Thinker and ardent socialist, in the year 1880, to the Czech settlement of “Pilsen”, in the growing metropolis of Chicago.”
Tomorrow we continue with more of this wonderful story of another Czech immigrant from the 1800s in America!
Onward To Our Past®