We continue to be in the pages of the 1934 edition of the priceless, annual Czech-American journal, Amerikán Národní Kalendář!
But we begin an all new exclusive translation and today we find ourselves with another different story this time titled “A Quarter Century of Farming in Arizona”, written by Frank Halas.
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®
“A Quarter of a Century of Farming in Arizona”
For Kalendář Amerikán by Frank Halas
“In the years marking the beginning of this century, the American Far Southwest began to wake up on all sides. – Homes were founded and even here progress was shown in education, the railroads extended their iron lines into here, and up till now forgotten parts began to clamor for light.
At that time “the dark continent”, Arizona, was only a possession of the United States. The governor was named by the President and confirmed by the Congress.
Indians – the true native inhabitants in the land where they were fractured into many tribes and scattered in all the corners of Arizona – under the support of the government started to settle down and devote themselves mainly to the raising of cattle and poultry, or even farming. The Indian youth that were at least partially civilized in the schools of the United States influenced their parents, so these became more and more settled. The northern part [of Arizona] already had the Santa Fe Railroad going through it and the southern part was crisscrossed by the lines of the Southern Pacific Company, and both were building their branches towards the center of the territory. They then met in Phoenix and so this town became the center of the state business and the seat of the state government. The Salt River flowed through the center of Arizona. Its course would change often if a sandstorm came, and in many places it also flowed underground. At other times it would also take down a railroad bridge and even buildings. Nevertheless, the countryside started to be settled because settlers were moving in from far away surroundings. In the north, there were only mines. However, the southeast and west parts became the source of wellbeing through their cattle ranches, and even simple beginners participated in it and there followed the beginning of the building of schools and churches. The first pioneers tried to give their children all that they missed in education themselves. The Catholic missions also did quite a bit of work, but meanwhile the gentlemen priests were working for their own benefit, and in later years it turned out that they knew how to provide for themselves for all the times to come. They did not allow the founding of big shops in the surroundings of their bases and missions, and even railroads had to lead their lines quite a big distance from their places of operation. The monks did not hinder inns and similar institutions that they knew people needed from time to time, so they would get it out of their systems and later return like peaceful lambs. Of course, such inns also had to be an appropriate distance. The wives and children were working on the monks’ vineyards and gardens supposedly for the greater glory of God.
With the further settling, the business activities were growing, but always during the winter months; during the summer it was as if business had died out. The tradesmen always came and left with the businesses because it was not advisable to be on one’s own or to behave individually. Whoever had the courage to start something had to have, above all, enough money for the enterprise; to know the conditions and to behave with prudence.”
Tomorrow we continue with our story about what life was like in early Arizona and, as the author promises. twenty-five years to follow!
Onward To Our Past®