Welcome back to Arizona, 1934, and our Czech author who is giving us a magnificent look at “A Quarter of a Century of Farming in Arizona”!
Actually we are farther back in time than 1934, but the article we are translating and providing for you here is from the pages of the 1934 edition of the spectacular Czech-American annual journal, Amerikán Národní Kalendář.
Our author is one Frank Halas and he is providing us with a review of at least twenty five years he spent in the territory and then state of Arizona.
If you missed our first installment of this amazing story, you can simply click here and catch up!
Enjoy today’s fabulous 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®
“A Quarter of a Century of Farming in Arizona”
For Kalendář Amerikán by Frank HalasFrank Halas
“European workers of our kind who already had some experience from their journeying in Europe by preference avoided new regions and they also preferred to have more possessions than they could carry on them. It was good to be settled somewhere in a bigger town and have work to which unions helped the workers and which had somewhere already their own offices, or at least a secretary that was being the intermediary between employers and those who were searching for work. There were of course also employment agencies that you have to pay for, my brother received work from them when we stumbled into this place as seasonal bakers. In this region at that time one needed bodily strength, dexterity and courage. And then everybody had to be decided to take today one type of work and tomorrow a completely different type. On the part of entrepreneurs, nothing was provided during the time when one had to fight with unbridled natural elements. Besides that, one had to avoid different dangers, take care that all bodily members were in order and get a lot of rest after work.
The work, however, was only seasonal and after the end of the season there was once again nothing. The best way to acquire money was through business, however, not always, and not with everybody. The farmer could not get rich from the harvest either, because when there was a harvest there were not enough markets so that it could be sold off. The transportation costs were a burden to everybody, the farmer, the vintner, the cattleman, the gardener, and the poultry man. Money was at great paucity. In such conditions it did call for quite a bit of thinking of how to furnish oneself permanently in such conditions. Since our people like my brother had, besides a trade, also some farming blood, immediately in the first years they bought a piece of land for low payments. He did it with the decision to work always on his own after the end of the season.
It was quite courageous since in the town there were only 3 bakeries, two Germans and one Irishman, and he was at their mercy.
Later the conditions improved somewhat and a big business company took it upon themselves to build family houses for anybody for small payments. That was already a different type of dwelling than handmade wooden shacks.
Later it was even better when the farmers dug a canal on the side of the mountains in the northern part of the valley. They were letting water from the upper side into it from the river and this is how they were covering with water about 20,000 acres of soil for wheat, and alfalfa for grazing. It was irrigated in the end of November according to whether there were big rains, because the irrigation had to be done only when the water from the strong rains reached over the gate.”
Tomorrow we continue our exclusive and wonderful story and move forward in the times of our Czech-American settler in Arizona!
Onward To Our Past®