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Welcome back!  We are continuing our fantastically detailed story of, at this time, life in Bohemia in the 1800s!  It is an amazing story and more highly detailed than any of our other translations to date.

Join us again as we continue to follow the life of one Czech, who allows us a window into what life was like during the time of our ancestors!

Enjoy!  It is a wonderful one!

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®

1934 John Zajic image

John Zajíc, Sr. Edgerton, Alberta, Canada.

“It is hard to describe the happiness that I lived then. I was no longer the hungry and torn little boy.  Now I was a gentlemen, or Sir Johann Zajíc.  I did not turn my nose up.  I stayed in the Král’s inn as an (unmarried) lodger for 3 years.  At that time farmers usually did not have educated sons.  Often it happened that when some farmer received an administrative letter, that I was invited either for lunch or supper, or to take some kind of measurement, and while I was doing it I would explain to them the meaning of that document.

Jug with Shoemakers' Guild symbols. Copyright 1955 Artis Prague.

Jug with Shoemakers’ Guild symbols. Copyright 1955 Artis Prague.

The trade school worked miracles for me, since I knew, anatomy, measuring and business accounting quite well; I was very industrious through out that time.  The prosperity was on the highest level, so I used all my knowledge in every way and with every day I was getting new clients, so that I was not able to do the work alone, and I had to contract workers.  I had up to six of them at once. I bought another sewing machine for women’s shoes and gloves, and I developed general shoes for everybody.  I sent out samples of my work and I gained as clients many rich villages like Chotoň, Chrášťany, Chotutice, Lipany, Poboř, Přebory, Hradenín, Radín, Miškovice, Zalešany, and many individual citizens.  With great pleasure I was working even up to 18 hours a day.  After three years I moved to a bigger apartment and I moved my old poor parents in.  Then, however, a big worry started, and that was to get married.  Girls from good families were interested in me and many of their fathers were even promising quite nice dowries.  Finally, at the age of 24 I got married.  I chose a beautiful 20-year-old bride, Anna Švejdová from Bylany and I lived with her happily for 49 years.  Three sons and one daughter were born to us.  They finished city school and even continuing school (our daughter, the industrial school).

Happiness flourishes only for a while, or as they say, they play for each one only a short time.  Even I encountered bad times in 1890.  Through a fire I lost 1,600 guilders.  I was not insured, since I thought that since I am sowing only good, the thatched building does not need to be insured.  The fire started at twelve o’clock during the night.  Many people ran in.  Some were carrying out things.  Others during that time were stealing quite comfortably, so that I lost half of what I had accumulated through hard work.  During that time our unborn child was miscarried because of its mother’s sorrow.  My wife came very close to dying, she was very sick as a result of the elemental catastrophe that had afflicted us.  I built another building on the burnt site, however, I could not even sleep there. – I was afraid for our lives from the unknown arsonist.  I sold it below its value. I bought another place and I built a new building that was fireproof.  That is how I became less well off financially.”

Continue to follow along with us as we post more of this terrific story of the life of one Czech’s life in Bohemia, his work, his family, and his dreams!

Onward To Our Past®

A Genealogical Historian, who is focused on family history and genealogy of the highest quality, but with a dose of fun. Avid about documentation and evidence. Loves helping folks of all levels in their genealogy pursuits, especially in the areas of Bohemia, Czech Republic, Italy, Cornwall, Kent, United Kingdom, U.S. Immigration and Cleveland, Ohio.

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