An all new installment today! We are still in Arizona with our Czech farming family, which is trying to make their future dreams come true as they settle in this southwestern area of the United States.
We bring you our exclusive translation originally found only in Czech in the pages of the 1934 edition of the Czech-American annual journal, Amerikán Národní Kalendář!
Follow along with the Halas family as they continue relating their remarkable story of a quarter century of farming in old Arizona!
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
“The farmers of course had to pay for the pumped water separately, however, those who held shares in the banks had the water for free or instead of dividends from the electricity plant. The protests on the part of the old settlers were refused in all instances in court. The whole project, of course served big interests and small farmers had to pay and be quiet. Therefore, such a small farmer on 1 to 20 acres has to buy water for a price which is set for him by big farmers and he has to pay ahead of time, and then he has to wait until he gets it, if there is any. If the water does not come, the harvest suffers and nothing can be done about it.
In general, farming families are numerous and so the members of those, both women as well as men, are going for another salary, so most of the members of the family are living independently. Many people have their cars, which helps, and that makes it possible to go for employment somewhere else far away. This is also possible to do, because, crisscross around here there are hardtop paved roads. If someone falls out of this complexity, for example like my brother, he can pack up his suitcases and go somewhere in the town for employment, if he has enough strength and nerve.
In the year 1903 in Arizona they passed a law forbidding the so-called games of chance and betting. Those were mainly roulette, along with the Japanese lottery, many gaming rooms in saloons and even outside of them. It was mainly roulette and farrow that attracted the most players with heaps of silver and gold money and heaps of banknotes. I myself, once, during my visit to the town Phoenix had the opportunity to get a close look at it and try my luck. The possibility to win was about ten to one. Money was made and so it had to be spent somehow, since even in a bank it was not secure. There were frequent bank robberies. The Japanese and Chinese in order to save their earnings were hiding it in whatever way, even burying it in the ground. Whoever thought about future times had to buy a piece of land and prepare it. In such conditions it was necessary to establish a law that would forbid games of chance and betting, because otherwise there was no possibility of pulling people away from it, and that included women. When this law passed, it was prophesied that the town of Phoenix and another three or four towns in Arizona would disappear. It did not happen, even though a lot of money was carried out of here, especially across the border to New Mexico and Utah. Other people came, brought new and different businesses, including the first small theater, and once again it was a good time. In spite of that, however, for a long time they played secretly in inns. As a result, there was animosity against the inns; nevertheless because they paid big taxes to the town they were somewhat protected.”
We continue with our exclusive Onward To Our Past® translation tomorrow, which looks at an amazing twenty-five years of Czech farmers in Arizona and we bring you our author’s conclusion!
Onward To Our Past®