We conclude our exclusive translation today of the most amazing story from the pages of the 1934 edition of the Czech-American journal, Amerikán Národní Kalendář!
This story, “A Quarter of a Century of Farming in Arizona” has been giving us an unvarnished and detailed look at the lives and times of early Czech settlers who made the decision to become farmers and settlers in early Arizona in the United States.
Today we bring you the conclusion of this story. What you find may be sad and shocking…
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 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. These battles grew more and more dogged from year to year, according to the party that won in elections. The year when the state law about the banning of the sale of spirits went into effect, I was in business for myself. I had a bakery and a restaurant, and so I was a witness to how even some banks in the state had to close and liquidate. The bank with which I was doing business also had to close; however, only for a short time, because it was successful in getting deposits from the East, which replaced the deposits of saloon owners who were taking their money to neighboring California. Since, exactly at that time, the building of the dam began, but also other buildings were undertaken, this law did not have any damaging influence on the public economy. As a consequence of this the administration also stayed in the hands of the same political party: the Democrats. In a state so big, yet so sparsely settled, and electing only one congressman, the elections do not have the same importance, and do not bring administrative overturns, as in the states that more populated, especially those that have industry.
In this region, they mainly fight for sheriff [offices], and in the towns for the mayor. Because many local people, especially farmers, are from other states, they organize almost in the way of colonists, and they are more interested in who, for example, is the governor in Illinois, or the senator in Iowa, than in the election of a governor of their own state, and accordingly they also take very little part in the elections.
To give examples of individual prosperity it was mainly Germans who were successful, whether they were tradesmen or farmers. They always stuck together which, especially during the war, helped them greatly. Whoever wanted to be completely independent in time paid for it very badly. Germans, however, were relieved of military duty. They had very good earnings. Besides that they knew very well how to put the bad things onto the “disloyal” Austrians. I learned this the hard way. I was assaulted by them and when I did not see any other way, I closed my business and joined the military service. I went with the militias to guard the border against Mexican bandits, and then I joined the Czechoslovak Legion in France.
At that time my brother was shot on his farm when he was guarding his hens and turkeys from thieves. Of course, our parents took quite hard that I went to France to fight the war, especially since both my nephew and niece became independent and left home before their time.
[Picture Heading:] Arizona Cactus. A group of Czech Chicago Excursionists in a Typical Natural Isolated Spot in the American Far West.
The work in the shops and in the town was paid much better altogether than on the farms, and proportionately with that automobiles became popular. On the one hand as a luxury, but on the other as a quick and comfortable means of transportation, mainly, of course, in the case of young people, who moved to the towns as fast as they could, when the prosperity of farmers also left for the towns after the war. The lots were then worked in a lighter way, and willy-nilly and everything was turning out as you would expect. So in our case our parents were growing old and weak; and my brother with shattered nerves ended his life with a bullet from a revolver. This is how his quarter of a century long experience in Arizona ended.”
Thus we complete the translation of our incredible story of “A Quarter of a Century of Farming in Arizona” written for Amerikán Národní Kalendář by Frank Halas.
Continue with us as we begin a new article tomorrow, only here at Onward To Our Past®!