Our story from 1951 continues today and our Czech couple bring us fresh and rich details of the lives, times, dreams, and struggles of many early Czech immigrants in the United States.

Theirs is one of continued struggle, but also continued determination and grit to achieve their dreams of better lives!

If you missed installment #1, you can click here to read it, then come back here for this all new segment of our unique story!


1951 Cover ANK

Amerikán Národní Kalendář

Year: 1951, Volume: LXXIII, Pages: 117-144

“Old Settlers’ Memories”

Translated from the original Czech by Dr. Mila Saskova-Pierce and Layne Pierce

©Onward To Our Past®


“I did like the work.  There was enough food as well, and I prospered.  I had a much bigger salary than at any time before.  About 8 months later the brother of Mr. Chleboun returned, so Mr. Chleboun did not need me anymore, however he helped me to find work with Mr. Fred Hecht near 47th St and Ashland Ave for $4 a week.  That was once again something new for me: different people, and different types of meat cutting.  I was steaming poultry and I was serving customers.  However, it was once again not permanent work.  I worked there only about half a year.  Then I went to work for Mr. Kokaizl on Throop St, between 49th and 50th Streets.  He went with his wife to Bohemia to visit, and so I was working there until they came back.  My friend, Fr. Černý, asked me whether I wanted to work on Blue Island Ave. with Forman Forster.  I gladly took over the job, and also I had a higher salary, in fact it was a royal $9 a week.  I paid $3 for food and $6 was left for me.

Chicago in the times of the Liška family.

Chicago in the times of the Liška family.

“I was still going to see my young girl at the Braun’s, probably about three and a half years, until we got married in 1900.  I worked at Forman Forster about 5 years. They were constantly adding to my salary until I was making $12 a week.  At that time we were already staying in Loomis between 19th and 20th Streets.  After 5 years we moved to 21st Place, into a butcher shop with Mr. Klečka, however we did not get along, so we put up with it for about six months, then we sold it and we moved back to Loomis.  I could not find any job.

I rented an empty store at 21st St. and California Ave. and we moved with three small children.  Everything was dirty.  For several years there was no heating so we were afraid our children would freeze to death during the night.  I will not describe at length that we also lived through quite a bit of poverty.  Our friends became co-signers so that everything we had was on loan.  These were open-hearted people: Anton and Mrs. Dvořák.  They helped us a lot.  They are already with God, but we still remember them, and we are grateful to them.

After five years we moved to our own home in Cicero on 54th Ave. and 24th St.  Our savings were not big enough for us to build a house with cash, so we once again became indebted.  In the beginning I was making very little, however week after week we were selling for a dollar more.  People started to move there and build and so we were operating a beautiful business.  After 14 years we sold it.  We bought two lots on 48th, close to 19th St. and we built, two two-floor houses with two stores on the two lots.  In one we had a butcher shop and in the other one our married daughter and her husband, Edward Kaboň, were selling ice cream.”

Tomorrow our story continues and it is another wonderful installment of a terrific story – rich in detail and giving us a unique window into the lives and times of early Czechs in America!

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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