ALL NEW TODAY!  We begin a brand new, exclusive English translation of another wonderful, first-person account of the lives and times of early Czech immigrants to the United States!  And today we bring you another couple!

This is a tremendous story with wonderful details, many surnames, and recounting of times in Bohemia as well as life for Czech immigrants in the United States.

Enjoy this story as we present our first installment today for you, only from Onward To Our Past®!

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®


1951 Liska image

“I was born on the 18th of September in Bujesilíe in the district of Královice in Bohemia.  My mother’s name was Marie; as a widow with children she married my father who was also a widower and also had children.   I was then born from their union so they had three groups of children.   My father’s name was František Liška. – There were more children some of them already married and scattered throughout the world, so I knew only those who were at home and then those here in America. –

I went to school in Liblín until I reached the age of thirteen-and-a-half and then my parents sent me for an apprenticeship in Rokycany.  There I was learning butchery for two years with Mr. František Černovský in the years from 1894 up to 1896, after which I received my apprentice certificate.  After that I went to look for a job in Pilsen but it was difficult to find work in butchering.  There were only jobs as an assistant, and I did not like that: since I was already done with my apprenticeship, I did not like to be just an assistant.

Therefore I decided to go to America in the same year, in 1896.  Here, however, it was not at all that much better than in Bohemia.  I came during the time when they were still pulling street cars by horses on 18th Street.

The first employment I got was in frame-making in the neighborhood of Central behind Lake St., and there I made $2.75 a week and I had to pay $3 a week for dwelling and $3 a week for food:  so I was in debt still twenty-five cents a week, so I stayed with this work only for 3 weeks.  Then I received employment with the butcher, Mr. Kolingr for $1 a week.  It was a lot of work and I had to get up at four a.m. several times a week because all the meat had to be ground by hand.  Later we asked for the meat to be cut and then it became easier.  So I worked there about a year with room and board included.

After a year I went to stay with my nephew, with whom I was distributing liver and several small cuts of meat from butchers.  I was doing this work for several months, but also for a small salary and again I had to get up every day at 4 a.m., and go to the slaughterhouse, so I did not like it either.  I started to look for different work.

Meanwhile Mr. Kolingr took over a store from Mr. Vítek on Union Ave. and 29th; and so I started to work for him for $2 a week once again.  There I had to twist meat with my hands for blood sausage which we were often making during the night.  After a certain misunderstanding with the wife of my employer I started to work for Mr. Ptáček whose butcher shop was not far away.  Meanwhile I had met with a sweet and good girl who had come from Bohemia to visit her brother.  I had already visited the family of her brother, T. Braun, before, repeatedly, and through their mediation I found work with Mr. Chleboun for several months in the area of Wood St. and 50th St. since his brother got sick and he needed new help.”

Tomorrow our story continues!  Remember, your only source for new, exclusive English translations of the priceless, first-person accounts found in the Czech-American journal, Amerikan Národní Kalendar, is right here!  Only from 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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