Today we begin a new exclusive translation for your Czech genealogy, history, and cultural enjoyment!  Once again we find ourselves enjoying a story about not one, but two early Czech immigrants.  A couple, whose story was included in the 1951 edition of the priceless pages of the Czech-American annual journal, Amerikán Národní Kalendář!

Today we get to meet Josef Kessler, his wife, Marie Bukáčková, and wonderfully, they give us their parents, children, and siblings!  This one is quite a find for the Kessler family line!

This story is a longer one, so we will be presenting it in installments.  You might want to sign up for our automatic email notice of new postings on our site so you don’t miss any of our exclusive translation!  All you have to do is click here, go to the bottom of the page, and sign up!  Quick, easy, and you can relax knowing you will catch every one of our translations here!


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®

“Forty Years of Happy Common Life of Spouses Josef and Marie Kessler”

We think about our beloved native Czech country and the village Škrdlovice which is situated in a nice valley on the Czech-Moravian highlands near the Žďarské Mountains and which through its enticing surroundings became a sought-out vacation place.  Not far away is the mountain Tisůvka on the top of which there is an enormous boulder called the “Devil’s Stone” from which there is a beautiful view.  Further towards the east is Žákova Mountain.  On the south side of Škrdlovice are big beautiful forests among which there are two smaller lakes called Little Dářko and Big Dářko, which are divided by a high, wide, and long dam.  It is said about it that it was built during the times of corvee labor.   All the free time that we had we went there.  We would float on rafts – We would swim and catch fish.  We walked through the forest in the surroundings of Dářko where blueberries, raspberries and strawberries grow, and also the true Czech boletus mushrooms.  In the fields it was visible how the grain was in beautiful waves and the meadows were full of beautiful flowers.  It is truly a nice memory of our native country, which will never disappear from our memory.

Boletus mushrooms. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Boletus mushrooms. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Our house was the last one on the west side of the village, and near it there was a nice field and the meadow was like a garden.  My father, Jan Kessler was born in 1855 in Škrdlovice and died in 1929.  My mother Ottilie, maiden name Cempírková was born in 1862 and died in 1929. — My parents had 7 children:  me, Jan, Albert, Anton, Marie, Ottilie and Emilie. – I was the oldest.  I was born on the 26th of October 1885.  – We were working all the time altogether, before I got married, and often good was alternating with bad.

I was married on the 7th of February 1910 to Marie Bukáčková who was born on the 22nd of February 1888 – My wife’s father was born in 1864 and he died in 1949.  Her mother, Josefa, born Novotná was born in 1868 and died in 1940 as a consequence of falling on the ice during a strong snowstorm.  The couple Bukáček had two sons, Jan and Antonín and daughters, Marie, Františka, Emilie and Pavlína.

My sister, Marie, left for America in April in the year 1906 when she was sixteen years old.  Later she married here Karel Pešek.  They used to live in Czech Pilsen on Fisk St.  Near Dvořák Park.  – We often corresponded with my sister, but I never thought that we would meet one day in America.  The change came unexpectedly when I got married and on the 14th of September 1910 we arrived in Chicago.  We came to America on the ship George Washington from Bremen.

SS George Washington was taken by the US during WWI and rechristened the USS George Washington.

SS George Washington was taken by the US during WWI and rechristened the USS George Washington.

We stayed several days with my sister Marie before we found our own apartment.  – My first employment here was in a dry cleaner’s and tanning of suits.  It was easy work and the time was going by fast.  I was let go from this employment with which I was content after 15 months.  The time came when we experienced and came to know what hard times are.  One neighbor found me work in a lumberyard.  I learned about the big difference in work and how the day is long when you spend it handing out boards upward from one person to another.  – After 3 days of this work I read an announcement in Svornost [Solidarity] where Fr. Kouba, a farmer from Keystone, Iowa was looking for a helper for $35 a month.  That same evening I wrote to Mr. Kouba and I was accepted.    First I went ahead alone to see Iowa.  When Mr. Kouba showed me everything and explained what I was to do every day, I was more than disappointed.  I left convinced that I would not return – the fates, however, wanted it differently… ”

Tomorrow we continue our story of this interesting Czech couple!  Follow along and don’t miss a thing 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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