1863 — Our second of three Christmases of our Czech (Moravian) immigrants continues. There is war in the land and the families are caught up in it.
Amerikán Národní Kalendář
Volume: XLIV, Year: 1921, Pages 154-168
A Page from the Lives of American Czechs from the Fifties
Written by Hugo Chotek
Translated by Layne Pierce and Mila Saskova-Pierce
©Onward To Our Past®
“This is why they were lulled into carelessness, and young Lešovský ceased to be wary and was going to hunt and often he would go far away into the surroundings in spite of the pleading of his wife and the warning voice of his father-in-law and mother-in-law.
It was on the 23rd of December when Job news reached the farm of Bláha. It was a long letter from young Klimička who was serving along with Bláha in the army in one of the companies. The part which impacted the Bláha family is the following:
“We were cruising on our gunship, the “Tennessee” between Sabine Pass and Galveston, and we were of quite merry dispositions, since the ships of the United States were running away from us like a rabbit in front of a forester. On the 13th, however, we did meet unexpectedly with the mighty cruiser, “Black Hawk”, which went on the attack and began to shoot at us. My friend Bláha and I were standing on the deck, closely side by side, and we were laughing at the balls that were flying over our heads. Then suddenly something swished through the air and Bláha and three comrades were rolling over the deck, their bodies shattered. The poor souls were killed instantly and were frightfully disfigured. Then a cruiser, “Morgan”, came to our aid, and the “Black Hawk” having torn away from me my most faithful friend took flight like a real bird of prey. Do support the Bláha family as much as you can. “
This was a cruel blow, nevertheless it did not bend the neck of the old Bláha. He tried to stay as positive as he could. He was giving strength to his wife, and to the widow, to the sister, and to the son-in-law, even though it was a miracle his own heart did not break from sorrow.
He himself brought the Christmas tree from the forest and he himself with the older grandchildren decorated it with cookies and fruit. His son-in-law, Vojtěch, had enough to do at home, since his wife who loved her brother fervently, took the loss too much within her heart and was walking around the house spiritless.
On Christmas Day, already early in the morning, Vojtěch left home to hunt in spite of the pleading of his wife, who with a sinister premonition was trying to dissuade him. “We have enough poultry,“ she said “And Klimičeks sent us fish, two wild ducks, and half a dozen partridges.”
“I am not going to go far, and I will be back around noon,” retorted Vojtěch.
“And what if the Texans come? You can run directly into their hands and then I will lose you too.”
“Don’t be worried, dear. Today is Christmas Day, and at that time even a soldier spends it gladly among his four walls. Be assured that I will return soon, and I will bring an abundance of killed game.“ Having kissed his wife and children he went to meet his fate.”
Learn what fate awaited…as we will continue our exclusive translation of Hugo Chotek’s amazing story of early Moravian immigrants to the United States.
Onward To Our Past®