Thanks to the talents of our terrific translation team of Mila Saskova-Pierce and Layne Pierce, the foresight of the editors and publisher of the Czech-American annual journal Amerikán Národní Kalendář, and Onward To Our Past® we continue to be transported back to 1850s America and are given a bird’s eye view of the lives and times of Czech (Moravian) immigrants!
Enjoy today’s installment and remember you can catch up with any installments you might have missed by clicking here!
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®
“The third day after the landing of the ship ‘Victoria’ our friends were already on their way home. The old experienced Lešovský meanwhile took care of everything that was necessary for the very beginning, especially foodstuff and also boards needed to build a dwelling, so that Bláha and the other families that came with him would not have any concerns about it; they would not unnecessarily lose time and they would not waste money.
The weather was very beautiful and the newly arrived could not express enough of their admiration that even in this late winter time the open prairies were covered with luxurious greenery and that the soft wind was so pleasurable and warm like in Bohemia during the spring. The fur coat, several days ago so welcoming, had to be taken off because one could not stand it because of the heat.
During animated conversation and making plans for the future the road was going quite fast. On the way also there was no lack of amusement, since at different places, whether at noon or during the night, often they would meet their countrymen, or settlers from other counties, who were taking their harvest to the market place and at that moment they would exchange news, warnings about horse thieves, and such. It was especially the evenings that everybody looked forward to, since around the joyfully crackling fire there was joke and merry stories from life telling, and the singing of folk songs.
It is self-evident that Vojtěch Lešovský and Anna Bláhová were able to find occasions for sweet talks. How many sweet wishes and yearning were expressed? How many hopes and fears? How many kisses and touching of the hands, they did not even know themselves. Lovers do not count them, they are living only in the present time. And it is good this way, since in the coming years, when the sorrows and sufferings of life arrive, those which no one can escape, they can find some consolation in lovely memories.
On the 18th of December our friends arrived in the little town of Brenham and on the 19th in the evening the Bláha family was already standing on their own land. It was a beautiful parcel measuring 160 acres, which Lešovský found for his friend. The old and experienced farmer recognized immediately the value of this soil as well as all of its advantages. Everything was in place, everything that a farmer wishes for most, such as: a forest grove, streaming water, and enough prairie.
“Truly, I could not be more grateful to you, for this choice.” he said to his friend. “And now with gusto let’s start to build, so that once again I could be beneath my own roof. Before Christmas Eve some kind of a temporary hovel should stand here, since from time immemorial in our family the Eve has not been celebrated anywhere else, but on our own ground and beneath our own roof. This is what I want this year also.”
Tomorrow our story continues from 1850s America! What a marvelous way to get a look at the lives and times of early Czech immigrants!
Onward To Our Past®