Today we continue and conclude our amazing story of the early Czech immigrant settlers who were a part of the great land rush into the Oklahoma Territory. Today our translation even includes each of the lawsuits, which came about against many of the Czechs and even which sections of land were involved. A history treasure trove for certain!
Enjoy this great finish to a great story from the pages of the 19o8 edition of the Czech-American annual journal, Amerikán Národní Kalendář!
Amerikán Národní Kalendář
Volume: XXXI, Year: 1908, Pages 272-275
Translated by Dr. Mila Saskova-Pierce and Layne Pierce
©Onward To Our Past®
The Czechs marched in first. Their adversaries came only later and when they saw that the contested lands were already registered by other people, they registered a complaint against the Czechs saying that they had entered onto Oklahoma Territory before the law permitted it, and then during the registration they swore falsely.
The first case was Thomas Burch vs. Anton Cáha. This is how the famous court case started and it lasted for 2 years and was followed by all of America. The next cases were James Beasley vs. Charles Černý, S-w ¼ sec 1, twp 11, r. 5. –Warren Shroyer vs.Anton Černý, n-w sec 11, twp 11, r. 5. –Andrew J. T. Roff vs. Joseph Cáha, s-e ¼, sec 1, twp 11, r. 5. –Charles Roff vs. John Březina, s ½ of n-e ¼ lots 1 and 2, sec 2, twp 11, r. 5. –Stephen Hostetter vs. Joseph Černý n-e ¼ sec 11, twp 11, r.5 —-Daniel Boone vs. August Kasl s ½ n-w ½ lots 3 and 4, sec 2, twp 11, r.5 –Edward B. Brooks vs John Nový s-w ¼ sec 4, twp 11, r. 5.–Uriah Brown vs. John Benda s-w ¼ sec. 10, twp 11, r. 5.–William E. Banks vs. John Diviš,s-w ¼ sec. 2, twp 11, r.5.–R. J. Thompson vs. John Roztočil s-w 1/4 sec. 11, twp 11, r.5.– William Smaley vs. Frank Dudek. At one point Mr. Dudek had two contesters, one claimed that he was on the land sooner than Mr. Dudek, and the other claimed that Mr. Dudek was there too early. As soon as our homesteaders came from Kingfisher from their registration. U. S. Marshalls came for them, and they took Dudek, Cáha, Roztočil and Černý with them. Since there was no prison at Oklahoma Station, they locked them up in a railroad car, and guarded them with rifles. In Kingfisher the Czechs rights were recognized, and the Interior Department in Washington, D.C. decided in their favor and so it seemed that it would be given to them to live quietly on their homesteads, when on the contesting side, John Hubatka was hired as a spy to find new testimony against the Czechs, and so the trials began again. Some listened to sage advice and stepped aside in exchange for compensation, and others tenaciously defended their rights from instance to instance. The court swallowed thousands which our people had collected for their group defense. Finally there was a memorable court proceeding in Wichita, Kansas, which attracted the attention of the whole country and which filled up many pages of Oklahoma history. Twenty-one of our countrymen were taken to the court and the testimony filled heaps of paper. J. Eddy was a representative of the government. Judge Williams was the chairman of the court, and Henry Asp from Guthrie and the provisional governor Stanley from Kansas, represented the accused. More than fifty witnesses were interrogated and everything indicated that the Czechs would be victorious, since they were sincere settlers and they really came to build homes for themselves. When it was time for the jury to pronounce the freeing words, the detective John Hubatka and another countryman, Wolf and Horace Speed took the accused Vraný and Kalášek aside. They convinced them that everything was lost and the only way they could escape prison was to acknowledge their wrongdoing. They brought them convinced in this way to the court hall, where their words played like a lightning rod onto the judge and all those present. The result was that every accused person, including Vraný and Kalášek, received a year and a day of prison, which they served in Lansing. Vraný and Kalášek, who had acknowledged their guilt, also lost any right to homestead. All the others went back to the contested homesteads after their return from prison. How difficult it was in the prison during that time, thinking about abandoned families surrounded by enemies, exposed to danger, without any wage earners or defenders, one cannot even describe. Dudek and Smaley both stayed on the homestead, while waiting for the official document, until the question of ownership could be decided. Finally both came to the conclusion that it would be better if they could come to an agreement, and they would leave the homestead to another person and they would divide the money for the transfer. They put the land into an agent sale in Oklahoma City, and the agent immediately found a buyer. The money was deposited in a bank, and there was only the need to sign the transfer document. When they came with this aim to the land office, they found out that there was another contest submitted against both of them by a city policeman on the basis that they were holding the homestead for the purpose of speculation. This is the reason why Smaley got together money, and he paid Mr. Dudek $950 for his abdication. Later, Mr. Dudek bought [land] in several locations; however, he sold again when there was more countryside that was supposed to open, hoping to get land by homesteading, but not once was he successful. This is the reason why five years ago he bought a quarter mile west of Yukon on the Canadian River where, having overcome many difficulties and suffering he hoped to spend his old age in peace and quiet.”
So ends this amazing story of one of the early Czech immigrant settlers who were participants in the great land rush into the Oklahoma Territory. Soon we begin an all new translation here for you! FREE of course!
Onward To Our Past®