More today! The land rush is on and the Czechs have every intent of being successful homesteaders!
This terrific article from the 1908 edition of the Czech-American annual journal, Amerikán Národní Kalendář, contains a fabulously detailed account of the race for Oklahoma lands!
If you missed any of the earlier segments of our exclusive translation you can click here to find the prior posts!
Enjoy this amazing story only from Onward To Our Past®!
Amerikán Národní Kalendář
Volume: XXXI, Year: 1908, Pages 272-275
Translated by Dr. Mila Saskova-Pierce and Layne Pierce
©Onward To Our Past®
“When the designated day for the opening was approaching, the Cáhas, Josef Doležal and Dudek went to scout ahead, to find a river crossing where they could drive across the Canadian River.
They were going on their horses against the river stream, however, they were forced to go quickly back, so that they could inform the families camping by the river about an incoming flood. Meanwhile, the Czech colony with “Captain” Anton Cáha at its helm was organized. Its aim was the country west of today’s Oklahoma City by Mustang Creek, and the little town of the same name. The river was high and it was full of people everywhere. The Czechs stuck together, because that was the only way that they could defend themselves from adventurers.
Our people had money. Some of them even had more than $1,000 with them, and that is why they were afraid of attack and murder. When they got up to Long Crossing, to the west of Purcell, they decided to cross the river. In the middle there was a sand bar which was useful for crossing the water. On Sunday afternoon the crossing started. The old Horák undressed and pulled a rope to the other side. Behind him John Březina set off, and then the others followed. The young men stayed, Winchesters in hand, on guard by the horses on the right bank of the river, the others were on the sand bar, and on the Oklahoma side was also a guard. In order to see the rising of the water willow branches were planted, and so this memorable night passed without any sleep, in constant excitement, because of the danger presented on all sides.
In the morning at sunrise there was a sign given to continue the march, and the crossing of the water by the horses. Around twelve o’clock noon everybody was on Oklahoma soil, and the passage to the “promised land” started. The front guard on the horses was composed of old Skala, Vraný and Joe Doležal. When they arrived at the chosen place, the colonists found out that other people had settled on the claimed sections. They tried to chase the Czechs away with threats and weapons. Our men remained firm and decided to fight for their rights. Tents were built for the families, and the next day the homesteaders went to register in the land office in Kingfisher. It was a dangerous path and they did not spare the horses so that they might get to the land office first.
The soldiers were putting the homesteaders into lines two abreast, and when they allowed fourteen of them in through one door, they closed it, and then only when they were let go through other doors, were new ones were let in. 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.”
Tomorrow our author list the many lawsuits over land claimed by the Czechs! Were they early? Did they have to withdraw? Did they get to settle anyway? Read here at Onward To Our Past® tomorrow and find out!
Onward To Our Past®