Today Onward To Our Past® is pleased to present our newest installment of our exclusive English translation of “Paměti českých osadníků v Americe” or “Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America”. This article is from the 1898 edition of the Czech-American journal Amerikán Národní Kalendář, which contains truly wonderful Czech genealogy information, biographies, and more!
In this installment we pick up with the conclusion of the biography of Vojtěch Dolejš and begin a brand new biography for František Danek.
If you have missed our earlier installments you can click here and pick up any of the installments you might have missed. Our hotlink connects to Installment #1.
Amerikán Národní Kalendář
Volume: XXI, Year: 1898, Pages: 196-208
“Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America”
“As my (Ed: Vojtěch Dolejš) commander said we were going to fulfill the law. However, when we were two to three miles away one of us said: ‘Dear friends, where we will our bones end? We have wives and children and when the Indians kill us, who will look after them?’ After his speech, we all decided to go home, including our commander. This was a good idea because had we seen just one Indian in the forest, all of us would have collapsed from fear, including our commander.
Before the start of the Uprising I was not afraid of the Indians. They visited me often, taught me how to shoot. I visited their wigwams bringing them bread and they were always very thankful for it. I killed several deer thanks to their aid.”
A lot of years passed and Dolejš became old, not mentally, just physically. He began to work more slowly but still he farmed and also made charcoal. When charcoal became unprofitable he realized another idea and established a brick kiln, which is still profitable today. His marriage was blessed with eight children and five of them are alive. He has two sons and three daughters, and all of them are married.
Dolejš is retired now, but he is still healthy and active. We hope that Mr. Old Grim Reaper will be smart enough to wait dozens of years before he will decide to visit him.
We wish him a long and comfortable life!
František Daněk from Glencoe, Minnesota was born in northeastern Bohemia where you go across the border of present day Prussian Silesia into Moravia. Specifically in the area of Chrudim kraj, which is well-known as one of the last strongholds of the Czech Brethren. Here, after the Battle of White Mountain, they maintained in secret the beliefs of their ancestors. They partake in both kinds and like to read from the Bible of Kralice.
The words of the poet: “Let our houses be blessed” refers, without any doubt whatsoever, to the homes of the Czech protestants in this area of Bohemia. Especially from the times when the Roman church had its most stubborn dissenters, who still remain even today. It is also an area where the language of our ancestors has been kept in its original sound.
In this area was also born our Fr. Daněk – in Stritez, Litomysl District, on 1 May 1820. His father, Mikulas, had a large number of children and therefore could not provide for his son any better education than that which he received himself – only several grades of village school. Frantisek was trained as a weaver. During the winters he was working on the loom and during the summers he would be bleaching linen. Yearly he also had to work in the fields for the landlords and once he became so ill from the hard work he spent almost thirteen weeks lying in bed.
Hopes for freedom, which were brought alive in the year 1848, also made it to this forgotten, hilly region and it also started a desire for a better life in the mind of Daněk. He did not wish to be a subject to the landlords, despite the words of the Bible anymore. He did not wait a very long time and in the spring of 1852 he left his home to sail across the ocean.
He was sad to leave his home country, but he believed that better times were awaiting for him as a free man. After several weeks of a very difficult passage (Daněk never told any details about it) they fortunately landed in New York.”
Tomorrow we continue with the biography of František Daněk so stay right here!
Onward To Our Past®