Today we are pleased to present our newest installment (number 11) of the exclusive translation of the 1881 article published in Amerikán Národní Kalendář titled “CZECH SETTLEMENTS IN MINNESOTA AND THEIR SETTLERS (Česká Osada v Minnesotě a její Osadníci).
The Czech settlers are beginning to become deeply embroiled in the Indian Uprisings that occurred in Minnesota in the later 1800s.
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Amerikán Národní Kalendář
Volume: IV, Year: 1881, Pages: 166-177
CZECH SETTLEMENTS IN MINNESOTA AND THEIR SETTLERS (Česká Osada v Minnesotě a její Osadníci)
(Collected by Hynek Breuer)
“In the area of New Ulm, near the Minnesota River, about sixty miles from Praha appeared a group of Indians near a cornfield at the time when the kernels were full of milk. They broke the spike and ate it. The farmer saw this, but was afraid to drive them out not wanting to provoke them to hostility. But disaster happened. His son had an Indian horse as his pet, which then ran away to be with the Indians camping at the cornfield. They refused to give the horse back. The boy asked father with tears, but father refused to do anything about it. Sometime later the father believed his son was resigned to losing his horse and had gone to work. But the boy used that moment to take a rifle. He went to the field and shot at the Indians mortally wounding one of them. The Indians took their dead member and everybody went away. It seemed that they would never come back. But when the family of the farmer gathered in the house that night thousands of Indians surrounded their farm. Several of the Indians invaded their house, captured the boy, scalped him, hammered pegs into his fingernails, and various another tortures they had prepared for him. This was the outbreak of the Indian Uprising.
The number of their warriors increased and they even encouraged another tribes to join in their uprising, wishing to annihilate all the white people who had settled in Minnesota. All the armed forces of Minnesota were busy fighting the war against the South and there was no one left to fight against the Indians. The uprising tribes were looting, burning, and killing. This chaos culminated in the town of New Ulm being burned by them.
The Indians could not cross over the flooded river so they marched along the left bank all the time getting closer to the Czech settlements and reached the area of Belle Plaine some twelve to thirteen miles west of Praha.
In that time (1862) Praha already had a church – a large log house without any roof. It was covered only with hay. The church was established one year after the arrival of the first settlers and has been in use since 1860. Twice a year a priest from Shakopee would come to minister to the people’s souls. But at this time they already had a Czech priest, P. Petr Maly, from Bechyne.
He called the compatriots to the church and read them an official proclamation of the Governor, translated to Czech, saying everyone was forbidden to run away from the Indians as they came closer to their homes and if they see anyone moving out they had to stop them. It went on to say everybody should be armed now. Citizens who did not have any guns or ammunition could ask for it and are then obligated to military service until such time sufficient numbers of military forces came back to Minnesota from southern battlefields.”
Tomorrow we continue with this amazing story of courage, determination, and strength!
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