Onward To Our Past® is pleased to present today’s newest exclusive English translation installment from the wonderful Czech genealogy journal Amerikán Národní Kalendář from the year 1897.
Today we continue with the biography of the strong and amazing Cenek Duras. The perseverance this Czech-American exhibited is almost beyond comprehension.
And guess what? Today Cenek’s grandson lives on the family farm in Wilber, Nebraska at the grand age of 102! We will be bringing you more on this aspect of the story of Cenek Duras after our current translation installments are complete. It is wonderful!
Remember if you missed any of the prior installments of this translation or the other articles we have in our exclusive cache, you can click here and get caught up.
Enjoy and have a pleasant day.
Amerikán Národní Kalendář
“The 11th Congress of the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. held at St. Paul, Minnesota”
“His (Ed: Cenek Duras) mood and expectations were very sad because he did not know the most important thing – how to speak English. For several days his only food were wild berries and unripe apples. For several days he walked aimlessly through the country. During one dark, nightmare night he was awaken by howls. He recognized that a pack of wolves was searching around. Fearing he could be their victim he began to run away without any knowledge of the direction he was going. Being on the move the whole night and next day he decided that he cannot to live this way any longer.
When the night covered the countryside again he saw a light in the far distance. He decided to follow the light and found a house there. He approached the house and asked for any job they might have there. He was welcomed with a meal and a bed. The next day he succeeded in the work they gave him although it was not easy. He worked for many days although it was very hard for him. Several days he worked until he earned enough money that helped him pay for the expense of travelling to the town of Cairo, in the southernmost part of the state Illinois.
Unfortunately to live there was not easy for him either. He tried to work hard but recognized that he was too weak for hard work and he could fail at it quickly. During one nice night, sitting on the waterfront at the place where the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers meet each other, he watched, thanks the shine of moon, something that reminded him of a white swan. It was one of the floating palaces of Mississippi River. Sometime later the steamboat landed and it was announced that 1 hour later it would continue down the river to St. Louis. Duras had enough money left to buy a ticket and sailed on eh “Father of the Waters”. Two days later he landed in St. Louis. In that time the largest Czech community in America lived there and was even publishing a Czech newspaper “Pozor Americky”. This paper employed Duras part-time. He was sent as a business agent to various American towns with Czech communities. During these trips he came to know several important members of the Czechs settlements in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago, and more. But after a year of an uneasy existence the magazine “Pozor” closed down. Duras decided to leave the town for Chicago. In that time the Czechs of Chicago realized their social life at “Slovanska Lipa” and “Sokol”. Duras became a member of these organizations as well as being in an amateur theatre. In 1871, together with Mr. Geringer, he established a bookstore and publishing company, which later became property of Mr. Geringer, who is leading the business successfully to this day. (Ed: Geringer was the publisher of Amerikán Národní Kalendář)
After the big fire of Chicago Duras lost almost all of his private property. Shortly after the fire he left the company of Mr. Geringer and established his own publishing company and started to publish the magazine “Prapor Svobody” and various books entitled “Knihovna Americka”. His publishing company also printed Klacel’s magazine “Svojan”.”
Tomorrow we will bring you the completion of the story of Cenek Duras and then begin to move on to new states across America and the biographies of their Czech-Americans.
Onward To Our Past®