Onward To Our Past® is pleased to present today’s installment of our exclusive translation of “Czech Settlements in Minnesota and Their Settlers” (Česká Osada v Minnesotě a její Osadníci) from the 1881 edition of Amerikán Národní Kalendář.
Today’s installment contains some exceptional Czech genealogy tidbits — including 38 Czech names (all surnames and some given names) along with what occupations they held in Praha, Minnesota at the time! Wonderful stuff!
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)
“The first winter they spent in the forest the snowdrifts were three feet and the temperatures were so cold that everybody remembers it well. Wheat seeds they could buy two years later, and in the third year they had first wheat harvester. The growing season was so great that they harvested 45 bushels from a single acre. They had to harvest and thrash all this just with the use of their hands. There were no machines in those times to help with the work. Praha was beginning to look better and thanks to its increasing population changed a lot.
The wooden church of Praha burned shortly after the Indian uprising and soon a new brick building was started for a new one. It took four years to build this new church. Today’s visitors to Praha have absolutely no idea, upon seeing all the beautiful countryside around, cannot believe how much the pioneers suffered as they changed a once deserted place into today’s great settlement.
IV: Today’s conditions in the settlement
Praha is the oldest and largest Czech town here so it deserves to be mentioned first. Praha, as it was written above, is located at the borderline of Scott and Le Sueur Counties and originally consisted of three long streets and several crosswise streets. The population of the town is made up of about 600 souls. All of them are Czechs with the exception of maybe four or five German families.
Houses are mostly wooden, but nice and perfectly built. There are also a lot of houses made of brick, some of these are quite large and wonderful looking.
The largest building made of brick is the Catholic Czech school used by more than 100 children; also nice looking is the house of Mr. Vrapek, the postmaster of Praha and a Czech Congressman from 1879-1880. Also the cigar making workshop and store of Mr. J. Soukup. Praha has the following shops and private businesses: J.V. Bicek, furniture and lumber store; Eickmann & Myers, wagon and blacksmith workshop; M. Remes, drugstore; Frant. Mikiska, pharmacy; M Simmer, drugstore; V. Slavík, furniture and lumber store; Troll and Bliss, farming machines; J. F. Vonasek, hardware; Fr. Vrabek, bookstore; Fr.Vesely, shoemaker; Jakub Blaha, ditto ; Jan Cermak shoemaker; Matej Kalal, brickyard; M. Jelinek, clothing store; N. Whilham, shoemaker; A. Soukup, ditto; Jan Jelinek, wheelwright; E.W. Gernell, grains and bran store; A. Rinda, wagon and horse livery; Fr. Vodrazka, gristmill; Bisek and Suchomel, steam-mill ; Chalupsky and Company., brewery; Hanzl and Company., steam saw-mill; Josef Martz, grocery; Jan Melounek, blacksmith; Josef Soukup, cigar maker. There are also 3 saddle makers: Tom. Jelinek, Meskan and Jelinek and J. Zak; are Innkeepers and butchers; Jan Chrt and Mat. Remes; also innkeepers as are: Jan Sery, (before A. Donato), Jos. Luksik, Jos. Klima, Frant. Martz, Fr. Mertz, Mar. Rybak, A Rocek, Jan Stary, Tomas Topka, Josef Chovitek and B. Miska.
There are also several grain-traders and a big granary belonging to a Minneapolis company. The railway has connected Praha since 1877.”
Tomorrow we continue with our wonderful story!
Onward To Our Past®