Today Onward To Our Past® is pleased to present our ongoing exclusive English translation from the 1897 edition of the Czech genealogy fount, Amerikán Národní Kalendář.
This ten-page article, while featured in the 1897 edition, was a series of biographies for early Czech-Americans who attended the national convention of the Czech and Slavic Protective Society in St. Paul, Minnesota held in 1896. These biographies offer a significant amount of information for anyone interested in Czech genealogy, Bohemian history, early Czech immigration to America, as well as wonderful details to help with those pursuing theories of chain migration.
If you have missed any installments, you can catch up simply by clicking here. This link takes you to the ‘ANK (Amerikán Národní Kalendář) Article Translations’ tab on our site.
Enjoy today’s installment, (#13) as we conclude the biography of the amazing Czech-American, Cenek Duras.
Amerikán Národní Kalendář
“The 11th Congress of the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. held at St. Paul, Minnesota”
“The great financial crisis in 1873 (Ed: You can read about The Panic of 1873 by clicking here.) that hit the country, appeared firstly in major cities and mainly in Chicago, which has still not recovered from the big fire. This crisis also hit, of course, the company of Duras (Ed: Cenek Duras) and he decided to find a new opportunity by going out west. He sold his company and moved to Omaha, first. Later he settled at Crete in Saline County where he made an agreement with the publisher of the English written weekly paper called “Post”. He was publishing its Czech language version. But the area suffered from locusts in 1874. Crops were poor because of the dry weather and what did grow was devoured by the locusts. Poverty was everywhere and new settlers had nothing to sell, some even has nothing to eat. A lot of them moved back east despite the financial crisis there.
Duras recognized that his plans for publishing would not be successful, and left this job. At this time the United States Congress decided to pay some money to the people who lost their entire crops because of the locusts. Duras was named for Commissioner of Saline County for the distribution of this support. Later he started to work as an innkeeper.
Immediately, when he settled in Saline County he was respected for his abilities, his education, his honesty and fairness. Because of his strong character, he was chosen in 1877 by the Republicans to be a candidate for the County booking clerk. It was a very difficult struggle because during this election not only were the issues being decided, but also the relocation of the county capital from Pleasant Hill. There were two candidate towns: Crete and Wilber. Duras campaigned for Crete and despite the fact that Crete lost, Duras was elected. Two years later Duras was re-elected and when his second term was over he left the post.
He decided to visit his Old Country again. As a man who did not stop loving his home and nation, he wished to once again visit the Czech forests, Mother Prague, to hug his beloved parents, sister, and brother, who he had not seen for 17 years. He also used this opportunity for sightseeing the various towns of the American East and of Europe. After his return to America he became a director and co-owner of the State Bank at Crete. One year later he established a notary agency at the same place. In 1886 Duras was elected as a Senator for the State of Nebraska and in 1892 as a presidential elector. That same year he moved to Wilber when he started to lead a State Bank, there. In Wilber in 1879 was established the Lodge Svojan of Č.S.P.S. and Duras became its first Chairman. One year later the Nebraska Grand Lodge was also established and he was elected as its first Chairman. The 11th congress of the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. that took place in St. Paul elected him as its Chairman for the whole country of America.
The Grand Lodge of the State of New Jersey consisting of Lodges number 112 and 140 was represented by:”
Tomorrow we head back east and begin in New Jersey with a new state and new biographies.
Onward To Our Past®