Onward To Our Past® Genealogical History Company is proud to present the newest installment of our ongoing, exclusive translation of the 1881 article “Czech Settlements in Minnesota and their Settlers” (Česká Osada v Minnesotě a její Osadníci).
Enjoy today’s installment as we learn more about several Minnesota Czech communities of Praha (New Prague), Helena, Cedar-Lake, New Market, and Shakopee.
Here we go!
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)
“Praha was tied by the cuffs of obscurantism for a long time, but this has also changed in the current times. The social life of Czechs is very active, because there are two organizations. One is the Č.S.P.S. lodge number 30 named Čechoslovan with 26 members, another one is the St. Vaclav (Wenceslaus) Society, which is controlled by the church. The town bought a parcel of land this year to establish a civil cemetery there.
It would be a fine time to establish some factories here. I think that a foundry and a small machine manufacturing factory would be helpful. Also a laundry or scrub house, a good photographer, and experienced gardeners will find good business here.
Praha is very pleasant town for visitors, especially Czechs. The entire town is lively and bright everywhere. Several years in the future when the planted tree lawns grow and all the streets get better, Praha will compete with the major towns of Minnesota. Also in case a fire would start here the locals are well prepared, because the town has a fire engine at the cost of $2,000 and also has all the necessary firemen’s tools. The fire brigade consists of volunteers and they have their own building.
Unfortunately one important thing Praha does not have is newspapers. It would be profitable to establish a Czech newspaper here, because it is not easy to find any similarly large town that would welcome it as much as it would be welcomed here. Every dweller of the community would be a contributor for it, because it is newspapers what will make the community become the one that it ought to be. I describe to the readers the true situation in Praha and I wish that the town will continue to flourish and I would like to recommend it to one to all Czech businessmen who are searching for a profitable place to settle.
I had planned to enlist all the Czechs living in the settlement to provide data about the land owned by them, but because of a lack of time I cannot collect these numbers. Therefore I will just refer to it briefly and generally.
In the eastern portion of the settlement in the township of Helena, Scott County, where half of Praha is located, mostly Czechs live, with exception of several families. Farther to the east is located the township of Cedar-Lake, where Czechs predominate too. Lastly Czechs also settled in the township of New Market, to the east of Cedar-Lake; the first Czech settler here was (since 1876) Karel Breuer. Today some eight Czech families live there, owning about 900 acres of land, (the largest 160 acres; the smallest 80 acres). In Shakopee, the capitol of Scott County, just two Czech families live, with each owning a lot and a house. They are Matej Kusna and Daniel Simon.”
Tomorrow we continue with our story and add new communities, surnames, and details about early Czech life for our immigrants.
Onward To Our Past®