Today we are pleased to bring you the newest installment of our exclusive 1898 English translation of “Paměti českých osadníků v Americe” or “Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America”.
This wonderful genealogy tidbit-filled biography comes from the Czech-American journal Amerikán Národní Kalendář.
If you recall in yesterday’s installment Vojtěch Malý and his wife had just lost their two young sons on their journey across the Atlantic Ocean to America and had to watch them being buried at sea.
Today we continue with the story of Vojtěch as he and his family arrived in America and began their travels across America in search of their dream of a better life than the one they had at home in Bohemia. We also are introduced to additional Czech surnames who were traveling with the Malý family as well as a couple of fellow Czech immigrants who fought with Vojtěch in the Civil War, which unit he fought with, his battle wound, and more.
Enjoy these rich genealogy details today!
Amerikán Národní Kalendář
Volume: XXI, Year: 1898, Pages: 196-208
“Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America”
“Concerned and depressed the immigrants landed in New York, but they (Ed: Vojtěch Malý and his family) did not stay there for a long time. They went via Chicago to Rock Island where he bought a wagon with a team and started the long and painful journey to Iowa. They were accompanied by several other Czech families with the surnames of: Černý, Sinkula, Ulč, Jílek, and others.
Fortunately they reached Iowa City and from that town they went on to Solon, which was a tiny settlement with only four log houses. Malý bought 80 acres of prairie and 10 acres of forest and started farming. Unfortunately he was not successful. Wheat paid very well at first. But later, before the Civil War, its price decreased. Malý had some debts and it seemed he would lose all of their property. Therefore he sold half of his land to pay the debts and hoped that the remaining land would be sufficient to make a living for his family.
But other troubles soon appeared. The Civil War started. With all its cruelties the sons of the North were called to protect the territorial integrity of the Union. Because the number of volunteers was not sufficient it was agreed that the next soldiers would be chosen by drawing names.
Malý was drawn so he left the farm and wore the blue jacket of the soldier. He was recruited for the 1st company of the 15th Regiment of Iowa together with Josef Novotny and Matej Macha.
The Regiment was sent to join the Tennessee Army and fought in numerous cruel battles. They also marched to the sea under the command of General Sheridan. A lot of men fell from exhaustion during those fast marches. Malý overcame all the difficulties of military life with patience and bravery. Under the command of Brigadier General Belknap they marched a lot through the bad roads, muck, and swamps.
They often started to march at dawn and continued until the dark night, when almost dead tired, finally were able to lie down to sleep often times to be interrupted by the fire of the guns of Southerners. Whenever Malý got to lie down on his hard military bed he always remembered his dear wife and six children who he left in distant Iowa. He always made the wish to be fortunate enough to be able to meet them all one day.
His wish was fulfilled because in 1865, after 9 months in the service, he was demobilized and of course he immediately run back home to his deserted family. His family was afraid that he was lost to them because they had heard that he was injured in one of the battles. He was injured, but fortunately his injury was not too serious – a bullet from a rebel sliced his skin above his left ear while he was out on patrol.”
Tomorrow we conclude the biography of Vojtěch Malý and bring you a new Czech immigrant settler’s story to learn from and enjoy.
Onward To Our Past®