Today, Onward To Our Past® is pleased to present our continuing translation of “Paměti českých osadníků v Americe” or “Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America” found in the 1898 edition of the Czech-American annual journal Amerikán Národní Kalendář.
We continue here with the biography of Czech immigrant settler Vojtěch Malý of Solon, Iowa as he returns home after his service in the Union Army during the U.S. Civil War.
Then we begin the biography of a new Czech immigrant settler, Josef Wojtishek, from Moravia, who settled in Ely, Iowa.
Enjoy today’s installment!
Amerikán Národní Kalendář
Volume: XXI, Year: 1898, Pages: 196-208
“Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America”
“His (Ed: Vojtěch Malý) family was afraid that he was lost to them because they had heard that he was injured in one of the battles. He was 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.
Once home their meeting was emotional and the telling of their stories was never-ending.
Malý did not rest a lot, although he certainly deserved to. Rather he started to work on his farm immediately and worked hard in spite of his illness, which he also brought home from battle and which gives him troubles to this day.
Malý was never a child of fortune as he had to overcome a lot of disasters in his life, but as a good fighter he finally succeeded. In 1893 his wife passed away after seven years of a very painful illness.
Although Malý is 75 years old, he has a lot of power and in spite of his illness he can still walk well. He cannot work any longer, but he lives quietly on his farm, near the town of Solon, together with his youngest daughter. His other children are already married. The military pension pay he is receiving from the government, and which he very much deserves, is a great help for him in his old age.
Josef Wojtishek from Ely, Linn County, Iowa, was born in 1837 in Jimramov, Moravia on the Bohemian border where his parents worked as farmers. He attended local elementary school there. When he finished that school he helped his parents until 1853 when they sold everything they owned in order to leave for America. They hoped that their hard work would be better rewarded there. Another reason was to avoid military service for Josef and his brother. None of them wished to see them wearing the tight jacket of an Austrian soldier.
They went via Bremen to Galveston, Texas where they landed after 8 weeks of fortunate sailing. They continued on to Houston where they then stayed for 2 weeks. A Protestant preacher Bergman, from Cat Spring in Austin County, tried to convince them to move there, but they did not like the intensely hot weather of Texas, which they were not accustomed to. They were also afraid of the lack of good spring water, a really rare commodity in Texas.
Due to these reasons they decided to go back to Galveston and from there continued on to New Orleans. From that town they sailed via the Mississippi River north to St. Louis where they planned to settle. But they did not like that town too. During this time there were some riots and therefore they decided to go to Chicago.”
Tomorrow we continue with our biography of Josef Wojtishek. Stay tuned since it is another great story.
Onward To Our Past®