Today Onward To Our Past® is pleased to present our newest installment of our exclusive English translation of the 1898 Amerikán Národní Kalendář “Paměti českých osadníků v Americe” or “Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America”.
Today we begin a new biography in this wonderful article and again we find it filled with wonderful details from life in Bohemia as well as life in America for early Czech immigrant settlers. Today we hear the story of one of the true Czech pioneers to settle in Minnesota.
We know you will find this installment interesting.
Amerikán Národní Kalendář
Volume: XXI, Year: 1898, Pages: 196-208
“Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America”
“Jan Faktor from Montgomery, Minnesota. He is known by almost all Czechs, young or old ones, living in the fertile surroundings of Montgomery, Nova Praha and Veseli, in the center of southern Minnesota. It is no wonder! He is one of the oldest Czech settlers, an actual pioneer of civilization in the northwest, which was deserted in those times. During his forty-three years of living in America Jan Faktor met almost every Czech who came here to find their fortune or tried through their hard work to improve their material situation, and to prepare a better and free life than their previous one for their descendants, whom they left, often with tears, in the Old Country.
Jan Faktor was not a child of fortune. He was not born in a golden cradle and his birth was not celebrated with feast, nor with the firing of cannons. No, everything happened quietly in 1827 in Kostelec, near Hluboka, in Ceske Budejovice kraj. No newspapers announced the birth of the new citizen of the world. In spite of this, his parents were happy for the birth. Perhaps the baby too as he was without any knowledge about the many troubles he would have to overcome in the future before reaching a restful and free life in his old age!
The father of Jan Faktor worked as a river-sailor, transporting various goods from Ceske Budejovice to Prague and back. His son had to help him immediately when he became strong enough for the work. Several times they sailed as far away as to Děčín. Young Jan loved the job and wished to continue in it, but his father had seven children and decided that it would be far better for Jan to be a well-trained craftsman. He sent Jan to Třeboň so he could train to become a cooper. Once he became a trained cooper he stayed in Třeboň until 1853. In February of that same year he married and soon after this he heard rumors about America. Rumors that it was a promised land full of milk and honey. He decided to try his new life there.
A couple of weeks after his decision – on 7 July there he was sitting, together with his young wife, on the train going to the border of Germany. After six weeks of a very uneasy passage (the troubles they endured can be imagined by all of the old immigrants and a lot of the young ones too) their ship landed in New York. Although his wife was very sick he continued directly to Iowa where he spent some time in Spillville and in New Vienna, which is about 30 miles from Dubuque.”
Join us tomorrow as we continue with our biography of Jan Faktor in Minnesota. His story gets ever more intriguing.
Onward To Our Past®