Onward To Our Past http://onwardtoourpast.com Genealogy Tips, Help, and Fun with a focus on family and history Fri, 22 May 2015 09:43:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Czech Genealogy: Installment 10 of 1898 ‘Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America’ Exclusive Translationhttp://onwardtoourpast.com/ank-article-translations/czech-genealogy-installment-10-of-1898-memoirs-of-czech-settlers-in-america-exclusive-translation.html http://onwardtoourpast.com/ank-article-translations/czech-genealogy-installment-10-of-1898-memoirs-of-czech-settlers-in-america-exclusive-translation.html#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 09:43:25 +0000 http://onwardtoourpast.com/?p=4845

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Today we continue with our exclusive translation of “Paměti českých osadníků v Americe” translated as “Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America” from the Czech-American annual journal Amerikán Národní Kalendář in the year 1898.

This journal holds some of the most priceless first-person accounts of early Czech immigrants across America from the 1800s and 1900s.

Today we continue with the story of Vojtěch Dolejš, learn one of the reasons it may be so difficult to find the burial locations of some of our ancestors, we see Vojtech arrive in Minnesota, and what he did during the Indian Uprising, which just might bring a smile to your face.

Enjoy!

Amerikán Národní Kalendář

Volume: XXI, Year: 1898, Pages: 196-208

“Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America”

Vojtech Dolejs

Vojtech Dolejs

“Let’s allow Dolejš to tell his story:

“It was good money and good food, but there were also two to three funerals daily.  What did the funerals look like?  They used two barrels, which were used for cement before, joined together with the dead body just pushed inside.  When it was lowered down into the hole, it was covered with earth without any words or ceremonies.  I had spent one month there and came back to St. Louis.  Then I continued on to a healthier zone – to Dubuque.

I worked as a day laborer, but when I got there but somebody said: we should go to Minnesota to claim land!  I was still an unmarried guy in those times.  I had some money I had saved up already and adding a good rifle and an axe you had all the property I owned.  We went to St. Paul, where no Czechs lived at that times.  From that town we sailed via the Mississippi River for two and a half days and landed in Shakopee.  From that place we rented carriage to go on to Nova Praha, which consisted of just one log cabin (10 x 12), inhabited by just one Czech by the name of Lanik (Bruzek).

In the surrounding area also lived Vrtis, Burak, Hanzl, Herman, Kajer, Bernas, Petricka and Suchomel.  The best plots had been already claimed by settlers from Luxembourg. Therefore I, accompanied by Rynda and Fr. Maryska,, went eight or nine miles to the south and each of us claimed 160 acres.  We established a settlement there and named it Nemanice.  Later on it was once renamed as Budejovice.  Now it is called Montgomery.  It was in November 1854 and the level of the snow reached our knees.  We built huts from timbers and covered it with clay. I was happy that I brought stove as without it we would likely not have survive winter!”

That was the story of Vojtěch Dolejš as told by him.

When he settled there at the age of twenty-seven years he started to think about marriage.  He went back to St. Louis and found a job as a cooper there.  He befriend one local Czech girl and married her.  Her name was Barbora Zahradnik and she was from Vacikov, near Rozmital.

Parish church in Vacikov.

Parish church in Vacikov.

As a faithful wife she followed him back to the deserted areas of Minnesota and they also witnessed the Indian Uprising together.  White people, including Dolejš, had to hide themselves in the bushes as they were afraid of the redskins.  Vojtěch Dolejš will tell about this in his own words again:

“It was perhaps the third day when one German, who knew English already, pushed us to go to fight against the Indians because the law ordered it and it also said those who will refuse to fight would be shot.  Therefore thirty of us, men armored with scythes, forks, axes, and some who also had rifles (but some of the guns did not work) and we went.  We did not have enough bread, some men walked barefooted, but we had a lot of ammunition instead.  As my commander said we were going to fulfill the law.  However, when we were two to three miles away one of us said: ‘Dear friends, where we will our bones end? We have wives and children and when the Indians kill us, who will look after them?’ After his speech, we all decided to go home, including our commander.  This was a good Idea, because had we seen just one Indian in the forest, all of us would have collapsed from fear, including our commander.”

Trail in woods

Be with us tomorrow as we continue to follow the life of Vojtěch Dolejš as he continues in the pursuit of dream of a new life in America.

Onward To Our Past®

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Onward To Our Past® is pleased to present the continuation of our exclusive translation of the 1898 article from Amerikán Národní Kalendář, titled Paměti českých osadníků v Americe” or “Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America”. 

Today we continue with the amazing story of Vojtěch Dolejš as he literally works his way from being an orphan in Bohemia to his working across America as he pursues his dream of a better life in the United States.

As with so many of our biographies here it is a story of amazing grit, determination, and strength.

We know you will find this biography of interest.

Amerikán Národní Kalendář

Volume: XXI, Year: 1898, Pages: 196-208

“Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America”

Vojtech Dolejs

Vojtech Dolejs

“Vojtěch sometimes fished for trout in a brook for himself and then baked it in dried cow dung so as not to fall down from hunger.  Nobody cared about the poor orphan.

Sometimes someone would note: “I see it is Vojtěch, son of  the old Dolejš from Radomilice“.  However nobody gave him even so much as a crust of bread.  The poor orphan cried many times not knowing why he was discriminated against.  His older sister was the only one person who cared about him at all.  She would at least patch his linen pants, but unfortunately she died very young.

Vojtěch was very happy when he became older and was advanced to the position of being a farmhand.  The farmer was then giving him a lot of food, a bed in a shed (before he slept in wood chips), and Vojtěch started to wear leather pants instead the linen ones.  At the age of sixteen years he served as a farmhand at Dubenec and he was proud that at that time he could give some food to the little orphans, who reminded him of his own, sad childhood.  It was the greatest happiness for him: after being discriminated before now he could make some acts of kindness for other ones!

But now we move several years into the future.  Dolejš served lastly in Chvalkovice district, owned by the Prince Schwarzenberg.  The overseer, Prucha, was serving there and helped him a great amount.  Dolejš rememebers him to this day as his second father.  He will never forget him because the big-hearted man was the first person who treated him as an equal.  He left the world a long time ago, may he rest in peace!

Coat of Arms of Chvalkovice.

Coat of Arms of Chvalkovice.

In the early 1850s there appeared rumors in Bohemia about the blessed land of America. Vojtěch started to think about emigration too.  But he was unmarried and was, at this time, trying to find a woman who would follow with him on his journey through life.  But the aforementioned friend, Prucha, advised him not to hurry because in America he could also find his wife.  Vojtěch agreed and on Groundhog Day in 1853 he left his home.

He thought that the money he brought with him from Bohemia would be enough to travel through the whole of America.  But he did not have any idea how large the United States was and the amount he had was just enough for him to travel across the ocean.  Along the way he had to wait in Bremen for 8 weeks before he could finally enter Bremerhaven (Ed: Literally Bremen’s harbor).  After eight more days he finally boarded his ship.  Fifty-six days later he reached the coast of Louisiana – he was in New Orleans.

Why do we describe this passage?  Almost all Czechs who have settled in America personally know how incredibly difficult making this passage was.  Especially the older ones who can tell us a lot about it.  Today it is much easier!

Another fellow passenger of Dolejs’ had enough money to continue farther – to St. Louis.  But he (Ed: Vojtěch) was without even a penny and therefore he got the only job that was offered to him in New Orleans, which was among black slaves at that time.  He did not like the work but he worked there for one month and earned enough money to travel to join his friend to St. Louis.  Once in St. Louis he immediately found a job – unloading goods from the ships.  This was very hard work and it led him to look for something easier, which he tried to find about 150 miles from St. Louis, in a small town (unfortunately he forgets its name) where 4 Czechs had already died from yellow fever.”

Tomorrow we continue with the biography of Vojtěch Dolejš as he continues across America in pursuit of his dream.

Onward To Our Past® 

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Onward To Our Past® is pleased to continue our exclusive English translation of the 1898 Amerikán Národní Kalendář article “Paměti českých osadníků v Americe” or “Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America”.

Today we continue and finish the biography of Czech immigrant settler Jan Faktor and begin a new biography of Czech immigrant settler Vojtěch Dolejš.  These are truly marvelous biographies for anyone of us interested in Czech genealogy and Czech history.  These early Bohemian immigrants to America certainly did not have it easy at all.

Enjoy today’s installment.

Amerikán Národní Kalendář

Volume: XXI, Year: 1898, Pages: 196-208

“Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America”

Jan Faktor

Jan Faktor

“‘Grandpa’ Faktor, which is the way he is generally addressed in Montgomery, is of small to middle stature, but remains swift.  His head is not bowed yet, and he walks so well that it seems that he will be around for the next 70 years, which is the age he reached this year.  He has healthy color in his face and his shiny eye bear witness to his excellent mental condition.  This is proved also by the jokes that our “Grandpa” is telling all the people everywhere.

In the past he attended church regularly, like all Czechs living there, but due to some intrigues fomented by the priest, he changed his viewpoint, and now is a real Freethinker.  He does not care whether he will go to hell after his death or somewhere else.  The respect that he earned among his compatriots is proven by the fact that he served as County Commissioner for Le Sueur County for several years.

He likes to talk about the troubles that he had to overcome in his life.

When I was drinking a glass of beer with him at the Montgomery Brewery, he said with great satisfaction: “Now it is better here than before when only two Czechs lived here. Na zdar!” (Ed: To Success!)

Na zdar!

Na zdar!

Vojtěch Dolejš, from Montgomery Minn., was born on 12 April 1827 in the village of Radomilice, the parish of Bila Hurka near Vodnany.  As a son from the 4th marriage – his father remarried when he was already retired – Vojtech, at the age of only 5 years, became a complete orphan.

Vojtech Dolejs

Vojtech Dolejs

Before he was the age of eight years he learned to read, but not very well though because he attended school for only one winter.  He also only learned to read the German Gothic type of writing.  Elementary schools were teaching at the very lowest levels and the main educational role model for the education of youth was played by the local priest or a school teacher, with a hazel-rod in the hand, who was usually an uneducated military veteran.

So the eight year old boy became a shepherd at Prasiva Lhota, and he had to graze pigs there.   The young Dolejš  grazed pigs there for 3 years and often had to go to sleep hungry because the shepherd’s wife was one of those housewives who counting every barley she peeled for the soup.

Vojtěch sometimes fished for trout in a brook for himself and then baked it in dried cow dung so as not to fall down from hunger.  Nobody cared about the poor orphan.”

Tomorrow we continue with the story of Vojtěch and begin yet another fascinating biography for your Czech genealogy and history interests.

Onward To Our Past®

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Czech Genealogy and History: Američtí Čechové a Národopisná Výstava 1896http://onwardtoourpast.com/genealogy_blog/czech-genealogy/czech-genealogy-and-history-americti-cechove-a-narodopisna-vystava-1896.html http://onwardtoourpast.com/genealogy_blog/czech-genealogy/czech-genealogy-and-history-americti-cechove-a-narodopisna-vystava-1896.html#comments Tue, 19 May 2015 20:10:09 +0000 http://onwardtoourpast.com/?p=4812

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Pro české příznivce – na vaše četné žádosti zde uveřejňuji článek, který vyšel v r. 1896 v časopise Amerikán Národní Kalendář, v českém jazyce. Je nazván “Američtí Čechové a Národopisná výstava”. Tak ať se Vám líbí!

Amerikán Národní Kalendář

Ročník: XIX

1896

Američtí Čechové a Národopisná výstava

(K TITULNÍMU VYOBRAZENÍ)

1896 image US Czechs at Prague Exhibition jpeg

Národopisná výstava pořádaná r. 1895 v Praze, ono veliké kulturní dílo, které národ českoslovanský uprostřed těžkých národních a sociálních bojů vlastní silou si vytvořil, vzbudila i mezi americkými krajany našimi živou účast. Na půl čtvrta sta věrných synů národa českého podniklo společnou výpravu do staré vlasti a mnoho bylo těch, kteří jednotlivě odejeli ku velikému svátku národnímu.

Byla to už čtvrtá hromadná výprava do staré vlasti a jako způsobní občanétak vyslovil se při uvítání pan Ort – poslali američtí Čechové napřed svoji navštívenku, postavili na národopisné výstavě své vlastní oddělení.

Dne 15. června přijeli výletníci po lodi “Kaiser Wilhelm II.” šťastně do Brém. Jménem krajanů českých vítal je dr. J. Ryba, redaktor “Národních Listů” a po krátké prohlídce města unášel je vlak za zvuků tklivé národní hymny nevlídným německým krajem na jihovýchod. V Drážďanech pozdraveni byli výletníci švarnými Sokoly, kteří podali americkým dámám množství hezkých kytiček růžových.

V Podmoklech čekali již na hosty zástupci výkonného výboru výstavního p. Ort a dr. Kopista a obklopeni ohromným zástupem podmokelských a děčínských Čechů i Američanů pronesli vřelé a jadrné zdravice na prahu vlasti. Jako zástupce středočeského Sokola promluvil p. Motyčka a jeho řeč provázena hlučným souhlasem. Američtí řečníci odpověděli a na celém peroně hlučný potlesk, mávání šátků, tisknutí pravic a nejsrdečnější celování. A stejné nadšení plálo ve zraku Čechů, kteří vítali naše výletníky v Ústí nad Labem, v Hrobci, Roudnici, Beřkovicích, Jenšovicích, ve Veltrusích, Nelahozevsi a Kralupech. Všude růže, vlastenecká hudba a hřmění hmoždířů z blízkých vrchů.

Do Prahy přijel vlak v neděli dne 16. června. Před budovou státních drah v Jezdecké ulici nadšení bezměrné, neppsatelné panovalo šíříc se do ulice Hybernské a dále na Příkopy až k Žofínskému ostrovu. Příjezd vlaku nebyl přesně určen a proto nepřehledné zástupy obecenstva tísnily se již dávno před dvanáctou hodinou polední před nádražím, nedopřávajíce si ani oběda, jen aby nadšený hold vzdáti mohli přibylým hostům.

Zástupy každou minutou rostly; stále přicházeli lidé všech stavů, aby účastenství brali na opravdu upřímném, srdečném přivítání. Komunikace v Jezdecké a Hybernské ulici v tu dobu úplně byla přerušena. Kočáry počtem přes 87, byly čerstvými květinami a stuhami národních barev ozdobeny

Některé povozy byly vyzdobeny jakoby ku květinovému korsu. Kočí měly oblek slavnostní, na kloboucích a na prsou červeno-bílé kokardy a stužky, do hřívy koňů vpleteno bylo množství stužek barev národních.

Před východem z nádražní budovy panovala tlačenice, že jablko k zemi by nepropadlo. Přístup na perron byl na míru nejmenší omezen. K žádosti policie nebyly vydávány lístky ke vstupu na perron, kamž jen s velikou námahou dostali se američtí krajané, kteří do Prahy již dříve přibyli.

Kromě těch dostavili se na perron pořadatelé pp. J.S. Vilímek, Storch, Jech, Havlík a Parůžek, ředitel Národního divadla p. Šubert, obyvatelé americké osady na výstavě a malý počet obecenstva.

Deputace na perron připuštěny nebyly, ba ani posl. p. Březnovskému strážníci na perron vstup nedovolili. Zde vykonávali dozor četní policejní strážníci pod dozorem policejního komisaře p. Knahla a značný počet tajných policejních zřízenců. U hlavního východu z nádraží do Jezdecké ulice k udržení pořádku stálo několik městských strážníků.

Úderem jedné hodiny odpoledni oznamoval nádražní zvon příjezd zvláštního vlaku. Nepřehledné zástupy v Jezdecké a Hybernské ulici se tísnící jakoby na povel propukly v burácející provolání “Slávy” a “Na Zdar!”

Za několik okamžiků na to vjel zvláštní vlak do nádraží. Americká kapela hrála národní hymnu “Kde domov můj?”, kterou tisíce hrdel na ulici opakovalo. Ku zvláštnímu pokynu musela však hudba býti skončena.

Jakmile vlak úplně stanul, dvířka vagonů rychle se otevírala a již za hromového provolání “Slávy” spočívali Američané v náručích svých přátel a příbuzných. Zde slzy radosti nad šťastným shledáním kanuly, venku opět ronily se slze nadšení.

Sotva otevřeny široké veřeje do Jezdecké ulice a v nich objevili se první krajané z daleké cesty, neznalo nadšení míry. Péro je nedostatečné k vylíčení tohoto nadšení. Mužové klobouky mávali, dámy opět šátky a kyticemi a z tisíců a tisíců hrdel ozývalo se upřímné vítání amerických Čechů. Vše tlačilo se, aby drahým rodákům ruce tisklo.

Američtí krajané pozdravy opětovali – se zarosenými zraky. Nemohli odpověděti na záplavu bouřlivých pozdravů jinak, než máváním praporci se znaky Spoj. Obcí severamerických a květinami. Celou hodinu to trvalo, než všichni Američané vsedli do kvítím bohatě ozdobených povozů. A po celou tu dobu z nespočetných hrdel ohromného toho zástupu provoláváno bylo “Na zdar”!

Jedné chvíle nastala před východem z nádraží tak značná tlačenice, že nikdo nemohl vstoupiti ani dovnitř ani ku předu. Strážníci zavřeli skleněné dveře v domnění, že bude možno tímto způsobem zjednati volnější průchod ke kočárům, opatření to minulo se však účinkem, neboť tlakem dvéře bezmála mohly být vyvráceny.

Průčelní okna do ulice Jezdecké a Hybernské byla hustě obsazena. Ba odvážní vylézali až ku skleněné střeše nádraží, na drožky a vozy tramway, které stály v Hybernské ulici.

Nekonečná řada povozů, kterou zahájil p. J.S. Vilímek s pí. Kreslovou v kočáře prvém, mohla jen pomalu jeti kupředu. Bylo již po 2. hodině odpol., když poslední povoz mohl se hnouti dale.

Byla to jízda triumfální uprostřed jásajícího a nadšeného obecenstva, které po obou stranách tvořilo živou hradbu až na Žofínský ostrov, kdež vykonala se teprvé vlastní slavnost uvítací. Mluvil tam první náměstek starostů a otec Sokolů dr. Podlipný, koncertovala hudba propůjčená městskou radou a účinkoval pěv. sbor Lumír. Za americké Čechy poděkoval starý vlastenec krajan Petrtýl.

A stejně nadšené byly i slavnosti pořádané na počest Čechů amerických, a vítání jich všude, kdekoli se objevili. První officiální návštěva platila ovšem národopisné výstavě, tomu ústředí české kultury a její dokončenému obrazu dějinnému.

Byl krásný den 17. června. Hosté američtí shromáždili se před hlavní branou výstavní, kamž se sjížděli po různu v kočárech, a v půl jedenácté vešli pospolu hlavní branou do výstavy. Hlučné “Na zdar!” a “Vítejte nám!” pozdravilo z řad obecenstva vzácné příchozí.

Hustým špalírem a za radostných pozdravů kráčel jejich průvod, členy výkonného a zábavního výboru vedený, podél oddělení spolkového a zahnul pak před palác národopisný k hudebnímu pavilonu, odkudž jej přivítaly trojnásobné fanfáry orchestru výstavního.

Místopředseda výkonného výboru pan ředitel F.A. Šubert vystoupil po té do hudebního pavilonu a řelkou řečí drahé hosty oslovil. V jásavý ohlas, jež bratrské jeho pozdravení vzbudilo, zazněla mohutná hymna “Kde domov můj?!”, již vyslechlo shromáždění s obnaženými hlavami a provázelo novým jásotem.

Po té hnul se průvod k oddělení americkému.

O 6. hod. byl večerní symfonický koncert výstavní kapely na jejich počest a pak šly slavnosti co rána na ránu. V úterý dne 18. června 1885 v 9 hod. dopol. prohlédnutí radnice, Týnského chrámu, městské spořitelny, musea království českého, chrámu sv. Ludmily, oběd v Národním domě na Král. Vinohradech a odpůldne návštěva výstaviště. Večer o 8. hod. přátelská společná hostina, při níž účinkovala hudba pražského Sokola řízením kapelníka p. K. Šebora a promluvil řízně dr. Vojt. Frič. Ve středu dne 19 t.m. o 9 hod. byla schůze na Malostranském náměstí, navštíven chrám sv. Víta, dále prohlídka Hradčan a královského hradu. Odtud šli hosté do Rudolfina a na to oběd v Měšťanské besedě v Praze. Odpoledne o 4 hod. navštívili Náprstkovo museum, a večer o 7. hodině přítomni byli slavnostní představení “Prodané nevěsty” v Národním divadle s proslovem od E. Mužíka a živým obrazem. Po představení divadelním byl společný večírek v Měšťanské besedě. Svátkem zdál se také tento třetí den, svátkem zdál se každý den, jež strávili američtí Čechové v kruhu inteligence pražské kteráž s nevšední okázalostí a s radostí nelíčenou, provázenou nejopravdovějšími projevy upřímné lásky, přivítala je všude, kdež se objevili, aby zase alespoň na okamžik-vžili se do půvabů rodné vlasti a pokochali se krásou jejího srdce.

Žel že do všeobecné radosti padlo také několik krůpějí mrzutosti a s potěšením konstatujeme, že ji výletníkům nespůsobili krajané naši záoceánští, nýbrž nepřátelská vláda a našinci sami. Míníme ono bezpříkladné rozpuštění schůze pořádané v Měst. Besedě staroslavné Hory Kutné na počest Američanů, kamž praktikant okr. hejtmanství dr. Polák v průvodu četníků vnikl, míníme zápověď policejní, že američtí občané nesměli oslaviti národní svůj svátek, ba ani o něm přednášku odbývati, aby bratří naši nenačichli svobodou, míníme onen trudný okamžik, kdy jinak probudilá žena americká snížila se před hraběnkou Thunovou, způsobem tak nedůstojným. Ale ve světě není ani vlásku beze stínu. Bratří naši viděli rádi nás, my osvěžili se ku další práci na rodné půdě své a v tom leží hlavní význam výprav a návštěv.

Ačkoliv Česko-národní oddělení, jehož obrázky jsou na titulním listě kalendáře, nebylo venkoncem takovým, jakým býti mělo, nic méně doznati dlužno, že s těmi prostředky jakými výbor vládl, vykonal více, nežli kdo očekával a zasluhuje za svou práci všecko uznání. Oddělení Česko-americké líbilo se všeobecně a tak mnohá zvláštnost budila tam pozornost a obdiv. Americké oddělení, které dle plánů pp. architektů Fr. Randáka, Jos. Krčila a Ant. Charváta z Chicaga proved krajan Jos. Strnad, sestávalo z české farmy se srubem a kravínem, residence bohatého amerického Čecha s saloonu.

Nejlepší částí byla bez odporu residence, která zevnějškem i vnitřkem jasné vydávala svědectví o tom, jak velice se změnily poměry, co první Čech Augustin Heřman přistál r. 1633 do Nového Amsterodamu, jak se tehda říkalo nynějšímu New Yorku. Residence měla dole hovornu, čítárnu, kuchyň, koupelnu, jídelnu a nahoře vzdušné ložnice. Tapety, koberce, umělý nábytek, luxuriosní předměty svědčily o tom, že zde bydlí Čech, kterému se podařilo svým úsilím nabýti slušného jmění. Hořejší místnosti věnovány byly vlastní výstavě, kde viděti bylo fotografie amerických škol a spolkových místností svobodomyslných Čechů, diagrammy a dějiny spolků podpůrných, ohromné mapy, podel lodi Emže, Edisonův vlastnoruční podpis, školní knihy a ukázky soukromých knihoven.

“Česká farma” zbudovaná na výstavišti nedaleko “Residence” blíže hradební zdi, byla jednopatrová.Obsahovala malou verandu a tři místnosti, sloužící za ložnice, v prvním patře síň kuchyni se spíží, jídelnu a ještě jednu světnici obytnou, jichž ovšem nebylo užito k účelům svrchu podotčeným, ale pro výstavu různých hospodářských předmětů. K farmě družil se “srub” a “kravín”. Srub, zrobený z hrubých klád, opatřen byl nejnutnějším nábytkem zálesáckým. Uvnitř něho plnokrevný Indián vyráběl různé zvláštnůstky svého kmene, které český mladík z Michiganu, mezi Indiány vyrostlý, obecenstvu prodával. V kravíně pak jakož i v kolně k němu přiléhající vystaveny byly různé amer. stroje hospodářské a jiné pomůcky farmářovy ku zdělávání “panenské” půdy.

Americký saloon zřízený věrně dle amer. vzoru měl dlouhý výčepní stůl (bar) buffet a nalévací stojan se vším příslušenstvím i s plivátky pro ty Američany, kteří žvýkají tabák. Zde prodávalo se víno p. Korbela z Kalifornie, pivo z českého pivovaru z Chicaga, kudrnatý “Jean Kudla” naléval rozličné americké “cocktails”, a p. Matas z Chicaga posloužil všeho druhu lunčem. Před barem byla řada bíle prostřených stolů, kde venku sedali známí a ctitelé Američanův a dávali si vypravovati o poměrech v nové vlasti zámořské.

Vladimír hrabě Lažanský, předseda výkonného výboru Národopisné výstavy českoslovanské v Praze, jehož obrázek přinášíme na straně 178 letošního kalendáře, jest jeden z několika těch šlechticů, kteří jsou opravdu a nejenom svými slovy šlechtici českými. Snad bychom je spočetli na prstech jediné ruky – a byť jsme již dávno nevěřili, že český lid sám za sebe a bez vůdcovství urozených rodáků mohutnět nemůže, vítáme přece v řadách svých stejně srdečně každého šlechtice v pravdě českého, jenž dobrovolně vstupuje mezi nás, osvědčuje vlastenectví své skutky a věrně setrvává i v díle tak eminentně národním, ba pro svůj ráz i podezřívaném, jako byla krásná Národopisná výstava. Vladimír Lažanský projevil všechny tyto pěkné vlastnosti a přilnuv k výstavním pracím srostl s naší výstavou a tím i se společností českou, která ho upřímně uvítala při práci společné. Jeho vlivu bylo často třeba, když se nad výstavním podnikem stahovala mračna nejhrozivější a hrabě Lažanský osvědčil při tomto několikráte nejen vzácný takt vůči vyšším mocnostem, což je v české šlechtě cností až přespříliš známou, ale i k lidu tomu, jehož dílo přijal s ostaními vytrvalými pracovníky do své správy.

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Today Onward To Our Past® is pleased to bring you today’s new installment (number 7) of our exclusive translation from the Czech-American annual journal Amerikán Národní Kalendář from 1898.  This article is titled “Paměti českých osadníků v Americe” or “Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America”.

1898 title page wells lib

We continue today following Jan Faktor from Montgomery, Minnesota.  These biographies and stories of some of the earliest Czech immigrants to America are filled with wonderful details and tidbits of historic information that can help any of us who are working on our Czech genealogy.

Enjoy today’s installment!

Amerikán Národní Kalendář

Volume: XXI, Year: 1898, Pages: 196-208

“Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America”

Jan Faktor

Jan Faktor

“He (Ed: Jan Faktor)  walked to the town (Ed: New Vienna, Iowa) and spent four and a half years there mostly working as a woodworker and partly by selling timber.  In the last 18 months of his stay he had only day laborer jobs.  So Mr. Faktor went to St. Paul where he found work as a mason.  In the end of 1860 he moved to his plot of land near where today’s Montgomery is.  He owned an area of 80 acres, which he bought (for 2 dollar for each acre) while he was still living in Dubuque, although he had never seen it before he bought it.

Those who know a farm only from books or from the windows of a passing train cannot begin to imagine the inhumane, hard work that tried to destroy the bodies and spirits of the first settlers in the forest, hilly area of central Minnesota (and of another states in the same area).  Every piece of bread they had to get from the rough land with violence – cutting the old trees, moving stumps away from morning to night, and digging drains to dry the numerous swamps that were there.

Forest

They had to wait for their first harvest, which rewarded their hard work, for one year and sometimes even longer.  Very often this hard work of our first pioneers was interrupted by raids made by restless Indians, by illnesses of family members, or by a lack of money.  In the last case women and children stayed at home and men went somewhere else to work as day laborers. When they again came back home they continued in their struggles with untamed nature.  A lot of warm hearts and wise heads fell down sooner than their goal was reached.  It would be possible to write a lot of novels about this!

But it was necessary to continue in this work and our settlers did it.  Luckily most of them were successful enough to be able to purchase a larger piece of property, which finally provided them a quiet, comfortable life for their last years.  Our Jan Faktor had to overcome all these hard beginnings of farmers here with the exception of fighting against the redskins. He did not have to defend his farm, life, and family against them, because they were not hostile towards him.  The only time he met them was when they came to beg.

But living with his family alone in such a deserted area often almost led to despair.  The married couple wished to leave their home several times, but thanks to their diligence and sobriety they stayed there for twenty-two years.  Today Mr. Faktor, together with his wife Anna, have already been retired for fifteen years and they live in their own house in Montgomery.  The farm was sold to their son Vaclav.  Their second son, Vojtech, owns a shoe-shop in Montgomery.  In the same town live two of his married daughters.  The third daughter lives in Tacoma, Washington.”

A picture from Kolacky Days in Montgomery, Minnesota.

A picture from Kolacky Days in Montgomery, Minnesota.

 Tomorrow we finish the story of Jan Faktor and move across the country to follow a new Czech immigrant settler.  We guarantee it will be another wonderful and eye-opening account.

Onward To Our Past®

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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

Jan Faktor

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®

 

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Today we continue with our exclusive translation of our 1898 article from Amerikán Národní Kalendář titled “Paměti českých osadníků v Americe” or “Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America” .  In today’s installment we continue and complete the story of Czech immigrant Tomáš Mareš and his family.

Under threat of prosecution and persecution by the military, the courts, and the church, Tomáš, newly married after getting his forged papers from a priest and his wife have just left for America.

Enjoy this wonderful biography of a determined and focused Czech immigrant.

Amerikán Národní Kalendář

Volume: XXI, Year: 1898, Pages: 196-208

“Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America”

Tomas Mares

Tomas Mares

“After fourteen long weeks of passage he arrived in New York and then continued on to Chicago.  In those times there were in Chicago no more than only 40 Czech families.  The only Czech cafeteria was owned by Mr. Capek, called ‘Klimt’.  Six months later his wife was very ill, but still they went to Minnesota where he bought some land near the town today called Nova Praha (Ed: now New Prague). It was just forest land and he had no idea how to cultivate it.  But somehow he finally found how to do this by trying time and again.  Two years later he sold his property and was drafted for service in the Northern military forces.

It was necessary to pay $30 to be free from this duty.  However he decided to go to Bohemia.  Not to escape, but because he was due an inheritance for his wife – 900 guilders.  He stayed in Bohemia only for five months because the police constantly pursued him as a dangerous rebel. The police also confiscated several Freethinker books from him.  He never did receive the inheritance due his wife, because his brother-in-law cheated him, although he swore that he would give him all of his inheritance.  More troubles were prepared to be given him by the priests than those set by the political authorities for him.  Therefore all the people who met him, even his friends, informed on him that they had never seen him pray, nor remove his hat when the bells would ring.

During this short time he visited his brother and during this visit his brother’s calf became sick and they were afraid they would have to kill it. Tomáš did it and his sister-in-law started to cry that God was punishing them for the fact that the heathen was living together with them.

When he was coming back home to America via Prague he met his former commander and also the well-known Vojta Naprstek, now deceased.  Both of these men advised him not to return to America and that they could give him a good job in Bohemia.  But he was aching for America and he immediately went back to Minnesota.  After staying there only a short time he continued on to Chicago and later to St. Louis, Missouri.  He liked it in both places, but both he and his wife were sick with ague and he had to pay $240 to a physician named Blank who promised to heal them.  But they were not getting any better and he advised them go back north to Wisconsin or to Minnesota.

Minnesota on map of us good jpeg reduced

They went to St. Paul Minnesota and he got a job working in a railway engine-house.  During this time he established a Czech organization in his home – “Slovanska Lipa”.  The first four years were pleasant working at the railway but later it changed to a military-like drill: everyone had to be at work accurately to the very stated minute, every piece of work had to be weighed, everything had its regulations, but at the same time their wages decreased.  The reason was that a wagon that came from Glasgow, Scotland cost $125 less and even a locomotive from there cost $3,000 less than the ones made in their depot because the duties were less.  This led him to the opinion that tariffs were important for America so the workers would be protected from cheaper items made abroad.

He decided to try farming in nearby Nova Praha again. These were very hard times at the beginning especially for people who were not experienced in farming.  Also there Tomáš  was persecuted for his opinions, because the locals were fanatically against him.  Twenty years later one of them pleaded that they wished to stab him with pitchforks because their priest said that it would be a godly act to kill a heathen.

Now after the 26 years he has lived there a lot changed there and now everyone is free to express their opinions openly without fear that they will be bodily harmed.  People became more tolerant and found they could discuss these issues together without any problems.  Believers and non-believers meeting each other can negotiate and communicate together normally now.

After so many restless years of his life Tomáš wished to rest and in October 1896 he transferred his farm to his son, Tomáš .  His daughter, Marie, married a young man, Anton Kluzak, living in the new Czech town of Beroun.”

So ends our story of Tomáš Mareš and tomorrow we continue our translation of this wonderful 1898 Amerikán Národní Kalendář article with a new Czech immigrant’s story and believe us it is another great one!

Onward To Our Past®

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Today our Czech genealogy translation from 1898 continues with Installment 4 and we continue to follow the life of Tomáš Mareš.  If you recall from the last installment, Tomáš was just sent to Arad, Hungry to fight the Hungarian Uprising.  Today’s installment finds Tomáš still in the military, leaving after ten years, and as he plans to marry his past comes back to haunt him.

Enjoy today’s installment and if you have missed any of our earlier translation installments of this article (“Paměti českých osadníků v Americe” or “Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America”) you can click here and begin with Installment 1.

Here we go!

Amerikán Národní Kalendář

Volume: XXI, Year: 1898, Pages: 196-208

“Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America”

“In 1850 he was sent from Hungary to northern Bohemia to fight against the invading Prussians.  In 1851 he was sent to Vienna where he stayed until 1854. When the Crimean War began he was sent by the Mobilization Department to Transylvania and Romania. When the Crimean War was over he went to Huro Romova and later to Lviv where he stayed until 1857.  These were truly golden times for him because the artillery was very respected there, he received a lot of money, and was welcomed in the local high society, unlike in any other garrisons of the Empire.  In these times he received new ideas and began thinking about political and religious issues.  The same year he was sent to Olomouc and later to Vienna, again.

In Vienna the military staff let him choose whether to continue in military service for 1 600 guilders or to go home.  He decided to leave the army.  After ten years he went home.  His father was deceased, but his mother was alive, but was retired.  She was happy to see him, but could not accept the fact that he never prayed in the mornings nor in the evenings.  She wished to see him redeemed and went to have four masses said at Bosilec church for this change to happen.   Tomáš could not stand to see her look so sad, so he left home for Trebon and there secured a job with the poor payment 40 hellers weekly. (Ed: The heller became a symbol of low worth and a common German phrase is “keinen (roten) Heller wert”, literally ‘not worth a (red) Heller’.  This may well be the basis for our saying ‘not worth a red cent’.)

red_cent

This salary was insufficient for him as he was used to drinking one glass of beer a day and to smoke one cigar daily.  Therefore most of his expenses were paid from the money he had saved from before.  Two months later he left that job and went back to Vienna.  He went there illegally because he did not receive his certificate showing the end of his military service (called an “abschied”). He went by omnibus to Vienna without any documents.  When he arrived in Vienna he immediately secured a job with the weekly pay of 18 guilders.  At this time the next war against France and Italy began.  It was proclaimed that every soldier who did not have an “abschied” yet had to present himself to the military authorities.  Anyone who did not would be penalized.  He did not present himself there and for five weeks his foreman helped to save him.  But finally he decided to avoid the penalty and went to the police to inform them about himself.  They did not let him go and instead sent him to Lviv.  But before he even arrived there the war was over and he was sent back to Vienna where he finally received the “abschied” he had earned.

He stayed in Vienna until 1861 because he secured a job in the portion of Vienna called Floridsdorf.  At that time there were two large demonstrations at “Salzgries” and also near the ministry.  As a result of this the army was called out to this area.  Workers were warned not to go there, but he went there.  He was taken by police who finally let him go.  Unfortunately his employer let him go too. He had good luck in that the authorities did not know that he had fought in the 1848 Revolution.  Two other men who were found at these demonstrations with the same past were imprisoned for several years.

Tomas Mares

Tomas Mares

He went back to Bohemia and there he planned to go to America.  In that time,1862, he planned to marry, but the priest of Lomnice would not marry him, without his taking confession and without his attendance at pre-marital lessons.  He refused and went to Bosilec where the local priest gave him the certificate he needed also sending him with warning not to say anything anybody about it, leave the country, and never came back.  The wedding was the same day and the very next day they left to go to America.”

Tomorrow we follow Tomáš to America and see what is in store for his bride and him there!

Onward To Our Past®

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Czech Genealogy: Installment 3 of 1898 ‘Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America’ Exclusive Translationhttp://onwardtoourpast.com/ank-article-translations/czech-genealogy-installment-3-of-1898-memoirs-of-czech-settlers-in-america-exclusive-translation.html http://onwardtoourpast.com/ank-article-translations/czech-genealogy-installment-3-of-1898-memoirs-of-czech-settlers-in-america-exclusive-translation.html#comments Fri, 15 May 2015 09:50:48 +0000 http://onwardtoourpast.com/?p=4779

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Onward To Our Past® is pleased to present our next installment (#3) of the exclusive English translation of the 1898 article from Amerikán Národní Kalendář titled

Paměti českých osadníků v Americe” or “Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America”.

Today we are introduced to Tomáš Mareś.   Tomáš’ story is filled with wonderful Czech genealogy information.  Not only did Tomáš participate in the 1848 Uprising, but he then spent a significant amount of time in the military service in Bohemia.  His story gives readers a detailed and intricate view of what it was like to be in the military at that time in Bohemia and these details can be most useful as we seek to understand the timelines of our ancestors and any of the Bohemian men who served at this time.

Enjoy today’s installment.  If you missed the first two installments, you can catch up by clicking here for Installment #1 and here for Installment #2.

Amerikán Národní Kalendář

Volume: XXI, Year: 1898, Pages: 196-208

“Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America”

“Tomáš Mareś from Heidelberg, Minnesota was born in 1833 at Ponedrazek, Lomnice okres, Ceske Budejovice kraj, Bohemia.  During his childhood he attended school for just one winter at Neplachov where his uncle lived.  In that time he learned to read only Gothic German, but he learned that well during just one winter.  The next winter he attended school at Bosilec and he studied well, until the time when his teacher, Hrusa, unfortunately drowned. The third winter a new teacher came who was a military veteran (hornblower) from the Imperial & Royal Cavalry.

1898 Tomas Mares image jpeg small

Tomas Mares

In those times it was common that whoever had good connections to the local priest and his female cook had a good chance of receiving a position as a school teacher.  But this new teacher was not well educated and did not have any assistant even with the large number of students in his classes.  Tomas recognized that he could not learn anything more there so at the age of eleven years he left the school.  He went to Trebon to train to be a blacksmith.  He trained very hard for three years.

In those times it was the custom to wake up at 4 a.m. and work until 9 p.m.  After his three years of training he became a journeyman a with salary 8 groš weekly.

In the historical year of 1848 he went to work in the Austrian town of Horn where he was paid 1 guilder weekly, which he considered to be a royal sum.  Several months later he wished to know Vienna.  He was accommodated there and because he had some money a lot of “friends” accompanied him.  He found himself out of money soon, but immediately found a good job with the pay of 2 guilders weekly.  He worked quietly until the outbreak of the October Uprising when the people in the revolt were recruiting new fighters.  Only two workers out of eleven remained at work.  The rest of them all brought rifles and caps and went to fight at the barricades.  When the uprising was defeated they ran away or tried to hide themselves.  Tomas, together with one of his comrades, were hidden in an empty well thanks to one kindly, old Czech lady.  After staying hidden there for two days they climbed out and left Vienna, hidden in a carriage.

When Tomas left Vienna he went directly to his home in Bohemia.  When he entered the house of his father he was not welcomed very well by him.  The reason was that in the past Tomas had always dressed very well, but now he looked shabby like a beggar.  He decided to leave the house of his father and not to listen the reprimands.  He went to the close by town of Ceske Budejovice where he met several friends.  They advised him that in order to solve his problem the best solution was for him to join the army.  Because he was afraid that he would most likely be prosecuted as a political criminal, he decided he would rather join military, which he finally did.  He went into the artillery because one unit was being formed at Ceske Budejovice and the staff promised that their units would not leave the town during his period of service.  But he was disappointed because just four weeks later his artillery unit was sent to Arad, Hungary, to fight against the Hungarian uprising.”

Tomorrow we continue with our 1898 translation

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Czech Genealogy: Installment 2 of 1898 ‘Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America’ Exclusive Translationhttp://onwardtoourpast.com/ank-article-translations/czech-genealogy-installment-2-of-1898-memoirs-of-czech-settlers-in-america-exclusive-translation.html http://onwardtoourpast.com/ank-article-translations/czech-genealogy-installment-2-of-1898-memoirs-of-czech-settlers-in-america-exclusive-translation.html#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 09:50:55 +0000 http://onwardtoourpast.com/?p=4772

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Today, Onward To Our Past® is pleased to bring you installment #2 of our exclusive translation of the 1898 article from the Czech genealogy treasure chest, Amerikán Národní Kalendář, titled “Paměti českých osadníků v Americe” or “Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America”.

This topic was a fairly regular feature in Amerikán Národní Kalendář and in 1898 it was a wonderful one!  This first story continues to follow Josef Sekavec, a Czech immigrant and his family who upon leaving B0hemia arrived in New York, then went on to Chicago and from there to Minnesota to join friends who had settled there previously.  If you missed Installment #1 you can read it by clicking here.

After an uneventful 17-day crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, the Sekavec family arrived in America and as our story resumes today they have just left Chicago bound for Minnesota.

Enjoy today’s installment!

Amerikán Národní Kalendář

Volume: XXI, Year: 1898, Pages: 196-208

“Memoirs of Czech Settlers in America”

 

A photo of a group of Czech-Americans in Cleveleand.

A photo of a group of Czech-Americans in Cleveland.

“The journey took more than one full month and never will anyone doubt the fact that it was filled with a lot of troubles and difficulties.  In Minnesota his father bought 240 acres of forest land for $2700. Only a very small part of the area was cultivated.  Most of the land was made up of forests or swampland.  The family worked very hard, cut the forest, and dried the swamps.  From dawn until dusk they worked in the hopes of future prosperity.  Finally they found themselves in the situation where their poverty was finally over, but it was not smooth times yet.

In 1868 Josef married and started his own farm with 80 acres of land that he was given by his father together with old axe and a scythe.  His beloved father wished to give him much more but could not because the money that he had brought along from the Old Country was gone already and he had even had to go into some debt.  With his wife, B. Kaplicky, he started to work with enthusiasm and they made up for their lack of money, animal teams, and tools by turning to their own strong will and hard work with the hopes that someday their hard work would bring them success.  Soon they improved their household and after eleven years of hard work his farm also looked much better.  There were well-built, strong buildings to live in, sheds, fences were repaired, and swamps were dried out thanks to their work digging many ditches to drain them.  High, old elm trees were chopped down and some new fields were bought and cultivated.  At this point Josef could finally rest a bit and look to the results of his work with great satisfaction.

Josef Sekavec

Josef Sekavec

At this time much was being written and spoken about nice plots of land in Kansas.  His father and both of his brothers went there after selling their properties in Minnesota.  Josef wished to stay with them and therefore he sold his farm too, and went to Kansas to meet up with them again.  He travelled by train and therefore reached Kansas sooner than his father and brothers who were traveling in carriages. He settled on 160 acres for himself and bought another 80 acres nearby in Ellsworth County, where he has lived ever since that time.

Young members of the Sekavec family have taken part in public lives and they belonged to, and were also establishing members of, Č.S.P.S. Lodge number 115 named “Vesmir” in Wilson.  All of the family are freethinkers, but they do not quarrel over religion with anybody.  Instead they are respectful of the opinions of other people that might differ from their own.

Vaclav owns a drugstore in Wilson and Frantisek settled several years ago in Oklahoma.  The Sekavec family was also always active in politics.  Josef was elected several times to various posts at the County level and finally was elected to the State Congress in 1898, representing the Peoples Party.  But at the time of the last election he retired from politics and dedicates his time only to his farm and family.

He was always an enthusiastic correspondent for the various Czech papers, especially for “Svornost” and “Amerikán”.  He has finally achieved prosperity and with satisfaction he can look upon the fine results of his work.  He raised 6 children together with his wife, three sons and three daughters. Three of them were baptized and next three were not. But there are not any differences between them.  He is respected by everyone who knows him personally, as well as by readers who know him only from his writings in the papers.”

Tomorrow we continue with our 1898 Czech memoirs with an amazingly detailed story of one Czech’s experiences in the armies drawn from Bohemia.

Onward To Our Past®

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