Onward To Our Past http://onwardtoourpast.com Genealogy Tips, Help, and Fun with a focus on family and history Mon, 30 Mar 2015 09:41:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Czech Genealogy: Installment 20 ‘The 11th Congress of the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. held at St. Paul, Minnesota’ 1897 Exclusivehttp://onwardtoourpast.com/ank-article-translations/czech-genealogy-installment-20-the-11th-congress-of-the-brotherhood-of-c-s-p-s-held-at-st-paul-minnesota-1897-exclusive.html http://onwardtoourpast.com/ank-article-translations/czech-genealogy-installment-20-the-11th-congress-of-the-brotherhood-of-c-s-p-s-held-at-st-paul-minnesota-1897-exclusive.html#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 09:34:39 +0000 http://onwardtoourpast.com/?p=4356

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Onward To Our Past is pleased to provide the 20th and final installment of our exclusive English translation of the 1897 Amerikán Národní Kalendář article “The 11th Congress of the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. held at St. Paul, Minnesota”.

Today’s installment provides us with a new state, Wisconsin, as well as two new biographies for 1800s Czech-Americans with the surnames of Smrcina and Sipek.

Enjoy this final installment of this tremendous set of Czech-American biographies for your Czech genealogy and history.

Amerikán Národní Kalendář
Year: 1897
Volume: XX
Pages: 220-232

    “The 11th Congress of the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. held at St. Paul, Minnesota”

“The Grand Lodge of the State of Wisconsin, consisting of thirteen lodges, was represented by:

wisconsin post card

Frant. Smrcina from Prairie du Chien is a member of Lodge Svatopluk, number 35. He was born about 50 years ago at Lisnice, Milevsko okres, Bohemia. Being a worker wished to improve his status and immigrated to America in 1869 and settled in Prairie du Chien. There he has tailor’s shop. Sometime later Smrcina became an important member of the community there. In 1876 he was elected to the Town Council. In 1885 and 1886 was elected as the town Booking Clerk, in 1890 was elected as the county’s Booking Clerk and in this post he served until 1892. In 1893 he was elected as the town Booking Clerk again, and in this post he continues to work today. From 1887 until 1890 he worked for the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. and he has belonged for seven years and always has been a follower of the ideals of Freethought and humanity.

Wisconsin map outline

Jan Sipek, Jr. from Green Bay, Wisconsin is a member of Lodge Podripan, number 45. He was born on 7 May 1857 at Doubravice, Bela okres, Bohemia. His parents immigrated to America in 1865 and his father settled initially in Centreville, Manitowoc County. Later, in 1873, the family moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin where he still resides at this time. Sipek, Jr. served as a policeman for five years, then for seven years he worked as an innkeeper. For six years served on the Town Council and now is a tax collector as well as working as an insurance agent, passage agent, and land reality agent. He has belonged to the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. for thirteen years, has been elected three times to be a delegate at the Grand Lodge and twice has been elected as a delegate to Č.S.P.S. Congresses.”

This installment brings us to the end of this current article translation, but stay tuned for more genealogy help and information right here courtesy of Onward To Our Past®.

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Onward To Our Past® Genealogy Services is proud to bring to you our newest installment from the 1897 edition of the Czech-American journal Amerikán Národní Kalendář.

As we continue with our exclusive English translation of “The 11th Congress of the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. held at St. Paul, Minnesota” we are off to two new states and bring you three new biographies of 1800s Czech-Americans.

Enjoy today’s installment!

Amerikán Národní Kalendář
Year: 1897
Volume: XX
Pages: 220-232

“The 11th Congress of the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. held at St. Paul, Minnesota”

“The Grand Lodge of the State of Texas, consisting of 26 lodges, was represented by:

Texas state and flag jpeg

Tomas Krajca, Sr. is a member of lodge Svetlo, number 120. He was born 48 years ago in Zadverice, Moravia. He immigrated to America in 1855 and already by 1870 he had arrived in Burleson County, as its first Czech settler. His beginnings as a pioneer in those times were uneasy ones, but now Krajca has a highly successful shop in Caldwell and also works hard for the Brotherhood. He has been a member for eleven years now. Twice he was elected as the Chairman of the Grand Lodge, once as the State Steward, and recently was the delegate representing all lodges of the state to the 11th Congress.

Josef Mikeska from Wesley, Washington Co., Texas is aged 34 years, a farmer as well as a shopkeeper, and a member of Lodge Bratri Svetla, number 157. He is one of the Czech patriots born at America, but extremely proud of the origins of their fathers. Mikeska was born in Industry, Austin County and has belonged to the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. for nine years. He is a true Freethinker, has a strong character, and is a generally well-respected person. This year he was elected as a delegate to the 11th Congress.

The Lodge Tacoma, number 170, the only lodge in the State of Washington, was represented by:

Click to see full image.

Click to see full image.

Vojta Cizek is from Tacoma. He was born 36 years ago at Vodnany, Bohemia. In the Old Country he was trained to be a tinner and he continues to successfully work in this job here in America. He immigrated in 1880. He lived for a long time in St. Paul, Minnesota. For 5 years he belonged to Lodge Cech and in 1891 was one of the founders of Lodge Tacoma. He has lived on the Pacific coast he since 1887. As a result of his good character he has found many friends everywhere. He is a true Czech patriot and Freethinker.”

Tomorrow we continue gathering more wonderful biographies of early Czech-American immigrants from across the country. Stay tuned right here!

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Welcome to the 18th installment of our Czech-American biography-filled translation from the 1897 edition of the journal Amerikán Národní Kalendář.

Today Onward To Our Past® offers you new biographies and two new states as well. We go to the Oklahoma Territory and the Keystone State, Pennsylvania. We also add the surnames of Vobornik, Knize, and Stefl. These new biographies, as the previous ones, are filled with wonderful detail about the lives of these early Czech-Americans both in Bohemia as well as in the U.S.

Enjoy!

Amerikán Národní Kalendář
Year: 1897
Volume: XX
Pages: 220-232

Oklahoma flag

    “The 11th Congress of the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. held at St. Paul, Minnesota”

“The Delegate of the Oklahoma territory, having just one Lodge “Osvicenost number 178″ was:

Jan Vobornik, of Bellemont, Oklahoma, was initially a member of Lodge Dennice number 81 and then later became a member of Lodge Slovanska Osvicenost number 178. He was born in Opatov, Humplec okres, Bohemia, on 13 April 1845. He immigrated to America on 18 May 1874 and settled in Colfax County, Nebraska. In 1878 he moved to Valley County, then in 1890 he moved to Oklahoma City, and two years later moved to Sac and Fox territories. “It is my last station”, he said, “and I will not move any more, just only to the eternal home for eternal rest.”

Vobornik has been very successful in America and has belonged to the Brotherhood since 1 January 1883. He was delegate to the Grand Lodge of Nebraska and this year was elected as a delegate for the 11th Congress from Oklahoma.

The Grand Lodge of the State of Pennsylvania, consisting of seven Lodges, was represented by:

PA postcard

Vaclav Knize from Allegheny City, is a member of Lodge Cechienr number 5. He was born 47 years ago in Dostavice, Klatovy okres, Bohemia. Already in the Old Country he was a good carpenter-builder and also in America. He immigrated to America in 1868 and has been able to compete very successfully as a carpenter-builder.

He had already joined the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. in 1870 and during the twenty-six years that he has belonged to the Brotherhood he did a lot for it. In Baltimore and Ervin he established new Lodges and this year was elected as a delegate for the National Congress. It is his second Congress. He was also a founder of the first Czech organization – “Slavoj”, a founder of “Cechie”, is member of Sokol, and has always been very active in Czech social life. Since about five years ago Knize has also been an innkeeper.

Josef Stefl from Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania is a member of Lodge Dobromil number 108. He was born 22 years ago in Obora near Kralovice. He worked as a miner in the Old Country, as well as in America, where he immigrated in 1882. Being a real Freethinker, he joined the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. twelve years ago. He always worked for hard and with enthusiasm. Because of his hard work he was elected as a delegate to the National Congress in St. Paul.”

The Pennsylvania state flag.

The Pennsylvania state flag.

Tomorrow we continue on with new states and even more wonderful biographies for your Czech genealogy and history.

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Today we continue with our translation of the biographies of Czech-Americans from across the United States in the 1800s.  These biographies come to us from the 1897 edition of the Czech genealogy treasure that is Amerikán Národní Kalendář.

Onward To Our Past® is the only place you can find the following in English.  Follow along as we return to Ohio today with new biographies of two new Czech-Americans with the surnames of Zak and Hummel.

Enjoy today’s installment (#17) of “The 11th Congress of the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. held at St. Paul, Minnesota”

Amerikán Národní Kalendář, Year: 1897, Volume XX, Pages 220-232

Ohio outline

Alois Zak from Cleveland is a member of Lodge Sion number 110.  He was born in 1863 in Dolni Ostrovce, Mirovice okres, Pisek kraj.  He was trained to be a locksmith and aged 18 years he immigrated to America where he worked as machinist.  He also served as a clerk for Č.S.P.S.  He joined twelve years ago, was a founder of his Lodge, and he has been working for six years in the Grand Lodge of the State of Ohio.  The last three years he served as Secretary and the Treasurer for it.  In Cleveland he established Lodge Sion number 14 J. T.  Our compatriot Zak is 33 years old and he has gained a lot of truly wonderful friends here.

Vaclav Humel, was born on 21 January 1846 in the town of Beroun.  He attended school there and since 1859 was trained to be a locksmith.   He worked in this job until the fateful year of 1866.  After the start of the Austro-Prussian War, he left Prague for Bremen.  From its harbor he sailed aboard the ship “Reinhard” to America and on August 3rd he landed in Baltimore.

Pilsener Brewing Co.

Pilsener Brewing Co., Cleveland, Ohio

After short time he left Baltimore for Cleveland, Ohio.  He started to work in a machinery shop and thanks to his hard work he became a foreman at “The Excelsior Iron Works Company” where he worked until November 1894.  He left the job to establish another company.  Together with his wife he is also co-owner of a tailor’s shop since 1874.  In 1892 he was elected as a director of the bank “Pearl Street Savings & Loan Company” and continues to work in that post still today.  In 1894 when the Plzen Brewery Company was established he became its major stockholder and later was elected to be its manager and he still works in this job.

I wonder if that is Vaclav Humel in the center top?

I wonder if that is Vaclav Humel in the center top?

He was always very active in Czech social life, especially as he spent a lot of his time working for the theatre.  In 1874 joined the literary club “Zizka”.  On 1 January 1876 the club incorporated into the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S.  Huml was chosen to be its Secretary and later he also worked effectively in other positions for the Lodge.  Several times was elected as its chairman, worked as a delegate of the Grand Lodge of Ohio, and in 1876 was elected as a delegate to the Congress in St. Louis, but being very busy he could not attend.  In 1880 the Lodge Zizka established at its own expense a Czech Sunday School, and he was a children’s teacher there for several years, free of charge, to save its income. But now are the school is sponsored by several organizations together and they have a common school council.  In 1891 he was elected as a delegate again for the Congress held in Cedar Rapids, where he was elected to the committee for preparing new bylaws and recently was elected as a delegate to the Congress in St. Paul, where he also served on the Committee.

Thanks to his great character and hard work, he received the accolades of all the delegates, who elected him Chairman of the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. for the next three years.

Oklahoma flag

The Delegate of the Oklahoma territory, having just one Lodge “Osvicenost number 178″ was:”

Join us tomorrow as we move into the Oklahoma Territory and beyond with even more exclusive biographies!

Onward To Our Past®

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Onward To Our Past® is pleased to present today’s installment of our exclusive English translation of the 1897 article “The 11th Congress of the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. held at St. Paul, Minnesota”.  This article comes to us from the wonderful publication Amerikán Národní Kalendář and holds more wonderful biographies for your Czech genealogy and history work.  They are some more marvelous additions and bring us the surnames of Hrubecky, Rychlik, and Vanek.

Enjoy today’s installment and don’t forget you can easily sign up to get notified of each new installment at the bottom of our home page by clicking here and signing up.  We never rent, sell, share, or give away anyone’s email address so your information only used by Onward To Our Past®.

So get ready as we go to Ohio today!

Ohio postcard jpeg


Amerikan Narodni Kalendar

Year: 1897, Volume: XX, Pages 220-232

“The 11th Congress of the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. held at St. Paul, Minnesota”

Frank Hrubecky from Cleveland, Ohio is a member of Lodge Pravdomil number 131.  He was born in Skal, Vodnany okres, Bohemia, 43 years ago.  He was trained as a shopkeeper and at the age of seventeen, in 1870, he immigrated to America and settled in Cleveland.  Because he did not know English he had to work very hard, as thousands of similar people did, but he never complained.  A year and a half year later he successfully started to work in a shop where he continued working until 1880.  At that time he established his own grocery store, which he continues to successfully own today.

In 1878 he joined the Lodge Premysl number 18.  In 1886 he became one of the founders of Lodge Pravdomil number 131.  Currently this Lodge is prospering and the number of its member is increasing.  He worked in many important posts in his Lodge, as well as in the Grand Lodge of the State of Ohio where he worked for 12 years.  In every post he has served well, both for the Lodge and for the Grand Lodge too. The last Congress in St. Paul elected him as Secretary of the Central National Main Lodge.

Ohio outline

Vaclav Rychlik from Cleveland, Ohio is a member of Svornost number 3.  He was born 54 years ago at Kolin (Ed: in Bohemia).  In the Old Country he was trained to be a machinist and at the age of 27 years he came to America, where he has worked as a shopkeeper and as an innkeeper.  He has belonged to the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. for 25 years and has served in various posts of his Lodge, as well as for the Grand Lodge.  In the Congress held in Cleveland in 1878 he was elected for one term as the Chairman and this year was voted to be the Treasurer of the Central National Main Lodge.

While living in Cleveland he has helped to establish several new Č.S.P.S. lodges, as well as the Choir “Lumir”, the amateur theatre “Budivoj”, a readers club, and Knights and Ladies of Honor.  He is also a member of “Cech”, the Sokol organization, the School “Matice” Fund and more, which proves he actually works for the Czech movement with his full force.  He was elected as a delegate to various Congresses four times.

Vaclav Vanek from Cleveland, Ohio is a member of Lodge Bratri v Kruhu number 22.  He was born in 1842 at Chelcice, Netolice okres, Bohemia.  Already a trained joiner he immigrated to America in the end of 1867 and worked in this job successfully here.  When first arriving in America he lived with parents in Port Jervis, New Jersey.  In 1870 he owned, together with his brothers, a joiners workshop in Cleveland.  He was employing almost 60 persons there, mostly Czechs, but lost it in a fire in 1880.

Politically he belongs to the Democrats, twice he was appointed as a tax-adjustor, for 2 years worked as an inspector at the almshouse, but now works in his job as a joiner again. He has belonged to the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. for nineteen years already.  He is one of the founding members of his Lodge, works for it happily and unselfishly.  He has served in almost all of its various posts.  Twice was elected to be a delegate to a Congress and at the 11th congress he was elected as the booking clerk of the Central National Main Lodge.”

Ohio Flag jpeg

Tomorrow we continue to meet Ohio Czech-Americans and move on to new states as well so stay tuned right here.

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“Today we bring you the newest installment of the Czech genealogy delight Amerikán Národní Kalendář and their 1897 article “The 11th Congress of the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. held at St. Paul, Minnesota”.

Today we have four more biographies from Czech-Americans who settled in New York in the 1800s.  As with our previous biographies these hold home villages, details of life in Bohemia as well as America, occupations, and more.  They are wonderful Czech genealogy resources.  The surnames today are Kucera, Wollmann, Krulis, and Doudera.

Enjoy today’s installment #15 from Onward To Our Past®.

ANK banner

Amerikán Národní Kalendář

 Year: 1897, Volume: XX, Pages 220-232

“The 11th Congress of the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. held at St. Paul, Minnesota”

New York post card

Bohumil Kucera from New York is a member of Lodge Karel Marx number 129.  He was born in Kutna Hora, Bohemia.  In his hometown he was trained to be a xylographer (Ed: one who makes wood engravings) and his employers offered him a job as a probationer.  But two years ago he left, together with parents, to go to America.  Here he started work as a successful cigar maker, and in this occupation he still works.   He joined Č.S.P.S. in 1889 and has always worked hard for its goals.  In 1894 he was elected as the Treasurer of his Lodge and for six years he represented the Lodge as its delegate to the Grand Lodge.  He was also a delegate to the 11th congress.  He is 38 years old and has lived in America for twenty-three years and is a popular person here.

Josef Wollmann from New York is a member of Lodge New York number 64.  He was born in Malin, Kutna Hora okres, thirty-one years ago.  When he graduated from fifth-grade-school he started his studies at the gymnasium in Kutna Hora and in 1882 he left for America.  Here he works as a cigar maker.  Seven years ago he joined the large Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. and in 1893 he was elected its Chairman of the Lodge as well as a delegate to the Grand Lodge.  He was sent to St. Paul for the 11th Congress.

Krulis, a mason from New York, was born 46 years ago in Kutna Hora, Bohemia and since his arrival to this free country he started to work for Czech organizations here. He has belonged to the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. for nineteen years already. He has represented Lodges at the Congress in Milwaukee and in St. Paul.  He is member of Narodni Jednota (National Brotherhood), for several years he worked as the director of amateur theatre, works in charitable and educational societies, and as the Chairman of the Building Committee for building a National Hall in New York.

Alois Doudera from New York is a member of Lodge Peter Cooper number 102.  He was born in Korutice, Kutna Hora okres, Bohemia, about forty-nine years ago.  His parents let him be trained to be a shoemaker and because he proved to have musical talent they also let him learn music.  In 1880 he moved to America and started to work as a cigar maker and snuff tobacco maker here.  He worked very hard for the Brotherhood and therefore in 1894 his Lodge elected him as its Chairman and now he is a delegate for this National Congress.

The Grand Lodge of the State of Ohio consisting of 19 Lodges was represented by:”

This is the style of koláče my grandma used to bake.

This is the style of koláče my grandma used to bake.

Be with us tomorrow as we move back to the Midwest and provide biographies of Czech-American settlers from across Ohio.

 

 

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Good day to you from Onward To Our Past® and welcome to Installment 14 of our exclusive English translation of the 1897 Amerikán Národní Kalendář Czech genealogy mother lode article “The 11th Congress of the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. held at St. Paul, Minnesota”.

Today we head east in order to meet Czech-American immigrants from the 1800s in New Jersey and New York.  As a result we are adding two more states to our trove as well as new surnames!

If you need to catch up you can click here and pick your installment to read at any time.

Enjoy our visit to the East Coast today!

NY and NJ map outline jpeg

Amerikán Národní Kalendář                     

Year: 1897

Volume: XX

Pages: 220-232

“The 11th Congress of the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. held at St. Paul, Minnesota”

New Jersey post card

“The Grand Lodge of the State of New Jersey consisting of Lodges number 112 and 140 was represented by:

Bedrich Pitterman of Newark, New Jersey is a member of Lodge Bratri Vzhuru.  He was born in Nova Kdyne okres, Bohemia and immigrated to America in 1884.  In his third year of living in America he joined the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. and was a member of the committee working for the establishment of the Grand Lodge of the State of New Jersey.  He is now Chairman of the Grand Lodge and has always worked successfully for the goals of Č.S.P.S.  Pitterman is 53 years old and works as a tanner.

New York post card

The Grand Lodge of the State of New York consists of 12 Lodges and was represented by seven delegates:

A.R. Hala from New York City, a member of Lodge Jan A. Komensky.  He was born 42 years ago in Cukvice, Kutna Hora okres, Bohemia and was trained to be a locksmith in the Old Country.  In 1881 he immigrated to America and the next year he joined the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S.  How active he has been is proved by the fact that in the years 1884, 1889, 1891, 1893 and 1894 he worked as the Secretary.  In the years 1885, 1888, 1890 and 1892 he worked as the Treasurer, and in 1886 was the Chairman of his Lodge.  In 1894 he was elected to the Grand Lodge as delegate and secretary and this year he was elected a delegate to the National Congress.  Hala wrote a history of Č.S.P.S. of New York and a history of his Lodge for the Ethnographic Exposition.

V.W. Wojtisek from New York, first was a member of Lodge J.A. Komensky and now is a member of Lodge J.E. Purkyne, number 39.  He was born in Bahno, Kutna Hora kraj, Bohemia.  He immigrated to America in 1866 and soon after he started his social life there.  When in Detroit, Michigan he got to know the policies of the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. and after his return to New York in 1875 he started to work with enthusiasm to establish a Club, which later became Lodge Jan Amos Komensky number 10 and also became its first Chairman.

He desired to increase the number of members of the Brotherhood therefore in 1879 he established the Lodge Jan E. Purkyne number 39 and left the previous lodge to do this.  He became its first Chairman as well.  He also served in another posts of the Lodge.  He deserves credit for beginning both Lodges and also worked for the Grand Lodge, worked as its Chairman several times, and was five times elected as a Delegate to the National Congress.  At the 11th Congress, which took place in St. Paul, Minnesota, he was elected as its First Secretary.  Wojtisek is 41 years old, works as a lawyer, and is a generous and respected person.

J.F. Vosatka from New York is a member of Lodge Karel St. from Zerotina.  He was born 50 years ago in Indice, Kutna Hora okres, Bohemia.  His parents wished to give him a good education.  He attended gymnasium at Kutna Hora and later joined, at the age of almost 18 years, the Financial Guards (Ed: Customs, border protection, etc.).  On 6 August 1868 he landed in America and settled in New York and soon joined Č.S.P.S.  He was the first Chairman of its Lodge and since that time he has continued to be very active in Czech social life.  This year Vosatka was elected as a Congress Delegate for the second time.  He works as a clerk for the Hamburg steam-navigation company.”

Tomorrow we continue with our Czech-Americans from New York and more!

Onward To Our Past®

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Today Onward To Our Past® is pleased to present our ongoing exclusive English translation from the 1897 edition of the Czech genealogy fount, Amerikán Národní Kalendář.

This ten-page article, while featured in the 1897 edition, was a series of biographies for early Czech-Americans who attended the national convention of the Czech and Slavic Protective Society in St. Paul, Minnesota held in 1896. These biographies offer a significant amount of information for anyone interested in Czech genealogy, Bohemian history, early Czech immigration to America, as well as wonderful details to help with those pursuing theories of chain migration.

If you have missed any installments, you can catch up simply by clicking here. This link takes you to the ‘ANK (Amerikán Národní Kalendář) Article Translations’ tab on our site.

Enjoy today’s installment, (#13) as we conclude the biography of the amazing Czech-American, Cenek Duras.

Amerikán Národní Kalendář
Year: 1897
Volume: XX
Pages: 220-232

“The 11th Congress of the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. held at St. Paul, Minnesota”

The CSPS Lodge in Wilber, Nebraska.  It still stands today and for the  past 100+ years has been a pharmacy.  Photo courtesy of Stephen Ourecky.

The CSPS Lodge in Wilber, Nebraska. It still stands today and for the past 100+ years has been a pharmacy. Photo courtesy of Stephen Ourecky.

“The great financial crisis in 1873 (Ed: You can read about The Panic of 1873 by clicking here.) that hit the country, appeared firstly in major cities and mainly in Chicago, which has still not recovered from the big fire. This crisis also hit, of course, the company of Duras (Ed: Cenek Duras) and he decided to find a new opportunity by going out west. He sold his company and moved to Omaha, first. Later he settled at Crete in Saline County where he made an agreement with the publisher of the English written weekly paper called “Post”. He was publishing its Czech language version. But the area suffered from locusts in 1874. Crops were poor because of the dry weather and what did grow was devoured by the locusts. Poverty was everywhere and new settlers had nothing to sell, some even has nothing to eat. A lot of them moved back east despite the financial crisis there.

Duras recognized that his plans for publishing would not be successful, and left this job. At this time the United States Congress decided to pay some money to the people who lost their entire crops because of the locusts. Duras was named for Commissioner of Saline County for the distribution of this support. Later he started to work as an innkeeper.

Immediately, when he settled in Saline County he was respected for his abilities, his education, his honesty and fairness. Because of his strong character, he was chosen in 1877 by the Republicans to be a candidate for the County booking clerk. It was a very difficult struggle because during this election not only were the issues being decided, but also the relocation of the county capital from Pleasant Hill. There were two candidate towns: Crete and Wilber. Duras campaigned for Crete and despite the fact that Crete lost, Duras was elected. Two years later Duras was re-elected and when his second term was over he left the post.

He decided to visit his Old Country again. As a man who did not stop loving his home and nation, he wished to once again visit the Czech forests, Mother Prague, to hug his beloved parents, sister, and brother, who he had not seen for 17 years. He also used this opportunity for sightseeing the various towns of the American East and of Europe. After his return to America he became a director and co-owner of the State Bank at Crete. One year later he established a notary agency at the same place. In 1886 Duras was elected as a Senator for the State of Nebraska and in 1892 as a presidential elector. That same year he moved to Wilber when he started to lead a State Bank, there. In Wilber in 1879 was established the Lodge Svojan of Č.S.P.S. and Duras became its first Chairman. One year later the Nebraska Grand Lodge was also established and he was elected as its first Chairman. The 11th congress of the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. that took place in St. Paul elected him as its Chairman for the whole country of America.

The CSPS building in Wilber, Nebraska courtesy of Stephen Ourecky and Czech Slavnosti.  Click for larger image.

The CSPS building in Wilber, Nebraska courtesy of Stephen Ourecky and Czech Slavnosti. Click for larger image.

The Grand Lodge of the State of New Jersey consisting of Lodges number 112 and 140 was represented by:”

Tomorrow we head back east and begin in New Jersey with a new state and new biographies.

Onward To Our Past®

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Onward To Our Past® is pleased to present today’s newest exclusive English translation installment from the wonderful Czech genealogy journal Amerikán Národní Kalendář from the year 1897.

Today we continue with the biography of the strong and amazing Cenek Duras. The perseverance this Czech-American exhibited is almost beyond comprehension.

And guess what? Today Cenek’s grandson lives on the family farm in Wilber, Nebraska at the grand age of 102! We will be bringing you more on this aspect of the story of Cenek Duras after our current translation installments are complete. It is wonderful!

Remember if you missed any of the prior installments of this translation or the other articles we have in our exclusive cache, you can click here and get caught up.

Enjoy and have a pleasant day.

Amerikán Národní Kalendář
Year: 1897
Volume: XX
Pages: 220-232

“The 11th Congress of the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. held at St. Paul, Minnesota”

The CSPS building in Wilber, Nebraska courtesy of Stephen Ourecky and Czech Slavnosti.  Click for larger image.

The CSPS building in Wilber, Nebraska courtesy of Stephen Ourecky and Czech Slavnosti. Click for larger image.

“His (Ed: Cenek Duras) mood and expectations were very sad because he did not know the most important thing – how to speak English. For several days his only food were wild berries and unripe apples. For several days he walked aimlessly through the country. During one dark, nightmare night he was awaken by howls. He recognized that a pack of wolves was searching around. Fearing he could be their victim he began to run away without any knowledge of the direction he was going. Being on the move the whole night and next day he decided that he cannot to live this way any longer.

When the night covered the countryside again he saw a light in the far distance. He decided to follow the light and found a house there. He approached the house and asked for any job they might have there. He was welcomed with a meal and a bed. The next day he succeeded in the work they gave him although it was not easy. He worked for many days although it was very hard for him. Several days he worked until he earned enough money that helped him pay for the expense of travelling to the town of Cairo, in the southernmost part of the state Illinois.

Unfortunately to live there was not easy for him either. He tried to work hard but recognized that he was too weak for hard work and he could fail at it quickly. During one nice night, sitting on the waterfront at the place where the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers meet each other, he watched, thanks the shine of moon, something that reminded him of a white swan. It was one of the floating palaces of Mississippi River. Sometime later the steamboat landed and it was announced that 1 hour later it would continue down the river to St. Louis. Duras had enough money left to buy a ticket and sailed on eh “Father of the Waters”. Two days later he landed in St. Louis. In that time the largest Czech community in America lived there and was even publishing a Czech newspaper “Pozor Americky”. This paper employed Duras part-time. He was sent as a business agent to various American towns with Czech communities. During these trips he came to know several important members of the Czechs settlements in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago, and more. But after a year of an uneasy existence the magazine “Pozor” closed down. Duras decided to leave the town for Chicago. In that time the Czechs of Chicago realized their social life at “Slovanska Lipa” and “Sokol”. Duras became a member of these organizations as well as being in an amateur theatre. In 1871, together with Mr. Geringer, he established a bookstore and publishing company, which later became property of Mr. Geringer, who is leading the business successfully to this day. (Ed: Geringer was the publisher of Amerikán Národní Kalendář)

After the big fire of Chicago Duras lost almost all of his private property. Shortly after the fire he left the company of Mr. Geringer and established his own publishing company and started to publish the magazine “Prapor Svobody” and various books entitled “Knihovna Americka”. His publishing company also printed Klacel’s magazine “Svojan”.”

Tomorrow we will bring you the completion of the story of Cenek Duras and then begin to move on to new states across America and the biographies of their Czech-Americans.

Onward To Our Past®

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Onward To Our Past® continues our exclusive English translation from the Czech genealogy treasure-trove of Amerikán Národní Kalendář.

Today we present Installment #11 of the 1897 article “The 11th Congress of the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. held at St. Paul, Minnesota”. This article, which ran for ten pages in the “Amerikán” is filled with the biographies of those Czech-Americans from the 1800s who attended the 1896 Convention of the Czech and Slavic Protective Society held in St. Paul, Minnesota.

This biographies are wonderfully detailed and today’s is nothing short of amazing. We continue the biography of Cenek Duras and his early life in Bohemia and then America.

Enjoy!

Amerikán Národní Kalendář
Year: 1897
Volume: XX
Pages: 220-232

The CSPS Lodge in Wilber, Nebraska.  It still stands today and for the  past 100+ years has been a pharmacy.  Photo courtesy of Stephen Ourecky.

The CSPS Lodge in Wilber, Nebraska. It still stands today and for the past 100+ years has been a pharmacy. Photo courtesy of Stephen Ourecky.

“The 11th Congress of the Brotherhood of Č.S.P.S. held at St. Paul, Minnesota”

“Finally one day he (Ed: Cenek Duras) was introduced to an unknown man who it was said was his father. Because in the year 1856 the first child was born to the Emperor and Princess Gisella to celebrate this important event for the entire Austrian Empire, all of its political prisoners were amnestied. However, all memories of his father had already disappeared from his mind and it was not easy for him to get accustomed to this situation with this unknown man as his father. But he was happy for the fact that now he could finally leave Terezin and this helped him to bond with his father. Several days later a wagon with Cenek was heading back to Zelenice and leaving the grey, hostile bastions of Terezin, behind.

Cenek could not enjoy his ex-schoolmates at Zelenice, for very long. Several days after arriving home he had to go to study in Prague. There he attended a Czech high school and after two years there he attended the first Czech gymnasium in Prague. His parents wished he would study technical sciences, but because the more he studied, the more he became ill and they had to abandon this idea. Therefore after five grades of gymnasium, he left his studies and started to work in a bookstore. In this time his desire was awakened to know foreign parts of world, and he liked to read descriptions of different counties and different places. After two years of his working in the bookstore, he asked to move to Saxony, where was employed in a similar bookstore as a correspondent. There he discovered the idea of moving to America, and this idea he would actually realize.

On Good Friday in 1866 he left Saxony for Bremen to sail to the New World from its harbor. He knew his parents will not allow him to go, therefore he sent them a letter of his decision on the same day he boarded the ship. After 9 months, all the while suffering on board this sailing vessel, he finally landed at Baltimore harbor. Because he wished to learn the English language and American customs quickly, he went to southern Illinois. There he suffered a lot of troubles typical of any of the “green” immigrants. Twice he tried to work on a farm as a binder, but because he was not used to the hard work and the hot beams of the southern sun, he had to find another job. Yet during his second job on a farm he was stricken down with heatstroke, passed out, and his fellow farm laborers had a very difficult time waking him up ever after a very long time trying. When he finally did recover he walked away into the nice country of southern Illinois.

From marvelous plains to cold forests, but all the natural beauty could not hide the great sadness in his heart. All the beauties of nature could not fill his empty stomach nor line his empty pockets. When he awoke in the morning from his grass bed, covered just by the sky, from all directions he could hear all the music of pretty birds, all the countryside enjoyed of sun, but his eyes were wet, because he had not a single friend in this nice country and he could not make himself understood by anyone because he is not able to work for his living.”

Tomorrow we continue with the amazing story of the life of Cenek Duras and you are in for a real treat! As we said it is an amazing story of perseverance and personal strength of which all of us with Czech blood in our veins can be very proud.

Onward To Our Past®

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