In the year 1870 six families crossed the Missouri River and settled in Colfax County north of Schuyler. After a long trip of many hardships, they arrived on the homesteads, which were to become their future homes. As they were looking around and seeing nothing but the long prairie grass, John Novotny their leader spread out his hands and said “Děti, tak toto je zaslíbenou zemí” (Children, this is the Promised Land).
– from Vladimir Kucera’s 1976 work “Czech Contributions to the Progress of Nebraska”
My home town is a village on the prairies of eastern Nebraska. It was settled in the late 1800s by European immigrants, mainly Czechs and Germans, who came to the New World seeking freedom, peace, and rich farmland. Birds of a feather flock together, and by the early 20th century, the great majority of the residents in and around this farming community were first- and second-generation Czechs. Many of the people of my parents’ generation were fluent in Czech, and for some it remained the preferred language. This common background has helped them to preserve their Czech heritage, music, and food.
I had the pleasure of living in the Clarkson area between 1949 and 1967, and I acquired many fond memories (and interesting photographs) of the town and its environs. I have set up this site to share/archive stories of our Little Town on the Prairie and its people. These are not stories of great historical import. Rather, they are a collection of anecdotes that were called to mind by examining an old photo, backed up by a smattering of research, and offered for your amusement.
Posting these stories into a weblog makes it easy to get feedback and corrections from other Clarksonites who remember more or better. As Mark Twain wrote, “I have arrived at an age at which the things I remember most clearly never happened at all.” I want to get these stories right, so your corrections and amplifications are always welcome!
Na viděnou! (See you later!)