Blacksmith Plied Trade in New World

Young man traveled from Yugoslavia to Youngstown, Ohio.

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My father, Emil Markobrad, was born in the late 1800s in Virginmost, Yugoslavia, which at that time was part of the Austria-Hungary Empire. At 16 he was aware that he would be enrolled in the army at 18, so, like many other young men his age, he made many efforts to get passage fare to America.

At that time, he was an apprentice blacksmith in Belgrade. His training provided him with a livelihood the rest of his working years. His sister, her husband and his nephew were living in Pennsylvania, working to make enough money to return to their native county, which they eventually did. They helped Emil accumulate enough money to book passage on a trip here.

Father's only presentable item of clothing was a new hat, of which he was so proud. Alas, when they reached the Statue of Liberty, the rushing onlookers jostled his hat, which flew into the ocean.

After having a difference of opinion with his sister, he left and worked his way west, settling in Youngstown, Ohio. He claimed he learned English there. "That is where I learned to speak so well," he said, although he had a decided brogue all his life. Eventually he landed in Maxwell, New Mexico, where he married our mother,

Josephine Mumford, and brought nine children into the world. I am the oldest. Emil moved his family to Wyoming in 1928.

Martha Thompson
Pine Bluffs, Wyoming

Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.