Homestead Stays in the Family

Many years later, homestead is still owned by family members.

| Good Old Days

In March 1872, my grandfather got a passport for himself, his wife and his son, John, to come to the United States from Prague. His wife never reached the United States; whether she died or never boarded no one knows. They landed and went to Cleveland, Ohio, where more people from the old country had settled.

In 1873 my grandfather remarried, this time to a woman whose parents had gone west to Iowa. Grandfather asked the owners of the land adjacent to his in-laws' acreage whether they would sell it. The landowners, who lived in Cleveland, asked $200 for the 40 acres; Grandma said to offer $180. If the offer was accepted they would have $20 to buy a cow.

The owners accepted the $180. My grandparents put all their possessions in two trunks, one of which my grandfather made before coming to the United States that is still in use today. They boarded the train and came to Fonda, Iowa.

Leaving their trunks at the depot, they walked across the prairie to Grandma's parents. Then Grandpa borrowed a team of horses and drove back to Fonda to get the trunks that held their worldly possessions.

Grandpa decided to build a one-room house on the highest spot of the 40 acres. He tied a rope around tree trunks in both rear corners and ran it under the house eaves to keep the wind from lifting the house. It had only dirt for a floor.

They lived in this house for five years. In the meantime, Grandpa was working on another building that was to be a barn. However, when it was finished they moved into it, as a baby was coming to enlarge their family. My mother was born there October 10, 1885.



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