Friday, September 6, 2013

Anna Stransky's Letter: A Fridrich Family Story

In May of 1946, Anna Stransky, daughter of Joseph Stransky and Anna Fridrich, wrote a letter to her cousin Bill Svejkovsky of Oklahoma.  Bill Svejkovsky was collecting information for a family history, and Anna Stransky gave a helpful account of her grandmother’s Fridrich family.  As far as I know, Anna Stransky never married.  In 1946, when the letter was written, she was living with her sister Mary in Casper Wyoming.  From my mother-in-law, I received a copy of a ‘hand-written copy’ of this letter.  I do not know the whereabouts of the original letter.  This hand-written copy was all run together, without paragraphs. There probably were introductory and closing remarks in the original letter that were not included in the hand-written copy.  I have retyped from the copy, and present that portion of the letter here.  I have added a few bracket comments to aid identification:

Letter -  Anna Stransky of Casper, Wyoming to Bill Svejkovsky,  May 1946:

 . . . I think we have more information than you about Grandma Fridrich's [Frances Felepena Fridrich] family, but of course we would as Aunt Mary [Mary Fridrich Smith] and our Mother [Anna Fridrich Stransky] still remember the past very well.  Then there are some papers of Grandma's  that Aunt Mary saved when Grandma passed away.  There wasn't much, but I remember the divorce paper and we persuaded Aunt Mary to keep it as there were dates in it and mention of the children.  It proved helpful to Aunt Mary in establishing her birth and residence in this country when she applied for her old age pension...Grandma went by the name of Fridrich and so did her children after this first divorce, but it was not their name by birth.  Their father's name was Joseph Wasatko and that was your Mother's [Bozanna “Bessie” Fridrich Svejkovsky] rightful maiden name.  Grandma divorced him when the children were still young, and he married again, some widow [Frances Beska] in Nebraska.  She had children of her own, and they had one son together, his name is Anton Wastko [Anton Wasatko].  So he is a half-brother of your Mother's also.  We looked him up one time and he was in a bank in Lynch, Nebraska.  He had a nice family and seemed to be quite a progressive fellow.  They came over to Yankton to see us one summer about 10 years ago, but we haven't heard of them recently.  He said both his Father and Mother died years ago, and Mom says she remembers it as our Uncle Joe Fridrich from Tyndall went to the Funeral I believe.  Grandma married Mr Peseck [August Pesek] some years later and they had the one son who is Uncle August [August Bert Fridrich].  However, he never went by his right name either which should have been Pesek, but was always known as August Fredrick [also, August Frederick]. He didn't spell his name like Grandma did either.  You will notice her name has the German spelling, and her Father was a German.  She divorced Mr Peseck also, but I don't know when.  Then after her first husband's wife died in Nebraska many years later, and when she was quite elderly, she married Mr Wastko (our grandfather) again.  It didn't last but a very short time though and she left him and went back to Tyndall to live.  He didn't have any money and neither did she, so Aunt Mary says, and his son didn't approve of the marriage, so it didn't work out.  I often think that Grandma was sure ahead of her time, about fifty years at least.  We don't have any information ourselves, only what Mom and Aunt Mary know and remember.  For that reason we were of the opinion that some facts might be written in this old bible that your folks were supposed to have, that Grandma always said was given to her by her Father when she left the Old Country.  ..We don't know anything about Uncle August, other than that the last time we heard of them they were traveling with a Circus side-show.  Their son [Carlisle Frederick] was a musician and a nice boy, and we had heard that he was killed in the war in Germany.  We don't know this to be true though.  They had a girl [Maxine Frederick], who must be in her twenties now.  I saw her perform in the circus once, and she was very attractive.  Mom and Aunt Mary never could understand Uncle August going into that sort of life. He had a mail route in Geddes, S Dak for years.  But I rather think his wife was the promoter . . .

For more details about the people mentioned in Anna Stransky’s Letter, visit their pages at Family Stories, Also see my blog post, dated 7 August 2013, and titled - The Fridrich Family: Moravia to America.

Photo:  South Dakota Landscape; USDA - Natural Resources Conservation Service, 2009. Creative Commons – Share Alike license.

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