Reverend J.M. Trunk - Arkansas 1912
Copyright © 1996, 1997, Slovenian Genealogy Society International, all rights reseved
These Rev. J. M. Trunk texts were published originally in 1912. Part 8, History of Slovene Communities, contains significant genealogical information about Slovenian immigrants, the places they lived, the organizations they formed, and the churches they attended.
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Alix: In the coal mine there are about 40 Slovenes.
Altus: Mr. Pivk forwarded the following data: "In 1899 the following Slovenes came here: F. Maceli, T. Mahevc, I. Kokalj and M. Pivk; now 20 families live here and there are 15 single men; most of the work in the coal mines; eight of them are farmers. They go to a German church and the children attend a German school. Thus the children do not enjoy education in Slovene. They belong to Lodge #5 of St. Barbara, with headquarters in Forest City, Pennsylvania."
Denings: About 40 Slovene miners work here. Some have small holdings and a few farmers can be found among them.
Fort Smith: This is the center of the coal mines (population 23,975), but only a few Slovenes have settled down here; many work in the nearby mines. Mr. L. Lovse wrote to me that the first settlers were A. Medved, F. Zupan and M. Ogradi. Now 21 Slovene families and 23 single Slovene men live here. All together there are about 130 Slovenes. The men work in the mines and have their dwellings. Most of them came from Litija or from Stajerska (Styria). There is no church. Children are baptized in Fort Smith which is about 20 miles away. Occasionally Father Ciril Zupan from Pueblo, Colorado, comes to see them.
The Society of St. Barbara was founded on 1 January 1904 by L. Krhlikar and M. Ogradi. It has 40 members. Besides the above-mentioned Society, there are two more Societies: Dolenjc (a person from Lower Carniola), and Nada (Hope). The Societies erected a Slovenian Home in 1912.
Jenny Lind: About 400 Slovenes live here. There are 50 families but only two of them possess some land. The rest of them work in the mines. The first Slovene settlers came here around 1890. Among the first were M. Coz, F. Verbic, and A. Sajc. Most came from Dolenjska.
Mr. Coz mentioned that conditions here are rather bad. Only occasionally is Mass celebrated. The closest parish is in Fort Smith with two priests who have to take care of 11 missions. Most Slovenes are members of Lodge #17 KSKJ.
Mr. Coz stated: "I came to this community 22 years ago. The pay was rather good and I wrote to my friends to join me. Soon there are about 50 Slovenes here. In those days living conditions were good. Every month two masses were celebrated. We had our own priest. The church was filled with Slovene and English worshipers. The Slovenes provided the singing. It was just like in our native village.
Now about 400 Slovenes live here, but there is no priest, and no one will come since he would not be able to live here as nobody wants to sacrifice and donate anything. Very few grown-ups would be regular worshipers. It is rather a lost cause and all efforts are in vain. I feel sorry for the innocent children who are losing ground under their feet since they are not offered any religious education." It is a pity and a very sad case!