Barton, John Rector, 1897- / Rural artists of Wisconsin
Alice Weber: Green Bay. When the light comes, pp. 165-169 ff.
ALICE WEBER GREEN BAY ?V/6e lre 4 94r ,II: e4 H ER BOHEMIAN peasant mother could not read or U write, could not even distinguish her name from other words, but Aliska will never forget how she would stand in a sea of grain, entranced by the billowing wind- swept expanses of the new land, America. Here the mother had found freedom and a new hope. As a girl of twelve she had walked twelve miles to the border in order to hire out to the Germans. As a child, she had quit school after only two days, because the schoolmas- ter had made her kneel for half a day in a hoop of dried peas as punishment for some infraction of the rules. The voyage to the New World in a sailing vessel had lasted for three months, for the ship had been caught in the Sargasso Sea. But the dream of what lay ahead sustained the small party of emigrants through hunger and thirst. The fourteen-year-old girl landed with the party in Wisconsin at Manitowoc and then proceeded on to Oconto County, where a Bohemian settlement helped with the problem of homesteading near the small village of Spruce. At seventeen years of age the girl married a Bohemian farmer, but after her fourth child was born her husband died. Her second husband, Joseph Shipla, was a stonecutter who in following his trade was constantly away from home. Five children were born to the second union, and to the second oldest child, a girl, the father gave the name of his favorite book, Aliska. Of the nine children all were girls except the oldest, who left the farm at seventeen years of age, and the 165
Copyright 1948 The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System. All rights reserved. Use of this material falling outside the purview of "fair use" requires the permission of the University of Wisconsin Press.