Sunday, August 21, 2011

Conscription

The people who arrived in Globeville during the 1880s were a diverse lot - Poles, Slovenes, Croats, Czechs, Slovaks, Bohemians, Ruthenians,  Montenegrans and German Russians - yet census data would likely have recorded them as citizens of Germany, Austria-Hungary or Russia. These three powerful empires had annexed, or subdued those regions in a rush to increase their territory, suppressing native languages, cultures, and religion and making people second-class citizens in their own land. These occupying powers created the greatest resentment, however, with the conscription of young men to serve in their armies. 
Poles could be forced into either the German or the Russian military depending on whether they lived in the western or eastern part of their partitioned homeland, while German-speaking colonists in Russia were required to serve a six-year term in the Russian army regardless of whether or not they spoke the Russian language. Likewise, citizens of the area absorbed by Austria-Hungary could be conscripted and possibly forced to fight fellow countrymen or family members. The situation motivated many to emigrate.
Andrew Boytz, a blacksmith, was conscripted into the Austrian army to teach soldiers the art of blacksmithing, but he rebelled against the idea. In the days before photos were used for identification, he was able to borrow a passport, desert the army and come to America, eventually settling in Globeville. Fred Gerhardt, however, served his six-year term in the Russian army before settling in Colorado.
Although their new life in Globeville could be difficult, these immigrants appreciated the freedoms we often take for granted.






top photo, Andrew Boytz lived a long life in Globeville
bottom photo, Fred Gerhardt in his Russian army uniform



6 comments:

Unknown said...

I am a student at UC Denver in the College of Architecture and Planning under the Landscape Architecture program. I am involved in a project right now that is looking at the Globeville neighborhood and I am hoping to get in touch with you and see if you could offer any advice on where to go for additional information! Thanks so much for your blog and all the help it's been so far.
Take care,
Jessica

Mary Lou Egan said...

Jessica,
I've been so busy with activities at Holy Rosary (in Globeville) that I haven't devoted as much tie to the blog as I should! Send me an email and tell me more about what you are doing that involves Globeville - I'll see what help I might be able to give you.
Mary Lou

Rita Brown said...

What a great site. Thank you. Andrew and Katherine (Merhar) Boytz were my great grandparents. I never knew this story about why Andrew Boytz emigrated.
Where did you find this info? Can I email you Mary Lou?
Also this summer a group of Andrew's descendents resurrected a tradition of having a summertime picnic. Some of us also attended mass the next day at Holy Rosary. Three of Andrew Boytz's daughters married into Globeville Slovenian/Croatians families; the Canjars, Horvats and Yelenicks. Muliple generations of these three Globeville families got together at the end of June this year. I'm working on family history. This is a great stroy. Thanks again.

Mary Lou Egan said...

Rita,
I have been working on a history of Globeville for nearly 20 years and this blog is a message in a bottle (my intent was to generate interest in the book) My grandfather, Andy Jackson, worked as a butcher for John Yelenick and my mom grew up in Globeville. I have interviewed Joseph Yelenick (who passed away this spring) and Father John Canjar (who lives at the same assisted living place as my mother). George Putnik (who married Florence Canjar) is a member of the same WSA lodge as I am. The information about your grandpa Boytz came from an interview with Joseph more than 10 years ago and I can send the transcript to you. I have some photos too.
email me maryloudesign@comcast.net
(are you a Canjar, Yelenick or Horvat?)

johnboytz said...

I am John P Boytz grandson of john and Thelma Boytz who immigrated from Austria to Roslyn WA to work in the coal mines. I would be interested in any information and what I might be able to provide. Very interesting.

Mary Lou Egan said...

John,
Great to hear from you - the Boytz family I am familiar with are the descendents of Andrew and Katherine Boytz and the head of a very large clan that lived in Globeville.
I wonder if Andrew and John are brothers.
My home email is
maryloudesign@comcast.net

I don't know that much about the genealogy of the Boytz clan, but am in contact with folks who might (Horvats, Yelenicks and Canjars)

email me.
Hope to hear from you!

Mary Lou