By Anna Dubas
In 1870, almost 50 percent of the United States population was employed in agriculture. With that in mind, my ancestors, Andrew Dubas and his wife, Agnes Podraza, decided to leave their homeland of Pilzno, Poland, and head to America in hopes of farming their own land.
Andrew and Agnes, who would be my great-great-grandparents, left Poland for the United States in 1874 to escape hardship and poverty. Both of their families were hardworking but poor farmers, like many Polish families during the time. They heard of the many opportunities the United States had to offer in agriculture, so they packed up their stuff and left their homeland.
The couple ended up in Polk County, Nebraska, near what is now known as Stromsburg. After a year or two of working hard on the farm, they decided to have a family – a very large one at that.
They had 13 children: Josephine, Emma, Francis, Martha, Marya, Veronica, Leon, Stella, Alfonza, Steve, Frank, Anna and Sophie.
Andrew and his family left Polk County and moved to Valley County to find more land for farming. At the time, he was a wealthy man and owned a lot of land.
When Andrew died in 1936, the land he farmed was divided and sold to a number of the children and in-laws. All the boys in the family continued to carry on Andrew’s demanding dream of being a farmer.
Andrew and Anges’ 10th child, Steve Dubas, would be my great-grandfather. He was born in 1894 and later moved to Valley County. In 1919, he married Rose Sobon.
They lived and worked near Elyria on a large farm that is still owned and actively farmed by Dubas’ who stayed in the area.
Steve and Rose had six children: Ralph, Edmund (who died as an infant), Irene, Fred, Rene and Harry. Rene Dubas, who would be my grandfather, married Angeline Mary Maciejewski, on June 6, 1955 in Loup City, Nebraska.
They had eight children, 14 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Having a strong work ethic runs in the family because my ancestors had to make do with what they had from the very beginning back in Poland.
For example, when Rene Dubas’ family lost money from the farm, John Dubas, who would be my father, and his siblings had to pitch in to help the family through the rough time. All five sons worked on the farm and helped my their father, while the three girls helped my their mother make food and clothes.
“All the clothes we owned were hand-me-downs or sewed by my mom,” my father said. “As hard as dad worked out on the farm, mom made sure us kids had food to eat and clothes to wear to school.”
According to my Aunt Jean, my grandma made dresses for the girls and quilts for the whole family. Although I didn’t inherit my grandmother’s sewing skills, I do have a quilt she made when she was in her early 30s.
Coming from a long line of farmers and homemakers, I’m not surprised that my family was able to get through tough times. One thing great-great-grandfather Andrew passed down through the generations was his resilience and work ethic.
Our family knows how to work hard, and I am lucky enough to witness this every day.
I take pride in the fact I come from a long line of farmers. Knowing that my family members were some of the most hardworking and determined individuals brings me great joy.