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Stanislav V Papich (1879 - 1947


Posted By: DJ Scieszinski
Date: 12/18/2020 at 15:21:24

The Albia - Union Republican
Thursday, March 16, 1939

Lovilia Man Recalls 34 Years in United States

Quit Army to Leave for America Under an Alias

Thirty-four years ago Stanley V. Papich, Lovilia groceryman, quit the Austrian army, left that country under an alias, and made his way to the United States.

Today Papich recalls without regret his drastic action. The old country offered no opportunities for the common man, he says, like the opportunities and advantages he has found in the United States.

Papich is Croatian by birth. In 1904 he was living near Flume, a city on the eastern shore of the Adriatic sea which at the time was ruled by the autocratic government of the dual monarchy, Austria - Hungary. Since the World war the possession of Flume has been disputed by Italy and Jugo-Slavia. Italians are now in control.


When he was a young man, Papich worked in Hungary, Poland and Roumania at different times. It was hard-sledding however, and he became convinced that no opportunities existed for him in the old country.

Papich was 23 years old when he determined to come to America. He was serving in the army at the time, with two years of his enlistment period remaining, but resolved to attempt an escape, despite the severe punishment meted out to those apprehended.

Under the military system prevailing in the Austro - Hungarian empire, nearly every young man was obliged to join the army for a training period. Discipline was severe and men of Papich's race did not enjoy serving under leaders of another nationality.

Papich planned his flight from the country during a furlough period. He secured a passport using the American name of Joe Miller. He recounts that he carried his passport in a front pocket, and his military passport in his hip pocket.


When he was being questioned by the commissioners he was asked why he wanted to get to America. Papich replied “I want to see if they have more bread in America”. “Don't you like our bread?” the official demanded. “I like it all right, “ Papich responded “but there's not enough of it”.

He finally crossed the border into Switzerland, but not until he had at least one close call.


Just before boarding the train at the frontier he met a man who claimed he was also going to America. The stranger made constant efforts to engage Papich in conversation, sticking right by him. Finally the man opened his coat showing his badge as a detective. “His job was to suspicion,” Papich declares. The detective questioned Papich, but let him go because he carried the commission board seal on his papers. As the train pulled away for Switzerland Papich waved goodbye to the last official who could have stopped him.

From Switzerland Papich traveled to France where he boarded a steamer for the new world. When he arrived on this side of the Atlantic he came straight to Rathbun in Appanoose county because other people of the Croatian race were living there.

Papich could not speak one word of English when he arrived and he had only ten dollars in his possession. He had great difficulty in securing work. One of the first jobs was obtained by mine superintended by Walter Barron, now of Albia. When he was introduced to Barron he was able only to shake hands; he could not speak to him in English.


Discharging various duties in the mines, Papich gradually became familiar with different jobs. He moved to Boone county where he became a checkweighman. He was re-elected to that position by the miners at three-month intervals for 16 consecutive times. Later Papich lived in Albia and was interested in the Golden Goose mine.

Twenty years ago he established his grocery store in Lovilia and learned a new business. By this time he had mastered the English language, and in 1926 became a fully naturalized citizen of the United States.

Today Papich has an interest in the Lovilia Fuel company coal mine. He has been a member of the town council. He is the father of six children, three boys and three girls.

The sons are Stanley C., David E., and Donald, all of Lovilia. The daughters are Sister Mary Marcella of Bettendorf, Mrs. Walter Weatherstone of Ottumwa; and Stephana, at home.

Speaking from experience, Papich declares, “Americans have no idea of the opportunities and advantages they have here in comparison with the old countries.”

NOTE: Stanislav V. Papich (1879 - 1947), son of Nikola Papic (1843 - 1914) and Antonija (Radosevic) Papic (1852 - 1934), married Angelina Angjela (Polic) Papich (1888 - 1980) July 10, 1905 at Colfax, Iowa.


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