Family celebrates 100 years in Southeast Colorado
From the Bent County Democrat, July 16, 2009
McClave, Colo. -
By Lola Shrimplin
The descendants of Jozsef Kasza Sr., traveled to McClave to celebrate the centennial anniversary of their family settling in Kiowa County. Family members from Michigan, Iowa, Oregon, Idaho, Kansas, Colorado and Missouri all made the trip and as an added bonus, were able to see three antelope at the old homestead off of Road D. Children played on the rocks and teenagers looked at old equipment as the adults examined the old limestone remnants of the buildings. "Ain't much left here, anymore," Eugene Kasza from Malta Bend, Mo., said. Eugene and Willard operated a store in McClave before Eugene moved to Missouri in 1973, but Eugene has fond memories of McClave and the old homestead. "I can just remember all those arrowheads," Eugene said. There were enough arrowheads to fill a bucket, he said, but he doesn't know where they went. Jozsef Kasza, his wife Rosalia and their three children, Paul, Pete and Joseph settled between McClave and Eads on Feb. 15, 1909, on land that already had a water well. His brother Gergei, and Rosalia’s sister, Agnes, came to Kiowa Co. with them to homestead. They lived in a dugout until they were able to build an adobe house. Their descendants visited the homestead on Saturday.
Jozsef and Gergei, brothers, filed homestead claims near each other in 1909. Agnes Kasza filed on land nearby in 1916.
Jozsef moved to McClave in 1926 and his son Paul lived on the homestead for a few years after that. Agnes later moved to Eads in 1938.
When Jozsef came to the US he wanted to be an American, not just a Hungarian living in America so he applied for citizenship as soon as allowed and the family became US citizens in 1914. Joe Kasza, Jozsef's great grandson, from McClave, said the family built a barn and a chicken house out of limestone hauling it on a two wheeled cart pulled by burro’s from Limestone Creek. The fence posts were cut down from the cedars south of Las Animas and hauled to the homestead by wagon. The family reputably killed 80-100 rattlesnakes when they cleared the land, Joe said. "So when you get around the rocks, be careful," he said to the extended family.