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Manuscripts by Subject - Military - #10630

Title: Martin M. Stasney Family

Dates: ca. 1890-1945

Collection Number:   10630

Quantity: .5 feet + oversize

Correspondence, books, certificates, receipts, report cards, telegrams, newspaper clippings, post cards, photographs, and personal materials. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence home, from Martin F. and Bernard L. Stasney, who served in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and World War II, respectively, and also material from Martin M. Stasney’s involvement in the Knights of Maccabees in Mandan, ND.

Provenance: The Martin M. Stasney Family Papers, were donated to the Museum Division of the State Historical Society of North Dakota, by Violetta S. LaGrave in June of 1993. The collection was transferred to the State Archives in August of 1993. An addition to the collection was sent to the State Archives by Chuck LaGrave, Hercules, CA, son of Violetta, in July of 2009. The Martin M. Stasney papers were combined with the new material, into the Martin M. Stasney Family Papers. This combined collection was accessioned, and the finding aid created, by Emily J. Ergen in July 2009.

Property rights: The State Historical Society of North Dakota owns the property rights to this collection.

Copyrights: Copyrights to this collection remain with the donor, publisher, author, or author's heirs. Researchers should consult the 1976 Copyright Act, Public Law 94-553, Title 17, U.S. Code or an archivist at this repository if clarification of copyright requirements is needed.

Access: This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

Citation: Researchers are requested to cite the collection, title, collection number, and the State Historical Society of North Dakota all bibliographic references.


Martin M. Stasney, known to his friends as "Mike," was born in Cleveland, OH, on February 22, 1875, to James and Elizabeth Stasney. The Stasney family moved to North Dakota (ND) in 1885 when Martin M. was 10, homesteading 10 miles south of Mandan, in Morton County. The family settled in a largely Czech area. James and Elizabeth Stasney had five children in addition to Martin M: John, Molly (Mrs. Anton Kottsick), Edward, Thomas and Minnie (Mrs. John Kottsick). In 1890, Martin M. became the family head when his father James returned to Cincinnati to procure additional funding for his farming operation. Martin M. homesteaded a piece of land near his parents, in Morton County, when he became of age. Martin was self-educated, and lived on this land until the time of his death.

On November 25, 1911, Martin M. was united in marriage to Bernadina Welcek. Bernadina was born on June 24, 1891, and passed away May 1, 1981. The couple had three children: Martin Jr., Bernard, and Mrs. Maurice G. LaGrave (Violetta). Martin M. Stasney was a member of Little Heart Band & Mandan band from about 1895 to 1915, and played the baritone and the euphonium. Martin M. joined the Knights of Maccabees in 1895 and was a member through the 1920s. He was also a social member of the Zapadni Ceska Bratska Jednota (Western Bohemian Fraternal Association), beginning as a teenager. Later in life, Martin became a member of the Independent Order of Foresters. He was also active in county and state and politics, and ran for the North Dakota House of Representatives in 1912, but was defeated. Martin M. served: as clerk in the North Dakota Senate in 1913 and on the election and school boards in his district for over four decades. Martin M. passed away in a Bismarck hospital on February 1, 1949. His funeral services were held at the Kennelly funeral chapel on February 4, 1949. Martin M. was buried in St. John's cemetery, nine miles south of Mandan, near his parents and brother, Thomas. Martin M. Stasney was survived by two grandchildren, two sisters: Mrs. A. J. Kottsick (Mollie), and Mrs. John Kottsick (Minnie), both of Mandan, and two brothers: Edward of Mandan, and John of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Martin F. Stasney was born October 7, 1912, and passed away March 18, 1993. Bernard L. Stasney was born May 20, 1914. Violetta S. Stasney was born February 11, 1919. Violetta married Maurice LaGrave, and was a nurse on the S.T.S. staff. Martin F. was a member of the Sokol, a ZCBJ athletic association, and Violetta was a junior member.

"Martin Stasney Passes Away in Bismarck Hospital," Mandan Pioneer, 2 February 1949: 5.


The Martin M. Stasney Family Papers contains correspondence, books, certificates, receipts, report cards, telegrams, newspaper clippings, post cards, photographs, and personal materials. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence home, from Martin F. and Bernard L. Stasney, who served in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and World War II, respectively, and also material from Martin M. Stasney's involvement in the Knights of Maccabees in Mandan, ND.

Five series have been established for the collection. Series one consists of correspondence, Series two includes personal materials, Series three contains newspaper clippings, Series four is post cards, and Series five is comprised of photographs.

Series I, Correspondence, 1934-1945, is found in box 1. Material within this series focuses primarily on correspondence from two sons, Martin F. and Bernard L. Stasney. Letters from Martin F. Stasney begin from Lamoure, ND, in October, 1934. From November 3rd to 9th, 1934, Martin worked and wrote letters from Thornburg, AR. He was hospitalized in Hot Springs, Arkansas, from November 15, 1934 to early April 1935. After being released, Martin resumed work in Thornburg until May 1935, when he was relocated to Lakota, ND. In late October 1935, he was assigned to work in Hill City, SD, where he worked until the correspondence ends in March 1937. The only break in this period was when Martin worked in Mandan, ND, for several months, from late July to mid September 1936. After returning home from working with the CCC, Martin worked on the family farm.

The family farm is discussed often in letters from Bernard L. Stasney to his parents, brother, and sister Violetta. Correspondence from Bernard begins in July 1941, as he is in training in the United States. Bernard continues to write to his parents, sister, and brother from Mac Dill Field, Tampa, FL; Walterboro Air Base, Walterboro, SC; Fort Snelling, MN; Sheppard Field, Wichita Falls, TX; Sarasota Field, Sarasota, FL; and Columbia Army Air Base, Columbia, SC. After training in the United States, Bernard was stationed in North Africa beginning in May 1943, followed by tours in Italy, France, and Germany. Correspondence from Bernard spans to July 1945.

Correspondence from Violetta (Mrs. Maurice G. La Grave) consists of one post card sent home in about 1940 while she was attending nursing school. Mrs. Jacob Welcek, Mrs. Martin M. Stasney's sister, wrote to her sister in 1943 and 1944 (written in Czech). These letters are included in Series one. Finally in Series one is a letter from a nephew of the Stasneys, Private Marvin Filipi, written to his aunt while serving in Italy in World War II, and correspondence from friends, the Gust Pesek family.

Series II, Personal materials, 1892-1945, eight file folders, contains materials from Martin M. Stasney's involvement in the Knights of Maccabees, including a history of the organization, a revised laws booklet, a (oversize) certificate of membership, and receipts for dues payments to the local chapter, the Mandan Tent, of the organization. Several of Martin F.'s childhood records are in this series, specifically, his report cards from Mandan High School from fifth and ninth grade. Items related to Bernard's travel and experience in World War II is also arranged within this series: foreign currency and a Mother's Day telegram order form. A few items from Violetta Stasney's childhood are also in this series, specifically, two Christmas cards that she colored with crayon, a note to her mother, and a hand-made invitation to a school play. Correspondence, and insurance ticket envelopes from the Stasney trip to Alabama and Louisiana in 1929 are also included. The final items in Series two are Christmas cards received by the Stasneys.

Series III, Newspaper clippings, dating from about 1920-1944, occupies three file folders. The small series includes one clipping about weather in the southern United States (1920s), one clipping about the CCC (1930s), and several clippings about the Allied progress in World War II (1943-1944).

Series IV, Post Cards, 1929-1945, measures three file folders which contain nine post cards. Another small series, the post cards in Series IV are from Mobile, Alabama, the CCC, and World War II. The three Mobile, Alabama, post cards were likely collected by Mr. and Mrs. Stasney on their trip south to visit family in 1929. One of the two CCC post cards was addressed to Violetta from Martin F., and the other has no writing on the back. The four World War II post cards were collected by Bernard while in Europe or training in the United States.

Series V, Photographs, about 1890-about 1945, twelve file folders and one oversized photograph, are primarily of Martin M. Stasney and the Little Heart Band. Series five contains four portraits of Martin M., dating from about 1890 to about 1921. Six photographs, including the oversize photo, date from about 1905 to about 1915, and are of the Little Heart Band. The Band is performing in Mandan, Big Heart (a Czech settlement south of Mandan, near Judson, ND), and Dickinson.

Series V contains one portrait of the Little Heart Sokol team taken outside the ZCBJ Lodge, Little Heart Settlement, south of Mandan. The Sokol, a ZCBJ youth athletic team, went to a meet in Chicago, Illinois in 1929, in the Ford "Model T" bus pictured behind the group in the photograph. Series V also includes a photograph of a Sokol practice from about 1929, and a photograph of Mr. Phrehada, the Sokol coach who was sent from Chicago, IL to ND for the purpose of organizing and teaching the young Czech people the various athletic drills. Two photographs of a CCC camp in Hill City, SD, are included in Series five. Photographs of the Stasney farm, taken in 1943, which were sent to Bernard while he was away from home are in this series. Finally, Series five contains photographs of Bernard and his fellow troops training in Walterboro, South Carolina, and while stationed in Europe. Individuals identified in the photographs in Series V include: Caroline Cermack, James Cermack, Nancy Cermack (Schimeck), Della Stasney (Helhling), John Kohovick, Anton Kottsick, Ella Papelka, Adeline Petrasek, Mr. Phrehada, Bohemillia Slezak (Dietz), Molly Stasney Kottsick (Mrs. Anton), Minnie Stasney Kottsick (Mrs. John), Bernard L. Stasney, Bernadina Stasney, Edward Stasney, John Stasney, Katherine Stasney (Mrs. James Stasney, Sr.), Martin F. Stasney, Martin M. Stasney, Tom Stasney, Charles Stasney, Arthur Suchy, Joseph Suchy, Mary Kohovick Suchy, and Stella Suchy (Tomanek).


Series I. Correspondence, 1934-1945
Consists of correspondence to members of the Martin M. Stasney family, from: Martin F. Stasney, Bernard L. Stasney, Violetta Stasney (Mrs. Maurice G. LaGrave), Mrs. Jacob Welcek (Anna), Pvt. Marvin Filipi, and the Gust Pesek family. Martin F. Stasney writes home while working in the Civilian Conservation Corps from 1934 to 1937. Bernard L. Stasney served in World War II and was stationed in North Africa, Italy, France, and Germany. The correspondence from Bernard dates from 1941 to 1945, and was sent primarily from training facilities in the United States and from Europe. Correspondence from Violetta Stasney, later Mrs. Maurice G. La Grave, consists of one postcard sent home while she was in nursing school, in about 1940. Mrs. Martin M. Stasney's sister, Mrs. Jacob Welcek, sent two letters to her sister in 1943 and 1944. A nephew of Mr. and Mrs. Martin M. Stasney, Private Marvin Filipi, from Louisiana, writes several letters in 1944 to his aunt, while serving in Italy in World War II. Finally, a letter to the Stasneys from the Gust Pesek family, dated June 5, 1944, is in this series.

Series II. Personal materials, 1892-1945
Materials from Martin M. Stasney's involvement in the Knights of Maccabees; specifically, a history book, a revised laws booklet, certificate of membership, and receipts of dues for membership. Martin F. Stasney's report cards and a telegram. Items from Bernard's travel and experience in World War II: foreign currency and a telegram order form. Violetta Stasney's childhood material. Correspondence, and insurance ticket envelopes from the Stasney trip to Alabama and Louisiana. Miscellaneous materials, including Christmas cards.

Series III. Newspaper Clippings, about 1920-1944
Newspaper clippings covering three topics: the weather in the southern United States, the CCC, and about the Allied Troops in World War II.

Series IV. Post Cards, 1929-1945
Postcards from Mobile, Alabama, the CCC, and World War II.

Series V. Photographs, about 1890-about 1945
Portraits of Martin M. Stasney, photographs of the Little Heart Band, a party at Big Heart, Little Heart Sokol team and practice, Sokol coach Mr. Phrehada, a CCC camp in Hill City, SD, the Stasney farm, military training in Walterboro, SC in 1943, and photographs of Bernard and troops in Europe.



1 Finding Aid

2 Correspondence from Martin F. 1934
3 Correspondence from Martin F. 1935
4 Correspondence from Martin F. 1936-1937, n.d.
5 Correspondence from Bernard L. 1941-1942
6 Correspondence from Bernard L. 1943
7 Correspondence from Bernard L. 1944
8 Correspondence from Bernard L. 1945
9 Correspondence from Violetta 1940?
10 Correspondence from Mrs. Jacob Welcek 1943-1944
11 Correspondence from Private Marvin Filipi 1944
12 Correspondence from Gust Pesek family 1944

13 History of the Maccabees: Books of the Ancient Maccabees 1892-1901 (From the Apocrypha) and Biographical Sketches of the Executive Officers of the Order, 1881 to 1898, copyrighted 1892; Knights of
the Maccabees Revised Laws booklet, 1899; membership certificate
- Knights of the Maccabees of the World, Martin Stasney, Mandan
Lodge, membership #4262, Mandan, ND, (OVERSIZE); Dues
payments to the Mandan Tent of the Knights of Maccabees 1901
14 Martin F. Stasney childhood material (Mandan High School 1920s report cards, fifth and ninth grade)
15 Telegram about Martin F. in hospital, 1/10/1935
16 German marks sent home 1944-1945
17 Mother's Day greeting telegram order form 194-
18 Violetta Stasney childhood material (two Christmas postcards 1920s colored with crayon; a note to her mother; and a card made by Violetta inviting her mother to her school play)
19 Stasney trip to Alabama and Louisiana: correspondence, 1928-1929 insurance ticket envelopes with calculations
20 Christmas cards to the Stasney family 1930s-1940s

21 Newspaper clipping: "South Suffers in Grip of Blizzard," 1/192-
22 Newspaper clipping: "CCC Troops are On Way to New Winter 193- Camps," publication unknown
23 Newspaper clippings: about World War II 1943-1944

24 Postcards from Mobile, Alabama (three) 1929
25 CCC postcards (one addressed to Violetta) 1930s
26 World War II postcards (four) 1940s

27 Portraits - Martin M. Stasney ca. 1890-1921
28 Photographic print - Little Heart Band, taken at Mandan, North ca. 1905 Dakota, Northern Pacific depot. Persons identified are John Kohovick (Martin M. Stasney's cousin); Martin M. Stasney; John Stasney; James Cermack; Edward Stasney; and Tom Stasney;
29 Photographic print - Little Heart Band, taken during a ZCBJ about 1905 function (note ribbons on left breast area). Persons identified are: Katherine (Mrs. James Stasney, Sr.); Anton Kottsick; Molly Stasney Kottsick (Mrs. Anton); Mary Kohovick Suchy (mother of two of Sokol boys on 1929 team; sister of John Kohovick); John Kohovick; Ed Stasney; James Cermack; Minnie Stasney Kottsick (Mrs. John);
30 Photographic print - photographer unknown. Image of a party at 1909 Big Heart, a Czech settlement, near Judson, ND. Image has Little Heart Band and also people drinking home-made beer. Martin M. Stasney identified.
31 Photographic print - postcard view. Image of Little Heart Band playing in downtown Mandan, ND, 9/1910
(OVERSIZE) Photograph - Osborn Studio, Dickinson, ND. Image of Little between 1910-1915 Heart Band at Dickinson ZCBJ hall. Band members are blue uniforms. John and Martin M. Stasney, and James Cermack are identified
32 Photographic print - R. R. Lentz studio, Mandan, ND Black & 1929 white image of 1929 Little Heart Sokol (ZCBJ youth athletic group) team that went to a meet in Chicago, Illinois. Taken outside of ZCBJ lodge, Little Heart settlement, south of Mandan. The team drove to Chicago in the Ford "Model T" truck/bus; attached a transformer with battery for lights. Women slept in a tent, men in the truck. The trip to Chicago took three and half days; the athletic meet lasted ten days. Left to right: Della Stasney (Helhling); Bohomillia Slezak (Dietz); Nancy Cermack (Schimeck); Adeline Petrasek; Stella Suchy (Tomanek); Caroline Cermack; Ella Papelka; Joseph Suchy; Arthur Suchy; James Cermack; Charles Stasney and Charles Cermack.
33 Photographic print - photo-finishing by Northwestern Foto Service, ca. 1929 Mandan, ND. Image of Sokol practice next to Little Heart ZCBJ Hall. Persons unidentified.
34 Photographic print - photo- finishing by Art Foto Company, 1929 Mandan, ND. Sokol coach, Mr. Phrehada, from Chicago, Illinois. He was sent to ND for the purpose of organizing and teaching the Czech young people the various athletic drills.
35 Photographs (two) of CCC camp in Hill City, SD 193-
36 Photographs of Stasney Farm 194-
37 Photographs from training in Walterboro, SC 1943
38 Photographs of Bernard and troops 1940s

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