Haralson County, Georgia
Sunday December 27, 2009
In 1888, three winemaking communities were founded here on some 2000 acres. A local land developer, Ralph L. Spencer, invited some 200 Hungarian wine-making families to settle this region. They named their largest community BUDAPEST, in honor of the capital of Hungary. The village of TOKAJ recalled the famous wine-making region of Hungary, and NYITRA was named after an ancient fort in the northern region of their homeland. Homes, streets, shops, a school, a Catholic church, a cemetery and other municipal facilites were built. The wine industry flourished in this climate. In 1908 the passage of the Prohibition Act in Georgia spelled their doom. The residents were forced back to the Pennsylvania mines. The rectory still stands on a hill, a fine tribute to the master masons who erected it. The pioneer Hungarians who became a part of the Georgia soil lie in the little fenced cemetery over the hill, many graves still marked with names which sound foreight to these parts. By ancient tradition the inhibitants lie with their heads toward the East and their beloved homeland.
Words from the Historic marker located off Hwy 78 near the Budapest Community.
by Joseph Conley
The Budapest Settlement was established in the early to mid 1890's. Father Francis Janiscek, a Catholic Priest, along with Ralph Spencer persuaded several families of Hungarian descent to migrate south to Haralson County to work. Mr Spencer had a vision of planting and harvesting grapes for winemaking.
The majority of those families that chose to make the move south hailed from Pennsylvania and the coal mine regions there. Some also arrived from New York as well, my Great-Grandparents, Ignatz and Julia (Poor) Rado, being among them.
Those that arrived and began to settle on the property , now designated as the Hungarian settlement of "Budapest" named after the city of Budapest in their homeland of Hungary, had much in common. They shared a common language, a hard work ethic and a desire to grow and prosper in their new enviroment.
A church was erected, the first Catholic Church in the area, and was named St Joseph Catholic Church. A store was started and run by Frank Buksar and his wife.
With the 1909 Prohibition Act, there was no longer much need for the grapes and the winemaking endeavor was no more. The majority of those families in Budapest sought work elsewhere and moved to Atlanta or went back north to Pennsylvania, Ohio and elsewhere to make their way in life. The few that stayed survived by way of farming and working in the local clothing factories.
I feel fortunate that I can boast of having "double" roots in Haralson County since my Great-Grandparents of Slovak descent, The Estavanko Family of Nitra, as well as my Great-Grandparents of Hungarian descent, The Rado Family of Budapest, lived here.
My grandmother, Pauline Estavanko, was from the Slovak settlement of Nitra and married my grandfather, Albert "Red" Rado, who was from the Hungarian settlement. My mother and her sisters were all born in Budapest and the home they lived in is still standing on Hwy 78 by Budapest.
Joseph F. Conley
2477 E. 37th Street
Lorain, O H 44055
Copyright © 2007-2008 Christina Kurimski
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