Let’s talk Clovis: Rozalie (Rosie) Filgas Maslowski, 1894-1987, Part 1

By Peg Bos, Clovis Museum

The following article is based on the family history provided by Helen Maslowski-Holecek (daughter of Peter and Rozalie). We will share her story of her father Peter and her siblings in the next issue of the Clovis Roundup.

On October 20, 1894 in a small village called Luzna, Czechoslovakia, Rozalie was born to Teresa and Antonik Filgas. She was very small at birth. Her size was described as equal to a small loaf of bread. She joined six siblings.

Luzna (currently 1,800 inhabitants) is located in the central Bohemian region in the Czech Republic. A creek and railroad meander through the small village that is surrounded by mountains. Antonik was the village banker. It is said that he favored a drink or two of slivovice (prune brandy).

Rozalie attended the village school until she was 14 years old. She became the village “star” as she developed her acting, singing and dancing talents. Pretty Rozalie is still remembered by villagers in Luzna.

Life was difficult during WWI and Rozalie began to save money to join family members who had immigrated to America. In 1920 she left her handsome boyfriend (Ludovic) to pursue her fortune in America. She tearfully pledged to marry him when she returned. It is said that the cries of Ludovic over his lost love are still heard in the early morning hours in the village.

Rozalie carried one wicker basket full of her belongings and a satchel full of bread for her trip to America. She was joined by her sister-in-law Teresa (Brother Cyril’s wife) and their child Ludmila. They became fearful as they arrived at Ellis Island since they did not speak English. They had heard many rumors regarding the difficulty of passing through customs and the medical exam that was required. Rozalie realized she carried Ludovic’s child during the sea voyage.

Rozalie’s name was changed to Rosie while going through customs at Ellis Island. The trio traveled to Fresno by train and arrived in late September. The heat convinced them they had arrived in “hell.”

Rosie went to live with her sister Marie and her husband Frank and later at Brother Cyril’s farm in Clovis on Copper Avenue between Fowler and Temperance. Rosie worked hard on the farm and one day while irrigating she found two twenty dollar gold pieces in the ditch. Frugal Rosie saved the find for her trip back to Luzna.

Rosie gave birth to Ludovic Stanley Filgas on May 1, 1921. He was baptized in Clovis by a Catholic priest from Sanger. The baptism was held on the second floor of the Nestor Freitas Hall (southwest corner of Fifth and Clovis, now the 500 Club). Clovis became a Catholic missionary order in 1909 and a parish in 1929 (Our Lady of Perpetual Help).

She began to cook for workers at large farms. A man named Bartholomew in Porterville wanted to marry her and offered to deed a gold mine to her with “no strings attached.” She refused. Her heart still belonged to Ludovic.

While working as a housekeeper and cook in Friant, the gas stove exploded and Rosie was seriously burned. She was rushed to the hospital and wrapped like a mummy. She was unable to eat and could only be nourished by fluids from a straw. Miraculously she recovered completely without any scars.

Later letters from Rosie’s family began to describe Ludovic’s drunkenness and his cavorting with women. Rosie’s heart was broken. She decided to stay in America. She had work and was saving money. She would then meet Peter Maslowski and that is the continuing story.

The Maslowski’s are a part of our rich heritage.