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The Story of Kossuth County in USA

Fanni Kaszás 2020.01.14.

There are a great number of Hungarian statues and memorials in the US, but one can easily find Hungarian settlement names, which can still be found on the maps of the USA – such as Nyitra, Budapest, and Tokaj in Georgia, or Új Buda in Iowa, established after the 1848-49 Revolution and War for Independence. But in the latter state, there is a whole county, founded in 1851, which is named after Hungarian statesman Lajos Kossuth.

The county of Kossuth was named after Lajos (Louis) Kossuth, who was on his American tour at the time. According to the 2010 census, the population of Kossuth County is 15,543. In the county capital of Agona, there is a statue of the 1848-49 freedom fighter Kossuth in front of the county hall building, with a plaque and inscription of his name.

Kossuth traveled in the United States for more than half a year in 1851, trying to find sponsors and funding to restart the repressed Hungarian War of Independence. Although the fundraising was not successful enough to fund a new revolution, the Hungarian politician made a great influence on the Americans. Many people donated to the Hungarian cause, and Kossuth’s name was borne by many settlements, streets, and squares in America ever since. Such is the county of Kossuth, which is two times bigger than any other county in Iowa. The county annexed its neighboring Bancroft County, which was mainly swamps and marshes without settlers, and thus the two became the largest county in Iowa.

There were completely Hungarian settlements in America as well, such as Árpádhon, which we reported earlier, Harasztytown in Wisconsin, and Kossuthville in Florida.

Árpádhon, a Hungarian Settlement in Rural Louisiana

Some Hungarian settlement names can still be found on the maps – Tolna in North Dakota, and Balaton in Minnesota – but Hungarians no longer live there.

Kossuth Memorials in the US

On his American tour, Kossuth even addressed a joint session of Congress as the first foreign statesman since the Marquis de Lafayette. Thus, he was honored in his lifetime not just in Hungary, but in the United States as well: both as a freedom fighter and a bellwether of democracy.

To celebrate and commemorate the friendship and shared values between the people of the United States and those of Hungarian descent, in the 80s The American Hungarian Federation commissioned a bronze bust of Lajos Kossuth and offered it to the U.S. Congress. It was unveiled in 1990, on the March 15th Hungarian national holiday under the dome of the Capitol Rotunda. The statue is inscribed: “Louis Kossuth, Father of Hungarian Democracy.”

Another Kossuth Monument was erected in Cleveland as well in 1902, on the northeast corner of East Blvd. and Euclid Avenue, and in New York on Riverside Drive, where for many years, the March 15th national holiday was celebrated. The bronze tableau, work of John (János) Horvay and funded by American citizens of Hungarian origin, portrays a vignette of the struggle for Hungarian independence in 1848. It was unveiled in front of a crowd of 25,000 people in 1928.

featured photo: Painting of Miklós Barabás