A Medford citizen from over sea.
EDWARD Kakas, for many years a resident of West Medford, was born in Budapest, Hungary, August 12, 1828, the eldest son of Kokesch Josef and Szarka Teriz. Educated in his native city, he there learned the furrier's trade from his father, who later established him in business. On the outbreak of the Hungarian revolution in 1848 he, with hosts of other young men, left everything to join the army under Louis Kossuth, the Hungarian national hero. Kossuth was born in 1802, and when he grew to manhood entered upon a political career. In his teachings, which were considered very radical by the ruling powers, but were eagerly accepted by the young men of the nation, he advocated the emancipation of the peasants, the freedom of the press, and an independent government for Hungary. In 1848, which has been called ‘the year of revolution,’ Europe was honeycombed with revolutionary ideas. The despotism of the government, which ground down the laboring class, gave rise to increasing discontent and led to a widespread movement to bring the conditions of society up to a higher standard of justice and truth. The first outbreak was in France, but its fires had long been smouldering throughout the land. Hungary was the first to proclaim her independence of Austria, and Kossuth was, by unanimous consent, made the leader. Although he had not been trained as a soldier, he put himself at the head of the troops and shared all their vicissitudes and desperate campaigns. Young Kakas fought all through the war and gained the rank of lieutenant. The struggle was carried on for two years and success was almost attained, but the intervention of Russia snatched the victory from the army, and Kossuth, betrayed by some of those whom he had trusted, was exiled to Turkey. Many of his followers were executed or imprisoned and others escaped to England and the United States. Mr. Kakas was one of those who escaped, first to England [p. 64] and then to this country. It has been a family tradition that he came over here with Kossuth. In 1851 Kossuth came to this country as the guest of the nation and was received with every honor. He made a tour of the country, going as far west as Cincinnati and south to New Orleans, arousing great enthusiasm everywhere by his bearing and addresses. Mr. Kakas came over in 1851, and in 1853 established himself in the fur business in Portland, Me., where he was known as an expert in his line of work. That same year he married Josephine P. Kegler, a native of Weinheim, Germany. In 1855 he came to Boston and started in business on Washington street, opposite the old Herald building, being the first manufacturing furrier in the city. He was burned out in the great fire of 1872, but opened a new store on Summer street, which later, when his sons joined him in business, was moved to Washington street and then to Tremont street, where it was known as Edward Kakas & Sons. Before coming to Medford to live, in 1858, Mr. Kakas lived in Brookline. His first home here was on Prescott street; from there he moved to Allston street, and in 1862 or 1863 he bought the property on Irving street, which was his home until his death. Here he indulged his love for gardening and cultivated rare flowers. Mr. Kakas became a naturalized citizen in 1886, when, wishing to visit his native land, he found that, having left it as a political refugee, he could not safely return except as a citizen of his adopted country. Mr. Kakas died September 18, 1904. His wife, three sons and two daughters survive him. He was a life member of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, a member of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, and a member of Mt. Hermon Lodge, A. F. and A. M., and Boston Commandery. Note.—The Hungarian form of the name was Kokesch Edouard, the surname being placed first. After coming to this country Mr. Kakas changed the order and spelling of his name to correspond to the English form and pronunciation.