Lješev Stup
Before the war
Vuk Lješevostupac
Vuk Raslapčević
Clan Kuzman
Wars before 1918
Resistance and KPJ
World War II
End of XX century
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Village before WWII


LJEŠEV STUP belongs to group of small villages like the most in the district Katunska. There was maximum of 23 households, in 1910. In the name list of the population Kapetanija Bjelice from 1879. was filed on 8 Popivoda households with 51 members (24 male and 27 female). At that time, households were divided late, and several brothers lived with their parents. Similarly, in the household, with grandparents and uncles, lived children whose fathers were killed or died, so the two households developed one. The village is usually consisted of 10-15 households, sometimes more, sometimes less, but never developed into a large village. Today there only live three families: Vuko Lukin with 3 members, Mitar Markov -2 members and Risto Jošov -2 members.

Un the village of ancient times lived only two clans - Popivoda and Kuzman, who formerly had other names, but they are related to each other as one family. Kuzman started migrating much earlier, so they all migrated after the Second World War.

The settlement did not have conditions to develop into a larger village. There are numerous reasons for this, among them were limited economic conditions, high mortality and recently, migration. Living conditions in the village have always been very hard: arable land was not enough, pasture and fodder also, poor hygiene and no health care, due to which the mortality was high, and in such circumstances could hardly ten households managed to survive. There was lack of the basic necessities of life, especially cereals. To obtain more cereals they been forced to make Lazine which are sown rye, and so they got rye and thatch to cover the house.

In addition to everything else, climatic conditions are quite adverse. The nearby mountain Lisac (1154m) creates shade and brings heavy snowfall which is  long retained. Lješev Stup is located in the region which has a very large water-sediment the highest in Europe. All this reflected adversely on agricultural work and animal husbandry, as well as all other living conditions.

The economic power of the population rather improved after introduction of potato growing, which brought from Russia by Petar I Petrovic after 1780. This amplified trade links with the seaside towns. American wheat (FRUMENTA gigante), which corresponds to the maturation of the climatic conditions of this region, was acquired by Njegoš sixty years later, in 1841. Robberies and spoil (loot) were long an important source of income. Usually they snatched from the Turks, but sometimes from distant tribes too, especially the alien subjects, which often sparked bloody clashes, even international conflicts. In the late 19th and early 20th century migrations began, mainly on the basis of colonization, and those who remained in old land get more economic space, and they could live much better.

The village had its "mountain", quite accessible pastures, hayfields and summer huts on the eastern slope of Lisac and in Kosača, which are up to an hour and a half walk to the mountain Stavor (1240m). True, Kosača was once owned Prediš, but the last hundred years it belongs only to Lješev Stup and Malošin Do (Vujošević). But even these pastures and hayfields were not enough, because they had to hay and mow the grass to keep it for winter, and, after the liberation of Montenegro from the Turks in  1878. they cast out the sheep to Durmitor, Drobnjak and Sinjajevina. There they were given to the summer grazing, and for milk they received certain amount of cream (cream) in blackjack. Such practices remained even after World War II, until there was cattle.

Life was oriented towards Cetinje, as well as the administrative centre, but the trade took place more with Kotor where they sold: livestock, dry meat (kastradina), cheese and cream, potato (lean), charcoal, wool, wax, etc., and bought: the grain, salt, oil, sugar, textiles, kitchenware, tools, weapons and more. In 20th century, trade developed with Danilovgrad too, where they pursued: wheat, alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and more.

The entire area has been dry and pathless. Mountain trails were barely passable for pedestrians and livestock. Something better way (krčanik) were made in 1835. and it linked Njeguši, Ćeklići, Bjelice, Čevo, Pješivci and Niksic. On it, although with difficulty, could move laden horse. The first carriageway Čekanje—Lješev Stup—Čevo was built with kuluk, 1902. Agricultural and livestock products were carried by poorly accessible, and winding walking paths, often on the back and less frequently on horseback, to Cetinje (about 4 hours walk), Kotor (about 5 hours walk) and Danilovgrad (about 4 hours walk). These are mainly operated by women. The man must go first, and almost always carried a weapon, and here ruled the cult of men and weapons, it was a shame that he carries the burden, especially in a company with a woman. Horses were rarely kept, because of the very poor terrain and due to lack of food supplies. Thus, women on the "sling" brought burdens to Kotor, by Kotor serpentines, which even now in a modern car is a tedious tumble. In whole Katunska district there was no mills for grinding grain, and a little quantities of corn they owned they had to transport or carry to the water mills on the River Crnojevića or Danilovgrad, and remained day and night on the road. Some houses had a grindstone, which again was operated by women only, but they could just grind to a one-time need, and it was hard work and a big waste of time.

There were cases too, in Ljesev Stup, that women with a burden on her back, brought a child that that gave birth on their way. However, although the position of women has been difficult, she was not a slave as usually is thought. The woman was a life companion and well respected, exempt from the "blood revenge" and all conflicts. Good wife called the "man woman" or "banica ženska". However, if she was faithless, the brutal punishment - was rejected by the family and by relatives. Women, therefore, had enormous credit for the upbringing of the family and its survival in such difficult and sparse living conditions, and saying, "No house stands on ground, it stands on the woman," here had full meaning.

Thus difficult living conditions to deteriorate despair is great want of water. One can not say what was larger problem - whether drinking water or water for watering livestock. Since there was no cement, wells were built in watertight, "gnjila" ground. So Lješevostupci and Malošdoljci jointly built the well in the middle of Lješev Stup, which is called Primna (receiving a lot of water). It now serves as the only water in the village for watering livestock. It was long used as a drinking water because there was no better. It is open water - ubao (or uba) with the hole radius about 12 meters to the bottom and gradually tapered. It was built in a funnel and about 6.5 meters deep, but it keeps water just up to a half. Made in the late 18th or early 19th century with participating population from both villages (Lješev Stup and Malošin Do). It was agreed that anyone who fails to appear at the scheduled time, that is, until the sun hot stone marked, has to kill an ox to the cost for moba. To enforce the discipline, and this is best achieved by personal example, elder of the works Dajica Jovov, one morning was intentionally late. When he came he led the oxen and immediately slaughtered it. When asked why he have done it, he said that he was late, and must pay a penalty as agreed.

Well was made ploughing in a circle, because it was the quickest and easiest way. Two oxen pulling the plough at the edge and toward the centre, and ploughed earth was carried on hand, and used to make field next to the well. Around Primna determined by a common area, which means that it is common good of the village. This is called vodopoj, and while a flock was watered remaining flocks were waiting in line at vodopoj, so there was no disorder or confusion. Construction of Primna and later expansion of the other much smaller well, which is called Stankov uba, made less shortage of the water. Only after World War I made a couple of wells (bistijerni) of stone and concrete, and the lack of water problem was solved.

Lack of feed, especially hay, was compensated with viš - mountain grass that grows in rocky ground, and cutting, "list" (a branch of ash, oak and dub), which were dried and put in stack. These as well as the other major works, performed moba in which contributed all the villagers, as well as neighbours from surrounding villages. For Moba hosts provided the food, and it was not a small cost. For these occasions was offered the "mrs", it is dry, usually pork meet, that family preserved for this need.

Great expense were made for the patron saint (Sv.Jovan - Jovandan, 20 January), prislužbicu (St. Petka - Petkovdan, 27 October), Christmas was celebrated for three days, then for weddings, baptisms and dirges. Since these religious holidays, but often the weddings too, were winter celebrations, it was difficult to preserve scarce supplies of mrs for the spring and summer, when they organized moba. How these costs depleted already poor population testifies act that in 1891. the Ministry of Interior of Montenegro prescribed high fines for those who would invite guests to prislužbica. Another similar statement, issued on 12 October 1896. banned the making "postmortal food" because it "worsen already bad situation" and does not match the "sincere sympathy in sorrow," which today can be very instructive as well. Saving is carried out and by fasting, which sometimes lasted seven weeks (Lent), and in this time there was not allowed to eat meat or fat.

Livestock was the main capital and wealth of the villagers. Every household had the heads of several dozen of small livestock and few cattle. Mostly they grown goats as the easiest to overwinter them, and wealthier households had one or two oxen that are used for ploughing. Most of their needs was sorted from the proceeds of livestock, while agriculture was a secondary concern.

They lived in the cooperative households, consistently with old local customs, and most of their needs (furniture, clothing, footwear) was made by themselves. Houses and furniture were very primitive. Houses with ground floor only, were built with broken or rough hewn stone, without mortar - were very cold. All were covered with straw, on "two waters", with a floor of packed earth or rough stone polished, a few who had finer flooring. They were close, and dark, with one or two windows, or without them. It consisted of one room, and if the house was rebuilt, "battered" (usually plot) in the second half was cattle. First a better houses, more spacious and more quality built (masonry in lime mortar), have raised Mato and Savo Perov in (Pistet) and Andrija Ristov - 1904. Furniture was very poor, and every household it is manufacturing for its own purposes. A round table on three legs, stolovač and small tripods, one chest in which the bride brought dowry, a cradle, a one-two beds - it was almost all furniture. Beds were very wide, so usually of all children in the house slept in one, because that way under poor cover they were better protected from the cold. The older often slept next to the fireplace, by the fire, healing arthritis. From the cookware stood out wooden vessel - vagan, from which they ate together, using a wooden spoons.

This is a brief overview of rural houses in the last century, as they were in Ljesev Stup. Only the 1904. and especially after World War I, they began to improve and build better houses. The returnees from the Americas begin using roof tiles for the first time, between the two world wars, and this was first done by Špiro Vidakov.

Today, the barns and covered with roof tiles or metal sheet. About the fact how life was once here, there are numerous and detailed records of domestic and foreign visitors, who very symbolically presented distress of any kind, backwardness, and separation from the world, and this situation was particularly pronounced in Katunska district.

There were no schools until the second half of the 19th century, and even long after that they were irregular and poorly attended. Almost the entire population was illiterate, and among the few that know something to read and write - they were priests, because the literacy occurred only in monasteries, and for the church needs. Clan Popivoda never had a priest, and the first Popivoda who learned to write in school, the 1885 i 1890 were: Marko Majov, Miloš Nikolin and Savo Perov

The first public school in Montenegro founded Njegoš 1834 in Cetinje, but then the school was not mandatory. Only in 1878 passed the "Law on General Secondary duties in Principality Montenegro", in which the classes became mandatory for all citizens ", if not mentally ill or maimed."  Of course, the obligation was in force there where was the school, and at that time there weren't many.

School for literacy, led by pop Luka Mrvaljevic from Prediš worked in the same village 1863 but there went only a small number of children (male) from Prediš, later opened schools in Čevo and Resna (Dub), which was attended and number of children from Ljesev Stup. Schools operated in private homes, and with interruptions. The first teachers in Bjelice were Andrija Jovićević, from Rijeka Crnojevića, Đuro Špadijer, from Cetinje, and Nešo Vuksanović, from Kuči. Only 1910 opened the newly school on Ruđino Počivalo as centre of Upper Bjelice, for all seven villages, which belong to them. Today this school is named Miloš Matov Popivoda and is attend fewer than ten children in all four grades. Otherwise, the education of children was irregular and often interrupted before completed four grades. Children were required for looking after livestock in order to free older to be able to work over other activities, so their parents were reluctant to send to school especially girls. Between the two world wars the girls too began in greater numbers to attend the school.

Cetinje, as is well known, had a print shop in 1493, only 28 years after the invention of the press Guttenberg (1455.). and was known as The Đurađ Crnojević press, and it worked a few years since the war ended this noble attempt. The next printing was obtained by Njegoš 1833. Thus, the irony of fate is that after four hundred years from the first printing in Cetinje, almost all the population was illiterate, as if this nation was destined to live permanently in the war and for war, and war becomes his main occupation, and martial skills, basic education.

Health service in this region also did not exist. Treated only by native medications, vidar and sibyls were the main "health workers". Until the sixties of 19th century in Montenegro were not trained doctors, but doctors sometimes come from Kotor. National medications, herbs, balm and various methodes which are often recommended by this "doctors" were without effect, and sometimes very harmful, even deadly. They were dying from diseases that are now easily treated: pneumonia, or tonsillitis, inflammation of the appendix, the stomach infection, then the diphtheria, various children's diseases, snake bites and other. Arose and the epidemic and čumne diseases "plague, cholera, typhoid fever, scabs, itch, and others. Wounds were treated with various balms, often contaminated and harmful. A French doctor, who spent some time in Montenegro, at the time of Prince Danilo (1852 - 1860) wrote "In Montenegro, the primitive state of medicine as well as other and therefore the country does not have one doctor ... National Native health, therefore, lies in the hands of the charlatan, ignorant ... who are illiterate and therefore without any medical knowledge.   Particularly children were harmed, especially infants, and often the victims were women in labour. For example, in the registers of deaths from the 1867 to 1871 in Bjelice of the 79 deceased persons registered, of which 33 children under 3 years of age, and 18 in the first and 12 in the second year of life. Number of deaths of children under 3 years of age makes 43% of all deaths. Startling information contained in this book, that from 12 July 1868 until 30 May 1869, which means for 10 and a half months, inscribed in a 12 deaths of children in the first and second year of life, which was a real plague. We should bear in mind that the children who died shortly after birth were not baptised, and therefore not inscribed in the book, which means that the number of deaths of children was even greater.

Because of this, as well as the often deaths in wars, the birth rate was low. About the low population growth rate tells illustrative example in which the Lješev Stup for 460 years, when mentioned in written sources (1521), never had more than 23 households. It was only in a relatively short period of time before the Balkan wars, and that number was never reached again.

 Lješevostupci have always been buried in Prediš, in the cemetery at the church St. Đorđije, which is common for Prediš, Pejovići, Malošin Do and Ljesev Stup. As until recently there was no road to Prediš (about 3km), the distance and poor footpath increased a problem during the burial, especially in winter. That was the reason that Lješevostupci who 17-18 years ago lived in the village, agreed to establish a cemetery in Ljesev Stup on the Bočina hill That idea came before the last war, but it was only in 1967 when Novak Bojičin (Raslapčević) first made the grave in which he buried relics of his dead, which he transferred from Metohija. After that they started building tombs, and soon there were built five. Later agreement was not consistently respected, and the cemetery did not spread, so now burials are made on the two sides on the old cemetery in Prediš and new - in the village.