Barbora Polak Sustik
|Henry & Minnie Ricchetti Sustik
Dillonvale, OH 1929
|Henry Sustik citizenship papers
20th November 1929
The first immigrants of our family to the United States were from Western Europe. The first great influx began early in the 19th century
and continued on into the 20th century. Large numbers of Europeans left their homelands to escape the economic distress resulting
from the transformation of industry in Europe to the factory system and the shift from individual small-scale to large-scale farming.
Famine, floods, and rampant disease were also a contributing factor. At the same time, wars, political oppression, and religious
persecution caused a great many Europeans to seek freedom and security in the US. The history of Italy and Czechoslovakia
(Bohemia) where the De Matte's, Richetti's, and Sustik's (Szuscik) are from will attest to that. It is more than likely that due to those
factors and the promises of good jobs in the US by the railroads, and coal mines, that these families came to America wanting a better
and brighter future for their families. They made their mark in history as you will see.
From 1867 to 1918 Austria and Hungary comprised of many smaller countries, which had made up the nation of Austria-Hungary. The
station at Ellis Island recorded 2.2 million people who had come from that area of Europe. These people represented a wide variety of
ethnic groups from there. They included Maygars (Hungarians), Slovaks, Poles, Bohemian, and Czechs, and many other Slovak
peoples. In 1918 the Czechs and Slovaks formed the independent nation of Czechoslovakia. A little over 48,000 immigrants came to
this country through Ellis Island around that time. But many more had arrived in the US while those two countries were under Austrian
and Hungarian rule prior to 1918. Those that had arrived early on such as John and Barbara Sustik came looking for jobs and wanted
to escape the overcrowding of their towns and villages. Those that came first had paved the way through Galveston, Texas, for their
friends and other family members to come later. They usually came as groups of families, and had settled in the Midwest areas often
farming and mining.
John Sustik original spelling, ( Szuscik) (born Dec 25, 1873), was from Raj, which in 1883 was a village of 223 inhabitants, and by
1930 consisted of 263 inhabitants thereof 255 Czech and 1 German; part of the political county Caslau (Czech: Caslav), court district of
Habren (Czech: Habry), Middle Bohemia.
John Sustik (Szuscik) had married Barbora Pollak (born Nov 10, 1870) in 1898 and raised their family at Street #220, Doubrava,
Bohemian (Czechoslovakia), their religion being Roman Catholic.
John and Barbora decided to move their family to the United States. Among them were Frances, (born 10 Jan 1896, died 24 Feb
1988) she had married William (Richetti) Dematte, Henry,(born 12 July 1899, died 28 Dec 1970 Dillonvale, Oh), Joe (born 31 Jan
1901, died 24 Jan 1971) and Hermenia, 94 (born 1903, currently living 2001) and Emil (born 18 Aug 1904, died 28 May 1995) all being
born in Czechoslovakia. They had immigrated to this country as a family in 1906 through Galveston, Texas, and eventually found their
way into the Lehigh area of Oklahoma where they met the Richetti family around 1907-08. While they were living in Lehigh, John Polak,
Barbora's brother had also immigrated to the US in 1908, and joined them. They had left the old country for the United States in order
to start a new life.
Karl Polak (Pollak) (born 1860) and Josephine Kuznik were married in 1882. Their daughter Anastazie born in 1889, Barbora Pollak
Sustik's cousin married John Chrobak and had several children, Mary, John and Joe. Joe was born Feb 21, 1912 in Lazy, Austria, he
was Henry's cousin whom eventually remarried Minnie Richetti Sustik after Henry's death.
Sometime between 1919 and 1922, most of the families of the Sustiks and Richettis and Demattes decided to move out of the Lehigh
area as the mining situation, and bow weevil blight had taken it's toll. Their decision was made even easier because around this time
in Oklahoma there was great social unrest and the governor had declared martial law just to control the situation.
Around 1900 there had been a great influx of Blacks which fled the Deep South and had been enlisted and used by the mining
companies as strike breakers. This helped spur the Klu Klux Klan into greater action around the nation, and in Tulsa, OK, there were
mass murders of blacks during that time along with lynchings and floggings, which occurred regularly. The KKK were to eventually
put on their hit list, Jews, Catholics, and Immigrants.
Also during that time many immigrants who had fled Europe because of the impending World War, were persecuted because they
were against the American involvement and old southern Americans believed them to be Red sympathizers. Things were not going
well in Oklahoma politically, as well as racially at that time.
Several other family members decided also that this would be a good decision to move out of the seemingly lawless area. The
youngest were to stay behind with their parents. They packed up what they could carry and moved to Dillonvale and shipped whatever
belongings they could not carry via train. They eventually settled in their own homes and remained in the local area.
John and Barbara Sustik and their children were to eventually settle down in a sleepy little hollow called, Jug Run, just outside of
Dillonvale, Ohio not many miles from the Ohio River. They eventually rented a farm at the upper end of the hollow on the hill where
many black walnut trees lined the old road that passed by. The farm was a fairly large one consisting of a large farmhouse and a barn.
By this time the boys, Henry, Emil, and Joe were working the fields and coalmines. They drove the jennys used to pull the coal cars
out of the mine, while sloshing through the yellow sulfur colored mud. The deep mines were dark, damp, and dangerous. Often times
they would carry a bird, usually a canary in a cage with them as they traversed the deep mines. This practice usually alerted them to
the odorless gases that could be fatal. Hermina was to stay at home with her mother, Barbara and help care for the farm, canning
fruits and vegetables and mending the men's clothes.
|Henry Sustik's Birth Certificate
Henry and Minnie had walked the railroad
tracks into Dillonvale, Oh Nov 10th, 1927
and were married there. Wedding picture.
Eventually they moved to their long time residence in Jug Run along side the creek where Henry Sustik mined coal from the local
mines in the area, and continued to make home brewed beer often selling or trading the bootlegged beer or wine to local area
residents. Henry when not working the coal mines helped build many of the brick roads at that time in and around Dillonvale
Henry and Minnie's involvement with her brother Adam and Charles Floyd had been limited to the extent of assisting them with food,
shelter and communications, they were rewarded financially for their efforts. History has written that Adam and Charles left Buffalo, NY
on Oct 19th, 1934 where they had lived for approximately a year, however my families story is that Adam and Charles had lived in the
Ohio Valley area from time to time during that year between Wheeling, West Virgina and Dillonvale, Ohio. Adam had purchased a dog
for Henry in early Oct 1934. There were also reports of the duo being sighted in Steubenville, Ohio earlier in Oct 1934.
The FBI and J Edgar Hoover began surveillance on the Sustik's and other family members in the area and Oklahoma on June 23,
On Monday, October 22, 1934, at 6am, two car loads of department of justice agents came to Martins Ferry accompanied by
Patrolmen George Helt and Edward McElfresh including Melvin Purvis rushed into the Dillonvale area and immediately conducted
an investigation at the homes of Minnie and Henry Sustik, and other family members living in the Dillonvale area, looking for Floyd.
They proceeded to investigate the area for approximately 5 hours as to the whereabouts of Charles Floyd and questioned them at
length concerning their knowledge of their brother and his friends. The lawmen went to the barn on the Sustik's farm going
through the hay with pitch forks. Purvis and his men were cautious, they had family members lead the way into the barn, using
them as a human shields. There were no arrests made of the Richetti, Sustik, or De Mattes in connection with their involvement
with Adam and Floyd, however it was well known that it could happen, as it did with John Dillinger's family. Upon learning of their
brothers capture in Wellsville and after they had been searched, Minnie, Dave and Bill De Matte raced to his side.
Henry Sustik, and Minnie (Richetti) lived out their lives in Jug Run, Ohio working in the area coal mines and in Dillonvale. They
adopted Fred L. Simpson, Eva's son. Henry retired from the coal mines and died on Dec 30, 1970 at 71 from black lung.
John and Barbora (Polak-(Pollak?)(sp)) Sustik (Szuscik) lived out their lives in Dillonvale, Ohio farming and working in the coal
mines of the area. John Sustik born in Raj, Bohemia, died on August 14, 1940, he was 67 years old. Barbora died in April, year
unknown, both are buried at the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery.