Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Joseph Orshoski left Hungary in 1901

Joseph Orshoski was born on May 7, 1885 in Felsővadász, Hungary. His name in his native language was spelled Jozsef Orsovscki. His parents were Jozsef Orsovscki and Maria Hublyak and his godparents were Janos Mikkula and Erzsebet Borisza. The family's religion was Roman Catholic and the occupation of the baby's parents was agricultural worker.

According to their passenger list on the Ellis Island website, on April 1, 1901, father and son, whose name appeared as Josef Orsoczky, arrived in New York City on the ship Bulgaria. Josef/Joseph the father was 42, and his son was 16 years old. The father would go back to Hungary soon after he came to America, but the son stayed here in the U.S. for the rest of his life.

My great grandfather, the Joseph Orshoski who was born in 1885, never told me personally why he came to America. An article about Hungarian Catholics in America from the CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA online states that Hungarians from all walks of life left Hungary for the United States. Many left "to better the condition of the Hungarian of humbler circumstances." The article points out that another factor in Hungarian immigration was that European steamship companies spread tales of "easily earned riches."

In the 1910 U.S. Census, Joe Orshorski and his wife Julia, both listed as age 24, and born in Hungary, were living in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. Joe lists his occupation as a coal miner for the Pennsylvania Coal Company. They had a four year old son named Steve. Joe had not yet become naturalized. By viewing Joseph Orshoski's naturalization records, it appears that the Orshoski family had moved to Virginia, since his sons Andrew and Nicholas Orshoski were born in Dorcester, Virginia. By 1918, the Orshoski was living in Bay Bridge, an unincorporated village on Sandusky Bay in Erie County. Joe worked there at the Medusa Portland Cement Company.

After having six sons, the first Mrs. Joseph Orshoski died in 1919, when her youngest son was an infant. the family legend was that after his first wife died, Joseph said to his family back in Hungary, "Send me a new wife, one named Julia." And, in keeping with his wishes, a new wife was found. Julianna Szomolya came to the United States on September 30, 1921. She and Joseph were married, and had two daughters. Joseph and Julianna were married for over fifty years, and left a host of children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

So, while we don't know the exact reason he left Hungary, Joseph Orshoski worked in coal mines from 1901 through 1917. In 1918, he began working at the cement factory in Bay Bridge, where he continued to work for forty years. After leaving Medusa, Joe worked as a gardener for Cedar Point for eleven years. That adds up to Joseph Orshoski being employed for sixty seven years! Joseph Orshoski was an amazing example of self discipline and hard work.

Joseph Orshoski and both the first and second Mrs. Orshoski are buried at Castalia Cemetery. Many of their neighbors, family, and friends are also buried there. Walking through the Castalia Cemetery is definitely a "walk down memory lane."

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