John Suchomski was born June 25, 1852 in the village of Wysoka, near Cekcyn, in what is now the powiat [county] of Tuchola, near Bydgoszcz, Kujawy-Pomorze province, Poland. At that time, the village was in the Prussian province of West Prussia [Westpreussen]. He was the sixth of seven children, the third of three sons of Kazimierz Suchomski, a small tenant farmer and barrelmaker, and his wife, Franciszka, nee Topolinski. John was baptized a Roman Catholic in the parish church of Byslaw, Przemienienia Panskiego [Transfiguration church], five miles away . (In 1885, Byslaw had 98 houses and a population of 994 inhabitants ). The year before John was born, his older sister, Agnieszka, died as a result of scalding, aged three and a half years . Before 1855, one of his brothers died. Then, on March 8, 1855, his father died as the result of what the death record called colic. His wife was left with two sons and three daughters, the children all minors . What became of Franciszka after this is unknown. On November 10, 1873, John, now living in Byslaw, married Hedwig Myslinski in her Lubiewo parish church of sw. Mikolaja (St. Nicholas church) . He was 21 years old; she was 18. Between 1874 and 1879, they had three children recorded in the Lubiewo parish baptismal register. John was listed as a katnik (in German, Käthner), one who lives in the corner of someone else's room (a sharecropper?) . In 1880, Lubiewo had 147 houses and 970 people . In 1880, John and his family moved to Chicago. At first they lived in the neighborhood around Holy Trinity Roman Catholic church . Later, they moved to the area around St. Stanislaus Kostka Roman Catholic church. Hedwig's brother, John Myslinski, a tailor, had already lived in Chicago since 1869 . In 1884, John Suchomski's younger sister Franciszka Wielewicki moved to Chicago , . In 1900, John listed his occupation as a tailor. At that time, he had nine surviving children; had been naturalized in 1888; and he could not write or speak English . The Suchomskis' son, Leo, was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1911 for his participation, with five others, in the murder of Fred W. Guelzow, a truck farmer. The other accused murderers, except for another minor, were sentenced to death by hanging , . Jane Addams  and others petitioned the governor of Illinois for a stay of execution, which was granted; the four condemned men were hung in 1912. John and Hedwig celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary in 1923. A big party took place at the home of their son, John, and was attended by most of their surviving children, and fifteen grandchildren . In June, 1925, John's wife died . Three years later, he was committed to Oak Forest Hospital, a Cook County, IL poor farm . John died there on July 6, 1933 of emphysema. He was buried in St. Adalbert cemetery, Niles, IL .
Digitized image of John Suchomski's death notice, July 8, 1933. Source: Dziennik Chicagoski (Polish language newspaper); Microfilm; Polish Museum of America Library, Chicago, IL.
Footnotes:  Microfilm # 0071367, p. 145. Poland. Bydgoszcz. Byslaw (Tuchola) - Church Records. Salt Lake City, UT: Family History Library.  Sulimierski, Filip, ed. Geographical dictionary of the Kingdom of Poland and other Slavic countries. Vol. 1. Warsaw: Sulimierski i Walewski, 1880-1902, p. 506.  Microfilm # 0502967. Poland. Bydgoszcz. Byslaw (Tuchola) - Church Records. Salt Lake City, UT: Family History Library.  Ibid.  Microfilm # 1569312, item 4, p. 169. Poland. Bydgoszcz. Lubiewo (Swiecie) - Church Records. Salt Lake City, UT: Family History Library.  Microfilm # 0529604. Poland. Bydgoszcz. Lubiewo (Swiecie) - Church Records. Salt Lake City, UT: Family History Library.  Sulimierski, op. cit., Vol. 5, p. 413.  National Archives Microfilm Roll # 196. 1880 U.S. Census, Chicago, Cook County, IL, E.D. 148, sht. 68. Chicago, IL: National Archives - Great Lakes Region.  Microfilm # 1577900, item 4, vol. 1a, p. 124. Illinois. Cook County. Chicago - Church Records (St. Stanislaus Kostka). Salt Lake City, UT: Family History Library.  Death Certificate # 27785 (1915), Chicago, Cook County, IL (in file for Claim # 6316, Polish Roman Catholic Union of America Insurance Records). Chicago, IL: Polish Museum of America Library.  Microfilm. Death Notice of Franciszka Wielewicka, Dziennik Chicagoski, Oct. 25, 1915, p. 7. Chicago, IL: Polish Museum of America Library.  National Archives Microfilm Roll # 267, op. cit., E.D. 528, sht. 14.  Microfilm. Chicago Police Department Homicide Records, 1870-1930, Vol. 2, p. 58B. Chicago, IL: Illinois Regional Archives Depository, Ronald Williams Library, Northeastern Illinois University. Leo is listed both as Leo Summers and as Leo Suchowski [sic]. A photograph of Leo Suchomski standing with Frank Kita, one of the other accused murderers, appears on the Library of Congress Website, but it is mislabeled. As it is shown on the webpage, Leo is on the left, and Frank is on the right. See also Leo's prison record.  Chicago Record-Herald (December 3, 1911). pp. 1, 3. Chicago Metro History Fair, University of Illinois at Chicago Website (link not operational).  Jane Addams, "The Right to Petition,"  Swarthmore College Peace Collection, Jane Addams Papers, Series 3, in JAMC (reel 47-0329-0334), Special Collections, The University Library, The University of Illinois at Chicago. Chicago Metro History Fair, University of Illinois at Chicago Website (link not operational).  Microfilm. "50 Years of Married Life, Mr. and Mrs. J. Suchom- ski," Dziennik Chicagoski, Nov. 14, 1923. Chicago, IL: Polish Museum of America Library.  Death Certificate # 17981 (1925), Chicago, Cook County, IL. Chicago, IL: County Clerk's Office.  Pamphlet. "The History of Oak Forest Hospital." Chicago, IL: Cook County Bureau of Health Services, June, 1993.  Death Certificate # 517 (1933), Bremen Township, Cook County, IL. Chicago, IL: County Clerk's Office.