Charley Pochik

3 November 1905 – 9 May 1919

Charley Pochik was the youngest of three named children of Joseph and Elizabeth (Sebysten) Pochik, immigrants from Austria-Hungary. Joseph immigrated at the age of 31 in 1896 and Elizabeth immigrated at the age of 21 in 1900; the two married two years later in April 1902.

They had at least four children that I can find, all whom died young. Benjamin (1903 – 1909), Lizzie (1904 – 1906), and Baby (no dates given but buried with Lizzie so possibly stillborn the same year), and Charley. All are buried in a row at Forest Home but only Charley’s picture has survived.

There is oddly little to be found about the Pochik family in the records in spite of their having lived in the area for almost forty years. I can only turn them up once in the census in 1930, well past when their children would have been young enough to normally be at home, so I have no idea if they had any who survived to adulthood.

Joseph was a saloon owner and is listed in the city directory at 4201 Kinzie over several years. There is a building there that doesn’t look old enough to have been the one used in 1915 but still looks fairly old, so hey maybe?

By 1930, the couple had been living way out in the then-unincorporated west suburbs near Naperville at least since the 1920s. Joseph seems to have been retired per the census which also lists the value of their house as one of the highest on the page. They owned it free and clear, and other sources show that Joseph still owned the saloon building in the city, so clearly they did well for themselves in spite of any limitations placed on their business interests by certain Constitutional Amendments.

The 5 August 1934 Chicago Tribune has a brief item about Joseph’s having been shot “through the lung” (not fatally) and his arm broken in what he claimed was an attempted robbery at the same property at 5:00 a.m on the 4th. The tone of the article is quite shady and reads as if it’s implying that Joseph’s story that he was looking to reopen a saloon at the location and was robbed while there is highly suspect, but no other articles follow up that I can find.

This incident occurred a few months after the repeal of Prohibition so it’s not impossible he was considering doing just as he said, but one suspects that he may have supported himself and his wife during the 13 year liquor interregnum through less than legitimate means and perhaps the reporter is aware of this and the possibility that he might have still been up to No Good — leading to the article’s tone.

I mean, that is also just ME being shady now, but that article really does have A Tone to it! Joseph appeared to have no profession and lived in quite a nice house. Possibly he made enough money during his years of legitimate business prior to Prohibition to continue to own and pay taxes on both the city property and his nice house out in Naperville, too, but… y’know… I kind of doubt it.

Nevertheless, Joseph survived and lived another five years after this incident, passing away 24 May 1939 at the age of 74. On his death record, he is erroneously listed as five years older than he was and his actual birthdate left vague (“about 1860”) though it is specified on his naturalization papers (24 January 1865). I always wonder about details like this. Did Lizzie not know her husband’s birthday? Was she too overwrought to relay the information clearly? Did the person transcribing the information not care? One wonders.

In spite of being much younger than her husband, Lizzie only lived a few months longer herself, passing on 10 October at the age of 60. Her death record says she is also buried at Forest Home, and though I don’t have photos, I presume she and Joseph are buried near their children.

RIP Pochik family

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