Franciska Strmljan (October 24, 1865 - 1940)
Anton Šustar (March 23, 1867 - June 4, 1945)
Franciska Strmljan was born on October 24, 1865 in the town of Tenetiše, the Šmartno pri Litiji parish, Slovenia, to Franz Strmljan and Agnes Flisek.
Before marriage Franciska (also Frances, Franca, Fany) was a "½ Hüblerstochter", and she resided with her parents at Tenetiše 17, that is in house No.17 in the town of Tenetiše.
The explanation for "½ Hüblerstochter" is: The Austrians developed the word "hube" for a farmhouse with land. ½ hube = 2.8 acres. Hübler - a man who owns a hube. In the German language the word "tochter" means daughter. Thus "½ Hüblerstochter" is a farmer’s daughter - owner of 2.8 acres.
Anton Šuštar (also Šustar, Schuster, Shuster) was born on March 23, 1867 in Senožet, Slovenia to Anton Šuštar and Marija Podlesnik. At the time of his birth the family resided at Senožeti 8, Šentlambert, Slovenia. In churh records Anton's name appears in Latin - Antonius.
Franciska Strmljan and Anton Šustar married on July 20, 1896 in the Šmartno pri Litiji parish. Anton was 5’8” tall, fair complexion, fair hair, and gray eyes.
Anton and Franciska had three sons:
- Anton (born on February 7, 1898)
- Franc (December 5, 1899 - January 20, 1987)
- Jožef (born on February 22, 1902)
- Alojzij (born on March 24, 1904)
- Frančiška (February 21, 1910 - March 23, 1912)
All children were born at Senožeti 8, Šentlambert, Slovenia.
In 1901 Franciska’s younger sister, Ivana Strmljan (Golobar, Božič), immigrated to the United States of America.
Nine years after their wedding Anton and Franciska decided to find their fortune and happiness in the land of opportunity - America. They immigrated to the United States separately.
According to Ellis Island records, Anton Šustar departed from Havre, France on the ship La Touraine on April 29, 1905. He arrived at the port of New York on May 7, 1905 at the age of 38. Anton’s final destination in the U.S. was Herminie (SE of Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania, where he was going to join his friend Frank Simoncič residing at Box 65, Westmoreland County, Herminie, Pennsylvania. Anton’s occupation - laborer. He was able to read and write having been schooled to 8th grade. He was in possession of $20.
After working in Pennsylvania coalmines for three years, Anton returned home to visit his family. The List or Manifest of Alien Passengers (Ellis Island) indicated “The name and complete address of nearest relative or friend in country whence alien came” - Wife: Franciska Shustar, Senožeti (town NW of Litija). Senožeti is located a rather short distance from Tenetiše - Franciska’s hometown. The Manifest also indicated Senožeti as Anton’s place of birth.
After returning to Slovenia, Anton worked on farms, coalmines, and cut trees to take to the river Sava, and sold them to make money.
In 1909, Anton again left for the United States. This would be his final trip. At that time passage to America cost $20. According to Ellis Island records, he departed from Trieste, Italy on the ship Alice, and arrived at the port of New York on November 17, 1909 at the age of 41. Anton’s final destination in the U.S. was Irwin (near Herminie), Pennsylvania, where he was going to join his friend Johan (John) Molka - the son of his companion on the ship - Franz Molka. Mr. Molka was from Tenetiše. Anton’s occupation - laborer. He was in possession of $25.
After Anton left Slovenia the second time, a daughter, Frances, was born shortly thereafter. She was 1.5-2 years old when she died on the flu.
Franciska and her three sons left Slovenia for America in 1913 to reunite with their husband/father. Prior to leaving Slovenia they sold all cows, oxen, wagon, hay, wheat, and potatoes. They sold everything but the land. Then they packed all of their belongings and headed for America.
Franciska and her sons departed from Trieste, Italy on the ship Martha Washington on October 4, 1913, and arrived at the port of New York on October 20, 1913.
According to the Manifest, Franciska (Fany) Šustar was four days shy of her 48th birthday. Her son Anton was 17 (laborer) years old, Franz - 14, and Alois (Louis) - 9.
The Manifest - the name and complete address of nearest relative or friend in country whence alien came (Slovenia): Franciska’s younger brother Ignatius Stermjan (August 3, 1877 - April 13, 1955), Litija.
Fany was in possession of $50 (according to Ellis Island records). Her height: 5’3”. All of them had fair complexion, brown eyes and hair.
The Šustars’ final destination in the U.S. was Box 132, Claridge, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, where they were going to join their husband/father - Anton Šustar.
Franciska and the boys spent one day on Ellis Island. After transportation fees - they had $500 of cash left (according to family memoirs). Then they boarded the Pennsylvania Railroad enroute to Manor Pennsylvania. They arrived in Manor Pennsylvania on October 22, 1913. To their huge dissapointment, no one was there to meet them at the railroad station.
The family settled in the town of Claridge, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.
Anton's son, Frank, started working in the Wendel Mines in the summer of 1914. Then Tony and Frank worked the night shift at the Fort Pitt Glass Works in Jeannette, PA, walking to and from Claridge and Jeannette. According to his daughter, Dorothy, Frank also worked for Westmoreland Coal Co. and in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Father Anton purchased property in Rillton, PA in 1916. He was naturalized as an American citizen the same year, as was the rest of the family.
Anton was a wood worker (carpenter). He helped to build a church in Saint Lambert Township. Anton's father died in 1908 in Litija, Slovenia.
According to World War I Draft Cards, 1917-1918, Anton and Franciska’s oldest son, Anton Schuster, of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania (Roll 1927074, Draft Board 7), was born in Slovenia on February 7, 1896.
According to the 1920 U.S. census records enumerated on January 21, 22, and 24, the Shuster (not Šustar or Schuster) family resided in Sewickley Township, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, and consisted of four members (Anton and Franciska's son, Frank, did not reside there at this time):
- Anton Shuster (52) - Head
- Francis Shuster (52) - Wife
- Anton Shuster (21) - Son
- Louis Shuster (15) - Son
At the time of the census two borders lived in the Shuster’s house. Boarder - someone paying for food and bed: somebody who pays for a room, and usually for daily meals, in a private home or a boarding house. Both of them were immigrants from Slovenia seeking the American dream in the Pennsylvania coal mine.
Boarder No.1: Matthew Maza, 32 years old, single. Immigrated to the U.S. in 1909, not able to speak English, laborer at the foundry, able to read and write in Slovenian.
Boarder No.2: Mike Maza, 32 years old, single. Immigrated to the U.S. in 1908, not able to speak English, molder at the foundry, able to read and write in Slovenian.
According to the 1930 U.S. census records, Anton and Franciska lived alone in Rillton, PA, in the $1600-home they owned. Anton was a laborer in the coalmines.
Franciska Strmljan died in 1940 from diabetes. Her leg was amputated as a result of diabetes.
Anton Šustar died of a stroke on Monday, June 4, 1945. Friends received at the home of his son, Anton Shuster, Jr., Rillton, PA until 8:30 AM, Thursday, June 7, 1945. Requiem High Mass 9:00 AM, St. Edward's Catholic Church, Herminie, PA. Rev. Father E. H. Kelly, Interment, Irwin Catholic Cemetery.
Click here to see images of Franciska Strmljan and Anton Šustar.