The Census - 11 - Albert
May 15, 1940
I wondered if there would be any more to write about Susie Suchla, my
new friend, since her daughter caught me there. I think she must have suspected from seeing two cups the week before and came back deliberately early, thinking to catch me. And of course she did.
I was very sad thinking my relationship with Susie was at an end, although Byers said he felt that it was tempting fate to keep on with something which we both suspected was not quite kosher.
Then the other day, in the mail I got this letter. I will quote it to you exactly.
Dear Mrs. Elder
You won't know me, but I am the oldest son of Mrs. Susan Suchla. I know that you were having conversations with her regarding her life and that of her husband, and my sister Madelyn caught you and told you not to come again.
I can't do anything to change her mind, and I can see her point, as it is also her family history that you are wanting to hear about – and perhaps exploit in some way. The family have had some very bad experiences in the past, and the girls are very protective of their mother.
However, I am prepared to talk to you myself, and tell you what I know of the
family situation if in return you guarantee me that you won't take the information to the police or the press. It would be for your satisfaction only, and I know my Ma would feel happier if she felt you hadn't been cut off like that.
I am unemployed at the moment, looking for work in the manual labor market but not much is forthcoming. So shall we say next Friday 10 o'clock at my house, 621 3rd Avenue NE. My wife works from home as a seamstress, and my eldest son, who is also unemployed might well be around. If you wouldn't mind, they would like to sit in on the discussion, and Myrtle in particular might be able to add some things from a woman's point of view.
I replied immediately in the affirmative, and my spirits rose immensely. I had already given up any idea of writing a story or newspaper article about the Suchlas so it was not difficult for me to give the guarantee he asked for. However, my curiosity was piqued by him saying I mustn’t go to the police. It makes me wonder if they knew more about the murder and aren't telling as it would implicate a family member.
I will go with a list of questions which hopefully will all be answered, and my story complete, at least from my point of view. And my pleasure will have been in telling you the story.
Here is a copy of the newspaper article of the murder of Tom Suchla.
Sun, Tuesday, August 26, 1924 (I think the murder was on August 13th)
SAW MURDER OF THOS. SUCHLA;
John Suchla Returns From Scene of
Slaying His Brother - Witness Tells of Killing by Robbers
John Suchla, who went to Elgin to identify the remains of his brother, talked with the man who was with Mr. Suchla when he was murdered. Mr. Suchla had been working near Elgin and had finished shocking and returned to Elgin to spend a day or two before it was time for him to run the separator. With him was a young companion, also a harvester. The two had their blankets and made their bed in a boxcar, while three others made theirs in an adjoining car.
About three o’clock Saturday morning two men came to the car and asked Suchla and his companion if there was any hay in the car. When they received an affirmative answer, one of the strangers pulled the blankets off of Suchla, who then reached for his gun, but the robber pulled his gun first, the bullet striking Mr. Suchla in his left shoulder, going thru his heart and lodging in his left side. The young lad with him said the two men, who had also lined up the three men in the other car, fled in a Maxwell car. After the shooting they did not rob their victims,
evidently being frightened. Descriptions of the men given by Mr. Suchla’s young companion have been telegraphed to various parts of
No further clues have been found to lead to the identity of the man who murdered Thomas Suchla of Jamestown in a boxcar in Elgin on Saturday. Mrs. Suchla, the widow, returned to the city Monday evening with the remains and funeral services will be held at the Catholic Church at Fried tomorrow at 10 o’clock. Mrs. Suchla went to Elgin on Saturday to identify the body being accompanied by a brother of the deceased, John Suchla, who returned to the city Sunday evening to make arrangements for the funeral.
The body will be at the family home at the corner of 4th Street and 2nd Avenue until tomorrow when it will be taken to Fried for the funeral
You will notice, as I did, that the story differs slightly from what Susie told us before. She said there was only one man and that he robbed her husband.
Perhaps Albert will have more answers when I see him on Friday.