John Bencik
Born: 1876, Hungary (in what became Czechoslovakia)
Died: Indianapolis, IN Buried: Holy Cross Cemetery, Indianapolis, IN
Father: ? 
Mother: ?
Married: Teresa Kobza
Child: Edward Bencik

John Bencik was born in 1876 in what was then Hungary, later to become Czechoslovakia following WWI. Both first and last names are no doubt Americanized versions of the original Hungarian names and spellings. There are several simularly spelled surnames from Hungary and several more Americanized versions. Although I have always heard it pronounced as “Bensick”, I have been told that the original pronunciation of the name was more like “Benchick”.

The records I've found are not clear on when John arrived in the United States, and whether or not his son Edward was born in the United States or Michigan.  The 1920 Census  indicates that John immigrated in 1893, and Theresa in 1897, which would mean that Edward Bencik would have been born in Detroit, MI, as he had always claimed..  The 1930 Census indicates that John immigrated in 1902, with Theresa and Edward following in 1908, and listing Edward Bencik birthplace as Hungary.

I tend to believe that the 1930 Census is correct.  If the 1920 census is correct, that would mean that John came to the United States in 1893 when he was 17, then Theresa came and joined him in 1897 at the age of 16. I believe the dates and information on the 1930 Census to be more accurate because they seem more logical.  If anyone has information confirming the arrival dates I would love to hear from you.

John Bencik married Theresa Kobza in Pest, Hungary in 1900.  John Bencik told me that Theresa's maiden name was Kobza, but I have no idea of his source of information at this time.

Theresa Kobza was born in Pest Hungary in 1881. Again, Kobza is probably not the correct original spelling. Kobsa seems to be a more prevelant Hungarian name, but it could be something else.

John and Theresa Bencik had a son, Edward, who I believe was born in Pest Hungary in 1900.  Edward always claimed to be born in Detroit, but I have found no evidence of that, other than the 1920 census.  Again, if anyone has any proof one way or another please email me.

John came to America in 1902 and came through Detroit to Indianapolis. Theresa and Edward joined him in America in 1908.

Theresa Kobza had two sisters that came to America with her in 1908. One stayed in America and one returned to Hungary.

Sometime after arriving in Indianapolis, John bought a house and opened a Bar in the large front living room, which had a door facing the corner.  Here is a photo of the Bar in 1914 with John tending bar.

I've heard John was doing quite well during this time,  John probably had some amount of money when he arrived in America for him to be able to buy the largest house on his block with a business inside so soon after arriving.  He didn't trust the US banking system because the US was such a young country, so he banked much of his money in Hungary.  He lost that money when Hungary got involved in WWI and lost.  One can only imagine the anguish and mixed emotions he must have felt about his new country being at war with his native country that he had left only 12 years before, plus having most of his money there and not able to get it.  Not to mention his relatives still in Hungary involved in the war on the other side. It had to be agonizing.

So by 1918 John had lost most of his savings, but at least he still had a thriving neighborhood Bar that made him a decent living so things could be worse.  Which they did in 1920 when Prohibition was passed in 1920, making the sale of alcohol  a crime.  John had to convert his Bar into a Soda Shop in 1920.

By 1920 John and Theresa were living alone.  Their only son Edward was living with the parents of his wife, Ada Spaulding, whom he had married in 1918.  I can't tell if they are living in separate dwellings, or if John and Theresa claimed a portion of the house as an apartment.  John listed his occupation as "Soft Drink Merchant".

The 1920 Census  shows John, Theresa and Edward.  John and Theresa were living by themselves, probably in the apartment at the side of the house.  Their son, 19 year old Edward was living in the larger part of the house with his wife Ada, who he had married in 1918, and his Father-in-law Jesse Rutledge.  John and Theresa list their place of birth, and the place of birth of their parents, as Hungary.  Edward lists his as Michigan, but that is not true.  Edward was known to claim that he was born in Detroit, MI in 1900.

It turned out John was right about not trusting American banks though.  It just came 11 years after WWI in 1929 with the great depression, when he got stung again.

The 1930 Census clearly shows that Theresa and Edward arrived in America in 1908.  This census lists Johns birthplace, and his parents, as Czechoslovakia.  This is due the the fact that the newly created Czechoslovakia was formed partly from what was the part of Hungary John and his parents were from.  The place of birth for Theresa and her parents is Hungary, as in 1920.  Edward shows his true birthplace of Hungary, and his father from Czechoslovakia and mother from Hungary.

By 1930 John had converted his Soda Shop to a Grocery Store. 

I don't know the date or circumstances of John's death at this time.

Photo of John and Theresa Kobza Bencik

Finding the ancestors of John Bencik may or may not be possible.  He married Theresa Kobza in Pest Hungary in 1900, and had a son Edward in 1900.  He probably entered the country through Detroit in 1902.  His wife and son joined him in 1908, also coming in through Detroit.  When Theresa came 2 of her sisters came with her.  One stayed in Indianapolis, and the other returned to Hungary a short time later.   It is uncertain what the original spelling of Bencik was, but it almost certainly was not Bencik.  Same with Kobza.  Plus there is the factor of 2 world wars and communist takeover since then, so many records have likely been destroyed.  The only slight hope of discovering anything about John or Kobza would require a person checking through paper records in Budapest Hungary, armed with accurate birth and marriage dates for John, Theresa and Edward.