Grocery Store

Joseph & Anna Smrtic with kids at store.
Joseph & Anna Smrtic with kids at store.

 My paternal grandfather, Joseph Smrtic, came to the United States from Slovakia in 1906 at age 18. His wife, Anna Vrabel, came from Hungary in 1909 at the age of 16. They both followed the path of relatives to the small city of Johnstown in upstate New York where they met, married and had a family of seven children. For a number of years they owned and operated Smrtic Grocery Store, shown in this picture. During Prohibition, my grandfather ran a "speakeasy" in a barn behind the grocery story. When the first chain grocery store came to town and located nearby, they were unable to compete and had to close the store, thus ending their American dream. Pictured in the store (with some of their children): son Rudy, daughter Julia, Anna, daughter Molly, Joe. When this picture was taken, my father George might have been out shouting “Smrtic Grocery” as he made deliveries in a wagon pulled by the family’s horse Chubby! 
When George was a boy, he and his brother Steve painted their names on the side of the barn. For decades the names were still visible, until the barn was recently repainted.

Year: 1906

– George Smrtic

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant