Southern & Eastern European Immigration
Just as the Yankees and Pennsylvania Dutch came to Wadsworth, so did other people of various nationalities, particularly after the turn of the 20th Century. Most of them found work. The Ohio Match Company was unique in that it employed women on the assembly line. At one time, the Ohio Match Company employed over 1100 people, about one-half being women.
Italians, Germans, Slovenians, Hungarians, Slovaks, Poles, and Irish dominated the list of families joining together in small clusters throughout the City, mostly in the south end of Wadsworth.
By 1940, the immigration had nearly stopped with only scattered accounts of people moving in from other countries. This was not true during the years from 1900 until 1920, however, forty-eight families moved from Sicily to Wadsworth, almost all of them from the same region and many of them related.
Two families [cousins] were from the mainland of Italy and settled in the Silvercreek area. Sam Buemi was the first to arrive from Sicily in 1908, followed by relatives and friends who looked for a better life than the ones they had abroad. Most of these people worked at the Ohio Match Company and lived close by the factory for convenience and economy.
Hungarians were led by Peter Bacso, a store owner on Main Street near State Street. His hardware and clothing stores were legion in South Wadsworth and his customers heralded the quality and low price of his goods.
Peter Bacso started the Hungarian Reformed Church on Chestnut Street near Main with assistance from the Young family, founders of the Ohio Companies. Several Hungarian families became members as well as a few from other nationalities. Mr. Bacso was awarded the Carnegie Medal for Heroism when he pulled a little girl from being run over by a train at the Main Street crossing. The little girl was rescued but Mr. Bacso lost his arm in the incident.
Sega, Pecnik & Hahn Families
The Slovenians farmed in the southwestern portion of the City before they began to blend into the mainstream of community life later on. Prominent among these farmers were the Sega and Pecnik families. Mrs. Pecnik was a Sega. The Dombroski family [Polish] had a farm in the area as well. Herman Just, a German immigrant, joined this league of exceptionally talented masters of the land.
John Hahn, also German, farmed a huge truck patch on Medina Line Road, north of Reimer Road. George Dutt, German, but American born, farmed on the east Medina County Line. His brother, Charlie, farmed at Custard Hook, in the southwestern portion of the township. Custard Hook got its name 'according to legend' from a railroad operative who waited for custard pie at a particular point and "hooked" it as the train traveled.
The Irish moved here in great numbers and were mainly coal miners, a trade they brought from their homeland. The Hutchinson family had a large extended family and lived near the railroad tracks at the western edge of Silvercreek. John Malaney, who married Katherine Hutchinson, owned a coal mine in Silvercreek, probably the last one to close in the mid 1930's. The decline of the use of coal was the main reason for closing the mine; however, the final straw was that the mule that pulled the coal cart perished in a flooded mine shaft.
There are many more families who should be mentioned as immigrants who made Wadsworth their homes; however, the numbers are too numerous to catalog in this account of history.