FROM ITALY TO THE COAL FIELDS

As a nation state, Italy has emerged only in 1871. Until then the country was politically divided into a large number of independant cities, provinces and islands. The currently available evidences point out to a dominant Etruscan, Greek and Roman cultural influence on today's Italians.
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Sal
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Re: FROM ITALY TO THE COAL FIELDS

Post by Sal »

Nuccia,
Thanks for the kind comments about my site. If you get a chance would you see if one of the photos on the Colorado page is in fact your great-uncle. The photos on that page were cropped from a larger photo with about 25 people in it taken at the burial of my grandfather's brother in Colorado. My grandparents are in the photo, so if one of the men is your great-uncle that means he and my grandparents knew each other.
Researching Iob (Job, Yob), Dalpiaz, Zanon in villages of Cunevo and Flavon (Trentino) and Romano in Spadafora (Sicily).
www.trentinoheritage.com
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Re: FROM ITALY TO THE COAL FIELDS

Post by nuccia »

Sal I will definitely look into that. Heres the page for my relatives..I had forgotten but I also linked your website there!

http://www.gentedimareitaliangenealogy. ... index.html
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capracotta
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Re: FROM ITALY TO THE COAL FIELDS

Post by capracotta »

How interesting these posts. I'll be doing a presentation on the first Italians to settle in Ohio's Mahoning Valley. We have a small research group based on the findings of a descendant of one of the first to arrive in our area. Italians from Castle Garden and Blacks from Virginia arrived in Hubbard Township transported by coal operators to break the 1873 strike of miners in Northwestern Pa and Northeastern Ohio. What we've found so far is that it was one of the first large use of Italian as strikebreakers, a pattern that was to continue for decades. We've summarized our research in a Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal_mine ... ke_of_1873
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Re: FROM ITALY TO THE COAL FIELDS

Post by Anne333 »

A carpenter and stone mason, my grandfather left Torricella Peligna for the first time in 1895 to find work in New York City and help other family members to do the same. In Torricella he was a chair maker, but nobody was buying his chairs. Sometime in 1896, wanting to get out of the city, he found work in the coal mines of Northern Pennsylvania, first as a miner, and then as stone mason for the coal mine. There he acquired a "Company" house in the town of Bernice, and arranged for his wife and three young children to make the passage from Torricella to join him. A year or so after their arrival he became fed up with the miner's life, and began using his carpentry and masonry skills to make a better life for himself and his family. His first order of business was to get his wife and children out of the company house by building a small general store in the neighboring town of Mildred. In the rear of the store and above it there was living space for the growing family. Small bridges and fireplaces were his specialty and best sellers in the beginning. When his sons were old enough to help, he built and operated a movie theater in the town.

(I've tried without success to include two photos of the mining town of Bernice, Sullivan County, PA. )
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Re: FROM ITALY TO THE COAL FIELDS

Post by tapeduzzi »

Two of my grandfathers brothers died in the mines in Indiana county, Pa. I have tried to find out what happened to them and have had no luck. They may have misspelled their names since they were not common names and that was common. Their names were Delindo and Agostino Pesci. They were from the Bercheto area in Italy and came over when they were young. I have found Pesci is spelled different ways so that might be a problem. I have searched the mine sites but have not found them. Any suggestions? Teresa Peduzzi
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Re: FROM ITALY TO THE COAL FIELDS

Post by Biff83 »

Teresa,

Do you know when either or both of the brothers died? We might be able to locate the information on the link below. Indiana County was in the bituminous districts.

http://www.phmc.state.pa.us/bah/dam/rg/ ... erface.htm

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Re: FROM ITALY TO THE COAL FIELDS

Post by mmogno »

https://assets.libertyellisfoundation.o ... 020288.jpg

First Name : Agostino
Last Name : Pesci
Nationality : Italy, Italian North
Last Place of Residence : Berceto
Date of Arrival : July 22nd, 1905
Age at Arrival : 19y
Gender : Male
Marital Status : Single
Ship of Travel : La Lorraine
Port of Departure : Havre
Manifest Line Number : 0016
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Re: FROM ITALY TO THE COAL FIELDS

Post by joetucciarone »

My research partner ("capracotta" on this forum) and I have been investigating the use of Italian immigrants in U.S. coalfields for almost eight years. Two hundred Italian immigrants were used by coal operators to break a regional miners' strike in the Youngstown area in 1873. In fact, this was the first time Italians were used as strikebreakers in U.S. coal mines. They did so unknowingly; the labor contractor who recruited the immigrants at Castle Garden deliberately withheld news of the strike from them. Only after their arrival in Ohio did they learn the truth of their employment. But at the time, bound by contract, they had no alternative other than to proceed.

A year after the events in Youngstown, two hundred Italian immigrants were brought as strikebreakers to a mine near Pittsburgh, where an angry editor wrote: "Foreigners who never saw a coal mine are imported, and for what? To dig coal? No. It is not pretended they can dig. These operators know all the coal they dig for the next six months will cost them more than our miners will work for. This is only an attempt to so utterly demoralize our union men that they will surrender the organization at once and forever."

When strikes shut down Pennsylvania coal mines in 1875, Italian immigrants were once again recruited. John Siney, head of the Miners National Association, was arrested for participating in a miners' riot. At his trial, he said, "The importation of Italians and others with no mining experience, and who could not mine coal without a loss, was part of a scheme of the operators to exhaust the funds of the strikers in paying the fares of the new comers back again."

There are no large scale coal deposits in Italy, so the Italians weren't hired for their mining abilities. They were hired, unknowingly at first, to break the miners' unions. William Powers, a leading coal operator in Youngstown, was interviewed by a newspaper reporter during the 1873 strike. When asked for his ultimate goal; Powers replied, "To protect our interests, to burst the Miners’ Union, and see that no man in sympathy with them, or who has made threats, gets employment."
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Re: FROM ITALY TO THE COAL FIELDS

Post by lafemmeamrcn »

Wow, interesting information. My great grandfather, Luigi DiGirolamo (born in Serracapriola), worked in the mines in (Pittston/Scranton?). He later was a railroad worker on the Lackawanna & Wyoming Valley RR Co (Laurel Line). His son, my grandfather, worked in the mines as well-died from lung cancer.
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Re: FROM ITALY TO THE COAL FIELDS

Post by DannaReLoprinzi »

This is so interesting! My husband's great-grandfather emigrated from Trabia, Sicily, to McKeesport, PA. I believe he worked in the coal mines. Salvatore D'anna born 1855. I cannot find his first immigration document to America which I believe was around 1902-1904. His wife, Ninfa Spalla D'anna, moved to McKeesport, PA and they had 3 more children, which I believe the boys worked for a time in the coal mines.

Do you have any advice in locating Salvatore's living place from 1902-1909? He impregnated his wife at least 3 times so he had to be around, but I cannot find him anywhere. Do you know of any references that might lead me in the direction to find him?

If he was born in Italy in 1855 wouldn't he have had to be in the military for a year or two? Any help would be greatly appreciated. So very interesting.
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Re: FROM ITALY TO THE COAL FIELDS

Post by mbartolina »

I am descended from both French and Italian coal miners who co-mingled in the southeast Kansas coal fields before moving on to the coal fields of eastern Oklahoma. I know that the American mining companies actively recruited French miners from the area of Trith-Saint-Leger, but I don't know if my Italian relatives were recruited or just found work after arriving in the U.S. Does anyone know if mining companies recruited from Italy as well?
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Re: FROM ITALY TO THE COAL FIELDS

Post by joetucciarone »

Yes, American coal companies actively recruited large numbers of Italians to work in U.S. mines. In 1890, the U.S. Treasury Department sent investigators to Pennsylvania's anthracite mines. They found that prepaid steamship tickets were available at grocery stores and coal offices; a prepaid ticket enabled an Italian, who was otherwise too poor to pay the passage himself, to come to the U.S. Historian Charlotte Erickson noted that, in Italy, advertisements were "thrown into their huts and villages by steamship company agents." These ads "told Italian peasants that they could make from $2.50 to $3.50 a day in the Pennsylvania coal regions."
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