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      Coalhurst/Lethbridge:  Italian Pioneers

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Introduction

Early Years

World War I and
 Interwar Period

World War II
and After

 Cultural Life

Pioneers

Year of the Coal Miner September 2003 - 2004

by Adriana Albi Davies, Ph.D.

Page 1  |  2  |  3

The source for the following family profiles is Our Treasured Heritage: A History of Coalhurst and District (Lethbridge: Coalhurst Historical Society, 1984) and the Heritage Community Foundation thanks the Coalhurst Historical Society for permission to use these materials.

  • Silvio Baceda Family-Silvio was born in theSilvio Baceda Family (Pierina, Lena, Enso and Bruno.) Photo courtesy of the Coalhurst History Society as reproduced in our Treasured Heritage: A History of CoalHurst and District, 1984. village of Cavedini, Trento, Italy.  In his early teens emigrated to the US; he worked in a gold mine in Sacramento, California and a few years later moved to Lethbridge, where his brother was working. He worked for the Chester Mine, and moved to Coalhurst in 1925 and worked in the Coalhurst Mine until the 1935 explosion. In 1940 he moved to Lethbridge to work at the No. 8 mine until his retirement in 1952. In 1923 he went to Italy to marry Pierina Mosna and they had three children, Lena, Enso and Bruno. Enso became a barber and operated Enso's Barber Shop in the College Mall in Lethbridge; Bruno worked for the CPR; Lena married Donald Marshall of Lethbridge and is a housewife and mother. 1
  • Albina Berlando. Photo courtesy of the Coalhurst History Society as reproduced in our Treasured Heritage: A History of CoalHurst and District, 1984.Berlando Family-This was a farming family and the mother, Albina Berlando, ran a dairy in Coalhurst. She had four children, Ted, Roy, Inez and Nillo. Nillo lost a leg in an accident and died in 1936 and the farm was sold. Inez married and lives in Lethbridge. Ted worked for CPR as well as managing the Lethbridge Golf Club and working for the City of Lethbridge.2
  • Chiste Family-Carlo Chiste emigrated from Lasino northern Italy in 1924 and settled in Coalhurst where he worked in the mine but doing general carpentry; he married his wife Cornelia who was also from Lasino in 1926 and they had a son, Arrigo; in the mid-1930s they moved to a farm near Brant, Alberta, where they lived for a year; the farm did not succeed because of droughts and in 1936 they returned to Coalhurst in 1936 subsequently moving to Lethbridge in 1939; they were members of the Italian Lodge and miners' union.3
  • The DeStafano family and friends. Photo courtesy of the Coalhurst History Society as reproduced in our Treasured Heritage: A History of CoalHurst and District, 1984.De Stefano and Lizzi Families-They shared a house in Coalhurst. Nello and Ida De Stafano lived in Coalhurst and their son Gino was born there. They moved to Kimberley, BC and, then California; they had a son Gino and a daughter Ida. The former became a medical doctor and the latter an executive secretary; the family returned to Italy.4
  • Ermacora Family-Angelo Ermacora came to Canada in the early 1900s from Arzene, a town in northern Italy near Pordenone. Angelo Ermacora pictured in the souvenier photograph of the Loggia Leonida Bissolati No. 5 OIFDI Coalhurst Alberta, 1916-1926. Courtesy of the Romulus & Remus Italian Society of Lethbridge. He and his wife had five children (one deceased) before he emigrated. He traveled from LeHavre to Halifax and, then, Calgary before going to Lac La Biche were he homesteaded for a year. Angelo moved to southern Alberta to work in the mines where he could make more money (e.g., Royal View in Lethbridge and Commerce), and in 1912 was joined by wife and children Louis, Treasa and Bertha (one child, Yolanda, left with grandparents). They lived in Commerce where another child, Annie, was born in 1913. Louis Ermacora. Courtesy of the Romulus & Remus Italian Society of Lethbridge. In 1914 they moved to Coalhurst and lived in a company house where another child, Hector, was born in 1914. Angelo wanted a place of his own and renovated a house at Wigan outside Coalhurst and continued to work in the mine as well as delivering coal and water. Three final children, Louisa, Victoria and Sara were born there. They bought a 60-acre parcel of land from the Coalhurst Collieries and built a house and farmed part of the year while working in the mines the other part (six winter months). His son Louis went to work in the mines at the age of 14. Angelo was killed in 1935.5
  • E. Gerussi. Courtesy of the Romulus & Remus Italian Society of Lethbridge.Gerussi Family-Enrico Gerussi was a coal miner and a musician. In 1927 he married Teresina and they moved to Medicine Hat where their eldest son, Bruno, was born. Bruno became an actor, starring on The Beachcombers television series. The family moved to Exshaw and Vancouver.

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Copyright © 2002 Adriana Albi Davies, Ph.D. and The Heritage Community Foundation

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