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    Community Oral History Project > Bill Nigro > Diary

    Notes taken from the diary of Giovanni Veltri [John Welch]

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Carlo & Lina 

Rudy & Rita 

Mary Biollo Doyle

Tony Falcone

Bill Nigro

 Sabatino Roncucci

Spinelli Family
Alessandro &
Lina Urso

Fiore M. Vecchio



  • At the end of August 1885, Antonio Nigro and Giovanni Veltri traveled from Italy, through Paris to a port in Belgium. From there they embarked on a steamer for New York. "It could not have been in worse condition and took 31 days to cross". After they arrived in New York (Ellis Island) they went on to Montana. Here they met Giovanni's brother, Vincenzo, who had been working for the Montana Central Co. Which was building a railway from Helena to Missouri. They worked in Montana until May 1887 and then went to Spokane. From there they later moved on into Canada.

  • In May, 1893 Giovanni went back to Italy and married Rosa Anselmo, daughter of Frank Anselmo. (probably Amelia's cousin)

  • Antonio's son, Fedele (Felix) joined his father and uncles in 1897. He was 15 year's old. He left his mother and sister in Italy. His father was working on a contract with the CPR on the Nelson-Slocan branch in southern B.C. They were working in a small camp near the border. This work was completed in October 1897.

  • After this, they were awarded a 14mile contract on the construction of the Crowsnest Pass from Kootenay Landing to Goat River. They became experts in rock blasting.

  • They continued to work throughout B.C. in Penticton, Grand Forks, and Nelson and then Winnipeg in June 1902. In October 1905 they worked on the 450-mile construction of the line between Winnipeg and Fort William.

  • In 1906 Fedele became a partner with the Veltris' and worked in Sask. Kenora and Port Arthur.

  • On Dec. 23,1917 Giovanni was working with a gang of 30 workers on the Winnipeg aqueduct and fell into a well. It was very cold and his clothes froze to his body. He recovered at the home of Fedele and Amelia. He spent Christmas with them and in January was at the christening of his first son, Joseph Antonio Maria (aka Bill). Giovanni later moved back to Grimaldi where he died. A son, Raffaele, settled in Vancouver and had three children, John, Bill and Katharine. Vincenzo had died in 1913.

Related Links

  • Nigro Family Timeline:  Follow the Nigro family as they emigrate, work, marry and contribute to the development of western Canada. 1882-1988.  

  • Immigration Chronology: An important chapter in immigration history is presented through the eyes of Nigro/Veltri/Anselmo families. 

Watch Bill Nigro's Oral History Interview!   |  Read Short Biography  |  Read Summary of Transcript


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