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Family-Domenic was born in Potenza, Italy in 1884.
to North America with an uncle at age 13. After working in
the States & Mexico, his work with the Great Northern
Railway and the CPR brought him to Blairmore in
1917. There he married Juliana Schilling (born in Semlac,
Hungary of German parents), fluent in 5+ languages,
affectionately nicknamed "La Germanessa". They
children, Victoria (Mrs. Floyd Smaniotto, Blairmore), Mary
(Mrs. Jack DieBold, widow, remarried to John Murphy),
Dorothy (Mrs. James Kennerd, Edmonton), Rose (Mrs. Ivan
Anderson, Ivan was shot down in WWII and was a POW in the
camp of the "Great Escape"), Orlando (b.1931,
married, singer, founding member of Calgary Region Arts
Foundation), and Constance (b.1940, Mrs. Harold Bryant,
Merritt, B.C.). Domenic left the railway to work in
Greenhill mines, and was the Mine Workers Union president during
strike of 1932. He also played guitar, and was a member of
"Mountaineers" orchestra. He had a role in NFB
production "Coal-Face", and served on the Blairmore
School Board. Domenic retired due to illness in 1944,
and moved to
Calgary. There he went back to the work he started as a
13-year old in Chicago - shining shoes. Domenic died in
1972, Juliana in 1976.
Ciarmelo-Nick was better known as
Carmela or Carmelo. He emigrated to Canada in 1906, having
previously traveled to New York, Chicago and Argentina
and back to Italy. He was a Miner in Hosmer, B.C., Coleman in
1909, Beaver Mines in 1915. Mrs. Ciarmelo (b.1897)
came to Canada in 1911 to marry Nick. At various
times, in addition to mining, they ran a bakery, a farm,
logging operation. They suffered many hardships (death of
young daughter Lily due to a bee sting in 1917, house
fire) but also had good times (Nick played button
accordion to singing of Mr. Gabino). They had 6 more children;
Agnes (b.1917), Evelyn (deceased 1941), Elsie (Mrs. Salant,
died 1967), John, Dora, and Emily. Nick passed away
in 1945. Mrs. Carmelo enjoys large family gatherings
with her 16 grandchildren, 29 great-grandchildren and [at
the time of the book's publication in 1979] one
Angelo Cervo-Angelo came to Coleman from Italy
in 1900. His wife, Dozelina, and daughter Mary joined Angelo
shortly after. Angelo Jr. was born in Coleman 1903
(married Mary Bodney in 1928), Adrian & August born in
Lille, Vera born in Blairmore, Marcel in Frank, and Mario
& Annie in Sentinel. Mr. Cervo was employed at
mines as the family moved around. Dozelina made
cheese and sold milk from the cows they had on their
Sentinel farm. Angelo Jr. ran a taxi business and
remembers the Bassoff incident (1920 train robbery &
subsequent police shootings) and the Picariello incident.
Also worked for Sartoris Lumber Co. before starting own
left Italy with his parents at
age 3, and lived in many countries (father was a rock
tunnel contractor) before coming to Crowsnest Pass area
shortly after the 1903 Frank Slide disaster. On a
return visit to Italy, George met his future wife.
They married in Lille in 1907, she learned English quickly
and became a letter-writer & interpreter for new Italian
families. George mined in Lille, Frank &
Bellevue before going into the draying business - trucks
in summer, horses & sleighs in winter. They had 5
daughters, Georgina (Mrs. Fred Hallworth, teacher, married
1933, 2 children), Mary (died at age 12), Ines (Mrs.
Robert Truba, teacher, Hillcrest, 3 children), Doris (Mrs.
Vieweger, 2 children, died in Edmonton 1951), and Esther
(Mrs. Ted Allen, teacher, 3 children).
Louie and Mary
Coan-Louie came to
Crowsnest in 1910 single, returned to Italy, married and
both came out in 1922. They owned one of the first cars and
gasoline washing machines in Crowsnest. Louie
repaired shoes and cars, Mary did laundry for CPR
workers. They had 3 children, Douglas, Joe and Enzo.
The Coans left Crowsnest for Vancouver in 1933.
Rose and Joe Coccioloni-Rose (born
c.1896) came to Fernie from Sault Ste. Marie with her
parents and 2 uncles, Louie Carasella & Philip, when
six years old. Joe (b.1876) came to Canada
from Naples, Italy in 1902 and mined in Coal Creek, Lille,
and Coleman. They married in 1912, raised 10 children (had
12, but 2 died in infancy). Frank (married, Hillcrest),
Tony (married, Coleman), Nata (Mrs. Charles Milvain,
Harry (Prince George, B.C.), Danny (married Elsie
Joseph, Coleman), Joey (Pincher Creek), Frena (Mrs.
Langille, Coleman), Rose Marie (Coleman), Josie (Mrs.
Scodellaro, Bellevue), and a daughter in Calgary.
Joe was a charter member of the Italian Society and
of the Coleman Town Band. He died in 1958 followed
by Rose in 1970.
Dorothy and Vincent Colagrasso
and son Ronald Collier-Ronald, a musician, was born at Sentinel and attended school
in Coleman before moving with his parents to
Vancouver. There he was a Jazz trombone player, musician,
composer, and arranger. He worked with Duke Ellington.
Kathy MacKinnon who was a member of Country Hoedown and
the Juliette Show. Had 2 sons.
Carlos D'Amico-Carlos tried Brazil and returned
to Italy before coming to Canada, first to Corbin, B.C.,
then Bankhead near Banff, Blairmore, and finally
Hillcrest. He sent for his second wife (Anna Maria nee
Tortorelli) and child from Italy when he was working in
Bankhead for the CPR Coal Mining Co. He was killed
by a fall of coal in the Hillcrest mine in 1925, leaving
his wife with 9 children (the youngest a mere 2 days old);
Gabriel "Gabe" (married Muriel Goodwin), Rinaldo
"Tuff" (married Mary Kerr), Ricardo "Ric"
(married a girl he met in England during the war),
Angelina "Ange" (Mrs. Adam Wilson), Salvatore
"Sam" (navy man, married Marjorie Fode), Michele
"Mike" (married Rita Cyr), Eleanor (Mrs. Becher
Wilson, teacher), Felice "Fel" (married &
divorced), and Rose (Mrs. Bill Graham). She
managed to raise a fine family on her small Widow's
Allowance. Three of her sons saw active service in
The D'Amico Family-The D'Amico
family originated in Ortona area, Chieti, Italy. The
eldest boy, Antonio (Tony), was the first to immigrate,
settling in Fernie B.C. He gathered enough funds to bring
the second eldest, Nicola (Nick). Both worked to bring
Egidio (George), and all three brought Ciro (Charlie). The
four boys then saved to bring over the rest of the family.
Although all of them first settled in Fernie, they soon
spread to other areas.
George, who remained in Fernie for a time, married Maria
Felicia Annibaldi, whose family had come to Fernie from
Campobasso. When Johnny Shanks, a Mine Manager at
Fernie, took the job of Brazeau Collieries Mine Manager at
Nordegg, a number of the Fernie miners followed Shanks
there, including George D'Amico. George and Maria D'Amico
had five children: Elvira (Tom Pruett), Zupito (Metha
Nielsen), Guido (Frances Black), Serena (Robert Duncan),
and Michalina (Albert Morris). Guido and Zupito both
went into mining at Nordegg. After WWII, Zupi attended the
University of Alberta and became a Mining Engineer. He
became part of Brazeau Collieries' Senior Management
and, when Brazeau Collieries' Kananaskis Mine, in Mount
Allan, was closed in 1952, Zupi was the Engineer in
charge. He also closed the mines at Nordegg when they
completely ceased operation, in June, 1955.
Primo Valentino De Cecco-He was born on
Valentine's Day, 1879, the first child in the family
(hence, his name). This stone mason, ornamental
plasterer; came to the Crowsnest Pass in 1903, the year of
the Frank Slide, with friend Louis Fidenato. Primo
constructed coke-ovens for mines, as well as stone work
for shops & houses, retaining walls for the
railway. He boarded with Gatto family in Bellevue and
walked to work at Police Flats (Passburg). Then he
Coleman in 1913 where he boarded with the Sfreddo family;
after a brief correspondence, Mrs. Sfreddo's sister left
Italy in 1913 at the age of 16 to marry Primo. They
opened a grocery store on Second Street with the Angelo
Toppano family - the wives ran the store and the husbands
worked in the mine. Together they had a son Ferucio, and a
daughter. Primo became ill, returned to visit Italy
in 1932 where he died and was buried.
Tobia De Celia-Tobia came to Bellevue from Italy
in 1904, and worked in the mines. His brother Valentino
was killed in
Maple Leaf mine c1910. Tobia married Antonietta Silo who
came from Italy. They had one son Valentino
"Teeny" (married Dorothy Laidlaw). Then
Sesto Fidenato, he bought and operated a grocery store from
the Alazetta Brothers, 1921 until his death in 1950.
Antonietta had a sister who came to Bellevue in 1948 with
her husband Olivo De Cecio. They later moved to
Francesco D'Ercole-Francesco was
born in 1874 in the
commune of Novelli, province of L'Anquila, region of
Abruzzia, Italy. A brick layer & rock miner,
Francesco found himself in the Crowsnest Pass at the turn
of the 20th century after working in Marseilles, Boston,
and various points in the northern States & southern
B.C. with the Great Northern Railroad. He sent to his home
town for Dolcessima Colasante, whom he married in Coleman
in 1905. They had 6 children, Congeto
"Curly" (b.1906, married in 1935 to Ada Warren
from P.E.I.) and Edward (b.1907, married in 1941 to
Triestina Tamborini, died 1965) in Coleman, and Anthonio
"Tony" (b.1908, after serving in WWII, returned
1945 to be killed in mining accident one week before he
was to wed), Augusto "Goose" (b.1909, died of
pneumonia 1936), Filomena "Fifi" (b.1910,
married Patrick Fitzgerald of Coutts in 1935) and Ricardo "Ricky" (b.1912, partially paralyzed
from polio, d.1970) in Hillcrest. The four eldest
were part of a gang called the "Dirty Dozen" who
got into a lot of mischief. The same four and
Francesco all worked for the Hillcrest Collieries.
Dolcessima passed away in 1937, Francesco in 1965.
Tony De Zorzi-Tony was born in Italy 1898,
and came to
Canada 1913. He worked in Redcliffe, Medicine Hat & Canal
Flats before coming to Bellevue in 1920. There he
Carmella "Nella" Scodellaro in 1921. She
was eldest of 5 children of Joseph Scodellaro, who had
come to Bellevue from Switzerland in 1919. Tony
brought his sister Rosina to Bellevue from Italy; she
married Jack Pavan. Tony & Nella had a son who
died in infancy before Mabel (b.1922, married Bruno
Tamborini in 1944) and Luigi Joseph (b.1927, married Ida
Repas of East Coulee in 1949) were born. Tony worked
with Angelo Fantin for Alberta Breweries, delivering beer,
before opening "Tony's Service Station" in
1950. He died in 1960 & son Luigi took over the
Ferdinand Fabro-Ferdinand was born 1891 in an eastern
province of Italy. He came to Crowsnest Pass in 1922
after working for a year in Winnipeg where he had
relatives. His wife joined him in Coleman a few years
later. Ferdinand worked awhile in construction for Mr.
D'Appolonia before going to International &
Mike Favero-Mike was born 1876 in Vico Canavese, Italy.
He emigrated to
Canada in 1905 after having worked on the Mont Blanc Tunnel in
Switzerland, and in Turkey. He mined in Fernie for a
year before coming to Bellevue. In 1930 Mike entered a
partnership with Charlie Sartoris raising cattle &
sheep. Mike sent for his wife to be (b. 1892 in
Brosso, Italy) who arrived in 1913, got married, ran a
family dairy, and bore 2 children Tecla (Mrs. John Grisak)
in 1917, and Silvio in 1918. Mike died in 1956 from
injuries received falling into a mine cave above his
Family-After a series of
sojourns from Italy to North America, Mike Ferrara,
railroad worker, came to Coleman in 1925 & sent for
his wife & children, Mary (Mrs. John Berlin, had a
large family, d.1945) and Aldo (mine worker, married and
moved to Quincy, Massachusetts) in 1926. Seven more
children were born to them in Canada. John,
president of an oil firm in Calgary; Angelina, Sudbury;
Mike Jr., Cranbrook; Tony, oil-pump man in Estevan, Sask.
(Louis) Fidenato, born in
Meritto de Tomba, Italy, came to Bellevue in 1903;
miner at Bellevue & Hillcrest where he lost a leg
in an accident. Worked in a poolroom for Tony
Cantellina before starting own grocery store in 1924,
which he operated until his death in 1958.
Angelo Fidenato, Luigi's brother, came
to Lille from Italy in 1909, single, miner, returned
Sesto Fidenato, joined his brother
Louis in 1913. Helper in Alazetta Bros. general
store. Joined Italian Society of Coleman
1916. In 1921 bought the Alazetta store with
friend Tony DeCelia. 1922 married Rena Batistino
(who came to Bellevue to be with her sister, Mrs. Mike
Favero). Had one daughter Nice (Mrs. George
Hutton, d.1969). Rena passed away one month
after her daughter in December, 1969.
Joseph (Beppo), Angelo's son,
influenced by Uncle Sesto, came from Italy in 1950,
followed in 1951 by his wife & daughter
Juliana. Worked at Bellevue & Coleman mines,
Atlas saw mill, uncle's store. Have 3 children,
Juliana (married, Calgary), Rena (nurse, Lethbridge),
Filafilo-Joseph came to Canada
in 1903, worked in Lethbridge before coming to Crowsnest
Pass. He mined in Michel & Coleman, was a carpenter in Bellevue,
and a chicken rancher & dairy operator in Coleman (started
Coleman Dairy). Joseph married Teresa Pirono when she came
to Michel in 1906. They had a daughter Anna Elizebeth, born
1907, in Michel, she married Guido Lant, had 3 sons, and after Guido's death, married Joe Bodisch. Son Dante
(Danny) born 1909, in Coleman, married Violet Krywolt, had
Filipuzzi Family-Angelo was born
1889 and came
to Canada in 1911. He married Maria (b. 1884, d.1967)
when she arrived in 1920. They made their home in
"Bush" - the part of Bellevue east of Maple Leaf
between the Crowsnest River and the Mohawk tipple &
railroad. One of their twin boys almost got swept
away by the flood of 1923. They moved to Hamilton when
times got hard, but returned to the Pass c1926.
Angelo was famous for his salami & sausages, Maria
made cheese, butter & ice cream. Angelo was killed
in Bellevue mine 1939. Together they had 5 children, Amelia (born
1921, married Fred Rinaldi, 2 children, died 1966), Primo
(one of twin boys born 1922, married Elda Pagnucco in
1944, 6 children including the first twins born in the
Crowsnest Pass Hospital, 1949), Lino (other twin born
1922, married Yolanda Piccini, 3 children), Jerry (born
1924, married Helen Gryschuk, 2 children), and Guido (born
1926, married Kay Chomokoski, died 1974).
Alfonso Rinaldo (Joe) Fumagalli-Joe
1887 in village of St. Stephan in northern Italy. He was a
blacksmith and mechanic. Emigrated to Hillcrest in 1911,
worked at the mechanic
shop at Hillcrest Collieries,
and helped haul
out bodies of 189 dead miners after disastrous explosion
at Hillcrest Mine. In 1914 he bought dray business from J.
Eddy, and a Model T Ford for a taxi business. He
a garage and had a GM car dealership, and also gave driving
lessons. In 1919 Joe married Annita Caletti, from near his
home village, had 3 children; Ricca (Mrs. Joe Lencucha,
Calgary), Molly (Mrs. H. Morency, Blairmore) and Tony
(Bellevue). During 1929 they moved to Blairmore and opened
a garage called "Red Trail Motors" and received
much recognition for his salemanship.
Giovanni Gatto-Giovanni was born
in 1879, and came to Canada
from Treviso, Italy in 1901. He worked the dockyards in
Montreal before coming to Bellevue, where he mined until
his death in 1957. He returned to Italy in 1909 to
marry Silvia Daniel, and came back to the "Bush"
area of Bellevue. There they survived the flood of 1923
and had 9
Silvio Gatto-A bachelor, Silvio came to the Pass
with his brother Giovanni c1901. He was approached
by a Catholic priest who was raising funds for a Catholic
Cemetery in Bellevue. Silvio said, "What do I
want to give for? I don't need that place
yet!" Silvio was in a car accident and died
shortly afterwards, becoming the first adult to be buried
in that cemetery!
was born in 1881 in Camini, province
of Reggio Calabria, Italy.
came to Blairmore on New
Year's Day, 1901, where he was met by half-brother Pete Nicefore.
He worked in a bakery, making & delivering bread.
Joseph also worked in the mine at Lille. In 1912 he went back to Italy
to marry Anna Maria Spagnolo and brought his wife back to
Cement Street home in Blairmore, where she became a
midwife. Together they had 3 girls; Nancy (Mrs. Joe Amatto, 2
children), Violet (Mrs. Joe Vasek, one son) and Millie
(Mrs. Nels Johnson, 2 children).
Amabila (Mabel) Giacomuzzi-She
was born in 1902 in northern Italy, daughter of a silk factory
worker, who went to Canada in search of a better
life. Mr. Brada was a miner in Lille when he sent
for his wife and daughter Mabel, in 1918. Mabel married
Gino Sorrentino in 1919, and was preoccupied with raising
a family while Gino "dabbled" in various
activities; mining, establishing a pool hall &
drinking parlor, and working for "Emperor Pic" in
Blairmore. With his family he moved to Buenos Aires for a
few years. He started theatre businesses in Cardston, Natal
& Creston. Mr. & Mrs. Sorrentino separated
and Mabel & children returned to Bellevue. In
1940, Mabel married Dominic Giacomuzzi, a miner.
Family-Domenic came to Canada from
Italy in 1903, arriving in Morrisey, B.C., then moving to
Coleman in 1904. He was in Lille when his wife Josephine
and children Joseph & Mary joined him in 1906.
Patrick and Sidney were born in Lille, where the family
stayed until the mine closed in 1912. Domenic &
2 youngest moved to Detroit after the death of Josephine in
1926. Mary was married and living in Coleman.
In 1926, Joseph married Caterina who came from Italy for
that purpose. They settled in Bellevue and had 4
children; Mary "Maimie" (married John Masceniu,
widow, remarried to Don McEwen, Vancouver); Bernard
"Benny" (married Jessie, Edmonton); Lydia
(married Eddy Cardle, Victoria); and Georgena "Gena"
(married William Mattson, Calgary). Caterina died in
1964. Joseph was a member of the United Mine Workers
of America and of the Italian Society at Coleman.
Guido Lant-Guido was born in
Italy during 1896. He worked as a bricklayer before he came to Michel, B.C. in 1914 to join his
uncle. Then he worked across Canada and settled in Coleman in
1920. Guido worked at International Coal Co., as foreman
for J.S. D'Appolonia, and for the McGillivray Creek Coal
Co. until retirement. He married Anna Filafilo and had
3 sons - Gene (married Rose Kosma, 3 children), Ernie
(died 1975) & Jim (married Darlene Stefanek, 2
Giovanni Battista (Tita) Leschuitta-Giovanni
1900 in Valvasone, province of Udine, Italy, and came to
Blairmore in 1920 to work the coal mines. He Also worked
in B.C. lumber camps, and as track layer for West Canadian
Collieries & Michel Mines before retirement in 1963.
He died 1968. Giovanni was a member of the Italian Society of
Coleman. His wife, Domenica, lives in Arzene, Italy.
Son Givoacchino and his wife & 2 children live in
Egidio Lozza-Egidio was
born in Italy in 1897, and arrived
in Hillcrest in 1921, when his 3 sisters sent for him to join
them. There he worked at Maple Leaf mine until 1929 when he
returned to Italy to marry Maria Moroni. He came back
with his bride in 1931, and settled on a B.C. farm. They
came back to
Hillcrest in 1936 where their 4 children were born; Slug
(married Colette Humel, 2 daughters, Kimberley, B.C.),
Diana (Edmonton), Elsie (Edmonton), and Elda (married
Wally Feauville, 3 children, Bellevue). Mrs. Lozza
died 1972. Mr. Lozza was a member of the Italian
Sociey; he died in 1977.
Pasquale Lucente-Pasquale arrived in the Pass shortly
after the Frank Slide in 1903.
He worked in Bellevue Mine,
served in WWI, returned in 1920 to work in Blairmore
Mine. Mrs. Lucente joined her husband in 1929.
Son Frank joined father in the 1920s, and worked at
Blairmore Mine before going to C.N.P. Motors as a mechanic
& body repair man. Joined by wife Julia and son
Pasquale in early 1930s. Pasquale Sr. & wife
Francesca returned to Italy to stay in 1936. Frank
& Julia had 4 sons; Pasquale, Robert, LeRoy and Rocky.
Paul Luvera-Paul came with his family from
Calabria, Italy to Coleman when he was 11 years old and
worked in the mine, as did his father, from the ages of 13
to 18. When his father became ill, the family
moved to Anacortes, Washington. Paul was state
senator there from 1953-1957. He and his wife Mary
had 2 daughters and a son and 14 grandchildren.
Francesco Marasco-Marasco immigrated to Canada
in approximately 1900. Later, he sent sent for his son, also Francesco, who was still living in San Giovanni in Fiore, Cosenza, Italy. In 1922, Francesco Antonio Marasco came to Nordegg. In 1923, his wife Vittoria, and three children, Francesco III/Frank (Mafalda Blasetti), Caterina/Kay (Tony Mele), and Mario Salvatore/Milio (Magdelina Gejdos), all came from Italy to Nordegg. In Nordegg, in 1925, Rosina/Rosie (Bill Skulsky) was born. The family moved to Fernie in 1928 and, while they were there, Maria/Mary (Alfred Jones), was born. They remained in Fernie only a few months before returning to Nordegg.
Virgino (Vic) and Maria (nee Bassani)
Marcolin-Vic was born in 1885 in Loria, northern Italy, the eldest
of a farm family of 11 children. He worked for the CPR
around Lake Superior before arriving in Frank shortly
after the 1903 slide. Maria Bassani, born 1890,
arrived in Frank accompanied by cousin Mr. Macchi in
1909. She was married to Vic at the home of Mrs. Pozzi
eight days later. They settled in Bellevue where they had
5 children; William (school principal, deceased), Kath
(married Henry Raymond, widowed, remarried to Robert Shaw,
Kelowna), Eda (Mrs. Tita Battel, Vancouver), Albert
(Trail, B.C.), and Hugo (Toronto). Maria died in
1974, Vic in 1975.
Copyright © 2002 Adriana Albi Davies, Ph.D. and The Heritage Community Foundation