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     Venice Hylo:  Italian Pioneers

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  • Efisio and Antonia (nee Riva) Manca-Elfisio and Antonia MancaEfisio Manca was born on May 12, 1879 in Oristano, Cagliari, Sardinia.  Antonia Riva was born October 12, 1886 in Sparone, Province of Torini, Italy.  Efisio was a brick maker in Italy, but with little work in Italy and France, he ended up working the mines in Colorado.  During this time, his first wife Vincenza Anna Muntoni and one of his daughters died.  His remaining daughter was named Madelana.  Efisio came to Alberta in 1910 to work in the coal mines at Cadomin. The Manca boys in front of Peter Rossi's car  He began corresponding with Antonia Riva, who came to Cadomin that same year.  They were married when she arrived.  They returned to Sardinia for a few years, then back to Cadomin in 1914.  Efisio and Antonia built their first home on the NE¼ 14-65-15-W4.  The Manca's had two farms, the original "Venice" farm, and Antonia's property, the "Hylo" farm.  Efisio died on February 9, 1970, and Antonia died on October 22, 1961.  Both are buried at Hylo, Alberta. Manca Family Efisio and Antonia's children are Eliza Maria, Pasquale Joseph, Mario, Constantina Maria, Remo and Victor.  Son Pasquale married Augustina Coli in 1940 and they farmed in the area.  In 1949, he became manager of the Co-op in Hylo for four years before transferring to Morinville in 1953.  He then ran Co-ops in Leduc, Prince George, BC, and finally returned to Alberta.  The couple had two children:  Angie and Garry.
  • Beniamino Maragno-Beniamino Maragno was one of the first group of Venice settlers who left Edmonton on July 27, 1914.
  • Enrico and Josephine (nee Dellara) Marchesi-Enrico Marchesi was born in a northern village in Ghai, Italy.  Enrico and Josephine MarchesiAt the age of 25 years, he came to Montreal, Canada in 1906.  He worked at the Shawinigan Falls Aluminum Company for 14 years.  During this time, he returned to Italy in 1911 and got married to Josephine Dellara, and brought her to live with him in Montreal in 1912.  She brought with her Carlo Meardi, who was her nephew.  Three children were born to them there: Pierina (1913), Severina (1915), and Ernest (1919).  Marchesi FamilyIn 1920, the family moved to Hylo to pioneer and farm.  They stayed initially with a friend Luigi Rizzoli, who was homesteading there and was from the same village in Italy.  As soon as they located the homestead (SW¼ 33-65-16-W4), they commenced to build a log house and moved there.  In the coming years, four more children were born; Loretta, Fred, James and Severina (Nina).  Enrico, Pierina, and Josephine MarchesiThey continued farming, trapping and fishing and Enrico also worked in the tie camps and on the railroad to help with living expenses.  Enrico and Josephine lived on the farm at Hylo until Josephine's death in 1953.  In 1955, he moved to St. Mary's Salesian School for Boys in Edmonton.  He worked free of charge as a custodian for twenty-two years.  In 1979, he retired from the Boy's Home at the age of 96.  He lived with Pierina and her husband Rudolf Michetti, until he passed away at the age of 98 years.
  • Augusto and Teresa Marini-Augusto was born on September 14, 1878 in Petriano, Italy, a town near the city of Urbino in central Italy.  Teresa was born February 26, 1879 in Petritoli, Italy, a town near the city of Fermo, also in central Italy.  Augosto and Tresa MariniAugusto met Teresa when he was stationed in her town as a police officer.  They were married on February 4, 1904 in Petritoli.  For the next six years, Augusto eked out a meager living as a bricklayer and doing other odd jobs.  In September of 1912, Augusto arrived in Montreal.  He worked his way west working on threshing crews in Saskatchewan.  In Alberta he found work in the coal mines at Cadomin.  Augusto left the mines in 1914 to join with nineteen other Italians who came to the Hylo-Venice area looking for homesteads.  He filed on SE¼ 32-65-15-W4 and immediately built a log shack.  Marini Family.Teresa, accompanied by the children (Dominic or "Mimo" and Dominica or "Maimie"), arrived in Edmonton in August 1920.  In March of 1922, the family arrived in Hylo.  During his time in Hylo, Augusto worked as the postmaster, station caretaker, farmed, operated a sawmill, and became the local game warden.  While Augusto was busy with various jobs away from home, Teresa looked after the Post Office, kept the family home in running order and prepared the meals.  Augusto was one of the people arrested in 1940 after Mussolini declared war on Canada but he was released.  Teresa passed away on May 17, 1955 and Augusto passed away on May 6, 1957.
  • Carlo and Dominica "Maimie" (nee Marini) Meardi-Carlo was born on April 2, 1898 in Voghera per Bastida dei Dossi, Italy.  Dominica (Maimie) was born February 28, 1906 in Fermo, Italy.  At the age of 16, in 1914 just before war started, Carlo decided to go to Canada to join his uncle, Enrico Marchesi Carlo and Maimie Meardi on their wedding dayHis first job was in an aluminum factory in Shawinigan Falls, Quebec.  In 1918 he left for Hylo and filed homestead papers on SE¼ 33-65-15-W4.  Due to some discrepancy, the government took back the title.  Carlo lived with his uncle's family on the next quarter until he married.  On October 25, 1923, Carlo and Maimie were married in the Hylo School.  In the spring of 1924, Carlo and Maimie moved to SE¼ 5-66-15-W4.  At this time, Maimie filed on a quarter across the railroad (NE¼ 32-65-15-W4).  Carlo went to work for the railroad as a section man.  Alone at home on the farm, Maimie learned to milk cows, set hens for chicks and do chores that otherwise would have been done by Carlo.  In 1943 Carlo retired from the railway and started farming full time.  In 1952, when major road construction began in the area, Carlo went to work for the Department of Highways.  Bruno and Olga MeardiHe stayed with this job until 1963 when he retired at the age of 65.  Over the years they had four sons, who helped out on the farm while Carlo was away working.  Carlo passed away on May 25, 1970 after a short battle with cancer.  Maimie passed away on July 14, 1994 from heart failure. 
    Son Bruno Meardi was born in 1925 and quit school at age 15 to work the land with various farmers in the area.  In 1942, he began work with the Northern Alberta Railways in McLennan. Cecile Kirkbride (nee Meardi). He also worked in bush camps logging.  In 1944, he married Olga Shalapay, the local teacher.  In 1947, he worked as a grader operator for the government and, in 1940, he purchased a truck and began a trucking business.  For 40 years, he trucked livestock for area farmers to Edmonton.  Olga taught for 35 years and was active in the Alberta Teachers' Association.  Bruno and Olga's daughter, Cecile Meardi, married J. Michael Kirkbride and was instrumental in developing the Hylo-Venice:  Harvest of Memories Richard and Janet Meardi community history book published in 2000. 
    Richard Meardi
    , Carlo and Maimie's second son, was born in Edmonton in 1930 and helped his Father on the farm.  In 1950, he left Hylo and went to work in construction returning to Lac La Biche in 1953 where he drove a truck.  In 1954, he married Janet Lozinski and had three daughters.  They worked their homestead NW-6-66-15-W4) for many years.  In 1956, he purchased a school bus from Michael Grandinetti and operated it for 40 years.  

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