The Freilino/Thompson Genealogy Web Site
[ Thompson/Trask ]
Acknowledgement: The letters on this page were translated from the original Italian by Mario Pamfili. (Contact Mario at: firstname.lastname@example.org) Where indicated, the comments on the letters are his.
Descendants of Vincenzo Barisone
Generation No. 1
1. VINCENZO1 BARISONE was born 1824. He married ANGELA MARCHETTI/MARCHELLI
Children of VINCENZO BARISONE and ANGELA MARCHETTI/MARCHELLI are:
i. FERDINANDO2 BARISONE, b. Abt. 1855.
2. ii. ANTONIA BARISONE, b. 1856, Ovada, Allesandria, Italy.
3. iii. GIACOMO BARISONE, b. 1858, Ovada, Alessandria, Italy; d. July 16, 1903, Asti, Italy.
4. iv. ANTONIO BARISONE, b. 1861.
5. v. PIETRO BARISONE, b. February 11, 1864, Cremolino, Allesandria, Italy.
Generation No. 2
2. ANTONIA2 BARISONE (VINCENZO1) was born 1856 in Ovada, Allesandria, Italy. She married GIUSEPPE NEBIOLO February 1878 in Asti, Italy, son of FRANCESCO NEBIOLO and TERESA GRAZIANO. He was born 1856 in Asti, Italy, and died Bef. 1914.
Notes for ANTONIA BARISONE:
From the Ellis Island database: On September 17, 1919, Antonia Barisone Nebiolo and her daughter Ernesta Nebiolo arrived at the port of New York. They were going to see Antonia's daughter, Ida Nebiolo Marchisio. They are both listed as 5'5", fair skin and brown eyes. Ernesta had brown hair and Antonia had grey hair. (Makes sense? - Antonia must have gone straight back and then returned!) Antonia Barisone arrived in the US on October 25, 1919. She was 63 years old, 5'1", grey hair and brown eyes. Identifying marks: a wen on the side of her neck. She was going to visit her son-in-law Riccardo Marchisio, 132 King St. New York.
A family story: Uncle Tango was driving truck in the '30s or 40's in New Jersey and found relatives named Marchisio. Evidently they came to Leechburg to visit. No one remembers at this time how the people were related to us, but felt they were related through the Barisones. This Ellis Island file solves the mystery!
Children of ANTONIA BARISONE and GIUSEPPE NEBIOLO are:
6. i. ANGELA (IDA)3 NEBIOLO, b. December 11, 1890, Asti, Italy; d. October 1981, Westwood, Bergen County, New Jersey.
ii. ERNESTA NEBIOLO, b. 1895, Asti, Italy.
3. GIACOMO2 BARISONE (VINCENZO1) was born 1858 in Ovada, Alessandria, Italy, and died July 16, 1903 in Asti, Italy. He married ANNA GUILIETTA VIRGINIA TOSETTO January 24, 1884 in Asti, Italy, daughter of CARLO TOSETTO and CATARINA BO. She was born 1866 in Vaglierano, Asti, Italy, and died November 28, 1910 in Asti, Italy.
Notes for GIACOMO BARISONE:
Giacomo's death certificate lists his place of birth as Ovada; his occupation as innkeeper (cantiniere) and his parents as still living.
Notes for ANNA GUILIETTA VIRGINIA TOSETTO:
Nr 373 Tosetto Virginia DEATH CERTIFICATE
In the year One Thousand Nine Hundred and Ten and on the twenty-eighth day of the month of November at 10 a.m. in the City Hall.
In front of me Secondo Mutisio, Deputy -Secretary acting as the Registrar of the Municipality of Asti by an ordinance dated on the twenty first day of April in the year One Thousand Nine Hundred and Ten, appeared Tosetto Guido, aged forty-six, an agricultural labourer resident in Asti and Tosetto Giuseppe aged forty-one, a merchant resident in Asti. They declared that yesterday at 11 p.m. in the house located in Medici Square, civic number nine, died Tosetto Virginia, aged forty-four, an inn -keeper, resident in Asti, born in Vaglierano, daughter of the late Carlo and of the deceased Bo Caterina and wife, in second nuptials, of Piovanotto Vittorio. ==================================================
To the drafting of this certificate were present as witnesses Tosetto Ernesto, aged thirty-nine, an agricultural labourer and Barisone Antonio, aged forty-nine, an agricultural labourer, both resident in this Municipality. After having read this document to all those present, I had them sign it with me. ====
Marriage Notes for GIACOMO BARISONE and ANNA TOSETTO:
The marriage record of Giacomo Barisone and Virginia Tosetto:
In the year One thousand Eight hundred and Eighty-four and on the twenty-fourth day of January at 11.40 a.m. in the public City Hall.
In front of me, Knight Cesare Badino, Attorney-at-Law, Mayor and Registrar, acting in my official capacities, appeared in person: 1) Barisone Giacomo a farmer aged twenty-six born in Ovada, resident in Asti xxxx, son of Vincenzo resident in Asti xxxx and of Marchetti Angela, resident in this municipality 2) Tosetto Viginia, an agricultural labourer aged nineteen born in Vaglierano , resident in Asti xxxx, daughter of Carlo, a resident of this municipality and of the late Bo Catterina resident in life in Vaglierano . They both requested to be united in marriage and to this purpose submitted the under-mentioned documents. Having examined them as well as those already presented when the spouses requested their banns to be posted, documents that, duly legalized with my seal, have been inserted among the attachments to this register and having also noted how there are no impediments to the celebration of this marriage, I read the articles One Hundred and Thirty, One Hundred and Thirty-one and One Hundred and Thirty-two of the Civil Code.
I then asked the groom whether he wanted to take as his wife the here-present Tosetto Virginia and asked her whether she wanted to take as husband the here-present Barisone Giacomo . After they had both answered affirmatively and did so within hearing of the under mentioned witnesses I declared them united in marriage in the name of the Law. To the drawing up of this document were present Nebbiolo Giuseppe, aged twenty-seven, and Barisone Antonio, aged twenty-three both farmers and both resident in this Municipality. The documents that were presented are the certificates of the banns posted in Asti and for three running days on Sunday the thirteenth and the twentieth day of this month .It is also to be noted that the bride did obtain from her father the permission to contract this marriage as shown in a document dated on the twelfth day January. -------
I read this document to all participating parties and they all did sign it together with myself.----------
By a decision of the Civil Court of Asti dated January 29, 1912 and entered today under nr 6 of the second part of the current death certificates registers, it was ordered that this document be modified to show the bride's name as Anna Giulietta Virginia. Asti February 3, 1912
Asti February 11, 1913
Note from the translator: This might have something to do with an inheritance !
Children of GIACOMO BARISONE and ANNA TOSETTO are:
7. i. ANGELA CAROLINA LUIGIA3 BARISONE, b. December 13, 1886, Asti, Italy; d. March 26, 1935, Jamestown General Hospital, Jamestown, New York.
ii. ANGELA BARISONE, b. April 1889; d. June 06, 1893, Asti, Italy.
Notes for ANGELA BARISONE:
From the death record of Angela Barisone: The death was reported at 9:30 PM on June 6, 1893 by Giacomo Barisone, 35, cantaniere (innkeeper). The death was reported as occuring at 9 PM that evening. Angela Barisone, born in Sezione Via Aosta, was four years and two months old, the child of Giacomo Barisone, cantaniere, and Virginia Tosetti, housewife.
iii. GIOVANNI BARISONE, b. February 1892, Asti, Italy; d. March 16, 1893, Asti, Italy.
Notes for GIOVANNI BARISONE:
From the death record of Giovanni Barisone: The death was reported at 9:30 PM on March 16, 1893 by Giacomo Barisone, 35, cantaniere (innkeeper) and Bartolomeo Mamino. The death was reported as occuring at 5 PM that evening. Giovanni Barisone, born in Asti, was one year and one month old, the child of Giacomo Barisone, cantaniere, and Virginia Tosetti, housewife.
8. iv. MARIA BARISONE, b. June 23, 1894, Asti, Asti, Italy; d. April 29, 1913, Asti, Asti, Italy.
9. v. PIETRO LUIGI BARISONE, b. January 30, 1897, Asti, Italy; d. April 20, 1975, Leechburg, PA.
4. ANTONIO2 BARISONE (VINCENZO1) was born 1861. He married PAOLA ARATA.
Child of ANTONIO BARISONE and PAOLA ARATA is:
i. ROSA3 BARISONE, b. July 10, 1898.
5. PIETRO2 BARISONE (VINCENZO1) was born February 11, 1864 in Cremolino, Allesandria, Italy. He married LUCIA MARIA ARATA February 06, 1890 in Asti, Italy, daughter of FRANCESCO ARATA and LUIGIA FIORA. She was born December 26, 1872.
Children of PIETRO BARISONE and LUCIA ARATA are:
i. FERDINANDO VINCENZO3 BARISONE, b. September 02, 1898, Asti, Italy; d. January 23, 1968, Asti, Italy; m. ADELE BINOLLO, 1926.
ii. LUIGI BARISONE, b. June 28, 1903.
Generation No. 3
6. ANGELA (IDA)3 NEBIOLO (ANTONIA2 BARISONE, VINCENZO1) was born December 11, 1890 in Asti, Italy, and died October 1981 in Westwood, Bergen County, New Jersey. She married RICCARDO MARCHISIO 1907. He was born October 18, 1889 in Asti, Italy, and died November 1964 in New Jersey.
Notes for ANGELA (IDA) NEBIOLO:
Angela arrived in the US on December 8, 1914 aboard "The America". She was going to see her husband, Riccardo Marchisio, 117 MacDougal, New York. She was 5'5", with dark hair and eyes.
Notes for RICCARDO MARCHISIO:
Ellis Island Records: Riccardo Marchisio arrived in the US on September 26, 1910. He is listed as being married, 21 years old, and going to see his uncle Riccardo Marchisio in New York.
World War I Draft Registration: Riccardo is 5'7", medium build, with blue eyes and black hair. He lives at 59 Downing St., NYC and is employed as a butcher at the Corona Processing Company, 32 King St. He has a wife and one child.
In the 1920 Census, the family is living in Hoboken, Hudson County, New Jersey. Riccardo is listed as Richard. Rena is 6 years old. Also mother-in-law Anna Barisone, widowed, and sister-in-law Ernesta Nebiolo, 25 and single. Riccardo is a dealer in provisions and Ernesta works as a tailor. Ida sews embroidery.
In the 1930 Census, the family is living in Teaneck, Bergen County, New Jersey. They own their own home, valued at $16,000. Riccardo and Ida came to the US in 1914. Riccardo is the proprietor of a food store.
Children of ANGELA NEBIOLO and RICCARDO MARCHISIO are:
i. RENA4 MARCHISIO, b. 1913, Italy.
ii. RICHARD MARCHISIO, b. 1923.
7. ANGELA CAROLINA LUIGIA2 BARISONE (GIACOMO1) was born December 13, 1886 in Asti, Italy, and died March 26, 1935 in Jamestown, New York. She married SECONDO GIOVANNI PIETRO FREILINO June 10, 1909 in Asti, Italy, son of CLEMENTE FREILINO and MARIETTA MAGGIORA. He was born July 05, 1883 in Asti, Italy, and died May 11, 1961 in Citizen's General Hospital, New Kensington, PA.
Secondo Freilino had emigrated to the US in 1906. He returned to Asti to marry Luigia Barisone in 1909.. Both then returned to the US. From the Ellis Island Passenger Record Database: Secondo and Luigina Freilino, married, residence Asti, Allesandria, Italy, left Cherbourg, Manche, France on the St. Paul and arrived at Ellis Island on July 4, 1909. Secondo’s physical description: 5'8", rosy complexion, auburn hair and gray eyes. Physical description from passenger manifest for Luigia: 5'3" with rosy complexion, auburn hair and eyes.
I had always been under the impression that Secondo’s mother, Marietta, had arranged the marriage of Secondo and Luigia and that the two were strangers to each other before this. I later discovered, from the 1901 census taken in Asti, that Luigia, age 14, was living in the Clemente Freilino household. There is no explanation as to the position of Luigia to the rest of the household. Florence Freilino (widow of Luigia's eldest child, Jimmy) told me that Luigia had told her that her father had been institutionalized. Perhaps the Barisone and Freilino families were friends and Luigia went to stay temporarily with the Freilino family due to the financial difficulties of the Barisone family.
Notes for ANGELA CAROLINA LUIGIA BARISONE:
Came to US in 1909. (See notes for Secondo) Physical description from passenger manifest: 5'3" with rosy complexion, auburn hair and eyes.
During the depression, the family left Leechburg and moved to Jamestown, NY. They operated a beer garden and restaurant there. Luigia died in Jamestown at the Jamestown General Hospital in 1935. We were told that the cause of her death was mastoiditis, but Florence Freilino feels that she might have died of cancer. After her death, the family returned to Leechburg.
Note January 29, 2005: Received the death record of Luigia. The cause of death is listed as brain abscess. Contributing factors: Acute otitis media (30 days), acute mastoid, right side. The record states she had an operation (mastoidectomy) on February 24, 1935. The doctor treating her was John S. Hickman.
More About ANGELA CAROLINA LUIGIA BARISONE:
Burial: St. Catherine's Cemetery, Leechburg, PA
Children of ANGELA BARISONE and SECONDO FREILINO are:
10. i. JAMES C.4 FREILINO, b. April 08, 1910, Leechburg, PA; d. April 20, 1991, Leechburg, PA.
11. ii. CLEMENTINA FREILINO, b. February 25, 1912, Leechburg, Armstrong County, PA; d. 1991, Kill Devil Hills, Dare County, North Carolina.
12. iii. ORTANZO FREILINO, b. January 29, 1914; d. April 25, 1977, Leechburg, PA.
13. iv. VIRGINIA MARIA LOUISE FREILINO, b. March 16, 1916, Leechburg, PA; d. September 22, 2003, Pensacola, Florida.
14. v. EARL PETER FREILINO I, b. May 13, 1919, Leechburg, PA; d. April 30, 2001, Allegheny Valley Hospital, Natrona Heights, PA.
15. vi. ARMONDO JOSEPH FREILINO, b. January 28, 1922, Leechburg, PA; d. June 07, 1980, Leechburg, PA.
vii. UNKNOWN TWINS FREILINO.
Burial: St. Catherine's Cemetery, Leechburg, PA
16. viii. GILBERT MARIO FREILINO, b. October 13, 1928, Leechburg, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.
8. MARIA3 BARISONE (GIACOMO2, VINCENZO1) was born June 23, 1894 in Asti, Asti, Italy, and died April 29, 1913 in Asti, Asti, Italy. She married VINCENZO CRISTOFORO GIUSEPPE PRIORA February 26, 1912 in Asti, Italy, son of VINCENZO PRIORA and CAROLINA GIACCHERO. He was born October 24, 1875 in Asti, Asti, Italy.
Child of MARIA BARISONE and VINCENZO PRIORA is:
i. ORTENSIO4 PRIORA, b. January 1913, Asti, Asti, Italy; d. November 16, 1913, Asti, Italy.
9. PIETRO LUIGI3 BARISONE (GIACOMO2, VINCENZO1) was born January 30, 1897 in Asti, Italy, and died April 20, 1975 in Leechburg, PA. He married ESTELLA FRANCESCA NOSENZO April 11, 1921 in Leechburg, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania, daughter of LUIGI NOSENZO and ANGELA FREILINO. She was born February 22, 1903 in Asti, Italy, and died September 05, 1997 in West Haven Nursing Home, Washington Twp., PA.
Notes for PIETRO LUIGI BARISONE:
The birth record of Pietro Barisone lists his time and place of birth as 10:14 PM, January 30, 1897, at 14 Via Cattedrale, Asti, Italy. His father's profession is listed as laborer.
What follows are letters from Luigia’s family in Asti to Luigia and Secondo Freilino. The letters had been saved by my grandfather until his death in 1961, then were saved by his eldest son, Jimmy, and his wife Florence. I never knew they existed until a few years ago when I went to visit Aunt Florence and she learned that I was interested in the family genealogy. What an unbelievable surprise for me!
First, an inventory of Luigia's trousseau, written by her mother, Virginia.
Asti June 22
Contents of the trousseau delivered to my daughter Angela Luigia on her wedding with Freilino Secondo :
Sheets - ten
Shirts - twenty-four
Aprons - three
Skirts white – two; colored - two
Trousers (bloomers?) for ladies - ten pairs
Bedcovers - one pair
Kitchen towels - eight
Macramés – seven; everyday napkins - six
Woolen shawl – one; woolen bodices - two
Handkerchiefs - three dozen
Socks - nine pairs
Flanders' set tablecloth – one; napkins - twelve
Coats everyday - two
Dresses of wool alpaca cotton cloth - eight
Housecoats - four
Left at home with my mother:
Shirts - twelve
Sheets - five
Trousers for ladies - three pairs
Signed: Tosetto Virginia widow Barisone
Flanders tablecloth – one; napkins Flanders - twelve
Asti July 30,1909
You can not imagine the happiness I felt when I received your much desired letter. Dear daughter I'm so relieved you had a good passage and that neither you nor your good husband Secondo, who I hope will always love you, have suffered from being so long at sea. Dear daughter what also made me happy, was to learn that, as soon as you reached that new land, the English people have welcomed you and the young children, eight to twelve years old, have made such a fuss over you, a magniarada, as we say here in Asti. For this reason I'm really glad and I'm sure that also Secondo, who was there, must have been elated. Therefore, dear daughter, even if I don't know those people, please give them my regards because I'm so happy that they all have accepted you in their houses. Dear Luigia and Secondo, you have asked for our picture, but since the year is not yet over, let me know what you have agreed with Mister Eclesia and I will give you an answer. Therefore, dear daughter, let me have your answer as soon as you receive this letter.
Many greetings from Margherita, the Parish-priest and from Solari and all those whom you know. And, dear daughter, the warmest greetings from your dear good mother. Greetings to you both and keep loving each other. A kiss
29th, 11.10 p.m.
My dearest sister,
The day much yearned for has finally arrived. Dear sister you cannot imagine the elation I felt when I received your so much desired letter. I was very happy that you had a good time during the passage over the great ocean and that you didn't suffer any hardship. This pleased me to no end and it's also comforting to learn that the English people accepted you pleasantly and that you already took in five boarders. Dear sister, the morning you left I was so upset I could not even talk, my heart was full of pain knowing you were leaving and going so far away that I might not see you again: I saw upstairs an ink-pot and in a hurry and crying I put two little notes into your suitcase. Then I had to go back once more to the station to deliver the shirt for my dear brother-in-law Secondo. Going to the station I was running fast to have more time to give you my love, but, by the time I arrived, again I wasn't able to talk to either you or Secondo. My dear sister I wasn't able to talk because my heart was full of tears and I had to run to that little door and give once more vent to my feelings. Also our dear cousin Luigia hasn't been able to give you her love, because also her heart was full of tears and she cried all the way back to our house, with me trying to give her some comfort. Alas! My dear sister I shed so many tears and you, you were saying that I was a person without feelings, a bad apple, whilst it was all my love for you, all the pain knowing that you were leaving and even now, while I'm writing this letter, I'm unable to stop my tears. Dear sister, Mrs. Fogliati asked me to have you writing and giving her your address: she would be delighted. Also your friend Lodovica would like to have your address and please let me know whether I should give it to her or you would send it yourself. Let me also know how you are faring in that new land. Many greetings from Maddalena, Margherita, Solaro, Veglio, from Mr. Rostagno, from Angelina the maid-servant, from Lotta(?) Annetta, from Giovanni Bigadini, from Mr. Falegazio, who is sending his regards, and from all those whom you know. Dear sister, I would be thrilled if you would send me some postcards from the States: hoping you will never forget me; I'm your sister Maria
Good-bye, ciao. A shout and a hiss, a peck and a kiss.
I was very happy when I received your much-desired letter. I apologize for not having written earlier, but I really couldn't. We received your letter on July 29th, with the 8 a.m. delivery. I'm relieved you had a good trip and did not suffer on the vast ocean's long crossing. Dear sister my arm is healing but I still cannot exert any pressure: hopefully it will get better. As soon as you receive my letter, write back to me immediately. Dear sister be so kind and write quite often. Fassio Vittorio is leaving on August 10th for Turin to remain there employed as a messenger: he has asked me to send his greetings.
Dear sister I must stop because I cannot write any longer and please give my regards to those English people. Many greetings to my brother-in-law Secondo and tell him to write too. Good-bye dear sister from your brother Pierino.
Dear sister I must stop writing: it's now half past eleven and I'm sleepy. Ciao, sleep well you and Secondo both and remember me, who keeps remembering you. I'm Maria. Greetings from all our relatives. Write soon. Ciao and send me some postcards.
"A couple of comments on this letter: I ignore the term " magniarada" but I assume I picked the right translation, at least in a broad sense. Virginia seems to have vague ideas about the American Revolution. It's funny because the word "americano " was already widely used. Obviously Luigia and Secondo made some arrangements with Mr. Eclesia (probably to take one or two pictures every year) and Virginia is concerned that the first year has not yet gone by. All these are but rather trifling matters, let's go to something more important. This letter was not written in Virginia's handwriting or at least not in the handwriting I have been seeing so far.…………… I can't believe the letters have been written by a professional scribe (too many errors). Any idea? If not we must stay with facts the first of which is that this letter was only dictated by Virginia.
Asti, December 4, 1909
Dear Luigia and Secondo, I reply to your pleasant letter and I'm very glad hearing that you are both in good health. The same applies to me, Pierino and Maria: the Lord be praised. Luigina, please forgive me for the delay: I was hoping to give you some really important news about me, but I'm not yet able to do so. As soon as possible, I will tell you about the man I might get married to. I trust both you and Secondo would be pleased. The reason is that, alone as I am, everything is hard on me, too much work, I cannot cope by myself and because I also have many expenses, I must be helped by somebody. Cara Luigia, I have renewed the lease for nine more years; the rent is very high but I don't want to relocate and I'm happy where I am, even if I must pay a rent of six hundred and sixty lire per annum, without considering the taxes, surtaxes and various other expenses Dear Luigia and Secondo don't fret about what I'm writing: I do it to keep you informed and to explain my situation.
Dear Luigia and Secondo, if you want to taste the wine, you must tell me how you want it shipped. Dear Uigina, I went and visited your [former] employer. She is upset because you haven't written. I replied that she was the one was setting the bad example. Dear Uigina, Maddalena was here when I received your letter: she is always the same and with the same attitude, dealing with her employer, with Angela and anybody else.
Dear Uigina, don't be cross if I'm late in answering: I have much to do, I'm not very good at writing and I'm always thinking within myself, remembering you, night and day and even more now, after you have given me the news about your pregnancy. I'm praying the Lord that all will be fine; take care of your health considering what is coming. I'm telling you, Uigina, I'm ever so glad about the painting given to me by dear Secondo. When some customers ask me where the painting comes from, I tell them it was a present from my son-in-law Secondo. It really decorates the room nicely. Dear Luigia, I was talking with Mamma Marietta about Luigi: she is afraid it might happen to him what happened to Pinin and she has not taken any decision yet. Dear Uigina, you have asked for my picture: as soon it is ready, I'll mail it to you. I stop writing now: it's eleven at night but you, with more time on your hands, please write to me often: to me it's like a present.
Dear Uigina and Secondo, please keep loving each other, stay in good spirits and keep sending me good news. Good-bye. Kisses from me, Maria, Pierino. Greetings from your relatives, uncles, aunts, aunt Marietta and from all you know. Greetings from Margherita, Felice, Father Solaro, Mister Fogliati and many others.
Good-bye you both, from your, forever, mother Virginia. From far away, many kisses and greetings from Maria and Pierino
"I used the word "employer ", because there doesn't seem to be an exact English version ... for it. From the way Virginia expresses herself I believe that Luigia (and Maddalena) was a maid, probably in a well-off house. Mario"
Karen's Notes: As for Luigia being a maid - it reminds me - my Aunt Florence (who gave me the letters, and the widow of the "baby" that Luigia is now carrying) told me that Luigia told her she had a job as a laundress, and with her first pay, bought her mother six spoons for her little restaurant.
Here Mamma Marietta might be talking about letting her son, Luigi, go to the US. Luigi was a younger brother of Secondo, and in fact, did go in 1912. Pinin is a nickname for Giuseppe. Giuseppe Freilino had followed Secondo to the US in 1907.
One of my favorite letters, from 11-year-old Pierino Barisone -"one more piece or news and listen good. (!)
Asti, Thursday December 11, 1909
Dearest sister and brother-in-law
Merry Christmas to you both. I hope that in about three weeks I shall receive your postcard and as soon as it gets here, I will let you know. I'm doing well at school. My dearest sister I inform you that Giovanni Rigadini went on duty to Alessandria. He left on the ninth. My dearest brother-in -law, do me a favor: send me a pair of xxxxx birds, but not parrots. Dear sister, did you already learn some English? Do it soon and when you come here to visit, you shall teach me. I wish you both hundred years of happiness. Make haste and come back to your small town, to share a good glass of wine with the Astisans. Dear Secondo, when you will be here, would you still tell me your stories? I hope you will answer in the affirmative.
My dearest, one more piece of news and listen good: your mother has bought fabric for a suit for me and when ready, Maria and I, shall go and have a picture taken and then mail it to you. Our uncle left today at 6 p.m. on a trip. He has been on a trip for over fifteen days.
Greetings and I remain forever your brother Pietro. A kiss
And a few days later from Maria (then about 15 or 16)
Asti December 12, 1909
You have asked for my picture and as soon as the tailor has completed Pierino's suit, I will have one taken and mail it to you immediately. Oh dear sister! This year I will have to spend Christmas without you. You cannot imagine the sadness of having to pass that day without you. Last year we were all together and now there are only three in our family. Alas, dear sister, just don't think about it. I'm praying for the child Jesus to keep you and Secondo healthy, so that we could see each other again in some glorious day and hug each other once more in this world. On the twenty-fifth of this month, just imagine of being here spending Christmas among us and the Lord will help you. This year the child Jesus would not bring you the sweets: you are too far away. Luigina let me know whether you have already learnt to speak English. It's wintertime here for us and there, where you are? Let me know. Receive the most sincere greetings from mother as well as from me to my dear Secondo and an affectionate one from me. Forever your sister Maria
In large portions of Northern Italy, it's the child Jesus who brings presents on Xmas eve. Luigia was obviously used to receiving some sweets.
Asti February, 1910
I'm answering with a certain delay to your letter; thanks to the Lord we are in good health and I hope this applies to you both too. Dear Uigina I trust you have received a letter written by uncle Giuseppe who was giving you also some news about us. You should have also received a picture of Maria and Pierino that will help you in remembering their faces. Mine is coming soon. My dear Uigina I must inform you that Perona has decided not to come to America and he has not yet found a wife either. Dear Uigina if you want me to ship to you what you have asked me, let me know and I will send it as soon as possible. Dear Uigina take care of your health and I hope that, when your time comes, you will have somebody kind to assist you, because you are too far from me and from Mamma Marietta. Make sure not to eat pork till after your quarantine and let me have always some good news. I can only hope for the best, because we are too far. One must be patient: this is what fate had in store for us. Good-bye. Many kisses from your mother, greetings from Pierino, Maria, all your uncles and aunts and your many cousins. Dear children I inform you that on the fourth of this month I have shipped two kegs of wine one of Brente and one of Barbera; the other keg of Brente and the one containing Grignolino are a present from uncle Giuseppe and we hope the wine will reach you in good condition because it was shipped in double barrels. When you write to me, please let me know whether I should pay for the keg which I took from Luigi.
Dear Secondo, I'm relieved to hear that you have all what you need at home and that you are both together and in high spirits. Listen to me Secondo, be patient, even if Uigina is sometimes not too affectionate: she doesn't do it to upset you but because, in her conditions, she might be tired and this is not because of her work but because of her pregnancy. I'm sure she still loves you.
Good-bye and many kisses and greetings from mother Virginia
Dear, regarding this matter that you have mentioned, nothing doing for the time being; let's wait a bit longer
Good- bye with many greetings from your parents
"Interesting the old wife's tale about not eating pork for a certain time after giving birth. Quarantine: here again, abstain from sex for 40 days after the delivery. And note, at the letter's end, Virginia very diplomatically advising her son-in-law........ "
(Note from Karen: Perona is Giovanni Perona, Secondo's friend, with whom he traveled to the US in 1906.)
"Brente, Barbera and Grignolino three typical wines of Piedmont. Brente is actually a Barbera produced around Cuneo. All three excellent wines.
Asti March 18,1910
Dear Luigia, I'm here to answer to your long time waited for letter and I'm glad to hear you are both enjoying good health: the same with us. Dear Luigina, be careful after your delivery not to be greedy and eat something that could harm you; don't drink cold water or beer, for the first days take broth, lukewarm boiled water with some sugar, watch out for colds and don't wash too early and when you do, use lukewarm water. I hope you will not feel offended for what I'm writing: we are too far away and there isn't anything else I could do to take care of your health. Dear Luigia I hope that that fellow Perona came and saw you: he should have given you news from us. I gave him only six swaddling-bands, six baby's-bonnets and three pairs of booties. He told me he wouldn't be traveling with his trunk and couldn't therefore carry much else. Your cousin [sent] some chamomile and a short note tucked inside a small parcel of rosemary. I forgot to add the collar for the dress. Dear Uigina and Secondo remain together and in a good spirits: there isn't anything better in the whole world than the love for each other. Immediately after the birth, do write to me and mail a postcard every week, so that I could have your news. Nothing else but sending our greetings from me, Maria and Pierino, all the relatives, friends, uncles and aunts. There are so many it's impossible to name them all.
Dear Secondo, here are some news about your parents. They informed you that your father was ill and the doctor didn't seem to have much of a hope. But on the eighteenth he started recovering and feeling better. We shall see what happens during the next week and we must hope for the best.
Best greetings from your dear parents
"There is no way to understand whether the mother suggested to wait a few days before doing the laundry or she was talking about personal hygiene. I would think the latter. Again there is no way to understand whether it's written that a cousin sent the chamomile or if the herb was meant for Luigia's kitchen. Virginia has used before “cucina " for "cugina = cousin " and in Italian kitchen is "cucina". One could say that she would have mentioned the cousin's name, had this been the case. Then again, since there was a short note added to the parcel, there was really no need to go into details as to who sent the present. I believe my interpretation is correct.
Asti, April 28, 1910
I haven't received any news since the twentieth and I'm daily waiting for a letter which never arrives. I trust you are in good health, you and the dear grandchild, your first love. Luigina let me know how it is with your health, so than I can relax: we are too far away for a mother who is always thinking [of you]. And tell me how things are. Let me also know whether you received the wine, the 6 swaddling-bands, the 6 baby bonnets and the three pairs of booties and also if they fit him.
I inform you that we are all in good health: thanks be to the Lord.
Maria and Pierino are growing and keeping in good terms happily together. They are both excited about the little one. They call each other: aunt uncle, aunt and uncle, all the time. Now nothing else, but to send my greetings with all my heart, many kisses from me and from us all, greetings from your relatives and from everybody and they are all happy when they receive news about my little grandchild.
Good-bye, good-bye. A kiss from mother Virginia
I was waiting for a note written by your hands. It's such a long time that I'm waiting. Do you believe that a mother can forget her daughter? We are too far away. I'm sorry, but after having written so many letters, no answer. Let me know whether you are nursing the little boy, my grandchild, whether he keeps the milk down and whether he suffers from stomach aches. Tell me whether you received the swaddling-bands and the bonnets and if they fit him. I believe you will answer, at least with a few words. But..... I stop writing, with a broken heart. I would like your reply.
Good-bye. Your mother Virginia
In order to reassure your mother and the [entire] family, please let me have by return news about yourself, your husband and the dear little nephew. We don't know the reasons behind the long delay in writing and we fear that somebody may be sick.
A kiss from your sister Maria
August 19 [ 1910]
I'm answering with some delay. I was very relieved when I received your kind letter that I was expecting for such a long time that I had started having doubts [of ever getting one]. It's hard to be without any news and the reason is that we are too far away.
Dear Uigina you can not imagine my happiness when I received it. Dear Uigina I inform you that, praises to the Lord, we are in good health and we are glad you are too: yourself, Secondo and the dear grandchild, the little imp. I wish I could be there and nip him with all my love. I'm also glad you are working and I hope you would soon be making a bundle and be able to return to Italy. It seems such a long time.
Now dear Uigina and Secondo something else: before the end of this month I will be getting married. The groom is Vittorio Piovanotto and I trust you will be pleased, as you said you would. Everybody keeps saying that my decision is the right one and also Maria and Pierino seem happy about it. I must tell you that I'm always very tired and that I fall asleep the very moment I stop working. We are all working because it's a must. Maria is getting older, she helps me and sings all the time. Every now and then she says: I'm wondering whether the little imp of my nephew is sleeping now. I must also tell you that Pierino is too ashamed to write to you. He was admitted to the fifth grade and I made him take the examination to enter a technical school. He failed in two subjects. We must now wait till October but the problem is that he doesn't realize how this could be useful for his future. He is getting older, grows bigger but still not much of a head on his shoulders.
You will soon receive my picture.
Nothing else for now, but to send my greetings to all three of yours and kisses to my grandchild and you all. Many greetings from your uncles, aunts, cousins and all. Mrs. Fogliati and her husband asked me to send their regards. Our neighbors and all our acquaintances are asking about you and are keeping in good health. Angiolina the seamstress, Margherita Solino the seamstress are asking to be remembered.
Good-bye kisses from us all
Greetings [ from] Maria. I trust you have received the postcard with my picture on it. Kisses to you Luigina, Secondo and my dear nephew
"In this letter (the last few lines are from Maria) we find a very local expression in "paciuflun" which I translated into "little imp". I could have used "the little devil" or the very English "little monkey". Don't be surprised that the grandmother wishes she could nip, pinch the little one. It's a typical Italian way of expressing love to small children. They obviously don't pinch hard....
...So Virginia got married and we know her second husband's name.
November 16, 1910
Dear Luigia. I'm here answering your letter; I'm always pleased to receive your news and to hear that you three are of good health: the same to us, the Lord be praised. It is only Tomaso who has been ill for about six weeks and just now starts feeling better. Dear Uigina, it almost drove me crazy to read what you wrote. Such news! Now I feel a bit more calm (we are too far away) hearing that you two made up. By now you should know each other and each other's moods. If you are both patient, you should love each other: there is nothing better in the world and staying united gives strength. Dear Uigina, I believe you received a letter written by me on two separate sheets, one for you and one for Secondo. Please forgive me, but I was out of my mind. Anyway, you would have been always welcome back in our home.
Dear Uigina and Secondo on the matter of the wine, had I not heard what happened between you two and had not Tomaso been sick, it would already have been shipped. Now rest in peace, the moment the wine is ready I will send it and, if, as you told me, you can sell some and make a few extra dollars, I will ship it.
Nothing else but to send my greetings and a big kiss to my grandchild. It seems like I could see and hug him.
Many greetings from Papa, Pierino, Maria and many others
"Some little trouble in the family. (Well, not so little considering that Luigia must have mentioned the possibility of leaving and going back home). I had the feeling something was brewing when I was translating letter nr. 2. To answer your question: The letters are written in Italian and not in a local dialect. Some local expressions are used every now and then, but so far, I was able to understand them. The penmanship is excellent and it doesn't cause much of a problem. The headaches start with the orthography; it is awful indeed. Virginia tends to write a word the way it sounds to her (an example: she would spell " knight" as " nit") and it sometimes takes a while to find out what she meant..... Mario"
Virginia must have only been married to her new husband, Vittorio Piovanotto, for a few months - from this letter written by 13-year-old Pierino Barisone, we learn that Virginia has died.
Dear sister and brother-in-law
Our mother's sudden death has left me sorrow-stricken. I hope you will forgive me for not writing, also because Maria did for me. The letter you wrote on the one part made me feel like crying and at the same time like laughing with your jokes. I left school now and I must find a job. But I'm waiting for the reply you will make to my letter. I'm infinitely grateful for the benevolence you are showing. Please do your very best to let me come: I'm ready to leave at any time and I wouldn't mind working with you (Secondo). Rest assured that I would give my best effort and be satisfied. Greetings and kisses from your brother BP
A kiss to my little nephew
Asti Nov/Dec(?) 30, 910
Greeting from your brother Pierino
For whatever reason, Pietro Barisone was not to come to the US until 1920, ten years later.
The following are the letters written by Maria Barisone to her sister and brother-in-law:
Dear brother-in-law and sister
On the seventh [of this month] I received your so much longed for letter and I'm relieved to hear that you are in perfect health: Pierino and I are also well. I don't know what to do in order to reciprocate the inconvenience you went through for me; this is to say the [present of] fifty lire. You did really trouble yourselves too much and I thank you with all my heart. Rest assured that I shall not squander [the money], on the contrary, I shall do my utmost to save it, because certainly I never spend money on amusements.
I was also pleased you received my pretty face, this is to say my picture and that the English people have praised me. I would like to have one of yours. My dearest, keep in good health and I hope that one day it will possible to see each other and to be all in good conditions. Isn't so? I thank you with all my heart and I'm always praying the good Lord to give you the kind of success that I myself wish for you in my sisterly love. Please give my regards to those esteemed persons whom you have shown my picture to, even if I have never met them.
Good-bye and sincere kisses from you forever loving sister and sister-in-law. I hug you both with all my heart always remembering our beloved deceased Mother! Alas, I must be brave. A kiss to my dear nephew.
Please forgive my poor handwriting: I'm in a bit of a rush. Greetings from Mamma Marietta and everybody, the postal workers included
Greetings [to] Giacomo
Asti 8-6-m 1911 evening
My dear sister and brother-in-law,
I received with much joy your letter which I was anxiously expecting. Dear sister and brother-in-law, eight days ago I sent you my picture printed on a post-card and taken there in our uncle's inn. Now the inn belongs to uncle Giuseppe, because we couldn't keep it. Mamma Marietta did all she could and she says so did I, in our interest, but if she couldn’t succeed, how could I. I have told the magistrate all the truth and now I'm here like a bird on a branch and I don't know what has happened and what I should do to better my conditions. Since the last time I wrote to you, I completely left out uncle Giuseppe and stuck to uncle Barisone Ferdinando. So much that uncle Giuseppe had to pay cash for the inn and, had he not had the money, he would not have gotten the inn. The magistrate told uncle Giuseppe to let me stay there and work for him and all he had to do was to pay me ten lire per month, keep me in clothing and let me pay the rent for the two rooms where we keep our furniture. But, so far, it seems that he doesn't plan to pay me the ten lire saying that he doesn’t feel like treating me as a servant and that he will take care of me in different ways. Within the next twenty days uncle Ferdinando will arrange to pick up our belongings and take our stuff to his house in Tosto street, where he will be responsible for it, while your furniture will be taken care of by Mamma Marietta and in this way we shall not be liable for paying the rent for our belongings.
Now I'm wondering what to do next, whether to stay there by uncle Giuseppe or to go out on my own and try to earn my living and save a few dollars. Alas, if our poor deceased mother were still alive! Alas, why did the Lord allow such a grievous separation from her, who did adore her children? I'm unable to say what I feel within my heart and I only hope the Lord might help me.
In the last few days we had again an argument with Pierino, who told me that sooner or later he was going to kill me. I wish he did! At least the suffering would be over. He is always telling me that I'm one of those........ and I believe that I have always kept my place and, even if I don't have my dear mother, I still keep to my self as much as I can. And, although young, I have enough common sense. And he dares and talks about me, calling me names that I don't like, there in the inn, among people that know him already as somebody to watch ....... .... one day the magistrate will send him to the Castro in Turin, because there is no job he cares to be involved with. You can believe me when I say that I would be sorry seeing ......... my brother ending up in the Castro. Aha. Acting like a loafer, he has managed in six months to eat up his ...... ............... (The letter ends here.)
"You will notice that, except for the last page (and by the way I feel there must have been an additional sheet) where entire lines are not readable, the text is, if not complete, certainly clear enough. The letter is written in dreadful Italian and with many orthographical errors. . On the other hand one must consider that at that time the illiteracy rate throughout the Kingdom was at over 50% (although probably only 25% in Piedmont) as well as the writer's young age. But what did actually hit me is the sense of despair, which the letter is casting. The poor girl must have been terribly upset and with good reasons. . Her entire world was collapsing in front of her and she seems to be quite on her own. I don't know Torino well enough to know what "Castro" means. It most certainly derives from the Latin "castrum" i.e. fortified camp and I assume Maria means either a prison or, more likely, an institution for problem juveniles.
A few months after the writing of this letter, Maria became engaged to her future husband, Vincenzo Priora.
About two years after I started working in Asti's Post Office, I fell in love with your sister Maria and the love I felt did increase after the death of her beloved Mother, whom she adored, because I couldn't help noticing how her sadness was made worse by the lack of maternal affection and by the many sorrows she, although so young, already had to cope with. Her heart is lacking [the care of] an affectionate person, able to soothe her grief and present her with a future. I have already spoken to Mrs. Freilino and to your sister. If [also] you and your husband are not opposed, I plan on marrying her next year. You shall receive information [about me] from Mrs. Freilino and from Maria and, based on this information, I would be grateful if you could kindly give your consent. You already know me, because I used to patronize the inn at the time when you were getting married. In any case I enclose my picture. Please accept my most sincere regards to you, your husband and all your relatives.
Yours faithfully: Vincenzo Priora
January 18, 1912
Due to a discrepancy in the Registrar's Office regarding the Barisone's surname, we are yet unable to get married, but, before carnival's end, I hope I should be able to address you as brother-in-law. Many thanks for the kind letter you wrote to me and I also return, with all my heart, the greetings you have sent me via your mother. Here we are all in good health. I wish you both many pleasant years and I hope that the far away land could bring you all kind of happiness. Stepping with my thoughts over mountains and seas, I shake both your and your Luigia's hand.
Yours with fondness, Vincenzo Priora.
I have inserted the front of the postcard because of the baby's teeth imprints on the card. Because of the date of the postcard, the teeth imprints would have been Giacamo's!
And on February 26, 1912, Maria Barisone and Vincenzo Priora were married.
Written on the back on this wedding announcement: "Just a word from your Maria. I'm so busy I don't even know what I'm doing. Tomorrow - Monday - we shall be getting married and then go on a nice (I hope) trip."
Also, this note from Marietta Freilino: "Dearest, Maria is so happy she doesn't know whether she is coming or going. Please write and let me have some news from you. Goodbye, your mother. Kisses to the dear little fellow."
The following two letters, one from Maria and one from Vincenzo, were written on the same date. Maria and Vincenzo are now newlyweds.
Asti April 4, 1912
Dear sister and brother-in-law
You could not believe my happiness when I learnt I became again an aunt, this time of little girl whom you describe as pretty and beautiful and this makes me very glad.. Dear Luigina, as far as my health goes, it's now excellent and I trust the same applies to you, but, just before my wedding I suffered from rheumatism to my joints, a disease that causes dreadful aches, from bronchitis and finally the doctor found out a heart murmur, which means my heart will never beat properly again. He said it was caused by the many sorrows, told me to cheer up, prescribed long walks and I finally got up after only 45 days in bed and this is the reason behind my long delay in writing to you. Mamma Marietta took good care of me during my long illness, like she were our poor deceased Mother and my husband, who was then my fiancé, used to come visiting three times each day and they both, Marietta and your new brother-in-law, have been really full of considerations towards me. I'm glad you received our pictures and now your new brother-in-law shall be sending the newspapers: I'm sure you will be expecting them eagerly. We shall send the local "The Citizen" with our wedding-announcement. We got married on the twenty-sixth of February and left immediately to Milano. To the wedding ceremony were invited Lina, Amalia, Berto, Vigin, my husband's younger brother, the one working as a traveling salesman for the Taricco Company. As a matter of fact it was him, the very knight (cavalier) Michelangelo Taricco, who gave me away. After the wedding they all saw us to the station, together with Pierino, uncle Ferdinando and Mamma Marietta who, poor soul, could not stop weeping. My wedding dress was purple, with a silken red and blue blouse; I wore a huge black hat with two black ostrich and one white egret feathers and a black boa with its muff. For the trip I wore a blue dress and another black hat that I had purchased with the money you sent me and for which I was very pleased and grateful to you Secondo and to you too, my dear sister. Even if we are so far away I'm always remembering you and very often I dream of you both, together with the child.
A kiss from Mariuccia - I believe she moved.
"Maria notes that Mr. Taricco "onora' sposa". It's a very debatable expression. It could mean that he was also invited and came to the ceremony but I feel more likely that Mr. Taricco gave Maria (an orphan) away.
Karen's notes: Although I don't know who Lina is (it is possible that she is Angela Nosenzo), Amalia and Berto are Secondo's sister and brother-in-law, Amalia and Umberto Chiusano.
My dearest sister and brother-in-law,
It is a delight to be now able to send fond greetings as a relative. Maria's cheerful disposition makes the days now pass very quickly, even more so now that she has completely recovered from the illnesses she suffered two months ago and is not feeling any pain at all: let me tell you however that the rheumatism to her joints did cause some terrible aches to her legs and only Dr. Antonioni's treatments managed to cure her completely and in a short time.
I already went and visited some of Maria's relatives and I was welcomed with pleasure and cheerfulness; I always keep aside a bottle of good old wine, trusting to be allowed, in a hopefully short while, to embrace and drink a toast with you. I shared your joy hearing of the birth of a pretty little girl who, I hope, will be a source of all happiness. Nothing else, because Maria has already told you all in her long letter.
I'm only letting you know that your mother Marietta suffers every now and then of some stomach pains, although she is now considerably improved. She asked me to send many kisses and greetings to you all and a special hug to your children and to Pinin.
I hope you will spend an Easter as joyful as it's wished with all his heart by your brother-in law Pinin.
I send many kisses and affectionate greetings to your children, from their uncle Pinin.
Address Priora Vincenzo corso Alfieri 42
Note from Maria:
Dear Secondo, I would be very pleased if you could send me an oleograph or another fine landscape of the American lands, with their names, so that I could show to our acquaintances, when they come and visit me, the places where my dear sister and brother-in-law are spending their lives. Hoping you will at least give me an answer on this matter, I remain your - Maria
Greetings from Pierino
I would like a prompt answer Maria
The pretty little girl that Vincenzo and Maria are talking about is Clementina, Secondo and Luigia's second child.
This section is a short note from Maria.
Dearest Secondo and Luigina
Here I am ready to satisfy your requests; do not worry about our health, because the harmony and the love we feel for each other keep us always in high spirits and our health is excellent. It's only the fact that you are so far away that saddens us and during the day we keep remembering you together with your two children. Maria is always happy, she sings her songs and she is now able to accompany them on a piano, thus making merrier the hours she must spend home by her self. Regarding dear Pierino, I regret to inform you of some of his escapades and of his lack of respect towards my dear Maria: unfortunately since you are my sister and brother-in-law, I must go into details. As you already knew, he was working as a whitewasher and we didn't like this occupation because he ended up keeping low companies. It was then decided, together with Maria and with Pierino's consent, to let him learn the rudiments of mechanics to increase his pay. I immediately contacted the engineer of the Company "Vai Assanto"(?) and after a few days they did me the favor of hiring him in the bicycle department with daily wages of one lira. It's very little to start with, but given time and learning well the mechanics trade, he could earn more. Do you know what our reward was: now when he walks by us, he stares us in the face and doesn't even say hello. And this because I had to rebuke him because one day he came to our home in my absence and started abusing [Maria] and he nearly raised his hands on her, reproaching us because we made him lose his job as a whitewasher where he could have made more money. As I told you I merely upbraided him in front of Margherita and Felice and because of this reproof and of the low companies he is still keeping, he walks now by us, as if we were dogs. We nevertheless tried to make him understand though Piovano and Margherita that, when we make a criticism it is only for his own good and that, as long as he keeps with those low companies, he will never have even the beginning of a social standing and of reasonable earnings.
Both Maria and I bear with him, because the loss of a mother and of her advice might have a bad effect on a young man. I hope that after giving him further advice and by him getting older and wiser, I could be able to send better reports. The main point is to move him away from the low companions.
Thank you, dearest Secondo, for the lovely views and I reciprocate with newspapers. I leave now my place to Maria, who has also a lot to tell you.
Kisses to our nephew and niece Giacomo and Clementina and my most affectionate greeting to you. Your brother-in-law Pinin
Dear sister, I must give you some bad news: two months ago died Mrs. Solaro Angelina's husband and she asked me to send you her greetings together with those of Mamma Marietta, Margherita, and her Felice. They are always remembering you and wondering if and when they would see you again. They say "We are too old " but Felice who is 82 years old, eats like a young man of twenty, dances around the house and is a really cheerful old dear.
My dear and beloved sister Luigina and you Secondo. Today I received your dear letter telling me that you are worried because you did not get any information [from us]. Don't be upset, because first of all we are in good health and our love for each other keeps growing daily. I'm relieved to hear that you and your children are also in good health. Alas! Dear Luigina you are asking whether I took offence for something you might have said: never! On the contrary, please give me some advice and I will accept it as if it was coming from our dear deceased Mother; after all you are already a mother and are capable of giving me much good advice, as a good mother should.
And now I must ask your forgiveness for my delay and I made the resolution never to let again such a long time pass without writing you a little letter. Two weeks ago we already mailed two pictures, one of mine and one of your brother-in-law Pinin, who is always so good towards me and cares and spoils me like if I were a little girl. He also bought me a piano and he enjoys it when I sing on the piano and he can hear I'm happy. These picture are still from the time I was living with Mamma Marietta, before my sickness and I hope you have already received them with pleasure. I would also like to have one of you two together with those of my dear nephew and niece. Ah, how would I like to see you all; it seems to me it's a century that I haven't seen you. Blessed be the day we shall meet again. Almost every night I dream of you; I see you and I'm talking to you Secondo and Luigina. It seems that I can see you face to face and there is also our dear mother and we are all happy together. She is always talking to me and telling me to be good and not to think anymore about that scoundrel of my uncle, no, not an uncle, but a swindler. And I must tell you that both I and Pinin, when we pass in front of his place of business, actually ours, because it was the place where we spent our youth, we don't greet them anymore and one can see how it upsets him to see me married and his two daughters still there, unmarried, the " hopeful "as we say here. Now I want to let you know that Pierino has very close ties with them. Alas! Poor boy and to think that they have been our ruin and now, seeing that I don't care about them anymore, they are trying to utterly destroy him. And he takes no heed of our advice and he doesn't look at me anymore, like Pinin told you. I beg you, were you to write to him, don't mention what has happened between us nor what we told you about him. Dear sister and brother-in-law, please don't fret over Pierino, because he doesn't care at all, and I my self have already lost enough sleep over him and again he doesn't care. Greetings and kisses to my dear nephew and niece and an affectionate hug from your sister
Karen's note: This letter from Vincenzo and Maria is undated, but probably written in 1912.
"Vincenzo is obviously more educated than his wife and I tried to make his letter sound a bit more polished. Maria is... Maria. She starts a sentence with something and ends with something else. The vernacular expression "sperum" originates from "sperare" - "to hope". We hope i.e. primal would sound in dialect "sperum "or "speruma".
The next two letters are from Maria and Vincenzo, both with the same date.
Asti November 15, 912
I must apologize for being late. I was elated, when I received your dear and loving letter, to hear that you are all in good health and the same goes for me and my beloved Pinin.
We are also glad to hear that Luigi is happy among you, that he likes it being there in Leechburg, and that he had a good passage. Also, dear Luigina, that you are very pleased with your boa; here in Asti all the ladies wear one, exactly like yours.
Dear sister, you pleasantly surprised me by naming me godmother and it has made me very happy. The same goes for my Pinin who keeps saying, " If we could only see our dear niece". Please give my regards to the godfather, my fellow sponsor as we say here in Asti. Tell him also I deeply regret not having been there in person during that day of celebration, i.e. the christening day, but what can we do: it's too far away.
My dear sister I must inform you that Pierino doesn't live anymore with Piovano, our godfather. . Instead he now lodges with Mr. Tosetto in his inn and he is very close to Tinin and all her family, but all this doesn't really matter. He doesn't care about me nor does he remember his sisters and brothers-in law and he keeps to bad companions.
My dearest, this was the first year that we have made some wine; we worked the must and it came out as a good glass of wine. We shall keep aside for you a few bottles of freisa, for when you will be here in Asti among us. Ah, was it possible that you could come over here soon and have a good time, all of us together. When will that blessed day arrive?
".......consulted the Oxford English dictionary. Must: (also most, muste, moust) from Latin must-um: New wine: the juice of the grapes either unfermented or before the fermentation is completed. With all due respect for the Oxford dictionary I must disagree. Must is not a wine, not even a new one. It's a phase in the process of fermentation leading to wine."
Asti November 15.912
My dearest Secondo and Luigina
I join my wife, thanking you for the kindness you showed in naming her as godmother for your beloved Clementina. We are both sending our warmest wishes that her future could be filled with joy and happiness. Please give our regards to our fellow sponsor Pinin, whom we entrust to give an affectionate kiss to our goddaughter and niece in the hope of being soon able to see her picture printed on a postcard.
Today we had our first snow, which brought along the hard winter season.
Maria is now in her seventh month and she is doing fine and without any pain.
Good-bye with affectionate regards to you and Luigia and kisses to the children.
Greetings to Pinin and Luigi. Your mother is doing well and she also sends kisses and hugs. Pinin
Dear Luigina the day of the commemoration of the dead has gone by and I also went and adorned with flowers the tomb of our poor deceased Mother as well as those of Daddy, [our] brother and [our] sister. Alas poor Mother: to think it's already two years she has passed away. My dear Luigina, if you knew how much I remember her! And how much I'm still crying.
Please remind Luigi and Secondo that Pinin would like some used stamps, of any Country save Italy, because he collects them. I hope you will send some in the next letters you are going to mail.
Dear Luigina and dear Secondo, nothing else for now but to send you both my greetings with all my heart and an affectionate kiss to the beloved Clementina and Giacomino.
Give my regards to Luigi and tell him to write to me at least some postcards. Give him my address.
Again many greetings and kisses from your forever affectionate
Maria & Pinin
Asti, November 15,1912
An informative letter - we learn that Clementina's godparents were Maria Barisone and Pinin (that would be Secondo's brother, Giuseppe Freilino.
Also, we learn that Luigia, Maria and Pierino had a sister and brother that were, at this time, deceased.
A Christmas Card from 1912:
My dearest Secondo and Luigina
The approaching [Christmas] holidays [is] so dear to all families gathered together, whilst in these days we, forced so far apart, are left only with constant thoughts in our own hearts, as shown by the flowers you will find on this card. Please accept with joy my best wishes for a merry Christmas and may the happy New Year bring you all happiness, trusting that the day when we would embrace each other again is getting nearer. Dear Luigina and Secondo please kiss my beloved nephew and niece, present my regards to Luigi and extend to him too our warmest wishes for a merry Christmas. Greeting also to our fellow sponsor Giuseppe.
Dearest Luigina and Secondo
Please accept my season's greeting and extend them to Pinin, Luigi and your children. In the coming month of January, Maria will give me the present of a baby, to properly begin the 1913 year.
Aunt Marietta sends her wishes of a happy holiday season. Kisses and greetings to you all and keep merry getting drunk with the new wine that should reach you around Epiphany and that was sent by your brother-in-law Luigi. Your very affectionate Pinin
Many more greetings from Felice and Margherita, from your godfather Piovano and Angela, the seamstress, with her daughters Elda and Maria.
Many kisses to my dear goddaughter Clementina.
Yours Maria and Pinin
The beginning of this letter is Maria at her best. She starts with "a" and goes to "z" without closing one single sentence in between. Not very easy to try to make some sense of what she is trying to express. I hope it's clear enough. And also Pinin seems to have learnt from his wife. I wonder whether they did not taste the wine before sending it over to the States!
And now, Secondo and Luigia begin to hear some bad news. It seems that Maria has either had another flare-up of illness that struck prior to her marriage or she is now ill with some other disease. The next two short notes from Vincenzo were obviously written in great haste.
Dearest sister and brother-in -law,
Dear Maria is getting worse day by day. She has now completely lost her appetite, the rheum is choking her and the cough is breaking her stomach; in short she is still living because she is of a strong constitution but she cannot last long.
Dearest, thank you for the two letters I have received. I must tell you that dear Maria is nearing the end. Poor Maria, the cruel fate has so grievously hit and now her life is a continuous being in pain all over her body. Neither doctors nor medicines can make her feel any better. I wish you good health and happiness. Kisses to you all and be brave: this misfortune has happened to me and to my child.
Your very affectionate brother-in-law Pinin
This note from Vincenzo is dated April 1913.
And then, from Vincenzo, "Here is the heartbreaking news:" I wonder if we can even begin to imagine the pain felt by Luigia as she read this letter describing her sister's death..
Asti May 3, 1913
Here is the heartbreaking news: dear Maria has left us: on April 30th, at 6 p.m. she breathed her last.
Poor saintly woman. It was impossible to defeat the terrible illness that hit her, nay it was getting worse day by day and it finally got so bad that in the last fifteen days she couldn't eat and not even the strongest sedatives were reducing her pains, at least to allow some rest during the nights. To make it short: she suffered like a martyr. Her last agony was short lived but her death has ulcerated my heart, taking away from me the dearest angel I had chosen as the companion of my life.
We had enjoyed together an enviable happiness but peace is not allowed to exist in this world and fate had therefore to fall heavily on me and on this poor child of mine who, in due time, will miss his mother. Be brave, dear sister and brother-in law: time only will relieve the grief but still leaving a wound that will remain open during my entire life.
Poor Maria........who would have said a year ago that this would happen.
The funeral was grand: the band, something she asked for before her death, opened the procession. The bier, covered with flowers (her ideal), relatives, friends of both sexes, the postal employees and a long train followed, deep in sorrow, all the way to the cemetery. My body is now exhausted and I was granted about a month absence of leave due to my heart's conditions and to my bodily breakdown. I hope that time will partially cure these discomforts. I received two of your letters mailed together and dear Maria still was in time to hear them. The registered letter with the five dollars reached us when she was already in heaven and escorted her to the cemetery: today I received your dear pictures and those of the children. I will keep them as relics in an album. Dearest, let's keep in touch at least once a month by letter and this will help us to endure with resignation the sorrows of this valley of tears.
I shall write again soon. Please give my regards to dear Pinin's bride and present her with my most sincere wishes from all my heart.
I forgot to mention that during her last days Maria did often call for her beloved sister. Again be brave and have the strength to bear the grief. Greetings to Pinin and Luigi. Many kisses, your Pinin
Greetings to Berto
On the coffin we put a wreath with the wording " The sister and brother-in-law from America "
Greetings from Lina, Amalia, Marietta who shall soon all write to you
Karen's notes: This Pinin is Guiseppe Freilino, who had recently married Florence Nardelli.
Asti August 21, 1913
My dearest Secondo and Luigina,
I mailed by registered letter a picture of the tombstone I had laid on my poor Maria's grave. Sad, but always dear memories to her blessed soul.
My Ortensio is now fed with thin soups and semolina in milk; he laughs and plays all day long and he already says da-da and uncle. He is putting on weight and is in good heath. My mother has an extraordinary patience and care. She keeps him in his crib all night long by her bed and she wakes up to the smallest wail. At her age of 60, she is doing far too much. She has asked me to send her regards and she is hoping to introduce the child to you in a few years, as soon as we will have the chance of meeting you both. Sunday your mother Marietta brought her a new dress that fits to a tee. She is in good health too and she is also sending her love.
I'm doing fine, helped by the poor little Ortensio who with his smiles helps me sooth the grief for the terrible loss which hit us all. To think that this poor child lacks the maternal caresses and kisses as well as the upbringing that only a mother is able to give to her child! Poor Maria! Let's not think about her to avoid cursing Fate or create in front of us some impassable chasms.
Good-bye my very dear ones; let my have your news, news that I hope will be good and full of joy.
An affectionate handshake from your affectionate brother-in-law Pinin
Kisses from my Ortensio. Greeting and kisses to your children.
Please give my regards to Pinin, Luigi, Berto and Pinin's kind wife
Written on the tombstone:
Una lacrima ed un fiore per Maria Priora Barisone che a solo 19 anni Rendeva a Dio nella primavera della natura, la primavera dell vita. La sciando la marito inconsolabile un fiore appena sbocciato.
(A tear and a flower for Maria Priora Barisone, only 19 years old, who returned to the Lord, during the spring of nature and in the spring of her life, leaving an inconsolable husband - a flower barely blossomed.)
Here is the picture of my dear Ortensio, the memento left by my dear Maria.
Poor Maria! And to think that after only one year of marriage we had to part forever. Only time soothes the pain, but in this particular case it seems that time increases the sorrow and I'm not able to find any solace except when, every week, I go to lay flowers and tears to the sacred grave and only in that very instant do I feel some comfort.
Daily I go and see your mother Marietta and the topic there, coming from your brother-in -law Nosenso, is nothing but Maria and the conversation keeps falling on my open sores. What can you do: they all say I must resign myself, but the pain is too deep and also when I look to the poor Ortensio, whose smile should be a source of joy to me, my heart bleeds knowing he is deprived of the words, the caresses and the kisses of a mother.
I had an enlargement [of a picture] transferred to an oil painting to have her always before my eyes. By the end of this month I should be getting some postcards obtained from pictures and I'm going to mail a few to you.
My health is good so far. I'm waiting for news from you. Also your mother Marietta anxiously waits for a letter.
Receive the most affectionate greeting from your brother-in-law Pinin
Kisses to the children. Greetings to Luigi Pinin and Berto
Amalia asked me to inform you she has received the first 10 (?) lire and this was at the end of May but the other remittance that you had announced, has not reached her yet. She will write the moment she gets it.
She hasn't received any other letter and she is afraid you might be sick. Write as soon as you receive this letter of mine in order to stop her worries. The child is healthy.
Dear children, how comes that you don't write? I'm worried. Remember me and please do write. Good-bye, with much love, I'm your mother Marietta
Here is the tiny picture of Ortensio that was sent by Vincenzo.
"Considering the time of Maria's death and that a remittance received at the end of May but the next seems delayed, I figure this note was written in late fall 1913.
Note from Karen:
Amalia and Berto are Secondo's sister and brother-in-law - Umberto Chiusano. The Ellis Island records show that Umberto arrived in the US on January 30, 1913. I presume that he came only to work and send money back home.
This last part of the letter is written by Secondo's mother, Marietta.
Asti, November 11,1913
My dearest Secondo and Luigia
I'm wondering what you made of my long delay in writing, but during this sad anniversary of our dear deceased ones' remembrance day, my heart was so grieved over my beloved former wife that I couldn't compose a letter. My poor late wife's grave had been decorated with fresh flowers and with a wreath and this was entirely due to your dear mother Marietta, who spent the entire day in the cemetery for our beloved ones. Sad days indeed! My dear Ortensio seems to be teething and he has been under the weather in these last few days. Let's hope his teeth will soon come out and that they will not vex the poor child who is getting prettier day by day and is sweet and loved by everybody and especially by my mother who keeps him near day and night and is concerned for each of his wailings.
Nothing new to report here in Asti. The boring winter days have started.
My mother asked me to send her regards to you and kisses to your dear children and I'm doing the same. Regards to Luigi, Pinin and his kind wife and Berto.
Kisses from my Ortensio, your brother-in-law Pinin
Poor little Ortensio - it turns out that his illness is something much more serious than teething. After Vincenzo mailed this letter, Ortensio must have taken a rapid turn for the worse.
And sadly, four days later:
a soli 10 mesi di vita, tornava stamane fra gli angeli lasciando inconsolabili il padre, il nonni, gli zii, le zie i quali ne danno il triste annunzio
Asti, 16 Novembre 1913
La sepoltura avra luogo domani alle ore 16 partento da via Venti Settembre 41.
(Only ten months old, returned this morning to the angels, leaving inconsolable his father, grandparents, uncles and aunts, who are all making this sad announcement. The burial shall take place tomorrow at 4:00 PM, leaving from 41, XX September St.)
And that is the last of the letters from Vincenzo Priora. We can only hope that he finally found some peace and happiness in his life.
And what of Pietro's years in Asti, before emigrating to the US? Only one letter survives from the rest of his time in Italy.
September 10, 1916
My dearest brother-in-law Secondo and sister Luigina
The days are slowly and sadly going by, my thoughts are constantly turned to you and I can not understand the reason of your long silence: I'm always wondering whether I have somehow offended you. Were this to be the truth, I hope that you might have by now forgotten the offence I have somehow given, a slight that I'm not even aware of. I cannot remember how many letters I have written to you during these seven months of distress. Why are you failing in your duty? I say duty, because, after all we are connected by family ties and we belong to the same stock, to the same blood. Don't you feel that, being so far away, we are already living through a depressing period and that, one day or another, I might not be around anymore? We hope this would not happen, but there are so many fatalities and when I think about it, my hair stands on end. Alas, I would happily die if I had at least your news, if I knew that you are all in good health and that your business is prospering. Ah, but it's too much to bear, being ignored. Perhaps I'm not important to you, perhaps I became somebody unknown and if this is the case, what kind of happiness would be left for me? I beg of you, do not torture me, because I'm already suffering enough and I have already suffered enough. I hope there will be still some goodness in you and you will not leave me in this kind of anxiety. Write back to me as soon as you receive this letter and give me your news, always so welcome. I would like to write some more, but what I still have to say, remains in my pen without me knowing why. It may be my neurasthenia or the thousand different thoughts that run through my mind, but I'm unable to write one more single phrase. I wish you all good, that your business might flourish and please don't keep in such anxiety I, who would be pleased with a single postcard. Please accept a hug and my best greetings with all my affection, your brother and brother-in-law Pietro. Many kisses to my dear nephews and niece. I'm going to send you soon my picture hoping it will be reciprocated with one of yours. Again many kisses and hugs from your affectionate Pietro Barisone
This letter was sent from Brindisi, an Italian port on the Adriatic Sea. Pietro was in the Royal Italian Navy. Italy entered into WWI in May of 1915. The seven months of distress that Pietro speaks of may refer to his time spent in the military and makes his entrance into the Navy as February, 1916.
Pietro emigrated to the US in 1920. The Ellis Island Passenger Record Database lists Pietro Barisone, single male, of Asti, Italy, left Genoa, Liguria, Italy on the Dante Alighieri and arrived at Ellis Island on May 14, 1920. Physical description: 5'8" with dark complexion and chestnut hair. He was going to see his brother-in-law Freilino in Leechburg, Pa. One year later, on April 11, 1921, he married Estella Francesca Nosenzo, the daughter of Secondo's sister Angela Nosenzo. Estella had arrived from Asti only one month before her marriage. She and her sister Maria came, chaperoned by Secondo himself.
From the Ellis Island Passenger Record Database: Estella Nosenzo, 18 years old, single, from Asti, Italy left Cherbourg, Manche, France on the Imperator and arrived at Ellis Island on March 6, 1921. Estella is described as 5'3", fair complexion with blonde hair. Traveling with her was her sister Maria Nosenzo, age 21. Physical description: 5'6", fair complexion with dark hair and brown eyes. Both state that they were going visit their Uncle Freilino Secondo and that their stay would be permanent. Maria Nosenzo, however, did not stay in the US and returned to Asti. Their Uncle Secondo, 37, is listed as a US citizen, having been naturalized on November 8, 1920 in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Children of PIETRO BARISONE and ESTELLA NOSENZO are:
17. i. RENATO L.4 BARISONE, b. August 30, 1924, Leechburg, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.
18. ii. VIRGINIA MARY BARISONE, b. July 29, 1926, Detroit, Michigan; d. August 10, 2004, Mayview Convalescent Home, Raleigh, North Carolian.
19. iii. LYDIA BARISONE, b. December 14, 1928, Leechburg, Armstrong County, Pennsylvania.
20. iv. ALDA LOUISE BARISONE, b. July 31, 1942.
Pete and Stella established a restaurant in Leechburg called "Pete's Place" - well known throughout the state for its fine seafood and Italian cuisine. The only picture I have of Pete Barisone was taken at his restaurant.
To the left is an insert of Pete from the larger picture.
Front row: Burgess Stanier, Bud Williams, Second Freilino (my grandfather), ______?, and ______?. Back row: Pete Barisone, Angeline Freilino , the daughter of Luigi and Allesandrina Freilino, Marie Maritto, Virginia Barisone, the daughter of Pete and Stella, Dr. August Pugliese, Helen Anthony Molnar, Dorothy Grantz, and two bartenders, names unknown
The obituary of Pietro Barisone, from the "Leechburg Advance":
Peter (Pete) Barisone, 78, of 268 Canal St., Leechburg, died Sunday, April 30, 1975 at 5:40 a.m. in Allegheny Valley Hospital, Natrona Heights. He had been hospitalized since April 11 and in ill health since January. He was the proprietor and owner of Pete's Place, a Leechburg restaurant. He had opened the restaurant in 1932. He was honored in the 1959 edition of the Duncan Hines "Best Places to Eat" and also received recognition in the "Where to Eat, Sleep and Play in the U.S.A." His wife, the former Estella F. Nosenzo Barisone, was also associated with the operation of the restaurant.
He was born on Jan. 30, 1897, in Asti, Italy, a son of James and Virginia Tosetto Barisone. He came to the United States in 1920 and settled in Leechburg. In the 1920 and early 1930 period he was employed by his brother-in-law Secondo Freilino, in the masonry and construction business. He was also a former employee of the old West Leechburg Steel Co. During WWI he served in the Italian Navy as a member of the submarine fleet. He was a member of the American Legion Post 266 with 52 years of membership, the William Marconi Lodge and St. Catherine's Catholic Church, all of Leechburg.
Survivors include his wife, a son, three daughters, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild. A grandson, John Peter Liptak, died on Jan. 20, 1974.
Friends were received at the Dean W. Cline Funeral Home here. A mass of Christian Burial was celebrated today, April 23, in St. Catherine's Church with Rev. Dominic G. Pozzuoli as celebrant. Burial followed in St. Catherine Cemetery. Those who desire may contribute to the Leechburg Beautification Program or the Leechburg Library.
The Obituary of Estella Barisone
Estella F. Barisone, 94, formerly of Leechburg, died Friday, Sept. 5, 1997, at 6:20 a.m., in West Haven Nursing Home, Washington Township, where she had been a resident since Feb. 1. 1993. She was born Feb. 22, 1903, in Asti, Italy, where she also completed her education, including two years of college. She came to the United States in 1920. From 1932 until 1975, she and her husband, Peter ``Pete'' Barisone, owned and operated the former area restaurant ``Pete's Place'' in Leechburg, well-known for serving Italian cuisine, fresh seafood and steaks. She was a member of St. Catherine Roman Catholic Church of Leechburg. She was an avid bingo player. Survivors include a son, Renato L. Barisone of Gilpin Township; three daughters, Virginia Liptak of West Leechburg, Mrs. Lee (Lydia) Kuhns of Poulsbo, Wash., and Alda Lou Valery of Suquamish, Wash.; a sister, Alda Nosenzo of Asti, Italy; eight grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Peter ``Pete'' Barisone, on April 20, 1975; a sister, Maria Conone; a grandson, John Peter Liptak, on Jan. 20, 1974; and her parents, Louis and Angelina Freilino Nosenzo. Friends will be received in the CLINE FUNERAL HOME, 260 Market St., Leechburg, Sunday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. A parting prayer service will be held in the funeral home Monday at 10:30 a.m. A Christian Funeral Mass will follow at 11 a.m. in St. Catherine R.C. Church, Leechburg, with the Rev. Michael Bienia as celebrant. Burial will follow in St. Catherine Cemetery, Gilpin Township.
The history and descendants of Luigia Barisone Freilino can be seen by clicking on: "The Freilino Page."