Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Santoras come to America - Part 2

Back in Avellino Grace waited to join Nicholas in America. She was pregnant and caring for her two-year-old daughter, Olga. She gave birth to her son in August, and named the boy Nicola after his father.

On November 2 of 1902, a few days shy of a year after her husband had left for the United States, Grace took her daughter Olga, her two-and-a-half-month-old son Nicola, and her Sister Assunta to the port of Naples where they boarded "The Sicilian Prince" I know the dates from the manifest, as for my great-grand-aunt Assunta, she is crossed out in the manifest, and appears in the manifest of the Sicilian Prince again in December of 1902, again crossed out, and she appears yet again and finally appears to have been a passenger aboard the Sicilian Prince in May of 1903. All of her entries list 60 Mulberry Street as her destination, the first and last list "my brother-in-law, Nicola Santoro" as her sponsor, but the December listing notes "my sister Gracia Cascetta" Grace, Olga, and baby Nicola's records also state 60 Mulberry Street, and at this writing, I believe it is the actual address of a forgotten apartment that they lived in before moving to Brooklyn.

Now for some mysteries. When I discovered Grace had a sister Assunta, only one of the Santora children was still alive, My Grand-Aunt Lucy, and she did not remember ever hearing about the Mulberry Street Apartment or an Aunt Assunta. Aunt Lucy's sister, Agness was actually named "Assunta" so we can only surmise that she was named after this missing Assunta Cascetta. Also, the discovery of the 2 month old Nicola didn't quite agree with my memory of my Grand-Aunt Olga's story of a child that was born and died on the trip. Unfortunately Aunt Olga was no longer with us, so I couldn't ask her. Now it is possible that I remembered the story incorrectly, or that my Aunt Olga had only her memories from when she was two-years-old to base her story on. I imagine it was not a subject that was discussed at any length when she was older. What is certain is that if baby Nicola survived the trip, he did not live very much longer, and in light of Aunt Olga's story, we suspect he died at sea, though an obit dated December 21, 1903 lists a 2 year old Nicola Santoro of 67 James Street, Manhattan.

Well, I hate to end the story on such a sad note, family lore says that Great-Grandpa worked for the Ferarra bakery, and eventually tried to open his own confectionery store in Brooklyn, but the protection-rackets ate up all the profits and his children ate up all the candy. It sounds very probable, as stories go. True or not, it's Italian.

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