Tuesday, June 30, 2009

An Informative Yet Mysterious Document - The 1920 New Castle County Census

This document was a great find from a genealogical perspective, however it also prompts new questions that my family is now trying to find the answers to. The Census was recorded on March 9th, 1920, the time that my family was associated with Squirrel Run (which was not dismantled until Fall 1923). Down the side of the document it reads "Kennett Pike Road", known today as Route 52. The document accounts for many of the families whose names are posted throughout the contents of this site, including the Salvo's, Ghione's, Pesce's, Perrone's, Ferrero's, Robino's, and others.

So why does this document prompt so many questions for my family? Well, for starters, Squirrel Run was not situated on 52, at least as I understand it. If anything, 141 or 100 would be more appropriate descriptions of the location where the Census was taken. Unless of course, this document ISN'T of data that was captured at the actual Squirrel Run location. But if it wasn't, where were all of these people living at that time?

Secondly, this document has a slight impact on the story we were told, regarding how my Grandpop Salvo met my Grandmom (Ghione) Salvo. I was told by my parents, that my grandfather met her because she worked at an office that my grandfather would frequent because of his job. We never thought anything differently of the story, until of course this document was found. Upon reviewing the document, it shows the Ghione family (Marian's parents) living 3 doors down from my Grandpop Salvo's parents at that time! Is it possible that these families did not speak to each other at that time? Sure, why not. But anyone who knows anything about these families that resided at Squirrel Run, knows that they all for the most part acted like one BIG family. They had pictures taken together in groups (many shown on this site). They were in each other's weddings. Long story short, everybody knew everybody. So, seeing now that my grandparents' families lived so close to one another early on, one can't help but wonder if there's more to the story regarding my grandparents' introduction.

As with the other posts on this site, comments in response to this post are welcomed, especially if it helps solve some of the mysteries associated with this document. And as always, clicking on the image above will provide an enlarged copy of the document to review.

Monday, June 29, 2009

one of our mystery pics

Since Frank and I seem to have quite a few of these unidentified images readily available to us, I figured I would post this one and see what happens. If noone knows who this person is, I'm sure the picture will still be appreciated for not only the time that it was photographed, but also because of the interesting apparel the woman is wearing (I have never seen gloves like that before in my life). It will be nice to hear what people observe regarding this image, even if they cannot identify her.

This photo was in the same box as the others I have been posting throughout this site, which means this woman could be associated with either the Salvo OR Ghione side of my family. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 28, 2009


My great-grandmother Josephine Rosaio was a tough lady, I don’t think she was afraid of anything or anyone. Lots of people still remember her old fashioned work ethic, colorful vocabulary and wild driving habits. As I’ve been preparing my little blog blurbs these past couple weeks, Grandmom has been on my mind a lot. I often wondered about this tough lady who buried two husbands and her three sons, parents, all of her siblings and friends - yet remained stoic in the face of it all.

Last fall my father and I went to the cemetery to clean the interior of the Rosaio family mausoleum. In the process of cleaning the little framed picture of my grandfather Rosaio that sits on the marble altar, I noticed something just barely sticking out of the bottom of the frame. It was a letter, folded tightly and tucked behind my grandfather’s picture. You can imagine our surprise, when we opened the frame and saw that the letter was written by Grandmom Rosaio forty some years ago, after her son - my grandfather Rosaio - had died suddenly at the age of 31. The grief expressed by Grandmom Rosaio - in Italian - was palpable, her tough exterior shattered by the sorrowful words she wrote in an attempt to understand her grief.

I’ll never forget the words in that letter, nor the way that Grandmom Rosaio never let her personal sorrow make her forget about life. This is the stock that we Giusvallìn come from, this endless perseverance and vivacity for life. Their blood flows in our veins - and we are stronger.

In the picture: Grandmom Rosaio; my younger sister Angela; my father Michael

Arthur and Theresa (Tortarolo) Angelone

The attached pic is of my Godparents, Arthur and Theresa (Tortarolo) Angelone. Theresa appears in the Tutti I Giusvallini pic, all of the way over on the far right. She married Arthur Angelone, whose family was also associated with Squirrel Run. His family does not appear in the Tutti pic however, as the Angelones were not from Giusvalla.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Girls In The Greenhouse

I don't know who these 2 ladies are, or who took the picture (although I have a pretty good idea). All I know is, neither one of them is my Grandmom Salvo! Nevertheless, I thought that it would be great to include the pictures out here, since they coincide with the location and timeframe that this site's details are founded on. Someone will most likely chime in with their identities eventually.

I'm sure that things back then were much like they are now in respect to these pictures: what HAPPENS in the greenhouse, STAYS in the greenhouse! :)

UPDATE: after giving this more thought, these shots were most likely taken at one of the greenhouses at GRANOGUE, the DuPont estate. That is where my Grandpop Salvo worked his entire life.

The Marenco Brothers

Here is a picture that Frank Rosaio and his family helped identify as of yesterday. In the top row we have Tom Catalino (far left), Paul Pesce (center), and Ernest Salvo (my grandfather, right).

In the front row are Victor Marenco (left) and his brother Frederico Marenco (right).

My grandfather was very fortunate to be in so many photos during this time.

Friday, June 26, 2009

All Work And No Play....

... makes Squirrel Runners take funny pictures! Here is a picture from my Grandpop Salvo's personal collection of "on the job" satire. These people worked long hours, in extreme hot and cold weather, so there had to be some time to blow off steam. This snapshot in time is one of those moments.

I can only imagine how happy my grandfather would be, to know that his treasured memories continue on, still to be appreciated by others. Enjoy-

PS: if anyone can identify any of the gentlemen in this picture, we would greatly appreciate it

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ra Mumà Granda

Our Mumà Granda was Francesca (Becco) Pesce, who with her husband Paolo Rocco Pesce, came over from Giusvalla and settled in Squirrel Run in 1910. She was 59 years old at the time of her arrival and was the oldest woman to ever come to the United States from Giusvalla.

After her husband Paolo died and the Squirrel Run community dispersed following the closing of the powder mills, Francesca lived with the family of her youngest daughter and son-in-law, Josephine and Frank Rosaio, on their mushroom farm up on Ebright Road, north Wilmington.

My aunts fondly remember the Mumà Granda saying her prayers every night before bed, in her nightgown with her long gray hair hanging loose all the way down to her hips. She died at home in 1940, at the age of 89.

In the picture (left to right): Josephine (Pesce) (Perrone) Rosaio & Francesca (Becco) Pesce, circa 1919

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

…. and now

Today, località Colla is inhabited by the grandson of Gashpèn - Luciano Perrone.

Here is the old barn at Colla, as it appears today, partially restored.

Località Colla …. then

My great-great grandmother, Maria Caterina Perrone, was born in Giusvalla at “località Colla” on May 14, 1860, one of the large brood of eleven children in the household of Lorenzo Antonio Perrone and Maria Luigia Perrone.

Though Maria Caterina never came to the United States, two of her siblings did - her younger brother Antonio Perrone and his wife Rosa Tagliero (with their seven children) settled in the Squirrel Run community, and a younger sister Genoveffa and husband Giovanni Vicino went to the San Francisco, California area.

Remaining at Colla was another one of Maria Caterina’s younger brothers, Gaspare Perrone “Gashpèn,” seen here in this picture in front of the (then) barn at Colla.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


The ritual of “mat” - or more properly “gerba maté” - is something that is known well in the heart of a true Giusvallìn, even if it‘s only a memory from childhood of seeing the grandmother or the aunts doing it. The “mat,” the cupeta and of course, the special “bumbiggia” …. this is the trinity that completes the rite.

Of course, I never had mat as a child, it was after all not for children. It wasn’t until my first visit with my cousins in Giusvalla that I actually tasted the stuff. But my father remembers it, and I've heard the older folks in my dad’s family talking about it, or more exactly the “ritual” of mat. It was something the older relatives drank, my great-grandmother would prepare it in the evening and then sit alone and sip it quietly, always seeming to go deep in thought. All the older Giusvallìn did it this way, Lalla Genia, Lalla Delaide, Lalla Secondina …. they all managed to recreate the ritual.

Perhaps it brought them back home to Giusvalla, to thoughts of the grandmothers that performed the rite before them. There is, after all, something almost tactile about the memories that arise from taste and smell.

The roots of mat are actually not Italian at all, but rather South American. It was the drink of those South American cowboys, the guachos, alone out on the plains. Uruguay and Argentina saw a mass influx of Italian immigrants during the middle to late 19th century, including many Giusvallìn. They discovered the natives’ taste for it and brought the “gerba maté” leaves back home with them to Giusvalla, and the stuff caught on, becoming in the dialect of Giusvalla, just plain mat. Soon the native Giusvallìn developed a taste for the stuff, and began writing to their brothers and aunts and cousins in Montevideo and Buenos Aires, asking them to please send a sack of magical mat back home!

In the picture (left to right): Paolina (Perrone) Camoirano; Josephine (Pesce) (Perrone) Rosaio; Carolina (Pesce) Baccino; Adelaide (Brondo) Pesce; Eugenia (Baccino) Pesce; Ida (Carozzo) Baccino

Sunday, June 21, 2009

the next generation Squirrel Runner..

The above pic is one of the most recent descendants of Squirrel Run, James Brady IV. He was born on December 16th, 2008. He, and his sister Jordan (3 years old), are 2 of the most recent children to continue on the Squirrel Run and Tutti I Giusvallini lineages. We are proud to continue this tradition in honor of those who risked it all, in order to bring their families to the Land of Opportunity..

"my big fat Italian wedding"

Now datza wedding party! This picture highlights the marriage of Emma Bugliani to Edgar Carozzo. The event took place on June 27, 1928, at St. Patrick's Church in Kennett Square, PA.

Is any of your family found in this picture? If so, we'd really like to know. Among those in this picture are my grandfather, Ernest Salvo (far upper left), Adolpho Pesce (second in from left on second row), and Tommy Catalino (second row, far right). We do have details regarding many of the other individuals found in this picture- however, out of respect for those who have helped greatly in identifying some of the others in the picture, we ask that you kindly email either myself or Frank for more information.

Click on the image for the full-size view.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


Carlo Baccino (aka “Carlèn”) was born in Giusvalla on May 23, 1903 and was a son of Carlo Baccino and Marì Camoirano. By the time Carlèn arrived at Squirrel Run in 1921, the heyday of the powder mills along the Brandywine was dwindling. Within two years, the powder mills closed and Carlo went back to Giusvalla for good.

The month before Carlèn, another young Giusvallèn arrived at Squirrel Run - Carlo Ferraro (aka “Cide-Yes”) .... but he deserves a story of his own.

another Squirrel Run group shot

This picture contains many children whom I do not know, with the exception of my grandfather, Ernest Salvo, in the center (wearing coat and cap). However, this picture was taken at Squirrel Run sometime after 1913 (that is when my family arrived there from Italy).

Hopefully someone out there might still know who some of the other individuals are within this group shot.


When I was a kid, my father’s family often called me by the nickname “Franceschèn.” When I was really young, I just figured I was “Franceschèn,” I had no clue it had anything to do with Giusvalla or anyone else in the family.

It wasn’t until I was older that I realized that I wasn’t the first “Franceschèn” in the family. My uncle Frank carried the nickname as a kid, so did my grandfather and, finally, my great-grandfather - Francesco Rosaio - the original “Franceschèn.” You can imagine my surprise when my cousins in Giusvalla began to refer to me by this same nickname I had grown up with!

“Franceschèn” is a dialectual diminutive of “Francesco,” meaning little Francesco. In the dialect of Giusvalla, the ending “-èn” was used to create a diminutive for many names, e.g. Luigi/Luigèn; Marco/Marchèn; Antonio/Tunèn.

My great-grandfather, Francesco Rosaio - the original “Franceschèn” - first came over from Giusvalla in 1904 and joined the other Giusvallìn at Squirrel Run. He later returned to Giusvalla for a year or two and came back permanently in 1910. Francesco was born on January 29, 1879 and was a son of “Manzèn” and Maria Caterina Perrone.

Lalla Pina

My great-grandmother was Josephine (Pesce) (Perrone) Rosaio, better known as "Lalla Pina." To my family, she was "Grandmom-across-the-field," because her house was just "across the field" from where I grew up! Grandmom was born in Giusvalla on July 23, 1891 and was the youngest of the eight children born to Paolo Rocco & Francesca (Becco) Pesce. She came to the United States in 1909 and joined her parents and siblings in the Squirrel Run community at the DuPont powder mills along the Brandywine.

I was fortunate to grow up near a great-grandparent, when Grandmom passed away in 1989, I was a sophomore in high school. Grandmom learned broken English, but mostly she spoke the wonderful dialect of her hometown and we were lucky to grow up hearing it. I have lots of great memories of playing in her yard, getting treated to her "cakies," and all the family being together at her house. When she was living, Grandmom was the great matriarch of our family, and even though she's been gone for almost 20 years, it still seems as if everyone who ever met her clearly remembers "Lalla Pina!"

Squirrel Run in the Summer..

Trying to identify who the friends are in this picture that includes my grandfather, Ernest Salvo (top center in image). This picture was most definitely taken at Squirrel Run.

A pic of Ernest Salvo and friends at Squirrel Run

Here is a pic of Ernest Salvo hanging out with his friends back in the days of Squirrel Run. At this time we know on the far left is Tommy Catalino, then Ernest Salvo. We believe the person in the upper center to be Adolpho Pesce but are looking for confirmation. The man on the far upper right is believed to be Ernie Camoirano, Sr. We are trying to identify the last individual on the lower right.

How the Brady's tie into Squirrel Run..

Most italians will tell you right off the bat that "Brady" is not an italian name.. They are correct. However, "Salvo" is- and that is the maiden name of my mother, Marianne. Marianne is the daughter of Ernest and Marian (Ghione) Salvo. Ernest and his family lived at Squirrel Run from the time they arrived in this Country, until Squirrel Run was dismantled in 1923. Ernest can be found in the Tutti I Giusvallini picture at the top of this site, along with his father, John "Mutèn" Salvo.

But the Salvo's aren't the only part of my family who lived at Squirrel Run- also found in the above picture are the Tortarolo family, one member being my godmother, Theresa (Tortarolo) Angelone. Between her and my Grandpop Salvo, that's where it all begins for me.

This blog is the result of research efforts between myself and my cousin, Frank Rosaio, who has been actively researching the Tutti I Giusvallini history for years. You can view his work to date here.


This blog has been created specifically for the community of Squirrel Run descendants, as well as the other neighboring communities of Squirrel Run at Hagley, DE.

Do you have a memory or photo from those times that you'd like to share? Or, do you have a photo from that time containing family and friends who you'd like to have identified? This blog gives readers the chance to not only enjoy those memories of others, but also to share their own. Be a part of this blog and help us keep the memories and traditions of Squirrel Run alive!