Friday, July 31, 2009

Laundry Day

This image highlights a common activity at Squirrel Run: doing laundry by hand. In the image is Albina (Piuma) Salvo and, just recently discovered, Mary (Mazzoni) Perrone, (wife of Edward Perrone). Edward and Mary (along with daughter, Emma) temporarily shared a home with the Salvos while getting themselves situated here in the States.

The picture is another random shot of everyday life at Squirrel Run, captured by my Grandpop Salvo’s camera.

Thanks goes out to Frank J. Rosaio once more, for his assistance in identifying the person sharing the laundry water with my great-grandmother!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

New Site Feature: "Run Squirrel Run!" Forums

For our reader community who has been wanting to see who else is viewing the site, and hoping to get in contact with others from the Squirrel Run and Tutti I Giusvallini communities, this update is for you:

Today we have launched the "Run Squirrel Run!" Forums, which can be viewed at the following link:

Be sure to add this new addition to your favorites, and get registered so we can help get you back in contact!

A Lazy Day For A Kid At Squirrel Run

I'm sure it was rare when children at Squirrel Run didn't have anything to do. There are countless records of parents always finding something needing to be done to keep the kids busy- helping with wash, sweeping the floor in the home, helping to cook meals, etc. However, once in a while, a free moment would present itself where the kids at Squirrel Run could play and dream, just like the kids of today. These pictures capture one of those exact moments.

At some point in his youth, my Grandpop Salvo had a camera, and took many of the pictures that you see throughout this site. I am continually thankful that these photos have survived both the test of time, as well as regular relocations to multiple homes over the years. These specific pictures have travelled from Squirrel Run, to West 6th St. in Wilmington, DE, to Pike Creek, DE, to Bridgeville, DE, and have now landed in Elkton, MD. The journey has spanned over 90 years. And now, they've been copied into digital format, which hopefully will preserve their existence for the up and coming 90 years.

The pictures are random shots on the Squirrel Run premises, taken by a young boy eager to experiment with a relatively new hobby for that time: photography. We hope our readers will enjoy them as much as we do. (click on the photos to see them full-size)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Giusvalla nel flusso .... Giusvalla in flux

Our ancestral town of Giusvalla has always been small, the population peaking somewhere during the first quarter of the 19th century at around 1200 souls. Today there are somewhere around 450 residents, including a sizable and growing contingent of Romanian immigrants. Mass in Giusvalla is now celebrated just once a week, and not by a local Italian priest, but rather by the affable Fr. Remigio Hyun, the new Korean pastor who tends the dwindling flock at Giusvalla’s parish church of San Matteo and splits his time between several local parishes.

Giusvalla, like the world around it, is changing ….

My Pesce ancestors lived in a little village within Giusvalla called “Taranco,” land that had come down to my great-grandmother’s family by way of her maternal grandmother, Margherita Tortarolo. The Tortarolo family, in fact, had already lived on the land at Taranco for generations before my great-grandmother‘s time.

Other families that came over to Squirrel Run were associated with different villages or neighborhoods in Giusvalla …. Bonifacino of Cavanna; Baccino of Cianpè; Rosaio of Vicoŕi; Ferraro of Zerbi; Camoirano of Becìancia; Perrone of Casùrera, Collà and Dogli ….

Many of the homes in these old neighborhoods now sit empty, our contemporary Giusvalla cousins having left the family homestead in favor of an apartment and better job opportunities in the big cities of Savona or Genoa. Simultaneously, the idea of the “country home” has caught on in Italy … attracting wealthy city folk to little villages like Giusvalla … driving the cost of real estate through the roof and further pushing out the native farmer‘s son.

The future of Giusvalla seems uncertain, with a shrinking native population being replaced by a growing immigrant population, the astronomical cost of real estate in the area and natural and geographic factors that lend themselves to the dreaded “bedroom community” designation … one wonders what the next generation in Giusvalla will look like.

My cousin Dialma, who still lives on the old family land at Taranco, wistfully lamented to me recently “Giusvalla is dying, drying up like an autumn leaf …” We, the children and grandchildren of the old generation of giusvallini will one day perhaps be all that remains of them, the fate of their traditions, their dialect and the memory of old Giusvalla rests in our hands … it is a formidable patrimony.

Sperumma ben ….

In the picture: località Taranco, April 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The "Other" Theresa Ghione

My Grandpop Salvo married Marian (Ghione) Salvo, whose mother was Teresa (Reggio) Ghione. In the mix of other families at Squirrel Run was another lineage of Ghione’s, who as I understand it today were not directly related to my great-grandparents, Joseph and Teresa. However, because of the same last name, apparently the families were familiar with one another. This particular family consisted of Carlo Ghione and his wife, Mary. They actually lived next door (according to the 1920 census) to my Aunt Kitty (Robino) Salvo’s grandparents at Squirrel Run, and Carlo is listed as a laborer at that time.

Because of the knowledge of the 2 Ghione families, my Grandmom Marian apparently became friends with one of the children from the other Ghione family, Theresa. These pictures are of her. She was apparently born in 1918, the same year of the dreaded Influenza that Frank cited in a prior post.

After Squirrel Run was dismantled in 1923, it shows on the 1930 census that Theresa’s family moved out to Woodlawn Avenue in Wilmington. If anyone happens to know Theresa or her family today, we’d love to hear from them.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Musings of a post-modern Giusvallèn

My grandfather was Frank John Rosaio, known in the family simply as “Junior.” He was the baby of the family, born in 1930 when his mother was 38 and his father was 51. He grew up on the family farm off Ebright Road in north Wilmington. His father cultivated mushrooms and his mother would take the mushrooms and other produce grown on the farm to sell at the old farmer’s market on King Street in the city.

Times were a lot different. Ebright Road was just a little dirt road in the country, there were no street addresses … the scattering of homes in the area were simply known by their “rural route.” Naamans Road was two narrow lanes flanked on either side by open farmland, forest and fields (one of which was used as a landing strip for small airplanes). Route 202 north of Blue Ball was more like a drive through the country than the traffic-clogged, uninterrupted stretch of strip malls, restaurants and corporate plazas that it is today. Old families with names like Husbands, Mousley and Grubb still owned vast plots of land that had been handed down through generations, legacies from Quaker forbearers who had cleared the land two hundred years before.

This was the world that my grandfather Rosaio knew. His parents had both come from Giusvalla to Squirrel Run as young adults; his father first came in 1904, but returned to Giusvalla for a few years before coming back permanently in 1910. His mother came in 1909. At the time of my grandfather’s birth, his household included his parents; his three older siblings Elsie, Anne and John; his maternal grandmother; and two teenaged orphans, Gidio and Josephine Tortarolo, whose mother had been a close cousin of my grandfather’s father.

After my grandfather graduated from high school (Salesianum '49), he went into the carpentry trade. Within a couple years, he opened his own construction company and converted the old red barn behind his parents’ house into his office, and became very well-known in the area. He married my grandmother in 1951 and they settled into the family farmhouse. My father was the second of the seven children that would be born into the family, when he was three years old the family moved “across the field” into their newly constructed home, one of the first to line Ebright Road.

By the time my father was growing up in the 50s and 60s, little had changed. Ebright Road was still just a narrow stretch through the country. “Fairfax” seemed like the big city and 202 north of the city was still pretty much a ride through the country. A right turn off 202 onto Naamans Road brought you to the new raceway, but after that the rural road resumed. The old landing strip had given way to a new high school.

I grew up on Ebright Road, but by the time I came along in the early 70s, there were some changes. Ebright Road had been paved (though still lacked any painted lines) and every house had a number. When I was four or five years old, my great-grandmother Rosaio sold a large portion of the farm to a developer who put in a housing tract called “Brandywine Forge.” Naamans Road was still just two narrow lanes (and would remain so until the mid 80s), but the old farmers had been busy selling their family land and so several new large housing developments flanked either side of the road from just past Ebright Road down to the intersection of Naamans and Foulk roads.

Route 202 had seen the birth of the Concord Mall, a couple hotels, the beginnings of a couple strip malls and a tall white office building built by the Rollins brothers, which seemed to stretch high into the sky …. If he had still been living, my grandfather Rosaio might have begun to have trouble recognizing parts of 202 by then. The wheels of progress were in full motion by the time the 80s arrived, the credit card companies had moved in and things were changing quickly ….

The old Quaker families are long gone now, their vast farms sold to developers, divided and sub-divided to make way for the endless housing tracts and strip malls that have become the new face of north Delaware’s landscape. My father, in turn, has become the legacy holder, living on the land that his Giusvalla-born grandfather purchased from a Quaker named Talley almost one hundred years ago ….

In the picture: View across the field to Grandmom’s house, circa 1975

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

John "Mutèn" Salvo

John "Mutèn" Salvo was my great-grandfather, and came to this country in 1910. His family (Albina, Ernest, and Esther) followed in 1913.

Mutèn was a hard working man who, as was the case with many others highlighted on this site, was a laborer at Squirrel Run.

The attached picture shows him alongside of his daughter-in-law, Marian (Ghione) Salvo, on her wedding day to his son, Ernest. It took place on June 15, 1939, at St. Patrick's Church in Kennett Square, PA. The day of the marriage apparently had an "interesting" atmosphere to it, as it has been told to me by my mother that sometime before this picture was taken, Marian gave Mutèn a kiss. At that point he openly referred to it as "the kiss of death". He'd stated that because he felt that she was taking his only son away from him, and without Ernest to care for him, he would not survive long. His daughter, Esther, had passed away in 1920, from a strain of the flu that Frank highlighted earlier on this site.

Little did Mutèn know that Marian would become one of the best people he could have had in his life, as she not only ended up caring for Ernest, but for Mutèn himself, as well as his brother-in-law, Teodoro (Doro) Piuma! Mutèn had not only lost his daughter in 1920, but also lost his wife, Albina, in 1937.

Mutèn and his family moved to 2903 W. 6th St. when Squirrel Run was dismantled in 1923. The home would later become where my Grandmom and Grandpop Salvo would reside and raise their three children as well.

My mother was only 5 years old when Mutèn passed away, but she does still have a few precious memories of him. For example, she recalls when he and Doro would return from a visit to the local tavern, he would bring her back a small bag of Planter's Peanuts for a treat. She also remembers bringing his lunch up to his room, during the final stages of his life when he had become bed-ridden. He would always respond to her with a polite "thank you". Sadly, my mother was not taught to speak Italian, so she did not get to communicate much with Mutèn before he passed. However, I believe that his accomplishments, and all that he'd experienced over the course of his life, had said more than enough for him.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Dilwyne Farm

These pictures show my Godfather, Arthur Angelone (husband of Theresa (Tortarolo) Angelone), enjoying a warm day with his buddies, one of whom was employed by Dilwyne Farm (as per the huckster truck in the background). Arthur is the man to the right with the brown hair and short-sleeved shirt. The Dilwyne employee and friend's identity is not known at this time. If you happen to recall this individual, please post a comment below the article, as we would be interested in knowing his name. Clicking on the photo will allow it to be seen at its full size.

Dilwyne Farm is one of the Estates in proximity to Squirrel Run, that was owned by R.R.M. Carpenter, an heir of the DuPont family.

These pictures were taken by my grandfather, Ernest Salvo.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Lalla Marì

Maria Manzino came from Giusvalla to Squirrel Run in 1913 at the age of 27. She was a younger half-sister of my great-grandfather Rosaio and was married to my great-grandmother Rosaio’s nephew, Fortunato Salvo.

Lalla Marì had a little girl, Celsina, who was left behind with her relatives in Giusvalla. The intention was to send for little Celsina after they had settled into life at Squirrel Run, however within just a few months of her arrival, Lalla Marì started experiencing abdominal pains and was soon gravely ill.

Poor Lalla Marì never got to see little Celsina again. Just a year after her arrival, she died of an abdominal infection. She was 28 years old at the time of her death, and was laid to rest in St. Joseph's-on-the-Brandywine cemetery.

Fortunato Salvo returned to Giusvalla, where he remarried and had three children by his second wife.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Great Influenza Epidemic of 1918

The Great Influenza epidemic (also known as “Spanish Flu”) hit the Philadelphia area in the fall of 1918 with the velocity of a freight train at full throttle. Hospitals were quickly inundated with the sick and dying. Whole families were decimated as the flu quickly infiltrated the cities, neighborhoods and countryside. Mortuaries and cemeteries could not keep up with the dead, family members were often buried together in a single grave, unembalmed and one on top of another.

Squirrel Run was hard hit during the flu epidemic, which overtook the area the first week of October. Following is a list of those unfortunate Giusvallìn who succumbed to the flu during that fateful fall of 1918:

Flaminia (Briccotto) Pesce, died 6 Oct (age 26)
Luigia (Perrone) Baccino, died 8 Oct (age 23)
Paolo Rocco Pesce, died 10 Oct (age 70)
Charles Bazzano, died 13 Oct (age 3)
John Carozzo, died 13 Oct (age 40)
Frances Carozzo, died 13 Oct (age 1½)
Peter Bazzano, died 17 Oct (age 1)
Onofrio Baccino, died 18 Oct (age 1)
Valentino Tortarolo, died 20 Oct (age 40)
Luigia (Perrone) Tortarolo, died 20 Oct (age 34)
Adelina (Sicco) Baccino, died 21 Oct (age 22)
Giuseppe Marenco, died 30 Oct (age 2)

These poor souls were buried at St. Joseph-on-the-Brandywine Cemetery, each carrying their own sad story with them to the grave.

Adelina (Sicco) Baccino was pregnant at the time of her death. She spent her last days tending to her flu-sick parents-in-law. She nursed them until she too became ill and was no longer able to leave her bed.

Little Onofrio Baccino died just 10 days after his mother Luigia (Perrone) Baccino, leaving a childless widower, and little Francie Carozzo died the same day as her father, John. They were buried together on the same day.

Mary (Baldo) Bazzano was ill with the flu at the time she lost her two sons, Charles and Peter, who died within four days of one another. She didn’t know of their passing until after she recovered.

Husband and wife, Valentino and Luigia (Perrone) Tortarolo died within just a couple hours of one another, leaving three young children to the care of their relatives.

Allura, an vüj di ciü …. ch’am mem’nan and'umma a desh'mentiemie mai ciü!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Ghione Family

Although they were not from Giusvalla, the Ghione family (from which my Grandmom Salvo comes) was still associated with Squirrel Run. The attached picture shows the complete family, before tragedy began to fall upon them. In the upper row are Marian (my grandmother), Teresa (Reggio) Ghione, Joseph Ghione, and Joseph Ghione Jr.- in the front row are Paul Ghione (left), and William Ghione (right) (photo courtesy of Vince and JoAnn Ghione).

As the years passed on, Joseph Ghione was killed in a freak hunting accident (December 15, 1930), as was Joseph Ghione Jr., who died apparently from being kicked by a horse. As a result, Teresa was forced to raise her family alone, and her children in turn were required to become adults much earlier than expected. It is yet another example of the hard lives our ancestors experienced when trying to gain a strong foothold in their new homeland.

Teresa and Joseph Ghione were from Alessandria, Italy.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

St. Patrick's Church, Kennett Square, PA

If you are doing any genealogy searches on your Squirrel Run or Tutti I Giusvallini family, and don't have many leads, you may want to check out this church for any wedding, baptismal, or funerary records for your ancestors. This church has been (and continues to be) a place of worship for many of the families who resided at Squirrel Run. My Salvo grandparents were married at this church on June 15, 1939. Many of their friends were as well (including the Carozzo's, whose family wedding photo can be found in an earlier post in this blog).

For more information regarding the church, you can go to this link.