Monday, July 12, 2010

I fiëj ‘d Pietrìn ur Palardèn

Judging from his straninome alone, it appears my ancestor Pietro Perrone “Palardèn” must have been someone of great respect in Giusvalla. Whatever specific actions warranted him that fine nickname have been lost to time, but it’s apparent from other sources that Pietro was someone who was trusted and relied upon by his fellow Giusvallìn. His name appears over and over among the town records, as arbitrator, town councilman and witness to various important documents. As a respected town elder, he was appointed mayor of Giusvalla in the 1830s. He is also recorded throughout the church records of San Matè, it is apparent that he was an active and faithful parishioner.

Pietro was born in Giusvalla in 1773 and was a son of Gaspare Perrone and Caterina Scarrone. He is called “contadino” (farmer) on the early records, as the eldest son he inherited the farm on the family homestead at ra Collà. Pietro married Angela Maria Caterina Doglio in 1799 and became the father of ten children and through them, the scion of one of the largest Perrone families in Giusvalla …. quite a feat when you consider that each of the many brichi ed Giusvalla had their own Perrone clan. By the time of his death in 1855, he is called “possidente” (wealthy); it is evident that Pietro “Palardèn” lived a fruitful and industrious life.

Pietro’s eldest son, Gaspare Perrone “Gashpèn ‘d Palardèn,” inherited the family farm at ra Collà, he followed in his father’s footsteps and married a local girl, Margherita Baccino, with whom he had a large brood of ten children of his own. Catasti records indicate that Gaspare made certain improvements to his father’s farm at ra Collà, and that the farm included a respectable number of livestock (an indication of prosperity in oft-impoverished Giusvalla). Several of Gaspare’s children were among the first waves of Giusvallini immigrants to South America. In fact, later in life, Gaspare accompanied his daughter Adelaide and her family to Montevideo, Uruguay, where he died in 1876 at the age of 76.

Following in the tradition, Gaspare’s eldest son Lorenzo Antonio Perrone remained on the family farm at ra Collà, where he honored the other tradition of having a large family. Lorenzo and his wife, Maria Luigia Perrone (from the Perrone family “dei Galletti”) had nine children, including my 2nd great-grandmother, Maria Caterina “Marinìn.”

Our “mùma granda” Marinìn never came to the United States, but her son Francesco “Franceschèn” Rosaio did, and so did her brother Antonio Perrone. Both my great-grandfather Rosaio and his uncle “Borba Tunèn” initially worked for the DuPont family; my great-grandfather in the powder mills and Borba Tunèn as a carpenter and stone mason in the Hagley yard. By 1917, my great-grandfather was in the mushroom business on his own farm on Ebright Road (and had married a girl from yet another Perrone family of Giusvalla – Caterina Perrone “Catarinìn ‘d Piedrinìn”).

After the powder mills closed, Borba Tunèn went to work as a stonemason on the Henry F. DuPont estate at Winterthur. But he deserves a story of his own.

In the picture: The road to località Collà, ancestral home of my Perrone ancestors - ch’è balli ch’j sun i brichi ed Giusvalla!

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