Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Paris Shoe Repairing Co.

Giovanni Battista “Batistèn” Perrone came to Squirrel Run from Giusvalla in 1906. He was 25 years at the time and like his father “Piedrinìn,” he was a master shoemaker, so soon after his arrival he began making plans to start his own business in the city of Wilmington. He saved enough money working in the powder mills for a couple years to lease a building at 210 West 8th Street. Batistèn called his business the “Paris Shoe Repairing Co.” and hired other experienced Italians, including several of his fellow Giusvallini, to work in his shop. By the late 1910s, his business was doing very well; he had purchased the building on West 8th Street and a nice home at 3107 Monroe Street. He had a crew of many men and a secretary working for him. It is said in my family lore that his clients included various members of the DuPont family, and that he made special shoes for certain DuPonts that had particular podiatric needs.

Batistèn’s family included his wife, Josephine (Pesce), and their children Antonia (who died at birth), Paolo (who died at the age of 13 months), Alicina “Elsie,” Anne and Johnny. His three sisters, Paolina Camoirano, Katie Rosaio and Maria Baccino also came over from Giusvalla and lived in the area with their families. Around the time that they all gathered together with the other Giusvallini families in 1923 for the “Tutti i Giusvallini” reunion, Batistèn had begun to develop stomach problems. The problem got worse over the next few months, and in mid April 1924 he underwent an operation at the University of Pennsylvania hospital in Philadelphia. Later that week, Batistèn became frustrated with his recovery and left the hospital, probably prematurely. When he arrived in the city of Wilmington, he lost his balance as he was stepping off the trolley car and stumbled into the street, further injuring himself. He was brought home where he died in bed a few hours later. He was just 43 years old.

The funeral Mass for Batistèn was said at St. Patrick’s Church in Wilmington, and he was buried in St. Joseph-on-the-Brandywine Cemetery.

In the picture: The Paris Shoe Repairing Co. shop at 210 West 8th Street, Wilmington. Batistèn Perrone (owner) is on the far left. Also in this picture are Giusvallini Edgar Carozzo, Dave Bazzano and Henry Bonifacino.


  1. Frank, am I missing something, did you forget Aunt Anne? And who is Katie Rosaio, I know I have heard the name, but forget the connection.

  2. Hello, Aunt Anne is one of the children named in the post. Antonia was stillborn, then Paolo died as a baby, then Aunt Elsie was born, then Aunt Anne and Uncle Johnny was the youngest. Katie Rosaio was Grandpop Rosaio's 1st wife.