Italian Immigrants   Lucky Italians

The year is 1883.  The scene is a tiny, obscure Italian village, Moiano, nestled beneath Tuburno Mountain, which looms 1980 feet above it. Dusty roads lead to the village square where the well, which supplied fresh water for the 140 inhabitants, is located.  Small stone huts dot the countryside, but the agricultural land is located “coppa monte”--up the mountain, where the land is very fertile.  It is there, where the farmers of Moiano eke out a meager living raising grains and vegetables.   Moiano is 21 miles from Naples.  To find it head 18 miles northeast from Naples to the village of Arpaia, then three more miles straight north to Moiano. The village and the area for miles around are rolling hills.  In the winter the snow covered caps of the Apennine Mountains can be seen in the east.  The climate of Moiano is similar to Southern California.  There is enough rain during the growing season (March-November) to sustain many food crops. There was nothing exceptional about this village; it had thieves, wife beaters, child abusers and drunks. Most importantly, every one knew who they were.  Primarily because there was nothing of great value to steal the Mano Nero (black hand) were absent. The prevailing opinion in Moiano at the time was that schooling did not teach boys the skills to work the land coppa monte nor teach girls how to sew, cook, keep house of raise children.

Cristoforo Colombo, a fellow Italian, sailed from Spain in 1492, intending to find a new route to the Fareast.  Instead he discovered a new world. Those who followed Colombo to the new world, introduced food plants cultivated in the old world; plants cultivated in the new world were taken to the old world.  This exchange of food plant greatly improved the lives on both sides of the ocean.   

The major plants introduced to the Europeans were corn, tomatoes and potatoes.  The potato was cultivated and readily eaten by the northern European.  It produced so well in Ireland’s soil.  A population explosion resulted due to this increase in food available.  In the middle of the 19th century, and for two consecutive years, a potato blight in Europe caused the crop to fail.  Ireland's population so dependent on the potato had no substitute food to take its place.  Mass starvation ensued; this triggered the great migration of the Irish to America

The Moianese disliked the potato.  The same land, which may have been used to raise potatoes, produced enough corn, wheat and beans. These crops provided at least as much to eat as a potato crop would. Since it grew well in the soil coppa monte, the limited amounts of potatoes that were cultivated were fed to the pigs, thus more families were able to raise pigs. Tomatoes were eaten fresh, and cooked in a sauce with or without meat.  Pasta, a southern Italian food for many centuries, went very well with this tomato sauce. Corn, most of the time, was not eaten fresh.  It was dried and ground into corn meal.  The rest of the corn plant was fed to the cows. Polenta (cooked corn meal) provided more food for family consumption then there had been before the introduction of the new crops. Furthermore like wheat flour and beans, corn meal was stored and eaten all year round. A family had enough flour from the harvested wheat crop, to make most of the bread and some of the pasta it consumed each year. Spring and summer vegetables were also cultivated for family consumption. Be aware that a familyhad very little space left for these vegetables, because of the need to raise as much wheat, corn and beans as they could.Milk from cows and goats made many varieties of cheese.  Raising chickens was important for the eggs they produced.  When a chicken stopped producing eggs it was killed.  Chicken soup with home made noodles, was a treat, and always prepared for a sick family member.Families who were more prosperous had olive trees.  At harvest time in the fall they made dark olive oil, both for family consumption and for sale.  There was sufficient orange, grapefruit, and lemon trees to satisfy the local need for these fruits. 

At sun up each morning (except Sunday) families left for coppa monte to attend their crops.  Home made bread, with wine and sometimes cheese was the food and drink that sustained the family during the day.

The increase in eatable foods from the crops of corn, tomatoes, and potatoes from the new world, caused the population in southern Italy to steadily increase.  By the early 1880's, due to the larger families, the male offspring’s did not inherit enough land suitable for cultivation to support more new families, when it had hardly fed their present family.

In the 1880's the young men in town began to look for work opportunities elsewhere.  At the time Argentina, Brazil and America were the most popular choices for migration because they offered many jobs and good pay.  Letters written by the immigrant expounded the benefits and opportunities of the new country.  This alone, greatly influenced relatives and friends to follow.

After Mass each Sunday morning the young men would meet to play and talk.  The choice to which country they would immigrate was their main topic of conversation for many weeks.  In late December of 1882, four of the boys immigrated to Argentina.  As indicated earlier, this should have influenced relatives and friends to follow.

One Sunday morning, in late February of 1883, before letters began arriving from Argentina, an individual from the nearby village of Arpaia joined the group of boys.  He just returned from America, he elaborated on the ready availability of jobs and good pay.  He said that in six months a person could repay a loan from his parents for ship passage and have saved enough money for the return trip to Italy.  He wore a white shirt, and at the time white shirts were a rarity at the time.

He gave the boys a name of a friend in Albany who they could use as a sponsor. American immigration authorities required an entering emigrant to have a sponsor in U.S. That could provide food and generally be responsible for the immigrant.

Melodeon Allen Jones, in his book entitled “American Immigration,”[1] describes the Italian immigration as follows:  "Southern Italians sustained a double shock in the late 1880's.  With the rapid increase in subtropical fruit production in Florida and California, American imports of Italian lemons and oranges fell, ruining thousands of growers in Calabria, Basilicata, and Sicily.  At the same time, France levied a prohibitive tariff wall against Italian wines.  This deprived the grape growers-wine makers of their chief export market.

Jones goes on to say; "that most emigrating from Italy would probably have gone to Brazil except that a yellow fever outbreak there carried off 9,000 Italian victims.  This led the Italian government temporarily to ban emigration to that country.  In Argentina, political disturbance, financial crisis, and a war with Paraguay brought economic life almost to a halt.  This directed most of the southern Italian immigration to the United States."

Those emigrating from southern Italy were primarily single male. Each intended to come to America, accumulate money, and return to Italy to marry and raise their families.  At first most did that.  Around the turn of the century the émigrés returned to Italy to marry, then returned to raise their family in America. Of the ten Moiano boys who decided to go to America, Only the parents of Angelo Saccone, Ferdinando Pepe, Antonio Marzano and two other boys whose names are unimportant to our story had the $30.00 required for the one-way ticket. 

The day before the ship was to leave Naples. The boys got on Zi Michele (Fernando’s fathers donkey cart). Each was holding one small cloth bag of personal belongings; with little room on the wagon each sat facing in different directions on the cart with their feet dangling. They headed for Naples. As all the mothers and fathers, with heavy hearts, tearfully waved goodbye, and proclaimed "dio di benedici, scrivo presto." (God bless you, and write soon.

That evening they slept on, near, and around the cart at the port of Naples.  The next morning, Wednesday, March 28, 1883, the boys feasted on the hard brown bread and wine their parents had packed.  Zi Michele tearfully hugged each boy at the gangplank as they boarded the ship.  The old man knew he would never see his son or any of the other boys again.  He gave his bread to his son and told him to split it with the other four boys.  Four boys from town had recently gone to Argentina.  Now his son and four more he had seen grow up, were leaving, it seems, Moiano was loosing all it's young men\

Zi Michele stood on the dock as the ship pulled away and waved goodbye.  He watched the ship until his poor eyesight could not be sure the boys were still on deck.  With tears streaming down his face he got aboard his little cart and headed back home.   

The first letter Ferdinando received from his mother in America recounted that his dad, Zi Michele had died one week to the day after they had left Naples for America. Most of the boys got seasick and they spent much of the trip in their bunks.  Steerage in those old ships was a trying experience.  Sanitary conditions did not exist and the odor was overwhelming.  Fresh water was only available on the ship's deck.   The diet for those who had an appetite consisted of salted fish, salted pork, and other salted meats. These foods, in the same order, where repeated for the entire trip. Many boys boarded the ship in Palermo.  Several days later, when the ship entered the Atlantic, it sailed into a spring storm.  This ended any merriment.  Most on the boat would suffer from seasickness for the balance of the voyage.

Ferdinando carried in his wallet the instructions written by the individual from Arpaia on how to get from lower Manhattan to Grand Central Station and then to Albany, New York.  Fate, however, stepped in to change all this.  After, the first night on the ship Ferdinand’s shoes and wallet containing the instructions were stolen.  The boys only remembered Albania, and that a railroad would take them there.  The rest of the journey everyone slept with their shoes on and their meager funds pinned under their clothes. Antonio, the oldest of the group did not get sea sick so he took care of the sick younger boys, he got them fresh water when they asked for it.  The rest of the time he looked for a pair of shoes for Ferdinando.  He was able to secure two left shoes of different sizes. The left shoe fit quite well.  The shoe he wore on his right foot was considerably bigger than his right foot. On the 42nd day of the trip, eighty-nine passengers including the five from Moiano, who were sick and weak, were on deck waiting to DE board the ship.  Promptly at 6:30 am the ship docked in Pier 18 in New York City. The immigrants were all lead to a small barge for their trip to the Castle Gardens immigration station.  Breathing the fresh air, away from the stench of excrement and vomit they had lived with on the ship was invigorating. 

The barge hugged the Manhattan coastline heading south.  It provided vignettes of each New York City east-west street.  The new arrivals could see much traffic, every conceivable wagon, big and small all loaded with commerce of the day pulled by horses.  Many buildings were larger than any they saw in Naples or Palermo, furthermore, New York City never seemed to end. 

Soon the barge pulled up to another dock. A big round concrete fortress faced them with a sign reading Castle Garden. Castle Garden processed immigrants who came to America until 1991 before completion of the Ellis Island facility. Castle Garden, located 35-feet off shore on the southern tip of Manhattan Island, started its life as the southwest Battery in 1811. Later the fort became Castle Clinton in honor of DeWitt Clinton, a former mayor of New York.








On August 3, 1855 Castle Clinton was renamed Castle Garden, under lease to the State of New York, it opened as an immigration depot.  A short time before it opened, Castle Garden was joined to the mainland by fill dirt.  From 1855 to 1889 more than eight million immigrants two out of three persons immigrating to the United States went through the Castle Garden building. Castle Gardens, over the period from 1855 to 1953, was an important stop for all arriving immigrants.  First, as an emigration station, then when the Ellis Island facility opened the immigrants were taken by boat to Castle Gardens.  It became more commonly known, and referred to, as the Battery. The immigration station at Castle Garden was slow; the boys spent most of the day in one line or another.At another pier down the street from the station a small barge was anchored.  Luckily none from Moiano ended up there.  This barge, headed for Staten Island at the end of the day. A quarantine hospital located there was for the émigré’s who were sick or did not pass the medical examination in Castle Garden

Most of them were placed on another ship and returned to their homeland.  U. S. Law required the steamship lines provide free return passage for these individuals.

At three o'clock that afternoon the last individual joined the group.  Without the written instructions they had no idea what they would now do.  Each expected that someone else in the group would have a good idea. Meanwhile money exchangers, others selling clothing and bags of food, the boys had no money to purchase and of these items, or needed any of their services.   Antonio, approaching any individual who he thought m might answer a question, said “Albania," hoping to get a response in Italian.  Soon the other four were asking the same question.  Nobody seemed to understand or respond. 

A stranger who spoke Italian but dressed in American style clothes, told Antonio to wait there and he would return to help him.  Even though the other boys noticed Antonio just standing, they continued asking, because they did not know what they could do if they failed to find their way to Albany.

Soon the other four boys noticed Antonio obviously in deep conversation with this stranger.  Each found their way through the crowd to where Antonio and the stranger were talking.  Speaking in Italian he told Antonio that work was scarce in Albany, which was not true.  However, The New York Lake Erie and Western Railroad (Erie Railway) needed workers and a job was waiting for him.

Railroad steam engines were now burning soft coal instead of wood. Most of the local men would not work at the ash pits any longer; Ash pits are where ashes were removed from the steam engines before repairs could be made.  Removing the wood ashes (which quickly burned out and only ashes remained) was easy.  Removing the soft coal ashes that burns much longer was something else.  The burning soft coal fused, making clinkers.  The clinkers had to be broken with iron rods so they could pass through the grates under the firebox. The men whose jobs it was to break up the clinkers were so close to the engine firebox opening that they continually were breathing the soft coal gases.  They soon developed breathing problems, with persistent coughing

Each boy strained to hear the conversation between the Italian-American and Antonio.  They realized this stranger was offering Antonio a job.  The anticipation of possible work was overwhelming. Antonio mentioned he had four other friends.  They all smiled when the Erie representative said there would be a job for everyone.  They continued listening with broad smiles as this man sent from heaven explained to them about the work and the pay.     

He escorted the group in our story and many other Italian immigrants to the overhead rail line a three-minute walk from the Castle Gardens building.  Their smiles widened when he remarked that meals were free until they got to their final destination. He placed them on the train going uptown, and told them to get off at Chamber Street.  He gave Antonio written directions in Italian on how to get to the Erie terminalin Jersey City

At Chamber Street they walked several blocks to the pier on the Hudson River and boarded the ferry, which had a sign on its smoke stack that read "Erie Railway."  Above the dock where the ferry stopped, a sign read “New York Lake Erie and Western Railroad.”  Disembarking the ferry, and way at the other end of the board walk, another sign read “Erie Railway passenger terminal.”  The terminal, this time any day and especially on a Friday afternoon, was very busy with people rushing off and on the incoming and out going trains.

The Erie representative in Jersey City recognized them as immigrants sent from Castle Gardens.  He greeted them in Italian and explained how well off they would be with the money they would earn, and that many other Italians chose to work for the Erie.

At an office next to the waiting room, each man signed a work application in Italian.  The representative then took them to the station cafeteria, where the day's menu included all they wanted of Italian spaghetti and tomato sauce with real meat, and lettuce salad. None in the group could remember when, in their young lives, that their hunger had been so completely satisfied

They spent the night in the station bunkroom with 35 other Italians who had arrived on their ship.  All the Italians expressed, each in his way, his thanks to God for guiding them as He had. Their hunger more than satisfied, everyone slept well. The next morning at 7:00 they ate breakfast in the cafeteria.  The menu consisted of very salty ham, eggs and pancakes.  They ate as many eggs and prosciutto (ham) as they thought the company would allow.

After breakfast they all boarded Number One, the Erie Railway westbound Day Express, scheduled to leave at 9:15 a. m.  The train consisted of one baggage-mail car, three coaches, a dining car, a Pullman Sleeper and an immigrant coach on the rear.  This coach was an old, dilapidated wooden one.  Built for the line 40 years before, it had recently been converted to run on the Erie's new standard gauge rail.  The interior had hard wooden benches and there was no drinking water or toilets.  The locked Pullman car ahead of the coach confined the Italians to this car

The five from Moiano had tickets to Susquehanna Depot, Pa.  The group from Abruzzi and Sicily tickets read Hornellsville, those from Calabria read Buffalo and Meadville.

A story of Slavic immigrants in the early part of the 20th century is interesting.  Contents of letters from America advised those who planned going to America, that EJ surely would hire them. Word generally got around to friend, relatives, and strangers that when they arrived in America, they needed to simply ask for directions.  Not knowing the language, the immigrant learned that two words "Where EJ?" were sufficient. By this time the emigration station at Ellis Island was in full service.  At the Ellis Island Railroad office when the immigrants asked the clerk, “Where EJ?"  The clerk sold them a ticket to Binghamton, N. Y., and included written instruction on how to get to the Erie station in Jersey City.

At Chamber Street one followed everyone else and boarded the ferry for Jersey City.  At Jersey City Erie station ticket window if the immigrant had not bought a ticket at Ellis Island, he asked "Where EJ?"  The ticket agent would reach in the ticket rack and pull out a ticket for Binghamton, N. Y.

On arriving in Binghamton it was easy for the immigrant to find the Endicott Johnson shoe factories.  For this reason the greater majority of Endicott Johnson employees, the early part of the 20th Century, were from the Slavic countries of Poland and Czechoslovakia.

The Day Express began moving with a jolt and it ran slowly for quite a while through a maize of rail lines like spider webs, passing other rail traffic coming east.  As the webs of rails were left behind, the train picked up more speed.

The sky had gotten darker and it began to rain.  All on this passenger car were dry and comfortable.  For a couple of hours going west and north on the train, there was much talk among the individuals, each comparing their life and homes in Italy.  They found the reasons they all came to America were similar.  There was excitement in their voices when they spoke of the stated hourly pay of 10 cents, Buono paga (good pay) all agreed.

The station names read Passaic, Patterson, Turners, as the rain continued.  Just before arriving in Port Jervis the rain had stopped and the sun was shining.  The train slowed while passing a track gang aligning the rails.  Someone in the track gang realized that fellow Italians were in the last coach shouted "Paisano, Paisano," windows quickly opened, and all waved back shouting Paisano

Each person now realized that his life had changed.  Thoughts of their families made each sad and for the first time they began to miss their homes in Italy.  They sat silently looking out the train windows at this strange land that was all mountains filled with forest.

The train going westbound snaked beside the Delaware River.  With windows left opened the noisy creaking of the wooden coach and the rhythmical snapping of the train wheels on the rail joints was heard and it was hard to carry on any conversation.  Occasionally the engine whistle sounded.  When the wind was right smoke from the engine came in the open windows.  Soot got into some of the men's eyes.  Several men had gotten red eyes because they rubbed them.  Soon one in the group had to carefully extract the agitating flex of soot.

Each community had a small station and a few homes scattered in the forest.  People would stop what they were doing and wave at the train. The names printed on the stations read Lackawaxen, Narrowsburg, Cochecton, Callicoon and Lordville.  All of these small hamlets looked alike. 

Between each stop those who had to urinate at first relieved themselves off the back vestibule.  They soon found that the wind blew the urine everywhere primarily back on them selves.  The boys designated a corner on one end of the coach for relieving oneself.  By the time the train reached Susquehanna Depot this passenger car odor reminded them of the ship.

The American railroads carried many European immigrants from New York to points west. In the early years most were Irish, English, Dutch and German.  No one could foresee the flood of emigration that would come in the future. This group was lucky; they were on a “through train” and would reach their destination in just a few hours.  The Erie, and all the other eastern railroads, ran trains for immigrants only.  These trains had no priority on the rail lines.  The equipment was the oldest the lines had, and much of it, like the coach they rode, had no drinking water or toilet facilities.  The immigrant trains went from one railroad siding to another to get out of the way of regular passenger and freight traffic.  A trip from New York to Chicago could take as long as three days to complete.

In comparison, the New York Central Limited and the Pennsylvania Railroad Limited left New York City at 8:00 a. m. and arrived Chicago the next morning; just 26 hours to make the trip. The original Erie Limited went into service in 1884.  For its short life, it left New York at 6:00 p. m. and arrived in Chicago the next evening at 9:00 p. m. 

An Erie Railway timetable of May 14, 1855, listed an immigrant train.  Scheduled to leave New York at 6:00 p. m., it arrived Dunkirk, NY 5:23 a. m., the second morning.  In comparison the Night Express scheduled from New York at 5:30 p. m., it arrived in Dunkirk at 12:00 noon the next day. Soon after the train left Lordville, it slowed to a crawl.  Just ahead a boxcar on a westbound freight had pulled a draw-head, (There is a draw head and a knuckle, part of the draw head, on each end of a railroad car.  This is how the cars are coupled together.  When a draw head is pulled or broken, the car disconnects from the car ahead or behind depending which end of the car's draw head goes bad.)  The defective freight car was switched in the siding. The train then had to back slowly in the same siding to get out of the passenger train's way. Because they had eaten so much ham that morning, the Italians were very thirsty.  Ferdinando was taller than anyone else at 5 foot 11 inches, the thinnest at barely 130 pounds, and the joker of the group. He seized the opportunity seeing the river just a few steps down the bank from the train to drink.  He jumped off the slowly moving train, skipped over the eastbound track, slipped down the bank and fell in the river. The other Italians watching from the train window laughed loudly as he paused for a moment neck deep in the water and holding one shoe out of the water.  This was amusing to everyone except Ferdinando.  He had to sit with wet clothes in that drafty train two more hours.  When the train came to a complete stop the rest of the boys carefully ran down to the river to get a drink of water.  The train began moving again passing the siding as the crew of the freight watched

After leaving Deposit NY the train headed southwest and slowed considerably.  The engine struggled to pull the Seven-car train up the hill to Gulf Summit.  There was no river, no houses, just the train, mountain and forests.  After 30 minutes, at the top of the summit, the train began to pick up speed. 

The Moiano boys practiced pronouncing this strange town name printed on their passes (Susquehanna Depot.)  They considered themselves lucky that they would arrive at 4:00 p. m.  The group going to Hornell had another 4-hour trip; the Buffalo group, 8 hours; and Meadville group even longer, after a wait in Hornell for a connecting train.

Ahead and below they could see many homes scattered in the forest and a much larger river, the Susquehanna, swollen this time of year because of the spring rains. 

Susquehanna Depot was located on the south side of the Susquehanna River.  The station, shops, and westbound yards, and half mile of Susquehanna Main Street were flat. Otherwise, when walking from one part of town to another, people walked up or down a hill.  

The boys were excited as they waited to get off the train.  Through the train windows they noticed the repair shops with smoke stacks, more tracks, and switch engines.  Some of the shopworkers were outside to watch the Day Express pull into town 35 minutes late.

As the young Italian stepped off the train, a man was waiting to get on their coach with a basket full of sandwiches for the remaining Italians.  A car inspector seeing them gets off hollered to his fellow worker, "Jesus Christ, I told you they were hiring more of those Italian WOP!”  Apart from their dress identifying them as immigrants, at least one of them still had the WOP tag pinned on his shirt.

Susquehanna station, during late afternoon, was the busiest place in town.  Several of the local old timers met there when the weather permitted.  The meeting place was on benches in front of the waiting room.  Three passenger trains coming through town in three hours provided much entertainment, as they noted who was coming into and leaving town.

They discussed the local railroad gossip with those who worked around the station.  The recounting of old times around town garnered much interest; the building of Starrucca Viaduct, the completion of Main street to the old station, the track gangs laying rails the construction of the repair shops.   

In the station restaurant they had their last free food, plates with salami sandwiches and mashed potatoes.  Because they were hungry they wolfed down all they could eat.

The passenger train quickly departed.  An eastbound freight came roaring by the station with two engines in front, belching steam and black smoke with two pusher engines on the train’s rear belching even more steam and black smoke.  Day and night these eastbound trains could be heard on West Hill, Main, West Main, and Washington Streets, and, later on, even up on Prospect Street. 

When the men finished eating, another stranger approached them.  His face and hands were almost black from the residue of soft coal dust.  They all smiled when he addressed them in Italian, "Buono giorno Pasiani."  He told them he worked in the ash pit, where they would work.  His name was Pietro, he was from Calabria, and was the only one left from his group who had come to Susquehanna four years earlier. 

He gave each person an identification card allowing him to buy food on credit at Lannon and Baxter grocery store on Main Street.  As he let them out of the restaurant, he said they must all report at the station at 6:00 a. m. the next morning.  Because the weather was warm, the station windows were open.  They could hear the click clack of the telegraph coming from the telegraph office.  Pietro led them out of the restaurant, then inside another station door, up the stairs and out on Front Street to a rooming house. Pietro smiled as he left the new arrivals with a very noisy house landlady. She told them how much the rooming fees were, and that the fees were payable immediately after receiving their first Railroad pay, the Italians could only guess what she was saying.  She motioned them to follow her out the back door of the rooming house up a path to the outhouse and opened the door.  It was obvious to the Italians what it was used for.

That evening the Italians went to look for Lannon and Baxter Grocery store where they bought enough bread, and salami for brea

Down at A. M. Bronson Piano store a big freight wagon with two horses was blocking the sidewalk and most of the street.  Three men had been sliding a piano on its back up a wooden ramp that had slipped off the main bed of the wagon.  They could not get the piano back down because the end of the piano rested between the ramp and the wagon.  The three men (Mr. Smith, the purchaser of the piano; Mr. Bronson and his helper) attempting to load the piano were not strong enough to safely move it either way.kfast. On Saturday evenings Main Street was very busy.  Horses and wagons were weaving back and forth, and many people were visiting with each. The Italians gazed into each store; they believed everything available to buy in the world was displayed in the windows of Susquehanna Store

The Smith family, four boys and two girls and their mother, were close by wondering if they could help.  Bronson was upset; he had agreed to deliver the piano this evening and now was face-to-face with the prospect of badly damaging this instrument that cost him $40.00.  A man and woman, who were aware of the problem, held the horses in case they become spooked and lurched forward.  Antonio and two of the Italians lent their hands and the six men managed to lift it enough to secure one end on the wagon.  The ramp fell to the ground making an exploding noise.  To Bronson’s relief, they were then easily able to slide it the rest of the way securely on the wagon.

Ferdinando, not one of the Italians helping with the piano, noticed Mrs. Smith as she grabbed her two girls and pulled them behind her.  She had heard that in Binghamton, N. Y., Italians were raping little girls. Although Mrs. Smith never read this in the daily newspaper, The Binghamton Leader, she believed the gossip to be true. The Italians received only a smile from Bronson.  They found no acceptance from others in Susquehanna, and later would find even less acceptance at work.

At 6:00 the next morning they met Pietro at the station and he escorted them to the ash pit.  Antonio and Ferdinando started work right away with Pietro.  The other three boys started that evening at 6:00 p. m., for the night shift.

No matter that the boys had the hardest and dirtiest jobs, and terrible weather, but they were earning money.  The pay, 10¢ an hour allowed them repay their parents, save enough for the return passage to Italy and Most importantly their wallets would be stuffed over $200.00 when they returned to Italy

The nature of the work caused them to have many coughing spells, some coughed so hard they almost strangled as they tried to bring air into their lungs.  Those who could not adjust returned home in less than two years.  Antonio, who was physically strong remained for some five years.  He outlived all of his peers and died in Moiano in 1950