Saturday, January 29, 2011

Mary Michelle Iaquiele Lamonica

Mary Michelle Iaquiele Lamonica

Born: December 6, 1879

Died: June 29, 1950

Mary Lamonica photo
 from Steubenville, Ohio
 She was born Mary Michelle Iaquiele on December 6, 1879, in Potenza, Italy to Biaggio Iaquiele and Antonetta Colabello. Potenza, the city, is located in the Potenza Province of the Basilicata Region in Southern Italy.

There are little details of the early years of life in and around Potenza, Italy. We do know that these were difficult times with the area recovering from some deadly earthquakes including an 1857 event.

On May 5, 1900, she married Michele Archangelo Lamonaca, we know him as Mike Lamonica. It is likely that the couple made their home in nearby Forenza, Italy, the home town of Mike Lamonica.

In 1903 while pregnant with her first child, she faced a tough situation when her husband made the choice many young Italian men were making at the time, to try his luck by going to America.

In those days, trips were undertaken by the men with the intention of returning home with money. Once back, they used their earnings to buy land or a home. It was often necessary to make more than one trip to obtain enough money to complete their transactions.

So with her husband gone, Mary gave birth to a daughter Grace Marie Lamonica on September 12, 1903. Mary raised her daughter for several years before her husband sent for her. On February 15, 1907 Mary and daughter Grace boarded the USS Prinzess Irene in Naples, Italy and on March 3, 1907 they arrived in Ellis Island, New York. She was just 25 years old, unable to speak English and with little funds. Despite the hardships, she made her way to Steubenville, Ohio to join her husband and see what life waited.

In the new country, the young couple was welcomed by a large crowd of Italians in the area. Husband Mike found work as a barber and Mary raised their daughter.

Mary Iaquiele Lamonica (left) and her mother
Antonetta Colabello Iaquiele

Just a year later, on February 17, 1908, Mary gave birth to the couples’ only son Donato Antonio Lamonica. Shortly after this event, the couple travelled back to Italy. This was fairly common for the day, as many Italians returned home with some savings to help the rest of the family.

Once again, pregnant with child number three, Mary watched as her husband Mike Lamonica headed for Naples, Italy for another trip to America. On March 19, 1909, in Forenza, Italy, Mary welcomed their third child, Christina Marie Lamonica.

Mary likely stayed with family in Italy while her husband sent funds home. In 1918 her husband Mike was required to register for the WWI Draft. On his draft form, he listed his wife as living in Forenza, Italy.

By 1920 Mike Lamonica had firmly established himself in the Steubenville, Ohio area. With a healthy business and a solid community of Italian immigrants around him; Lamonica sent for his family. On September 14, 1920, Mary along with daughter Grace, 17, son Dan, 12, and daughter Christina, 11, once again made the trip through Ellis Island, NY, this time aboard the SS Thomas. The four arrived September 25, 1920 only to be held at Ellis Island until their release on September 28, 1920. It was common at the time to hold immigrants who were unable to speak English or whom had little funds. We are not sure why they were held.

The “Roaring Twenties” was just that in Steubenville, Ohio. The area was full of crime and corruption. The newspaper reports are filled with shootings, stabbings, murders and a host of other not so nice activities. Unfortunately, it seems that Mary’s husband Mike was deeply involved.

Daughter Grace married fellow Italian Vito Giovanni Gallo and on September 15, 1922, Grace gave birth to son Dominic A. Gallo. This would be the first of many grandchildren (13) for Mary. Grace and husband Vito went on to have four more children – Mary, born March 18, 1924; Mike, born June 27, 1925; Rose, born xxxx and Victor, born May 2, 1931.

Mary and Mike’s only son, Dan, married Mary Lupinetti on January 22, 1928 in Wellsburg, West Virginia. Dan and Mary Lamonica welcomed their only child Mary Louise on November 18, 1928.

Mary was able to make at least one more trip back to Italy to see family and friends. Records show a trip in 1933.

On June 28, 1934 Mary’s daughter Christina married John “Chico” Ciccolella. Just one year later, on August 29, 1935, Christina gave birth to her first child, Antonetta Ciccolella. Six more grandchildren would come from daughter Christina and husband John and they include: John Eugene Ciccolella, born December 10, 1937; Anita Mary Ann Ciccolella, born August 8, 1939; Pauline Ciccolella, born January 28, 1940; Maria “Gigi” Ciccolella, born October 27, 1941; Mike Ciccolella, born October 19, 1943 and Sandi Ciccolella, born September 29, 1951.

Mary died prior to the birth of her last grandchild, passing on June 29, 1950. According to her daughter Christina, she died of old age at 70. Although she had a difficult life, never learning the language, Mary was married to her husband Mike for 50 years. She was buried in Steubenville, Ohio at Mt. Calvary Cemetery.

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