In the year 1910 we know that Pietro Carrocci was working as a coal
miner in McDowell County West Virginia. One would imagine that if he had
come to the U.S. to work in the mines, he had to stay the full length of
his commitment, however long that might have been. There are some
interesting events concerning Domenico and Pietro Carrocci.
The reason Domenico Carrocci was not in the 1910 census was because
he wasn’t in the U.S. at the time. He was in Italy.
This is certain because Domenico’s last child Caterina was born on the
14th of August 1911. This means that he must have been back in Caulonia at least nine months before, probably even earlier than
that. What we do not know is why Domenico went back home.
Here is the only picture we have of Domenico’s wife, Fortunata Lopresti Carrocci. She’s the one sitting down in the center of the photo. Top left is her next-to-the youngest daughter Angela Carrocci Cavallo. In the middle of the back row is Angela’s oldest daughter, Maria Cavallo. On the right in the back is Fortunata’s sister Mele. In the lower left is Nimms, Angela’s son, who immigrated to Australia. On his lap is Rose, the daughter of Domenico’s son Antonio.
The name of the ship that Pietro arrived on was The Berlin. It was
built in Germany in 1909 and was listed as 17,323 gross tons. It carried
3,212 passengers: 266 in first class and 2,700 in third class. The Berlin
was quite a bit larger than the Prinzess Irene, the first ship that Pietro
took to the U.S. He was becoming a seasoned traveler.
What we don’t know about Pietro is when he went back to Italy after arriving in 1906 or if he went back with his father,
Domenico, sometime before 1911.
a picture of Pietro that hung the house at 1020 W. Adams Street in
Steubenville, Ohio for years. Pietro said it was of him when he was in the
Italian army. It could have been
during the period when he was in Italy
before his second arrival back in the U.S. in May of 1914. Once again,
this is a composite picture. The infant could be Pietro’s first son Dominic, who was born January 1st,
1918. Pietro never talked much about being in the army, or of his travels
back and forth between Italy and
About a year after Pietro came back into the states he was followed by his father Domenico and his younger brother Ilario. You’ll notice that the immigration officials misspelled their first names and the name of hometown.
We also have a picture of the ship Domenico and Ilario came in on, Duca degli Abruzzi. The ship was built in La Spezia, Italy and was rated at 7,838 gross tons. It could carry 1,836 passengers: 80 in first class; 16 in second class; and 1,740 in third class.
By the end of June 1915 we have Domenico Carrocci and his two sons,
Pietro and Ilario, back in the U.S.A. They are the only members of
Domenico’s family to come to the U.S. We think that during this time the
three were living somewhere in West Virginia or maybe even in the Ohio
Also about this time, according to a family friend, at least Pietro and Ilario were in the bootlegging business. That family friend was compare Larry Tucci, who also was from Caulonia.
When my wife Marcia and I used to visit the Phoenix area long before we moved here, we used to visit with Larry Tucci and his wife Minnie. It was during one of those visits that Larry Tucci told me about Pietro’s bootlegging days and he said Pietro was a heavy drinker. He never mentioned Domenico being involved, so it must have been just Pietro and Ilario. Perhaps the two were bootlegging West Virginia moonshine, but probably they would travel to Lake Erie to pick up booze from Canada. A lot of contraband liquor came through the port at Ashtabula because it was the shortest distance between the U.S. and Canada.
It just so happens that Annetta Siciliano Basil was either living
in or running a boarding house in Ashtabula during that period. She had
two children by that time: Mary, who was born in 1908; and Benjamin
Raymond, who was born October 7, 1914. No one knows or would say where
Annetta’s husband was during this time. We don’t know if he died or if
they were divorced. Divorce wasn’t a viable solution to marital problems
in those days, so that might not be a possibility. By the way, the
researcher could not find birth records for Mary or Benny in Ashtabula.
The only death record she could find for a Basile was of an Alfonso Basile,
divorced, who died about 1925 at about 50-years old. Would someone named
Alfonso be called Tony?
My brother Domenic James and I suspect that Pietro Carrocci met
Annetta Siciliano Basil at that boarding house sometime around the year
1916. We have no idea how many times they met or when they decided to get
together, we just know that they did. They must have married sometime
during that year or during the first quarter of 1917 because their first
child, Dominic, was born on New Year’s Day 1918.
Another interesting note about Pietro is that he must have returned
to Italy a second time, unless
there’s another Pietro Carrocci from Caulonia,
Reggio Calabria. The Ellis Island immigration records show him coming
into the U.S. a third time on October 4, 1920. Why he went back and forth
so many times is still a mystery. He never mentioned going back a second
time, yet here is the passenger record and a picture of the ship.
All the information is correct, except the age. Our Pietro Carrocci
was born April 2, 1889. He would have been over 30 years old instead of
the 29 listed on the passenger record. Did the infamous Ellis Island
immigration officials strike again? Perhaps. By the way, the ship he came
in on was The Canada. Built in France in 1911, it was rated at 9,648 gross
tons and carried 2,166 passengers: 120 in first class; 196 in second
class; and 1,850 in third class.
It should be noted
that Pietro and Anna’s daughter Marie was born in early June of 1919,
which means that Pietro must have been in the U.S. at least nine months
before then. This indicates that he only spent a short time back in Caulonia,
if that’s where he went.