Immigrant #9 ~ Carmine A. Ferraro, Priest and Maestro

Immigrant Carmine Costantino Girolamo Angelo Ferraro was born in 1878 in the Montecalvario neighborhood of Naples Italy and came to America as a Franciscan priest in 1904.  He was my great grandfather.  Montecalvario is a northern neighborhood in the Quartieri Spagnoli, an infamous section of neighborhoods created in the 16th century by the Spanish rulers.  In short, they housed the troops that controlled the populace and crushed rebellions.  It is a neighborhood known for high crime and unemployment.

 

ViaPignasecca
Market today at Pignasecca, Montecalvario, Napoli

 

When my great grandfather was born, his father was a merchant and his parents named him after his mother Filomena Napolitano’s father Carmine, in the Italian naming tradition.  Carmine was the second son, and would therefore be named after his maternal grandfather.  The family lived on Via Pignasecca, #16.  See:  On This Day in 1878.  Carmine was one of 6 children.  The others were in order of birth: Antonio (oldest child), Angela Maria, Gelsomina, Elena, and Giovania.

Late in life, my great grandfather wrote an essay on the state of opera in America published in Who’s Who in Music in 1954.  At the back of the book was his biography, written by him.  He put in there that he attended high school at the Naples Royal Military College/Reale Accademia Militare.  It is also known as Nunziatella.  This is a link to the English Wikipedia entry on Nunziatella.  He also put in there that he attended the Naples Conservatory of Music Naples at San Pietro a Majella.  You can read about that conservatory at this Wikipedia link.  One more note about his Naples education in the  biography was that he had a Ph.D in Literature and Romance Languages.  Since his father was a retired military officer, Capitano Angelo Ferraro, I can see he might have attended the Nunziatella, but of course, we don’t know if he attended for a few years or just one year.

Papa 1900 Caserta Italy
Photo labeled 1900, Caserta

 

By 1899 he was in the Italian Army for two years as a Lieutenant.  He stated later in a federal file I obtained here that his Italian military service was completed in 1901.  That would have made him 23.  He is the only great grandfather I have that I cannot obtain his military record from Italy.  The Archives of Naples claims the draft year he belonged to was destroyed by allied bombing in WWII.  I wonder if that is really accurate.

In 1904 he acquired a passport to come to America as a Franciscan Priest at the Questura in Naples.  When did he have time to study the priesthood?  That is a very good question.  My grandmother had a letter from him stating he did missionary work in Peru as well. This had to have happened before he first came through Ellis Island.  In my previous post about the first time he put his foot on U.S. soil: On this day 112 years ago… he traveled to America with his mother and sisters (excluding Giovania) to meet their father Angelo and brother Antonio in Brooklyn.  Carmine was NOT detained at Ellis Island.

By 1906, according to the word of mouth of my forebears, Carmine had left the priesthood.  There are conflicting stories on where he was a priest.  I have heard NYC and all of the towns in Ohio that begin with a “C.”  I did check with the archival center for the Diocese of Columbus to see if he was a priest there.  Why Columbus?  Because that is where I found him in the 1907 Columbus Directory living with his parents at 394 Goodale.  Whatever happened to made him leave is no bother to me, and since I have no document or record to say why he left, you are just going to have to use your imagination.  They couldn’t find anything on a priest with his name.

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1907 Columbus Directory, Editor L’Eco di Columbus Publishing Company

It is my understanding that at that time, if you can believe the librarian at Columbus, Columbus had the largest little Italy second to NYC, so it is natural that they had the Italian language newspaper L’Eco there.

In 1908, Carmen married Helen Kirsch before a Justice of the Peace in Chicago.  I would like to take this opportunity to remind my cousins that Carmen and his brother-in-law Jerry Valerioti seemed to move to the same places during this time period.  Jerry and Carmen’s sister Angela Maria were detailed a few weeks ago here: Immigrant #2: Angela Maria Ferraro Valerioti – Mother of a Renowned NYC Investigator and a NYC Refuse Company President.  Approximately one month before the birth of my grandfather, also named Carmen, in May 1909, my great grandfather filed his Declaration of Intention to become a citizen of the United States with an occupation recorded as “teacher of foreign languages.”  In the 1910 census I found what I thought was the incorrect people or was another case of an indexer on Ancestry making the census 1910 census entry whatever they wanted like when they called Fritz Eckebrecht “Grity” Eckebrecht.  But the name of the spouse, Helen, and child incorrectly spelled Carmein, and birthplaces of the parents, even though it should say Switzerland for Helen’s mother, was too coincidental.  See for yourself-

1910census.PNG

And I was also thrown off by my great grandfather’s occupation/industry:

fruitbroker.PNG

The “W” next to fruit stands for “working on his own account, not an employee or employee.”  Hmmm…Helen must have been pregnant at the time of that census because their son Angelo was born that year.  When he was naturalized in 1911 his occupation was listed as “broker.” Then I knew for sure that was my great grandfather.   Also in 1911, Helen and Carmen welcome their oldest daughter Philomena Mesta.  Not only was she named after her paternal grandmother Filomena Napolitano, but her maternal great grandmother in Switzerland was named Regina Anna Maria Catharina Josepha Philomena Gentinetta.

Back to that biography he wrote for Who’s Who in Music with a mention of his Chicago education.  He stated he had a D.O. from Chicago Medical University.  Hmmm….

The family moved 4 times in the following years until 1920, moving between Ohio, New York, Chicago, and back to Ohio and had four more children: Louis, Anna, Helene, and Victor.  Before a 1914 move to New York I found an odd newspaper article that referenced C. Ferraro from Youngstown, Ohio in 1912.  At that time my great grandfather’s sister Elena was living in there with her husband Angelo Scarnecchia.  I am not positive it is my ancestor but below is the article regardless.

CanfieldOhioNewspaper
The Mahoning Dispatch, August 30, 1912, p. 3

That article is another one that goes into the “Hmmm category” isn’t it?  There was no opera singer named Armanno Vittorio though.  I tried to find him.  Nor was this tenor in anymore newspaper articles from this time period.  But there was and still is a Colon Theatre.  It is called Teatro Colon.  You can just draw your own conclusions this article because I just don’t know if it means anything or not.

We also have a photo of my great grandfather that I tried to date to the 1910s.  He was posing with what looked like a gavel, white gloves, a mantle, and an apron.  For a while I thought that was the photo at his naturalization until a friend of mine showed it to her husband, a Mason, and he explained that was a Masonic mantle and with the white gloves it meant he was the Grand Master.  I don’t know what town or state it was from.

In 1916, the family was living in Warren, Ohio and my great grandfather was doing what he built his later career on, according to the Warren City directory.  He was a vocal teacher.  In 1917 they were back in Chicago at the time of the World War I draft: Documental Unearthings Weekend: Carmen Ferraro’s Traveling Opera Business.

By 1920 he was living in Warren, Ohio again and told the census taker he was a grand opera singer.  In 1921, Carmen was the Director of the Youngstown International Glee Club in addition to his traveling opera singer business.  According to that biography I have mentioned, he wrote that he was an opera conductor since 1922.  They had their daughter Gloria in Ohio before moving back to Queens, NY where their last was born in 1924, Romauldo.  That should be 9 total children.  Also in 1924, my great grandfather toured Europe and took my grandfather along.

One more note about the biography – he wrote he was awarded the Order of the Crown of Italy in 1920.  He wrote that title given to him was “chevalier” and that is FRENCH!  It should be “Cavaliere!”  I have never found anything to prove this or disprove and quite frankly I have no idea where to find out if this Order of the Crown award was given to him.

 

Carmen1924.png
Here he is posing in Naples at the Museo San Martino

My great grandparents and family were living in Youngstown, Ohio when Carmen’s father Angelo died there in 1926 according to the Youngstown Directory, and his occupation was listed as music teacher.  However, he was back in Chicago in 1927 owning and running the International Opera Association and Music School in Chicago when my great grandmother Helen died.  Great Grandmother Helen: Witness in the 1906 Murder Case of Mrs. Louise Gentry. Helen Kirsch Ferraro (1887 – 1927) – Find A Grave Memorial. He wrote a song dedicated to her memory in the 1950s.

At this point, my great grandfather didn’t go anywhere for a few years and ran his music school.  In October 1931 he married Natalie Schinitz. The following week he was arrested on suspicion of alien smuggling and ended up serving a prison sentence in Leavenworth for 1 count of mail fraud. This is the Chicago Tribune link to the article about his arrest.  Basically he took money from people to bring their relatives into the country.  He was a model prisoner, worked in the prison infirmary, and was released after serving only 1 year of his 2 year sentence.  The only objection to his being paroled came from his brother-in-law, Helen’s brother, Albert Kirsch.  Yep.

His 9 children were split between three homes while he was in prison.  Two daughters when to live with a niece in New York (probably Margherita Valerioti, I have no proof), the oldest boys, including my great grandfather, went to live with my great great grandmother Anna Heinzen Kirsch, and the youngest stayed with Natalie.  While he was in prison, there is a bit of evidence that Natalie divorced him, so I believe then the youngest children would have gone to live with their grandmother Anna Heinzen Kirsch.  I have no proof of that though. 

By 1940 he had moved back to Brooklyn and was living with two of his daughters.  He began using the name Mario Carmen and was listed as vocal instructor with the industry “opera” in the 1940 Federal Census under the name Mario Ferraro. He taught singing until he suffered a heart attack in 1962.  He passed away on September 5, 1963 and the name Mario was used on his death record with Carmen.

carminecard
His business card

Final Thoughts on this Posting

There are a ton of oral stories associated with my great grandfather.  I only stuck to what was found in the paper trail he left in Italy and across the country.  It was very easy to find records about him and to locate articles about him.  I have no doubt that I haven’t found everything yet-this includes all of the articles about my great grandfather’s federal case in the Chicago newspapers and also one from the New York Times.  You may be reading this and think I should have included more of them.  Maybe you are right.

I have a story about trying to get his birth record from Italy the same time I was trying to get a copy of his case file from the Department of Justice by filing a Freedom of Information Act Request.  The Department of Justice told me I couldn’t have the United States Attorney’s file on a man born in 1878 because: 1. I hadn’t proven he was dead, even though he was born in 1878; and 2. They weren’t positive I was a United States citizen. 

So I appealed their decision on my Freedom of Information Act Request. That same day that I mailed my appeal to Washington D.C., which is about two hours away, I mailed my request off to the Commune of Naples, in Campania, Italy.  It was October 31st.  Naples is a place that is over the ocean on another continent and stuff…  Two weeks later to the day I had my great grandfather’s birth record in my United States mailbox.  Then on December 27th, I received a letter from the United States Department of Justice that they were reviewing my appeal.  It is easier to get records from Italy you see.  I never got the case file from the Department of Justice.

Sources:

Campanian Archives

Ellis Island

Columbus, Chicago, Warren, and Youngstown City Directories

Federal Censuses

Newspapers.com

Chicago Tribune

The New York Times

NARA

Wikipedia and Various Travel Websites

Cook County Birth, Marriages, and Death Records

Warren County Death Records

New York City Death Records

Who’s Who in Music, 1954

Teatro Colon

Nunziatella.it

Family photos, memorabilia, documents, and letters

The nice people at the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court

Diocese of Columbus

next immigrant: My other immigrant great grandfather

 

~~~cinziarosagenealogy@comcast.net

 

 

 

 

 

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Immigrant #8 ~ Carl Johann Eckebrecht, Grocery Company Owner, Saddle-Maker, Carpenter, and Foreman

Immigrant Carl Johann Eckebrecht was the oldest sibling of my great great grandfather Fritz Eckebrecht.  He was born in 1844 in Schwarzburg, Germany.  Uncle John was not certain when he came to America, but with research, it has been narrowed down to about 1863.  He appears to be the first Eckebrecht in Illinois, having stated he was living in the County of Cook and State of Illinois for 29 years on his 1892 Chicago Voter Registration Record.  Therefore, Carl got here before his brother Fritz and the rest of his clan did in 1866 on the ship the Jenny.  He would have been around 19 when he arrived in America and it would have been smack dab in the middle of the Civil War.

The earliest actual record I could find of Carl or Charles was in 1867, where he is listed in the Chicago City directory as Charles and he works at Eckebrecht & Company as a grocer.  This appears to be his own grocery company.  Next, from what was also noted on the Chicago Voter Registration listing of 1892, Charles stated he was naturalized in the Circuit Court of Cook County on September 7, 1868.

In the 1870 Federal Census he was living with his parents Quirinus and Louise and three of his younger siblings and was working as a carpenter. Around this time, Fritz was migrated through the Post-War south picking crops, and making his way to Texas, where he ended up being taken to live with Comanches.

Eckebrechtsabt1872
Charles is either in the back center or the man on the far right

In the 1874 and 1875 Chicago City Directories, Charles is listed under the Heading for Harness and Saddle Makers.  He was married by this point to another German immigrant Bertha Rohrbach.  Their first child Minnie, or likely, Wilhelmina, was born.  By 1882, according to the City Directory, he is back to being a carpenter.

Eckebrechts1900s
Charles may be the man in the back with the mustache.  Can anyone verify or refute this?

In 1896 and in 1897, a few years before he died in 1900, his occupation was listed as Foreman in the City Directory.   He died in 1900 and is buried in Rose Hill Cemetery.

Charles had four children with Bertha: Minnie, Henry Charles, Anna, and Oscar Christian.

As you can see, Charles Eckebrecht’s Record of Administration references his wife, son Henry, and brother-in-law Charles Wolter (Augusta Eckebrecht’s husband).

CarlSchuttlerRecordofAdministration
Cook County Probate Records on Ancestry.com

Charles Eckebrecht’s Children (Fritz’s Nieces and Nephews) and Their Descendants

Minnie Eckebrecht died in 1902.  Charles’ youngest son Oscar never married and worked at the Post Office as a clerk.  Daughter Anna married an English immigrant from London – Walter Smith.  It appears he entered America through Canada making the ethnicity of Anna’s child Harold Albert a Canadian in the Cook County Birth Index.  I question that reference on Ancestry though.  Walter was a type setting salesman according to the Federal Censuses.  Their son Harold Albert married Vera Lindsay and they had 3 children.  Harold was a copywriter at a publishing company.

This leaves us with the other son of Charles and Bertha – Henry Charles Eckebrecht, one of the most colorful descendants of any immigrant in the Eckebrecht line.  Henry Charles married another native of Chicago and German-American Mamie Schmidt.  She too was the daughter of German immigrants.  They had two children: Henry Charles Jr., who was struck and killed by an automobile driven by Ernest Keg at the age of 5, and Wilbur Mont Eckebrecht.  Pay attention to Wilbur’s middle name because it comes up later.

Wilbur Mont Eckebrecht married Gladys Florence Schweitzer.  They had a son that may still be alive so I will refrain from naming him.  He was elected President of the Illinois State Florist’s Assocation in 1969.  I have several photos of him from newspapers.com.  Please email me if you would like to see them.

More on Henry Charles Eckebrecht (Fritz’s Nephew)

Henry Eckebrecht was in a kind of real estate business.  I did find newspaper references to real estate transfers.  One of the transfers was made in 1914 to Peter Tennes, the son of Jacob Mont Tennes, or just Mont Tennes.  That was not the only reference to Henry’s name to Mont Tennes in the Chicago newspapers.  Have you heard of Mont Tennes, Chicago King of Gamblers?  No?  Well then please google him or check out this well-referenced story by another blogger: Jacob Mont Tennes.  Mont Tennes ran a news bureau and a country-wide gambling circuit prior to the takeover of the Chicago underworld by Capone’s gang.  One of Mont’s associates was Big Jim O’Leary, grandson of the Mrs. O’Leary, of the Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow fame.  Mont Tennes was the son of German immigrants like Henry.

Henry was a bookkeeper of sorts for Mont Tennes and clients would visit Henry at their real estate office where money was taken.  Let me point out that Henry, nor Mont were ever convicted of any crime.  Don’t be surprised about this gambling business either because I found many references to Fritz’s brothers and nephews in the paper advertising bettings on sporting events, namely basesball, or winning at gambling on baseball in the Chicago newspapers.  Gambling wasn’t a crime.  Mont was important enough to this family of Eckebrechts for Henry to give the middle name to his son. 

Now in 1916, the future baseball Commissioner Landis was the Federal Judge that was called to oversee the Federal Grand Jury empaneled to investigate Mont’s news bureau. Rolling eyes. Henry testified and a portion of his testimony was in the October 3, 1916 Chicago Tribune below.  The first three clippings are taken exactly as they were printed in the paper but had to be clipped that way for easier reading.

Henry1

Henry2
Did you see who Mont’s lawyer was?  Clarence Darrow!

Henry3

This last section was at the end of the article for that day:

Henry4

Henry was in several other articles regarding the testimony.  Yes, that is THE Clarence Darrow.  Nothing came of the grand jury investigation.  In the 1920 Census, Henry is still listed as working as a bookkeeper at a real estate company.  By 1940 he was running his own business selling seeds and bulbs.  Perhaps his florist grandon was a part of the business…

Final thoughts:

What did Charles do for the first 4 years in America before I found him in the City Directory with his own business named after him?  No, I didn’t find him on any Civil War draft records, unless they spelled his last name wrong.  Coming here at 18 or 19 without the rest of his family had to have been courageous.  I imagine he wrote home to his family in Germany to tell them about Chicago.  If he hadn’t come first, maybe the rest of his family, and his brother Fritz would not have come here at all. 

Sources:

Newspapers.com

Federal Censuses

Chicago City Directories

Chicago Voter Registration

Chicago Birth, Marriage, and Death Indexes

Cook County Probate Records

Social Security Death Index

Find-a-Grave

Frank Eckebrecht’s Research

Uncle John’s Research

Numerous Online Articles regarding Mont Tennes

~~cinziarosagenealogy@comcast.net

Next immigrants: Two completely different great grandfathers

Immigrants 6 and 7 ~ Auguste Eckebrecht, domestic servant and Anna Liesbeth N.N., religious refugee

Immigrant Auguste Eckebrecht was the only sister of Fritz Eckebrecht, my great great grandfather, and two years his senior.  Anna Liesbeth was my 7th great grandmother and a religious refugee.  Her last name is not known.

Auguste was born in 1846 in Schwarzburg, Thuringia, Germany.  She came to America with her family in 1866 aboard the Jenny that had sailed from Bremen in a journey across the Atlantic that took approximately 3 months.  At the time of the 1870 Federal Census, Auguste lived as a domestic servant in the home of a grocer Adolph Kate and his young wife Emilia.

auguste-eckebrecht

By 1876 she had married Charles Wolder or Wolter and they had a child that didn’t survive to adulthood.  In the above snipping tool “snipped photo” you can see Auguste is showing you her wedding ring.  She put her hand in that position on purpose.  She was married in this photo that Eckebrecht descendants believe was taken between 1872 and 1875.  I was unable to find the name or the sex of the child she had in 1876 or to trace her husband.  He has proven difficult to find.  Auguste Eckebrecht passed away in Chicago in 1916 and was buried in Rosehill Cemetery.  She was the only sibling of Fritz Eckebrecht that did not have any children that survived to adulthood.

Anna Liesbeth N.N.

Anna Liesbeth was born in Switzerland and immigrated to the Palatinate in Germany around 1675-1685 as a religious refugee.  She and her husband Hans Theobald Rubeli were part of the Anabaptist migration to the Palatinate.  Previous Anabaptist congregations that had already settled in the Palatinate set up shelter for the refugees when they had to leave their Swiss homeland with nothing but the clothing on their backs.  Their possessions had been seized by the cantonal governments.  They were forced to leave their homeland if they refused to take the oath to the state church.   If they stayed and practiced their faith, they were hunted down by Taufer hunters, imprisoned, beheaded, burned, drowned, and in the most extreme circumstances that forced the greatest number to flee their cantons, they were sold as galley slaves to the Venetian Empire.  The former punishments just drew more followers.

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I found a church record in the Massweiler area of the Palatinate that references a surname Vetter after a person named Anna Liesbeth.  However, I am not sure they are the same woman, or why an Anabaptist refugee would be mentioned in a Catholic church record.  I suppose it is possible.  She was the mother of Balthasar Jakob Rubly, the Gerichtsschoff and 5 other children born in Germany.  She was my 7th great grandmother.  Since I do not positively know her last name, I do not even know her birth or death dates.

These two women are parts of separate lines in my German grandmother’s ancestry.  One went to Germany and another left Germany.

anna-liesbeth

EDITED TO ADD ON 3/12/17: NEW RESEARCH HAS BECOME AVAILABLE.  ANNA LIESBETH MAY HAVE BEEN A SWISS REFUGEE HOWEVER, SHE WAS NOT MARRIED TO HER HUSBAND AT THE TIME HE DEPARTED SWITZERLAND.  SOURCE: MENNOSEARCH.COM/RICHARD WARREN DAVIS.

Sources:

New York Passenger Lists

United States Federal Censuses

Cook County Birth and Death Indexes

Photo from Frank Eckebrecht

Weisbach Catholic Church Registers

Massweiler Catholic Church Registers

Contwig Catholic Church Registers

Aeschlen bei Oberdeissbach Evangelical Reformed Church Register List of Taufers (Anabaptists) living in the vicinity

Palatine Mennonite Census Lists

Bernese Anabaptists and Their American Descendants

History of the Bernese Anabaptists

Rubli-Ahnen in Dachsen ZH und Zürich,  Rubeli aus Oberdiessbach BE und Gampelen BE, sowie Rubly und Ruble in Deutschland, im Elsass und in Amerika (dort auch Ruble, Rublee, Rubley, Ruple, Ruplely, Rupley, Rublier, Rupple, Ruppley, Robblee,  Robilyrd, Roblee, Roblyer)

Emigrants, Refugees, and Prisoners: An Aid to Mennonite Family Research

~Next immigrant:  Carl Johann Eckebrecht, and his colorful descendant ~

cinziarosagenealogy@comcast.net