The Monetti’s as we know them date back to the Province of Salerno in the the Campania region. Carman Monetta and my great-great grandmother Michela (Magra) Magro obviously hung a different vowel at the end of the family name and begins on a chestnut farm in the town of Ponte di Cagnano.
The couple had at least three children. Alfonso was born in 1874, Matteo in 1877 and an unnamed sister was included. The family worked the farm, and eventually, the two brothers married sisters from the Dellamonica family. Gabriela and Concetta were from the Hillside Village of Montecorvino de Rovella and were the children of Vincenzo Raffaele Dellamonica and Maria Carbinelli.
Vincenzo was a tailor who followed the Italian Army around and made uniforms for the officers. Nonetheless, Vincenzo and Maria Carbinelli and Carman and Michela Gabieri became grandparents three times over in the old country. Anna was born on February 10, 1901, Guiseppa (Josephine or Jo) was born on May 4, 1902 and Carmine was born - for now - on August 14, 1903.
The impetus to emmigrate probably occurred after the Dellamonica’s son Carmine came to America, but either way, we get the first glimpse of the rascal that Alfonso was. My great grandfather allegedly stole a horse, and procured the dowry of his sister to pay for his journey to America.
The under the table finances in tow, Alfonso set sail on the Roma and arrived on November 2, 1904. He was sponsored by his brother-in-law (Carmine) and was set up with a job as a piano finisher at the Krakauer Piano Factory on East 132nd Street.
Two years later, Gabriela, Carmine and Guiseppa embarked on the Germania and arrived in New York on June 30, 1906. They joined Alfonso at 201 East 110th Street in Manhattan.
However, Anna remained in Italy with her step-grandmother Maria Pazienza. Anna finally reunited in New York when Alfonso requested she come to America to help with the family's support.
She came with another member of their village but had to wait several days all alone at Ellis Island. The family did not know that she had arrived, according to her sister Mary. The family rounded out to six with the births of Mary on June 21, 1907, Freddie on June 22, 1910 and Willie on March 12, 1912.
As for Matteo, he arrived in America on November 21, 1904, and the Sicilian Prince provided passage. Carmine Dellamonica also supplied sponsorship, and among the many who helped build the NYC subway system, Matteo had his start. He became a track man for the Erie Company or the NY Central Railroad.
He would marry Concetta in 1910 and had three chidren. Enrico was born in 1911, but Anthony died in 1926 at the age of two and Emma succombed in 1915 as an infant. Her official cause of death listed was malnutrition. But Mary’s son has good reason to counter the documentation and assures the Monetta's did not struggle to that extent.
John Stoeppler makes the case with his health related history. Stricken with scores of food allergies as a child, John had great trouble keeping any food down. He only survived because of a cousin who was medical student.
V. John Murgolo researched and found the cure at a time when these types of allergies were not yet fully recognized. All of John's food was boiled and then administered in drops under his tongue. So John speculates that Emma had the same genetic disorder, and the medical science of the day could not help her.
Nonetheless, Matteo moved to Buffalo when the company called in 1924. Again fortune was not favorable, and his wife Concetta died the same year.
In New York City, things also went awry. Either from a boarder or a cousin from Italy, Gabriela contracted TB, and the clean air of the Catskills was the only cure of the time. Embarking with nine year old Carmine, the matriarch did no better.
She came back home and entered a hospital in the Bronx. The last resort put the family on the move, and the Bronx became the Monetti home for decades to come. Unfortunately, Gabriela could not overcome the condition, and remembered as a “kind woman,” the children lost their mother on August 29, 1917
Alfonso, on the other hand, couldn’t live up to his wife, and his self centered nature would leave six young Monetti’s in a lurch. But tenacity turned tragedy into triumph. Their story is on the way.
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