Written by Loretta Bonino Rawlins and Veronica Marta Goodrich. One in a collection by Allen Bachoroski, Local Historical Writer and author of “Tales Along the Highway of Legends”
News of ample employment in the Colorado coal mines, either first hand from returning immigrants or in letters from friends, swelled the ranks of immigrants to Colorado. In the small town of Strambino, Italy in the Province of Torino, two children of Domenico Bonino and Marianna Panetti joined their fellow Piedmontese in emigrating to Colorado.
Bonino was and still is a common name in Strambino. Usually a nickname is added to the surname to distinguish different families. Domenico and Marrianna’s family was known as the “Big Bonios” because the family was large –11 children — and some of their sons were well over six feet tall. Even with large land holdings, it was difficult to support such a large family. Only six of the 11 children would remain in Italy; five would emigrate ?? one to Brazil and four to the United States. Three ?? Charles, Lawrence and Pauline ?? would settle in Trinidad.
Charles Boromeo Bonino was born October l, 1886. He came to Colorado with his cousins, the Robinos in 1910. Together they found work in the Las Animas County mines and quickly became a member of the United Mine Workers.
When his cousin, Charlie Robino, was killed at the Ludlow Massacre, he joined up with the union members who fought the federal troops in a series of guerrilla attacks on company-held mining camps. He remained a strong union man and a life-long member of the United Mine Workers and rarely missed a memorial ceremony at the Ludlow Monument.
In 1917 when the United States entered World War II Charlie joined the U.S. Army and served in the trenches in France. He received his citizenship by virtue of his military service. After the war he returned to Colorado. In later years, he was active in the Veterans of Foreign Wars. In 1924 he married Veronica Prioco Marta. They had one son, Reginald Bonino, who was born in 1925.
The Boninos had a large, extended family. His step-children, John, Mary, and Kate Marta, as well as, Charlie’s younger brother, Lawrence lived with them. Even a granddaughter, Veronica Marta, lived with them.
During the depression, Charlie found employment with the WPA. By 1939 he was back at work in the Morley Mine. In the forties he left the mine to work at the old Walter’s Brewery. He returned to the mines for a few years before his retirement. He died Jan. 30, 1956. His wife, Veronica, died March 30, 1963.
Reginold D. Bonino was a Trinidad High School graduate and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He later attended Regis College and the University of Georgia. He has been associated with several Denver auto dealerships. He married Frances Wood in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1949. They had two sons, Michael and Thomas. He later married Roberta Lint.
Martin Bonino was also in the cadre of young Piedmontese who came to the Trinidad area around 1910. Martin, the son of Giovanni Bonino and Rosa Ciochetto, was not related to Charlie when he arrived in Colorado. However, he soon remedied that situation. Pauline Bonino, joined her brother in Trinidad and on Dec. 19, 1912 married Martin.
Pauline was a professional seamstress. She made most of the church vestments and the clerical suits for the priests at Holy Trinity. Martin died July 6, 1955, and Pauline died on October 26, 1959. They had three children, John, Domenic and Rose.
John married Stella Ruscetti and worked in the mines and had five children: Loretta Rawlins, Pauline Menapace, Mary Margaret Cortez, and John and Charles. Dominic Bonino married Florence Mangino and worked for C&S Railroad. They had two children, Martin Paul and Carol Ann.
Rose Bonino married Eugene Giordano. They lived in Farmington, N.M. and had two daughters. Lawrence Bonino was born March 10, 1894. He remained in Italy until after World War I. After emigrating to the United States he worked in the mines until his retirement in Trinidad.
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