By Angela Ann Cesario. One in a collection by Allen Bachoroski, Local Historical Writer and author of “Tales Along the Highway of Legends”
Domenico and Carolina Cesario (Carolina’s maiden name was also Cesario) immigrated to the United States in approximately 1886 from San Fili, Provincia de Cosenza, Calabria, Italy. Their immigration could not be checked through the Ellis Island website because they came to the US prior to 1890 before records were available. Many of the residents of San Fili were named Cesario. Not much is known about the couple’s early history. It is believed Domenico worked his way West from the East Coast laying railroad track. It is further believed that he settled near Trinidad, Colorado, because the mountainous terrain in Southern Colorado reminded him of his native Calabria. Nothing is known about Carolina’s early history.
The couple settled in the western outskirts of Trinidad where they engaged in “truck farming”, the growing of vegetables which they offered for sale from the back of a spring wagon which went from house-to-house in Trinidad. They had four children: Joseph, Nellie, John and Frank.
Joseph Cesario, my paternal grandfather, followed his father in becoming a truck farmer. He married Tomasina Luchetta and they had 16 children, several of whom died in infancy or early childhood. Nothing is known of Tomasina’s early life, but it is believed she was born in Colorado. Joseph was approximately 12 years old when he immigrated with his parents. A family myth reveals that his mother, “Donna Carolina”, kept Joseph under her skirts on the ship passage from Italy to keep from paying his fare.
The surviving children of Joe and Tomasina were named (not necessarily in birth order): Mary, Jenny, Lucretia, Irma, Caroline, Louise, Frank, Anthony, Samuel, Benjamin, William (Bill) and Albert (Al). After their mother, Tomasina, died their father, Joe embraced several different religions, baptizing his children in a number of Protestant faiths before he became associated with the Italian-American Church of the Nazarene at 733 San Juan Avenue in Trinidad. He was instrumental in helping to build the church and became an ardent follower of the Italian preacher, Rev. Solomanetti, pastor of that church.
Mary and Lucretia died as very young women. Jenny married Charlie Gagliardi and had 2 children with him, Marguerite and Lucille, before dying in her late thirties. Charlie, a prosperous grocer, was warm and generous with the Cesario children. Al, my father, continued to remain close to Charlie even after his sister Jenny’s death. I remember Uncle Charlie fondly and I loved to visit with him in his house on Baca Street in Trinidad. Uncle Charlie delighted in teasing my cousin, Billy, and me by getting out the “sweeper” (vacuum cleaner) and chasing us with it. When Charlie married Teresa Mullare of the Mullare Funeral Home, he and Aunt Teresa invited me to spend a night in the living quarters above the mortuary. It was an invitation that I did not accept.
Irma and Caroline married and moved to California and Texas respectively. Louise, who was only 3 months old when her mother died, was raised by an aunt and moved to Chicago as a young child. Sam joined the Navy at 14, working his way to Chief Petty Officer. He died at the age of 45 in 1950, six months after he retired from the Navy. Frank (Pinkie) and Ben became auto body repairmen and moved to California in the 1930’s where they raised their families, practiced their trade and lived relatively long lives.
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