By Angela Ann Cesario. One in a collection by Allen Bachoroski, Local Historical Writer and author of “Tales Along the Highway of Legends”
Francesco and Angela Marretta Vallone immigrated from Prizzi, Sicily, Italy in 1914. Angela was 39 and Francesco was 53, elderly people for that era. Their immigration is documented by records on the Ellis Island website. Angela and her two surviving children, Antonia and Giuseppe (Ann and Joe) sailed from Palermo, Sicily on the ship, Italia, arriving February 7, 1914. Francesco arrived February 13, 1914, on the SS Europa, which sailed from Naples, Italy. The family booked passage separately because immigration laws at that time discouraged the immigration of handicapped persons. Francesco was considered handicapped as the result of a hunting accident in Sicily in which he lost one eye when his rifle backfired. Angela’s brother, Phillip, who had immigrated earlier and lived in Passaic, New Jersey, sponsored Angela’s immigration, enabling her to then request and have her husband join her.
Angela had two brothers who settled in Passaic, New Jersey, and this is where the couple and their children stayed for several weeks before traveling to Trinidad, Colorado, where Francesco’s brother had purchased land. Two and a half months after Angela’s arrival, the couple’s 6th child, Maria Carmela (Mary was my mother), was born in Jansen, a small community adjacent to the west side of Trinidad. Three earlier children had died in infancy in Sicily.
In Sicily Francesco had been a landowner/farmer and owned a macaroni factory. As grandiose as this sounds, the living in Sicily at that time was meager and he yearned for the opportunities he felt awaited him in the United States. In Trinidad, Francesco tried several enterprises including operating a macaroni factory, and a second-hand store, to support his family before reverting to a skill acquired in Sicily. When the macaroni factory and second-hand store businesses failed, he moved his family to a small, 6-acre ranch on the northwest outskirts of Trinidad where he raised horses, cows and, most importantly, goats. He began making and selling cheese from the goats’ milk and soon became one of the more prominent cheese-makers in Southern Colorado. He had clients who drove from Denver for his specialty, goat cheeses. Francesco operated his cheese-making business until he lost the sight in his remaining eye to glaucoma. He was approximately 75 years old. Unfortunately, loss of his sight curtailed what had been a very active life and a thriving cheese business. Francesco lived until the age of 92.
Angela, as was the custom of women of her era and cultural background, served as wife and mother to her husband and family and made the adjustment from a life filled with music and privilege in Sicily to one filled with hard work on a ranch in Southern Colorado. She moved with her daughter and son-in-law, Mary and Al, to California in 1955 and passed away there in 1957 at the age of 82.
Joe Vallone, brother and brother-in-law, lived a number of years in New Jersey before returning to Trinidad. He remained a bachelor well into his thirties. In the late 1940s he married Kathryn Rhoades of Trinidad and they had two children, JoAnn and Joseph Bert. In the late 1940s Joe and “Kay” resided in San Carlos, California. They returned to Trinidad in 1950 to join Al and Mary in Cesario’s Bakery. Joe and Al worked together until 1955 when the Al Cesario’s moved to California. Joe and Kay Vallone operated Cesario’s Bakery in Trinidad until 1959 when they moved their family to Colorado Springs. There they operated bakeries on Tejon Street and in Security, Colorado until Joe’s retirement. Joe passed away in 1981 at the age of 75. After his death, Kay pursued a career with AFEES at Fort Carson working her way to base and post store manager in a number of assignments which included the Presidio in San Francisco, Air Force bases in Fairbanks and Ft. Irwin in the California desert. Kay passed away in 2004.
Their daughter, JoAnn and her husband, Ed Thayer, are in real estate in Colorado Springs. They have two children, Damon and Shelby Kay, both of whom are married and living in the Colorado Springs area. Their son, Joseph Bert works for Qwest in Oregon. He has two children Jessica and Michael who reside out of state.
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