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San Pietro Avellana

Dawson Reunion 2008

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The 2008 Reunion was held at the townsite of Dawson on 31 August. Sally and I attended for the second time. For details about what Sally and I did on the way to and from Dawson, check this web page.

According to Vivian Andrews, there were 679 people attending, up from last time. For news of the 2006 reunion, check this web page.

 2008 Dawson Reunion  

Sunday  31 Aug 2008    9 AM to 6 PM

Click here to go to the new Dawson New Mexico Association web site and read the offical announcment. Contact email addresses and phone numbers are also there.

Dawson New Mexico Association
944 N. Third Street
Raton, NM  87740

On this web page, you will see many photos of the reunion and many photos of descendants of people from my mother's home town of San Pietro Avellana, Italy. So all of these diLorenzo's, Carlini's and Fraini's are cousins. For a more general overall view of the reunion, check the Dawson Association web site.

Cleanup Day

On 29 August, there was a cleanup party starting at 8AM.

Sally and I worked at cleaning up the weeds at the Dawson War Veterans Memorial. Here is the result.
I met Pete Gonzales. Pete is the son of Violet Fraini who is the daughter of Florindo Fraini and Rosa Iannacchione. I wanted to talk with him more but I didn't see him again at the reunion. The Fraini and Iannacchione families were from San Pietro Avellana. I've learned that Pete was at the reunion, along with his brother, Nick - but I missed them both.
I learned that Pete died in Raton on 21 October 2009 of cancer.
Plot and Block Markers that the Dawson Association put up at the Cemetery.
These cross reference the plot and block numbers in the cemetery listing.  Click here for the PDF file of that listing.
A new sign on the locked gate into the Dawson town site.
A sign on the fence around the Dawson town site.
The railroad line was being used to store unused intermodal carrier cars.

On Friday, my cousin Giuliano Colajanni and his wife arrived via Denver from Italy.


Our first stop was Mt. Calvary Cemetery where Giuliano visited the grave of his grandfather, Teridano "Terry" diTella. Giuliano was the first person of Teridano's family to visit Dawson. Teridano's wife and children never came to the US.
Here are Giuliano and his wife, Rosalba. Giuliano brought to the US a small vial of water and a small amount of dirt from San Pietro Avellana. He spread the water and dirt at his grandfather's grave. He gathered a small amount of dirt from the land of New Mexico to take back to Italy with him.
On Saturday, we took a camp tour at Sugarite State Park. Like Dawson, the town is mostly gone.
In the afternoon, we visited Elaine Arcangeli Wade. Her house was undergoing remodeling work but she still said to come over. Elaine's uncle, Oreste diCianno, was the executor of the will of Giuliano's grandfather, Teridano diTella, when he died in Dawson in 1944.
Here is one of two idenical cedar chests made by Giuliano's grandfather. This one was built by Teridano for Florence diLorenzo diCianno, Oreste's wife. Elaine received it when Florence died. We noted that the chest was built without the use of nails. It is entirely held together by dove-tail joints and wooden pegs.
Elaine's mother, Mary diLorenzo Arcangeli, let us come over for a short visit. Mary's sister, Florence diLorenzo, married Oreste diCianno. Mary has the second of the cedar chests made by Teridano.
Giuliano, Rosalba, Sally and I visited the Dawson Cemetery on Saturday afternoon. Giuliano was looking for the tombstone of Antonio diLudovico. Like Giuliano's grandfather, Teridano diTella, Antonio never brought his family to the US. Antonio died in Dawson in 1924 from a rock fall in the mines. Antonio's grandson, also named Antonio, is the current (2008) mayor of San Pietro Avellana. This is the first time that this generation of diLudovico's have seen their grandfather's grave.

The Reunion

The reunion picnic started at 9AM on Sunday the 31st.

We arrived about 10:30 and there were already a lot of people there.
Tables and chairs were setup with coolers and BBQ's everywhere.
This is Thalia Fraini Parker and her husband, Jim. Thalia is the daughter of Edward Fraini and granddaughter of Florindo Fraini and Rosa Iannacchione.
Here are Dave diLorenzo and his son Brad.
Here are Fritz diLorenzo and his wife, Marge. I've been in touch with them via email for several years.
Here is Norma Jean Hurta Engman with son and daughter.
Norma is the daughter of Bambina "Betty" diLorenzo and Anthony "Tony" Hurta. After I put this photo here, I got an email from Norma. She corrected me on a few facts including (embarassingly) that I had her married name spelled wrong.
Richard Carlini, Rosalba, Fritz diLorenzo, Jill Carlini, Janet Carlini Hall, Gene Carlini.
Photo by Giuliano
Photo from Elaine Gonzales, Oct 2008, from the Dawson Reunion. I did not get a chance to meet these these Fraini descendants.  From Elaine (left to right):
-- Carlos Gonzales, Nick's cousin on father's side, his dad is Louie Gonzalzes and still alive and worked in Dawson, he is Nick's father's brother.
-- Nick Gonzales, with the gray shirt. Son of Violet Fraini and Henry M. "Sambo" Gonzales.
-- The woman is also Nick's cousin, Isabel, on his dad's side/she is from CA, her mother was Nick's father's sister.
-- and Richard Acosta, very good family friend with the Gonzales family. His family also lived in Dawson, he comes from CA also I think his father was Carlos Acosta and he has died.
Here are Jerry Scanlon, Chuck Speed (proprietor of the Dawson Association web site) and Vivian Andrews.
Wall of Dawson Photos.
As the speakers and presentations began, Anna SalvoWeybrew (left), President of the Dawson Association, and Vivian Andrews, prepared the first award.
Vivian presented a plaque of appreciation to Jerry Scanlon for decades of service to the Dawson Association.
Vivian presented a token of appreciation to Mari Scanlon.
Mari is Jerry's wife. She speaks Italian and spent some time talking with my cousin Giuliano and his wife.
Here is the Dawson Quilt that was raffled. The winner was Don Neil of Albuquerque, NM.

Presentation of the Commemorative Bell

I read a short introduction of Giuliano Colajanni.
Text of Introduction by Mark DiVecchio
Photo by Sally DiVecchio

About eight years ago, my mother gave me a few dozen old photos. She knew a few of the people in the photos, but most names were lost in time. Suddenly I had a new quest – to find out about these people and about their lives.

Moving ahead a couple of years, I learned about a long forgotten great granduncle who lived in Dawson. His name was Teridano, or Terry, diTella. Teridano was from my mother's home town of San Pietro Avellana, Italy. I learned that many people from that town lived in Dawson. You might recognize some of the family names which include Frazzini, Carlini, diLorenzo, Ricci, Fraini, diLudovico, Palumbo, Capone, Gatti, Iannacchione and della Croce.

So who was this man, Teridano diTella? What about his family? What kind of life did he lead in Dawson?

My search for information about him lead to Italy; to his grandson, my 2nd cousin, Giuliano Colajanni. Today, Giuliano is here, the first person in Teridano's family to ever visit Dawson.

Giuliano is a retired Chemical Engineer who lives in Rome but has a house as well in San Pietro Avellana. He is a volunteer with a group called “Pro-Loco” which promotes cultural activities in the area of Molise around San Pietro Avellana.

Today, Giuliano will present a commemorative bell to the Dawson Association. This bell was made in Italy at the foundry which makes bells for the Vatican. The bell commemorates the history of the Molise region of Italy, the location of San Pietro Avellana.

In Italy, bells have a particular significance. They are rung to announce good news and bad news. They are rung to announce the births of children and the deaths of countrymen. It is customary to ring town bells on the deaths of townspeople no matter where in the world the person died.

With the help of the Dawson Association, Giuliano learned that his grandfather, Teridano diTella is buried at the Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Raton, and that the grandfather of the mayor of San Pietro Avellana, Antonio diLudovico, is buried here at the Dawson Cemetery.

Giuliano will present the bell from the people of San Pietro Avellana to the people of Dawson. He will read a proclamation from the mayor of San Pietro Avellana.  First he will read it in Italian and then in English.
Text of Proclamation from the Mayor of San Pietro Avellana, read by Giuliano Colajanni
Photo by Sally DiVecchio

A long time ago, from the small village of San Pietro Avellana, sited in the Molise region of Italy, several groups of immigrants, coming from different backgrounds and family misfortune and looking for a brand new future, reached the United States of America, establishing themselves in different States and, of course, different cities.

They had in common a very strong attachment to their original homeland, but, at the same time, they started living, respecting the rules, laws and customs of the new hosting country.

The old traditions of the Sampietrese's culture were preserved and were handed down to their children, and, thanks to this stock of knowledge, they became a good example to follow as respectable citizens.

The sacrifice of those immigrants who left their native village searching for a better future has taken away from our land many talented people.  Nevertheless, at the times when the community of San Pietro was in serious difficulties, they helped with contributions and moral support to overtake these critical moments.

In remembrance of all the many lives lost in the mines of Dawson and Raton, the City Administrator of the village of San Pietro Avellana, gives a Commemorative Bell, representing three scenes of our past history, made by the Pontificia Fonderia Marinelli from the town of Agnone (Isernia).

Sincerely
THE MAYOR
Dott. Antonio diLudovico

San Pietro Avellana, 17 August 2008
For Giuliano, it was a very emotional day. Here he is presenting the bell to Dawson Association leaders, Ann Weybrew and Carolyn Ridolfi. Photo by Sally DiVecchio
The next day, I was able to get close up photo of the bell when Ann took it to the Raton Museum.
Inscription: "San Pietro Avellana to the Citizens of Dawson 2008".

If you would like to write to the mayor of San Pietro Avellana, here is the address:

Dott. Antonio Di Ludovico
Comune
86088 San Pietro Avellana
(ISERNIA)
Italy

This is the grandson and namesake of Antonio diLudovico who is buried in the Dawson Cemetery. In the cemetery survey map, his name is spelled Antonio (Tony) Lodovicho.

After the presentations, Giuliano and Rosalba continued to search out more information about Terry diTella. Mary Arcangeli grabbed onto them and took them around for introductions.

Giuliano and Rosalba spoke with Erma Yob Schulte. Erma remembered Giuliano's grandfather, Teridano diTella. Erma remembered that Teridano was a real gentleman and that he lived in a apartment building named "The V". I believe that this was above the saloon run by Orazio Primaveri - thus the name: "The V".
Here is Angelo Muñoz. Angelo walked with us up the valley where the tipple used to be. He was going around "taking names". I met two of Angelo's cousins at the 2006 reunion, Toni Muñoz Lenhart and Lita Muñoz Hinojosa.
Photo by Sally DiVecchio
On our walk, we met Lucille diLorenzo, Richard Carlini and Gene Carlini.

I've found out (so far) that I missed two people descendant from San Pietro Avellana who were at the reunion: Sara Palumbo Wilson and Nick Gonzales (Fraini).

Raton Museum

On Monday, before heading back to San Diego, I went over to the Raton Museum. By 10AM it was packed. I was amazed how many people were there looking at the Dawson exhibits.
Sign in the window.
The new location of the Museum on South Second Street (next to Mia's Hallmark). Its a great building with two floors and a lot of space for exhibits.
Here is the curator of the Museum, Roger Sanchez. He has done an amazing job and everyone can tell that he loves the work.
Does Hydro-Cleaned mean it was just washed with water?
Some of the exhibits.

Some old photos of Dawson

While I was at the Raton Museum, Roger Sanchez let me scan a few Dawson Photos. Here are a few of them. I have sent these scans to to the Dawson Association web site owner, Chuck Speed.


Payday.
Unknown year.

Dawson Tipple - Early 1920's

Either 1903 or 1906

1912

1922

1923
For the story of one of the men who survived the explosion, click here.




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email :  markd@silogic.com
 
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