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San Pietro Avellana

Filomeno diMartino

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Filomeno diMartino is my third cousin, three times removed. He was born in my mother's hometown of San Pietro Avellana (SPA).

That, in itself, is not the most interesting part. What is interesting is that he is one of two men who survived the 1923 explosion of the No. 1 mine in Dawson, NM.

The spelling of his name varied quite a bit but I believe all of this information is about the same man. My clues about him started after I attended the 2006 Dawson Reunion and got a copy of a CD with scans of the Dawson newspaper, The Dawson News (1921-1929). I found a reference to a "Filini Martini", then a "Flim Di Martini". Searching on at Ellis Island and on, turned up his first name as Filomeno and references to Dawson. I found him in the census for 1910, 1920 and 1930.

Did you know of Filomeno? Are you related? I would like to hear from you and hear about Filomeno's great escape.

Here is what I know about his story.

1891 San Pietro Avellana

Filomeno was born on either 1 or 2 June 1891. His parents were Raffaele diMartino and Teresa Aurelia Frazzino. He is related to me through his mother, Teresa. He had one brother Antonio Gennaro (known as Gennaro), and two sisters Maria Cristina (known as Cristina) and Celestina who came to the US. He had, possibly, two other siblings who did not come to the US. You can find more about the family in my Family Tree.

Maria Cristina married Donatangelo Carlino (also from SPA). You can read more about Donato on his web page and this PDF file.

1904 Ellis Island

Filomeno diMartino arrived on 4 May 1904 at the age of 12 years. He was going to his brother, Gennaro's home in Denver, CO. His brother Gennaro diMartino and his sister Celestina arrived on the same boat. They were going to the home of Prospero Frazzini in Denver, CO.

1910 Census

"Phil Martini", 19y, single, lodging at the home of Amico and Elisabetta Gatti in Dawson, coal miner. Immigrated 1904. The Gatti's were also from SPA.

1915 Ellis Island

Filomeno De Martino, 23 years old, arrived on 10 May 1915, going to Giuseppe Ruggerio in Dawson, NM. Wife's name is hard to read but her Boston arrival record from 1919 shows it as Oliveta Iannacchione. I'm guessing this he is returning to the US after getting married.

1917 WWI Draft Registration

Filomeno DiMartini registered for the draft in Primero, CO. Age 26 years, born 2 June 1891 in San Pietro Avellana, Coal miner. Has a wife and child (This was confirmed in later census records to be wife, Oliveta Iannacchione and son Rinaldo).

1919 Ellis Island

23 Dec 1919 arrival of  Oliveta Iannacchione, 24y and son Rinaldo Di Martino, 4y. Brother in SPA, Silvestro Iannacchione. Going to Dawson, NM, to husband/father Filomeno Di Martino.

I cannot find Oliveta Iannacchione in the SPA birth records - would have been born about 1895.

1920 Census

"Flem De Martino", age 29 years old. Born in San Pietro, Italy
  Oliveta, wife, 24y
  Rinaldo, son, 4y.

Lived next door to Pietro Antonelli and Cristina De Martino Antonelli, 41y, (with 5 children starting with Elena, 18y). This Cristina is Filomeno's sister. Cristina's first husband was Dontangelo Carlini. Pietro must be her second husband. Elena is the daughter of Dontangelo, the other 4 children are Pietro's. Also living with Cristina was a brother, Jim De Martino, 51y (I'm pretty sure that this is Gennaro). (Additional information: Pietro Antonelli and Cristina diMartino and family (including children Iola, Elena and Lucy) were in the 1910 census from Dawson, NM. They were also in the 1930 census from Berwind, Precinct 24, Las Animas, CO. There are two Antonelli children buried in the Dawson Cemetery: Christine 1916-1916 and Giovanina 1910-1911. I don't know if they are children of Pietro and Cristina.)

1923 Dawson News

16 Feb 1923 -  In the newspaper report about the explosion in the No. 1 mine, he was listed as "Filini Martini". This article is what got me started on my search for Filomeno.

   "At 9:30 o'clock Friday morning, two of the entombed men, Charles Cantalie and Filini Martini, walked out of the mine unassisted. Hope was raised in the hearts of all that more men might be rescued, but there were no duplications of their miraculous escape. Uninjured by the terrific force of the explosion, and fully conscious of the deadly effect of the gas which follows in its wake, the two men demonstrated rare judgment in their effort for self-preservation. Stripping off some of their garments, they moistened them in water and held them over their faces to keep out the deadly gas. They then extinguished their lights, realizing that they would need them at such time as they might think that it was safe to endeavor to make their way to the outside. For over nineteen hours they waited; and then cautiously making their way over the debris which filled the entry, they walked out in safety. Seeming they are none the worse for their experience.
   According to the mine office records, 140 men checked into the mine on the morning of Thursday, the 8th. Of this number, 18 left during the day, leaving 122 employed at the time of the explosion. It is evident that only two of this number have survived."

Here is the entire article about the mine explosion from the 16 Feb 1923 Dawson News  (600Kb+ File).

1923 Las Vegas (NM) Daily Optic

9 Feb 1923 - The Las Vegas (NM) Daily Optic, the day after the explosion, had this headline. (Newspaper scan courtesy of the Raton Museum).

In the text of the article, it names the two men who survived as Charles Candale and Filini Martinez. The other details in the article are the same as the later article in the Dawson News.

1923 Pittsburgh Press

1925 Birth and Death of Daughter Dora

The microfilmed birth records (Film #16763) from St. John the Baptist Church in Dawson contain only one daughter's record that I could find.

Dora Martini was born on 4 Oct 1925. She was baptised on 17 Dec 1925 but no godparents were listed. She died the same day. Apparently she was buried in the Dawson Cemetery on 18 Dec 1925.

1926 Dawson News

A reference to "Flim Di Martini" from the 2 Dec 1926 Dawson News. Once I saw this article,  I knew there had to be a connection to the family name diMartino

About 1927

The family moved to Pittsburgh, PA.

1930 Census Pittsburgh, PA

"Flem Dimartine", 38y, US citizen, wife Olivia, 34y, living on Cedarville St, in the eighth ward of Pittsburgh, PA. Six children including Rinadlo, 14y - born in Italy. Other 5 children born in PA - oldest is 8y - but he could not have been born in PA since the family was still in Dawson in 1926. Cousin, Guerino Dimartine, 61y, living with them. Living nearby is Giosue Iannacchione, Oliveta's brother, and wife Lucy. Giosue, known as Joe in the US, was born 25 Oct 1898 in SPA. There were a total of 8 siblings in the Iannacchione family.


Flem DiMartine, 38y, worked at the Salt Works
Olivia, wife, 35y
  Renaldi, son, 14y, born in Italy
  Quirino, son, 8y, born in PA
  Mario, son, 7y, born in PA
  Teresa, daughter, 6y, born in PA
  Virginia, daughter, 2y, born in PA
  Anthony, son, 0y, born in PA
Guerino, 61y, cousin, worked at the Monument Works (most likely Carlini Monument Works in Homestead)

Giosue Iannacchione, 32y
Lucy, wife, 27y
  Vincenza, daughter, 8y
  Remo, son, 6y

1942 WWII Draft Registration, Pittsburgh, PA

Filomeno DiMartini registered for the draft in the Bloomfield section of Pittsburgh, PA. 50 years old, born 1 Jun 1891 in San Pietro Avellana. Lived at 313 State Alley, Bloomfield, Pittsburgh, PA. Worked at Federated Metals Division, American Smelting & Refining Co, 615 Gross Street, Pittsburgh, PA.

1958 Burial

According to Olivetta Iannacchione's grand-nephew, Ken Unico, Filomeno and Olivetta are buried in Calvary Cemetery in Pittsburgh.

Ken talked with Calvary and he got these dates of burial:

Philomeno diMartini  17 Nov 1958
Olivetta DiMartini  24 May 1963
Mario DiMartini 14 May 2002 (son)


In June and August of 2019, I received these emails and photos from Filomeno's granddaughter, Laurie DiMartini.

From:    Laurie DiMartini <>
Date sent:    Thu, 13 Jun 2019 08:22:26 -0400
Subject:    Hello

I just now saw your message on Yes yes yes!!! You are correct it is me. I don’t have much information on my grandfather. I did not even know about his side of the family much. Brother sisters mom dad etc. These were all missing links. Thank you so much for sharing this with me. What a wonderful surprise. I'm so glad that you reached out to me.

Laurie Lee DiMartini

Thanks for your email. I'm still at this genealogy stuff.

I checked in my big family tree data base - you and I are related seven different ways! From 5th cousins to 8th cousins. Our common ancestors are Braggio Giustino "Giusto" Frazzino and Carmina Carlino.

In my research, there are some ancestors who I can find a lot of information about. Then there are some that seem to remain a mystery. Filomeno is one of those. The two mine explosions in Dawson were very significant events. When I came across this man, from San Pietro Avellana, I wanted to learn more about him.

Two other people have sent me some information on Filomeno's family:
    Amber Groom, granddaughter of Filomeno's son, Herman.
    Ken Unico (Iannacchione), grandnephew of Oliveta.

On my web page, I list everything I know about him. But it seems that after his ordeal, information was much harder to find. Maybe it was such a tramatic experience that he never talked about it.

But I could never find a photo or any stories about him. Dates, places and newspaper stories are pretty easy for researchers to find but photos and family stories are what is important. All of this still comes as a surprise to me considering that Filomeno and Oliveta had 8 surviving children.

Do you have any stories or photos of Filomeno that you can share?

This is so exciting!!! I will have to look into this later. But, I can definitely fill you in on everybody I knew of here in the states. I do have a picture of my grandparents and other photos of everyone else. I can send later. My dad. (Anthony Ralph DiMartini) He just turned 90. He is the only one who is still living of his siblings. I will gather all the info I can and pictures and send them to you. That is is for now. I will be in touch soon.
And the picture you have been waiting for... Hope this fills the missing link. I could only find this one I think there might have been another one I’m still trying to find.


Filomeno and Oliveta Iannachione diMartino

  Laurie wrote:  These 2 pictures are of my Dad. He served in the Army and was in the Korean War.

1950 ca
Anthony DiMartino
Father of Laurie DiMartino

1950 ca
Anthony and Andrea DiMartino
Parents of Laurie DiMartino

Children of Filomeno diMartino and Olivetta Iannacchione

In Aug of 2019, Laurie wrote: "And the picture you have been waiting for... Hope this fills the missing link.
I could only find this one I think there might have been another one I’m still trying to find."

Laurie did not identify who was who. Here are the names of dates that I know:
Quirino (1921), Mario(1923), Teresa (1924), Virginia (1927), Anthony Ralph (1929), Herman Lewis (1931) and Dorothy (1936).

Not shown : Rinaldo (1915-1960), Dora (1925-1925 buried at Dawson, NM) and Eugene (1932-1938).

Related or Unrelated Information

I originally thought that Domenico is a brother to Filomeno. I thought that because his SSN starts with 181, just like Filomeno's sons Quirino and Mario. The SSN which start with 181 were issued in Pittsburgh. But, I can't find Domenico in the SPA birth records for 1896. The rest of the information in this section may or may not be related to Filomeno diMartino.

Social Security Death Index

Name: Domenick Dimartini
SSN: 181-09-1426
Last Residence: 87110  Albuquerque, Bernalillo, New Mexico, United States of America
Born: 22 Mar 1896
Died: Mar 1987
State (Year) SSN issued: Pennsylvania (Before 1951 )

1925 Aug 6 Dawson News

Social Security Death Index

Name: Mario Dimartini
SSN: 181-16-6922
Last Residence: 15224  Pittsburgh, Allegheny, Pennsylvania, United States of America
Born: 10 Jan 1923
Died: 11 May 2002
State (Year) SSN issued: Pennsylvania (Before 1951 )

U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca.1775-2006

Name: Mario Dimartini
Birth Date: 10 Jan 1923
Death Date: 11 May 2002
Cemetery: Calvary Cemetery
Cemetery Address: 718 Hazelwood Avenue Carrolyn Baker Pittsburgh, PA 15217

U.S. Public Records Index

Name: Mario Dimartini
Birth Date: Jan 1923
Street address: 313 State Way
City: Pittsburgh
County: Allegheny
State: Pennsylvania
Zip Code: 15224
Phone Number: 412-681-3283
Record Number: 589747738
Household Members:
Name Est. Age Birth Year
Clara Dimartini  
Dennis M Dimartini  
Flem Dimartini  
Mario Dimartini 84 1923
Nancy M Dimartini 51 1955

Social Security Death Index

Name: Clara M. Dimartini
SSN: 196-18-9561
Last Residence: 19301  Paoli, Chester, Pennsylvania, United States of America
Born: 7 Nov 1923
Died: 22 Mar 2007
State (Year) SSN issued: Pennsylvania (Before 1951 )

I've found hints of more Dimartini families in Western Pennsylvania. I have tried to contact them but I have never received a reply.

This web site lists a Dimartini in Monaca, PA:

 Charles Skadalis

I have learned that the name of the second survivor of the mine explosion was Charles Skadalis, a Greek. I do not know anything more about him.

I learned this from the producers of an upcoming documentary, "Canaries In a Coal Mine - The Story of Dawson".

This from the Dawson Association web page:

An experienced documentary film director and producer are in the process of creating a public documentary of Dawson, New Mexico titled, "Canaries in a Coal Mine". The documentary will be directed by Fulvio Ottaviano and produced by Claudio Ruben. The story will be told through the point of view of its immigrant communities. Please visit their web site here and learn more about this amazing documentary by viewing a brief preview.

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