Nicola Carrillo was born on January 14, 1882 in Sant'Agata Di Puglia. At
the age of 22, he boarded the S.S. Lombardia in Napoli and immigrated to
America by entering through Ellis Island in March 1904. My grandfather
told of traveling to America with another family member (cousin perhaps),
but we never knew the name or what might have happened to him.
Nick, as he came to be called, got a job with the railroad and followed
the work to Southeastern Kentucky. He married and settled in the small
coal mining community of Fleming, KY, to raise 7 children, the youngest
being my mother. Nick's surname spelling was changed to CORRELLO sometime
after coming to America. He worked in the coal mines for 40 years and tended
a large vegetable garden throughout his life. He never owned or drove an
automobile and walked 2-3 miles to the grocery store and post office every
day. Nick was a kind and generous man who lived a modest life and derrived
great pleasure from his family and especially his grandchildren. He was
very proud when he become an American citizen very late in his life.
I was very fortunate to have lived my entire childhood in the same neighborhood
with my grandfather and spent time with him most every day. Nick died in
1970 at the age of 88. He was in excellent health until my grandmother
died, just a few months before, and he never really got over it. His last
day on earth, he worked in his garden and then passed in his sleep that
evening. It was the saddest day of my life.
Nick is still survived by 5 of his children and many grandchildren, who
are scattered in the states of KY, VA, and OH. Now that I have children
of my own, I often think of how much he would have enjoyed spoiling them
as he did me and my brother. It has been 35 years since his passing, but
I will never forget the good times we had together and how much we all
If you would like to write to James E. McCullum, Jr. use the form below.