Maria's husband, Rafaela Leone, died of a heart attack in Cosenza, Italy
when the family was preparing to leave for America. In spite of this tragic
loss, Maria Leone (nee Apolaro) and her two sons, Andrea and Giuseppe,
boarded a ship in Naples and arrived at Ellis Island at the very turn of
the 20th century. Maria ran a boarding house at 165 West Houston Street
in Manhattan to provide for her family. Andrea Leone, my grandfather, became
21 in 1901 and married quickly, like most newly arrived immigrants. Carmela
(nee Baggarozzi) gave birth to five boys and three girls over a period
of twenty years. Three of her sons served in the military during WWII.
The couple worked hard and realized the American Dream. They lived happily in their own home in Brooklyn. N.Y. It was a typical extended Italian family. By the end of the 1940's they both passed away, but their children,grandchildren, and great grandchildren have moved on to succesful lives in America from coast to coast. I am 75 years old with six grand children and three great grandchildren.
In my retirement years, I have had time to reflect on the courage and tenacity of those Italian immigrants who were strangers in a strange land. I had the privelge to know my grandparents in person. Unfortunately, I had never known my great grandmother, Maria Leone, but she forged new lives for the multitude of her descendants who owe her so much, but will never, ever know who she really was.
If you would like to write to Frank N. Leone use the form below.