Giovanni Rumore Circa 1923

Corleone, Sicily

Giovanni Rumore was born on April 19, 1873. [1] He was born into a household of three sisters, Filippa, Maria Rosa, Giuseppa and parents Giuseppe and Francesca Paola. The family went on to have three more daughters, Filippa, Oliva, and  Antonina. Filippa never made it to her third birthday.

This was a very tumultuous time in Sicily’s history. About 13 years prior to his birth, the expedition of Giuseppe Garibaldi’s “Mile” annexed Sicily, and joined it with the kingdom of Sardinia. Only a year later, the Sardinian kingdom was joined with the kingdom of Italy, as part of the unification of Italy. This unification was called “Risorgimento,” or the resurgence.

Several years after the resurgence in 1866, Palermo staged a revolt against the Italian nation. They lost a short battle against the Italian navy where the civilian insurgents were executed, and the island was once again taken back into possession. A guerrilla-like civil war was made against the unionists from 1861 until 1871, throughout southern Italy and Sicily. This evoked a severe response from the Italian government.

These uprisings were unorganized, and the people were considered “brigands” by the government. Southern Italy and Sicily was ruled under martial law for several years, and was object to hard repression by the Italian army that executed thousands of people, made tens of thousands prisoners, destroyed villages and deported people. The Sicilian economy did not adapt easily to unification, competition by Northern industry made attempts at industrialization in the South difficult and almost impossible.

The masses suffered by the introduction of new forms of taxation and, especially, by the new Kingdom’s extensive military conscription, the Sicilian economy suffered, leading to an unprecedented wave of emigration. It was probably because of these circumstances Giovanni, some of his siblings, and cousins left for a new and hopefully better life in America.

Sometime in the early days of February 1890, Giovanni boarded a ship named “The Bolivia”, bound for America. On February 24th 1890, he arrived at Castle Gardens, a port of New York. [2] Giovanni arrived on the tail end of an immigration surge. The U.S. population was about 50 million at that time. More than 5.2 million immigrants entered the country between 1880 and 1890. And from 1890 to 1900, 655,888 Italians arrived in the United States, of whom two-thirds were men. There were large colonies in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Baltimore and Detroit. From 1900 to 1910 over 2.1 Million arrived. Of these, around 40 per cent eventually returned to Italy.

Over all, during the period 1820 to 1920 over 4.1 Million people emigrated from Italy to the United States. Only the country of Ireland (4.4 Million) and Germany (5.5 Million) came anywhere near these figures. And since 1820 to present, over 5.2 Million people immigrated to the United States from Italy. This amounted to 10.9 per cent of the total foreign immigration during this period. A survey carried out that most planned to return once they had built up some capital. Most Italians found unskilled work in America's cities.

At the time of emigration he reports his occupation as being a carpenter. In the late 19th and 20th centuries, Italians often became fishermen, shoemakers, waiters, fruit sellers, and tradesmen. Most were unskilled laborers though, working in mines and construction jobs. Several years later in 1899, Giovanni was living in an apartment on 337 east 106th street, which is in the upper east side of Manhattan. At that time it was known as Italian Harlem or little Italy.

Harlem was first populated by German immigrants, but soon after Irish, Italian, Lebanese and Russian Jewish immigrants began settling in Harlem. In East Harlem, Southern Italians and Sicilians soon predominated and the neighborhood became known as Italian Harlem, or Little Italy, the Italian American hub of Manhattan. Italian Harlem approached its peak in the 1930s, with over 100,000 Italian-Americans living in its tight, run-down apartment buildings. Each street had Italians from different regions of Italy, they were mostly divided amongst Sicilians, then a mixture of Southern Italians, followed by a decent amount of Northern Italians.

At the same time in 1899, Giovanni was working about a mile away as a barber in Vincenzo Liggio’s barber shop on 1466 2nd Avenue. Several days before his 27th birthday, John as he is now called, petitions to become a naturalized United States citizen on April 13th, 1899. [3] About 6 months later, on October 9th 1899, John is joined by his 20 year old sister, Antonina, along with her 21 year old sister Oliva with her family. [4] Within the passing several months, John and Antonina move to an apartment a couple of blocks away on 2126 2nd Avenue.

At that time he is making his living as a contractor, and she is a buttonhole maker. Throughout the first half of the 20th century, the city became a world center for industry, commerce, and communication. The first New York subway company began operating in 1904, and the railroads operating out of Grand Central Terminal and Pennsylvania Station thrived.

On or around June of 1900, it seems John is getting into his next career of real estate development. John submits plans to the city to have two three-story frame flats built on the west side of Crotona Avenue,  at a cost of $11,000.

In the following few years, Antonina meets Salvatore Dragotta, and they become married on the 25th of October, 1903. Around this time, John moves again to 2089 2nd Avenue. On May 13th 1903, John is joined by his 15 year old nephew Rosario LaGumina.Around the same time John meets and Marries Santa Pirri, circa 1905. John being about 32 years of age, marries relatively late for his time period, the average age for men being about 25. His new wife Santa had already been married, and had a 7 or 8 year old daughter named Carmella Rotella.

A short time after John is married, on November 13, 1905; John is joined by his 15 year old nephew Giuseppe LaGumina, who intends to join his uncle and brother Rosario who is living with John at this time. A little less than a year later, on October 17th 1906, he is joined by his sister Giuseppa and her family, husband Vincenzo LaGumina, and children Theresa, Giovanni, Francesco, Francesca Paolo, and Maria.

About 2 years later they have their first child, Giuseppe, born on April 15th, 1907. He is named in honor of John’s father. (Joseph is christened a few years later at St. Lucy’s church located 344 E 104th St, New York) Not too after that, John continues to work and prosper in America. On or about September 30th, 1908, John incorporates, and is the president of the “J. Rumore Realty Company.” (How was N.Y. real estate market around this time?) A couple of years later, John and Santa have their second child Francesca on Christmas day, December 25th, 1909. She is born at home , and she is named in honor of his mother.

Sometime after 1906, John and Santa move to an apartment on 516 East 80th street in the Yorkville section of Manhattan. For much of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Yorkville was a middle to working-class neighborhood, inhabited by many people of Albanian, Czech, German, Hungarian, Irish, Jewish, Lebanese, Polish, and Slovak descent.

By early 1920 they’re living on Grove Street in Lodi New Jersey. Like much of the rest of the United States, New Jersey entered a prosperous time in the 1920s. Through this period, New Jersey's population and employment rate increased greatly. Transportation became much easier through the 1920s. Cars became easily affordable and common. Roads were paved and improved greatly. As a result, many people who had never been farther than their hometown now could travel around the state.

In Nov 1923 John, his son Joe and unknown friend make a trip to to check out gold mines.

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