At the turn of the 20th century, Italians were migrating to the United States by the thousands. Poverty, overpopulation, and natural disasters all spurred many Italians to leave their homes for the land of promise. One of these was Domenico Barsotti. He found such opportunity in the New World that he sent for his family to join him, and driven by a powerful work ethic, they changed the face of Madera forever.
Barsotti left his hometown of Marlia, in the province of Lucca, Italy in 1900 to come to America. At the time, he could not have imagined the imprint he and his descendants would one day leave on Madera. All he knew for sure was that he had heard stories of success in California. That is why he left his wife Louisa, son Nello, and daughters Salomena, Ida, and Evelina in Italy, telling them that as soon as he had enough money accumulated he would send for them.
He didn’t come to Madera right away. Those stories of Stockton that he had heard in Marlia drew him first to that city. After all, what did he have to lose?
Upon arriving in Stockton, he found a job as a cook on one of the Delta Island farms. He had been working there for almost two years when a letter from his wife arrived stating that there was an opportunity for their son Nello to travel to Stockton with an Italian couple from their village. A few months later, in 1902, 12-year-old Nello settled in with his dad as a kitchen helper...