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The Madera Tribune

Is the Dempsey letter real?

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webmaster | 10/12/12

The history of Madera has been enlivened by a collection of good tales, many of which emerge from the memories of the descendants of those Italian immigrants who came to America in the first two or three decades of the 20th century. This is one of those tales; it is about Marco Bertozzi and the boxer, Jack Dempsey. Please bear with me in the telling; it takes a little bit to get started.

Our story begins in Trassilico, Italy, where Pietro Bertozzi was born in 1878. In 1895, he left his homeland and sailed to Argentina where he found work as a gaucho. Pietro worked cattle in Argentina for eight years, and in 1903 discarded his riata and headed for Madera.

When he got here, like so many of his fellow countrymen, he found work at the winery. That is where he met the brother of the woman who would become his wife.

In 1905, Annetta Solari, who was living in Franeci, Italy, received a letter from her brother in Madera urging her to come to America. He told her that one of the men with whom he worked wanted to marry her. The invitation struck a responsive chord, and in a few months Annetta sailed to the New World to become Pietro Bertozzi’s wife...


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