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The Madera Tribune

Massetti family anchored to Madera’s past

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webmaster | 04/06/12

It was a bitter-sweet day for the young Italian woman. She was coming to America to be reunited with her husband. At the same time, however, she would have to say goodbye forever to her father, Giuseppe Gavello.

The old gentleman was obviously moved; at the train depot, with tears in his eyes, he told his daughter that he would disown her if she did not return to Italy. She never did. Rosa Massetti was on her way with her two sons, Secondo and Joe, to Madera, where her husband Giovanni Massetti awaited their arrival.

The mother and her sons boarded the train in Montegrosso d’Asti, Italy, and rode to Le Havre where they embarked on the S.S. La Provence for the crossing of the Atlantic as third class passengers. On Jan. 18, 1914, they arrived at Ellis Island and continued their journey across America by train.

The oldest son, Secondo, recalled the moment. “It was a cold day, and they lined us up in chutes like cattle.” The immigration authorities put a tag on the newcomers, which read, “California bound,” and placed them on a train headed west...


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