Between 1900 and 1930, most of Madera’s immigrants from Italy had made the Atlantic crossing. The vast majority came through Ellis Island and then onward to Madera, although some were temporarily rerouted to the sugar plantations of Louisiana to work off their third class passage.
Upon arriving in Madera, many found work with Miller and Lux. Others were employed by the Madera Sugar Pine Lumber Company. A good number of the newcomers to America found work in the Mission Bell Winery. Eventually, however, most of them rose above their humble beginnings and became farmers and business owners.
These immigrants from northern Italy found opportunity in Madera County and took advantage of it. By the 1940s, they had become patriotic Americans, even when the government took away their cameras, radios, and rifles with the coming of World War II.
Because Italy had joined the Axis powers, many of those who had left her shores earlier were suddenly looked upon with suspicion. Were there seditious elements among them? ...