Domenico Angeli (1867)

Domenico Angeli was born on  the evening of November 25, 1867 in Tenna, a small village in Tyrol at that time part of the Austro Hungarian Empire. His parents, Giovanni Battista and Caterina Valentini were both farmers, like the majority of Tenna population whose economy in the middle of XIX century was mostly based on vines and silk worms farming for the spinning mill of Pergine, few miles away.

In 1899 he marries Giulia Passamani in Tenna and has 4 kids, Emma (1900), Guido (my grand father in 1902), Beniamino (1904) and Gilio (1905); as many before him (and after him) in winter 1905 he boarded the Zeeland vessel in Antwerp, Belgium together with his cousin Giovanni Angeli and a friend from Levico, Luigi Paoli. Their common intended destination was the mining camp of Rouse, outside of Walsenburg visiting their cousin/relative/friend Valentino and Silvio Anesi who preceded them few months earlier, and the address given is the one of Carlo Brunelli, a pioneer emigrated in the late 1800′s and owner of a Saloon in Rouse with his brother Giuseppe.

His stay in Colorado is documented from February 1906 through May 1908, when he retraces his steps and goes back to his family in Tenna where he has another four kids Ida (1909), Lino (1912), Livia (1914) and Vittorio (1915).

In August 1914 WW1 loomed over Europe with dramatical consequences for the Italian speaking minorities of Tyrol, caught between Ausburg and Savoy monarchies; the situation got even worse in May 1915 with the italian war declaration to Austria, Tenna would be dangerously close to the Southern front and its whole population is relocated in Moravia. The carnage on the fronts and the desperate need of manpower induced the AustroHungarian army to extend enlistment up to 50 years of age, therefore Domenico is forced to become a soldier at 49 years of age and the family is once again divided.

The reunion will be possible only in 1919, when Domenico appears from Odessa, but unfortunately two kids (Lino and Vittorio) won’t survive the hunger and misery of the wooden barracks. Domenico uses his savings to build together with his brother a stone house in the center of Tenna and settles working as a carpenter and farmer until his death in 1937 for pneumonia.


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