The Bellotti

Fortunato (Fred) Bellotti  (1872 – 1940) and Giuseppe (Joe) Bellotti  (1876 – 1959)

Fred and Joe Bellotti were born in the village of Cavaione, Bleggio Superiore, in the Giudicarie valley, the sons of Luigi Bellotti and Domenica Caliari.  Before immigrating to the United States in 1896, Fred was a knife-sharpener (grinder, or “moleta”), in which he had a push-cart mounted grindstone that he would push from place to place to sharpen knives.  He had the grindstone shipped to America after he immigated.

Fred arrived in New York on March 23, 1896, aboard the passenger ship “La Normadie”, departing from Havre, France.  He first went to the coal mines of Pennsylvania before heading to Colorado and by 1900 was working in the mines of Brookside, near Canon City.  There he met Mary Dalfior (1882 – 1971), who also was born in Bleggio Superiore and immigrated in 1889 with her parents, Silverio Dalfior and Albina Fina, and her older sister and brother,  Ermenegilda and John.  Fred and Mary married on November 6, 1902, in Canon City, Colorado.  They moved to the Rouse coal mines around 1906.

Joe Bellotti joined Fred in Colorado after he arrived in New York on November 5, 1900, aboard the passenger ship “La Touraine”, departing from Havre, France.  Like Fred, he worked in the Brookside mines before moving to Rouse. Joe married Angelina Moneghini (1887 – 1972) on December 7, 1923, in Walsenburg, Colorado.  Angelina was from Storo, also in the Giudicarie valley, and immigrated in 1922, and was the sister of Luciano Moneghini, another Rouse miner.

In the mines, Fred’s job was “fire boss”, the miner who first went in to a mine to check it’s safety before other miners entered.  During the 1913 – 1914 miner strikes, which led to the April 1914 Ludlow Massacre, the state militia forced Fred and his family out of their home in Rouse, and the family loaded their belongings in a horse-drawn wagon and traveled to a friend’s ranch in the Bear Creek area during a snowstorm.  Later, Fred homesteaded some land in the Bear Creek area before the family moved to Walsenburg in about  1919.  Fred continued to work as a coal miner at the Mutual mine until his health deteriorated to the point he could no longer work;  his lungs were damaged from the many years he served as fire boss in the mines.  He would occasionally help his son Louis at his mine at Sunnyside, and he assisted his children in starting a grocery store in Walsenburg, originally called the California Fruit Store, which later became the U – B Grocery and Market.

Neither Fred or Joe ever returned to their homeland after immigrating to the United States.  They had a sister, Barbara, who was married to another Rouse miner, Benedetto Berasi.  She, however, never came to the United States during the years Benedetto worked in the mines.  She and Benedetto had one daughter, Caterina, who stayed with Barbara in Bleggio Superiore; Benedetto eventually did return there.

A cousin of Fred and Joe, Silvio Bellotti, born in 1869, appears in the Rouse payrolls between August and October 1907; of his stay in Colorado remains trace also in the baptism records of Mary Dalfior younger sister, Rosa, born in Canon City in 1895. Silvio goes back and forth from Italy before and after World War I, he is naturalized citizen and finally settles in Pennsylvania.

A special thanks to John Bellotti for this article.

 

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