Sepia Saturday 582. Eighth in a photo blog series on my maternal Italian ancestors from Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.
His first five years in Gloversville, Fulton County, New York (1896-1901), my Italian immigrant great-grandfather Peter D. Laurence (nee Pietro di Lorenzo) led a bachelor’s life — rooming with Italian boarders his age, working as a leather dye master and socializing with friends when time allowed.
But according to my sister Amy’s high school biography of Peter — based on information from our mother Peg (Laurence) Charboneau — he was probably also looking for a wife.
During that time he met Mary Curcio at a social function and they planned to get married. In 1901, he opened his own junkyard and auto repair. He married Mary and they settled down to begin their family.
Let’s take a further look at the Laurence-Curcio family history.
Meet Mamie Curcio
My great-grandmother Mary Curcio was born on 15 Aug. 1882 in Saratoga Springs, Saratoga County, N.Y. The oldest child of Antonio and Antoinette (Del Negro) Curcio, she went by the nickname “Mamie” [pronounced MAY-mee].
Mamie’s parents immigrated separately in the late 1800s from Atena Lucana in Italy’s Salerno province. Antonio arrived first in the Five Points area of lower Manhattan. Antoinette followed, and in 1880 they married — possibly at the Little Church Around the Corner on Mott Street, but definitely in a civil ceremony witnessed by Vincenzo “Jimmy” Del Negro (Antoinette’s brother).
Embraced by the Curcio family
By the time Peter met and fell in love with Mamie Curcio, circa 1900, her parents were well-established in Gloversville. Her father Antonio operated a junk shop located behind the family’s 128 East Fulton Street home — and her mother Antoinette was running a lively household with eight children, including Mamie.
The Curcio family must have seemed like a little slice of home to my great-grandfather Peter. As shown on the map below, Mamie’s parents’ hometown of Atena Lucana (lower right) and Peter’s hometown of Limotala (upper left) were both in Italy’s Campania region. (Click on the red icons for details.)
The young Laurence (di Lorenzo) couple
When they married circa 1901, Peter was 28 and Mamie was 19 — and they initially lived as a couple in the large Curcio household. Peter left his job as a leather dresser and began work in Antonio’s junk shop — eventually taking it over from his aging father-in-law and adding a garage/auto repair shop.
The above photo of Mamie might be her engagement or wedding portrait. She certainly looks young and wistful — and the dress appears light enough to be a bridal outfit. No doubt Peter would have wanted a photo of his bride to send back to his family in Italy.
In my Italian ancestral album, Mamie’s photo is mounted next to the portrait of Peter shown below. Could Peter’s photo have been taken near the time of the wedding as well?
Oddly, there is no wedding photo of the two of them together. Was cost a factor? Was such a photo unnecessary, since Mamie’s family knew Peter — and he would only need to send her photo to his family? As always, many unanswered questions.
Fortunately, once Mamie and Peter had children, they did take time to pose for a family portrait — and that’s coming up in the next post.
Up next: The Laurence/di Lorenzo family of Gloversville, N.Y. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants.
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