Category Archives: Curcio

1902-1912: A tale of three junkyards

Sepia Saturday 584. Tenth in a photo blog series on my maternal Italian ancestors from Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.

In the last post, I included a detail from a 1912 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map showing the Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y., home of my great-grandparents Peter and Mary (Curcio) Laurence, who lived with Mary’s parents — and my second great-grandparents  — Antonio and Antoinette (Del Negro) Curcio.

Main and Fulton Streets, Gloversville, N.Y. (circa 1900). This vintage post card shows the commercial area of Gloversville in its heyday. The Curcio-Laurence Junk Yard at 128 E. Fulton Street was located blocks away on the outskirts of town — so far out that it was not included on Sanborn maps until 1902. Source: Front Page Gloversville

Behind the house at 128 East Fulton Street in 1912 was the outline of the A. Curcio Junk Yard, where Peter worked — which was owned and operated by Mary’s father. But I wondered, had it always looked this way?

So back I went to the digital Sanborn maps to see how the house and family business had changed over time — and what else I might learn about my direct and collateral Italian relatives.

The 1912 map

Detail from a 1912 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map showing the one-story Curcio home at 128 East Fulton Street — top center with a letter D for dwelling — with the junk yard at the back.

The Sanborn map from 1912[1]Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Gloversville, Fulton County, New York. Sanborn Map Company, Oct, 1912. Map 15. Detail: A. Curio Junk Yard at 128 E. Fulton Street, Gloversville, N.Y. … Continue readingis the most recent rendition of the house and junkyard on the family property — prominently labeled A. Curcio Junk Yard. Here’s what the map tells us:

  • All images are yellow, indicating they are wood-framed structures with either a slate/tin roof (o), a shingle roof (x) or a composition roof (dark dot).
  • There are three dwellings (labeled D) along Fulton St. at the top of the image: A 2-story barber shop, with dwelling above, at 126 1/2 ; the 1-story Curcio-Laurence home at 128, with a dotted line indicating a front porch and a large eat-in kitchen at the back; and a 1-story cobbler shop, also labeled as a dwelling.
  • There is a set of scales between the Curcio home and the cobbler shop — enabling items to be valued by weight.
  • There is a 2-story building labeled Junk at 128 1/2, which likely held the business’s recyclable items.
  • The back of the lot is labeled Scrap Iron Yard.
Detail from a 1907 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map showing the one-story Curcio home at 128 East Fulton Street — top center with a letter D for dwelling — with the junk yard at the back.

The 1907 map

The Sanborn map from 1907[2]Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Gloversville, Fulton County, New York. Sanborn Map Company, Oct, 1907. Map 28. Detail: Antonio Curcio Junk Yard, 128 E Fulton St., Gloversville, N.Y. … Continue reading shows the home and junkyard five years earlier. Much is similar — the woodframe dwellings, the barber shop, the cobbler shop, the scales.

However, the 2-story woodframe recyclables repository is labeled Junk Shop — and there is no scrap iron yard at the back.

Was the scrap iron yard an innovation added by my great-grandfather Peter once he joined the business? Or was it merely a logical expansion of the junk business as automobiles and other large metal items became more commonplace?

Detail from a 1902 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map showing the one-story Curcio home at 128 East Fulton Street — top center with a letter D for dwelling — with the junk yard at the back.

The 1902 map

The earliest 1902 Sanborn map[3]Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Gloversville, Fulton County, New York. Sanborn Map Company, Oct, 1902. Map 20. Detail: Antonio Curcio Junk Shop at 128 E. Fulton, Gloversville, N.Y. … Continue readingshows a much less developed property at 128 E. Fulton Street:

  • No upstairs dwelling above the 2-story barber shop — nor are there any additional buildings/sheds behind it.
  • No scales between the Curcio home and the cobbler shop.
  • The Junk Shop is the same at 128 1/2 — but A. Curcio’s name does not yet appear, and it is colored green on this map as a “special” building.
  • No scrap metal yard yet — nor anything else at the back of the property.

The tale of three junkyards

My Italian immigrant great-grandfather Peter D. Laurence (nee Pietro di Lorenzo) joined the Curcio household when he married my great-grandmother Mary circa 1901.  So when the 1902 Sanborn map of Gloversville was created, Peter was new to the Curcio family business.

By 1907, however, he’d been working for Antonio Curcio & Co. for five years — and a set of scales had been added to the property to value items by weight.

After another five years, in 1912, a Scrap Iron Yard became part of the family business — creating an additional revenue stream.

A place for Antoinette’s brothers?

Another item of interest on all three maps is the cobbler shop, which was also a dwelling. Could this have been a residence and/or place of employment for Antoinette (Del Negro) Curcio’s brothers — Michael and Vincenzo “Jimmy”  Del Negro?

Both brothers gave their occupation as “boot black” in several censuses and — as discussed in the last blog post — Michael and his family were enumerated in censuses with the Curcio household at 128 E. Fulton St. in 1905 and 1910. Did they actually live behind the cobbler shop? Did he and Jimmy work there? More questions — and new research to do!

Up next: The Del Negro brothers of Gloversville, N.Y. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants.

© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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References

References
1 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Gloversville, Fulton County, New York. Sanborn Map Company, Oct, 1912. Map 15. Detail: A. Curio Junk Yard at 128 E. Fulton Street, Gloversville, N.Y. https://www.loc.gov/item/sanborn05951_006/. Accessed 12 Aug 2021.
2 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Gloversville, Fulton County, New York. Sanborn Map Company, Oct, 1907. Map 28. Detail: Antonio Curcio Junk Yard, 128 E Fulton St., Gloversville, N.Y. https://www.loc.gov/item/sanborn05951_005/. Accessed 12 Aug. 2021.
3 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Gloversville, Fulton County, New York. Sanborn Map Company, Oct, 1902. Map 20. Detail: Antonio Curcio Junk Shop at 128 E. Fulton, Gloversville, N.Y. https://www.loc.gov/item/sanborn05951_004/ Accessed 12 Aug. 2021.

1911: Peter and Mary (Curcio) Laurence and sons

Sepia Saturday 583. Ninth in a photo blog series on my maternal Italian ancestors from Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.

A blog series featuring photos of my maternal Italian ancestors from the Laurence-di Lorenzo-Curcio family album. Photo: Molly Charboneau

By 1911 — when the photo below was taken — my maternal Italian great-grandparents Peter Laurence (nee Pietro di Lorenzo) and Mary “Mamie” Curcio had been married 10 years and were raising their children in Gloversville, Fulton County, N.Y.

Yet a decade after their 1901 marriage, they still did not have a home of their own and were living in the crowded Curcio household — with Mamie’s parents and younger siblings as well as her maternal uncle Michael Del Negro and his family! (See table below.)

There must have been bunk beds galore to house so many people in the one-story wood-frame home at 128 East Fulton Street — a property that also contained the Antonio Curcio Junk Yard out back, where Peter worked for Mamie’s father.

The Laurence family of Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y. in 1911. My great-grandparents Peter and Mamie (Curcio) Laurence and sons Antonio W., 9, in front of Peter and Joseph B., 8, in front of Mamie. Antonio is my maternal grandfather, looking dapper next to his younger brother in a sailor-style outfit. Scan by Molly Charboneau/Charboneau-Laurence Family Collection

A crowded household

New York State and federal census enumerations for the early years of my great-grandparents marriage shed light not only their lives — but also on what must have been a common immigrant experience in the early 1900s.

Living together in a multi-generation home, as the Laurence family did in the Curcio household, allowed for the pooling of resources, housekeeping and childcare — and even the operation of a family business — until the Curcio children were ready to set up their own households.

And even then, the Laurence’s didn’t move far. The 12 Wells Street address below is right around the corner from 128 East Fulton St.

Laurence, Curcio and Del Negro Families in Gloversville, Fulton County, N.Y. Censuses – 1900-1920 – Sources: FamlySearch and Ancestry
Census Year Address Laurence Curcio Del Negro
US 1900 128 E. Fulton Street Antonio Antoinette and 8 children Michael Mary and 2 children
NYS 1905 128 E. Fulton Street Peter, Mamie, Antonio, Joseph Antonio Antoinette and 8 children Michael Mary and 4 children
US 1910 128 E. Fulton Street Peter, Mamie, Antonio, Joseph Antonio, Antoinette and 7 children Michael Mary and 7 children
NYS 1915 128 E. Fulton Street Peter, Mary, Antonio, Joseph Antonio Antoinette and 6 children
US 1920 12 Wells St. Peter, Mary, Tony, Joe
Detail from a 1912 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map showing the one-story Curcio home at 128 East Fulton Street — top center with a letter D for dwelling — with the junk yard at the back.

The Curcio-Laurence family business

The oral history in my family is that, as my great-great grandfather Antonio Curcio’s health declined, my great-grandfather Peter took over running his father-in-law’s junk yard (see map detail) — transforming it with the addition of a garage/filling station and an auto repair shop. And census records bear this out.

In the 1920 federal census, Peter, 45, is enumerated as a Junk Dealer — and my grandfather Antonio, 17, is listed as a Junk Collector.

But by 1925, when the New York State census was taken, Peter, 52, was operating a Gasoline Station and my grandfather Tony, 23, was an Auto Mechanic.

The 1912 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map[1]Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Gloversville, Fulton County, New York. Sanborn Map Company, Oct, 1912. Map 15. https://www.loc.gov/item/sanborn05951_006/. Accessed 12 Aug 2021.detail shows the one-story Curcio home at 128 East Fulton Street — top center with a letter D for dwelling — with the junk yard at the back.

Alas, all the buildings are gone now — but what I wouldn’t give for a photo of my Italian ancestors’ house and the shop from back when it was open!

Up next: More on my Italian ancestors of Gloversville, N.Y. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants.

© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

References

References
1 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map from Gloversville, Fulton County, New York. Sanborn Map Company, Oct, 1912. Map 15. https://www.loc.gov/item/sanborn05951_006/. Accessed 12 Aug 2021.

1901: Peter Laurence (di Lorenzo) marries Mary “Mamie” Curcio

Sepia Saturday 582. Eighth in a photo blog series on my maternal Italian ancestors from Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.

A blog series featuring photos of my maternal Italian ancestors from the Laurence-di Lorenzo-Curcio family album. Photo: Molly Charboneau

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.

Mary “Mamie” (Curcio) Laurence, circa 1901. This may be my great-grandmother’s engagement or wedding portrait. She certainly looks young and wistful — and the dress appears light enough to be a bridal outfit. Scan by Molly Charboneau/Charboneau-Laurence Family Collection

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).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atena_Lucana#/media/File:Atena_Lucana1.jpg
Atena Lucana, Salerno, Campania, Italy (2004). My second great-grandparents Antonio and Antoinette (Del Negro) Curcio immigrated from Atena Lucana to the U.S. in the late 1800s. Photo: Wikimedia/Anthony Pape

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?

Studio portrait of Peter Laurence/Pietro di Lorenzo (c. 1899-1900). In my Italian ancestral album, this portrait of Peter is mounted next to the above photo of Mamie. Could Peter’s photo have been taken near the time of the wedding as well? Scan by Molly Charboneau/Charboneau-Laurence Family Collection

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.

© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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