Tag Archives: Mary (Curcio) Laurence

Circa 1912: Peter Laurence’s Working Animals

Sepia Saturday 589. Fifteenth in a photo blog series on my maternal Italian ancestors from Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.

Returning to the history of my direct-line ancestors, this post features a favorite photo of my maternal Italian immigrant great-grandfather Peter D. Laurence (nee Pietro di Lorenzo) with what I assume were his working animals.

To the right stands his horse Nelly and in front sits his dog Diamond. I have two copies of this photo, which was printed on a postcard — so I assume multiple cards were printed to send to family back in Italy.

Photo postcard: Peter D. Laurence with horse Nelly and dog Diamond (circa 1912). I believe this photo was taken at 12 Wells St., Gloversville, N.Y., where Peter and family were living by 1920. This may be the stable shown at that address on a 1912 Sanborn map. Wish I knew what those lapel pins said. Scan by Molly Charboneau

Peter may have been a farmer in his hometown of Limatola, Benevento, Campania, Italy. That’s the occupation his younger brother Antonio listed on his passenger manifest when he came to the U.S. to visit Peter in 1902. So it’s possible my di Lorenzo ancestors had a family farm in the Italian agricultural region.

A mark of prosperity

Owning a work horse — which cost about $150 in 1870 and probably more by 1912 — was a mark of prosperity that any farm family would appreciate. The $150 price would be about $3,100 in today’s dollars — plus the ongoing cost of food, board and upkeep for the animal.

Back of the photo postcard. My maternal grandmother, Liz (Stoutner) Laurence, penned Peter’s name. I added the names of the horse and dog, which were provided by my mom Peg (Laurence) Charboneau. Scan by Molly Charboneau

The same was probably true of owning a dog. Diamond may have been a working dog — whose bark would scare intruders away from Peter’s home/business. Or the canine may have been a pet. Either way, owning a dog presupposed a level of income over and above what was needed to raise a family and keep a roof overhead.

Gloversville stables

To board a horse required a stable — which appears to be where this photo was taken. That took me back to the 1912 Sanborn Map of Gloversville, N.Y. to see just where my great-grandfather’s horse Nelly may have spent her leisure time.

Stables on Sanborn maps are marked with a large X on top, and there were still quite a few on the 1912 Gloversville map — the last year that digitized maps are available for the town.

1912 Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, Gloversville, N.Y. Detail of the 12 Well St. stable (labeled E at right) where Peter’s horse Nelly may have boarded. Source: Library of Congress/Sanborn Maps

On the map above, there is a 2-story stable marked X between No. 4 and No. 14 Wells St. — around the corner from my second great-grandfather Antonio Curcio’s home/junk yard.

The address is 12 Wells St. (labeled E on this map) where Peter Laurence eventually built a house and moved by 1920 with his wife Mary (Curcio) Laurence and sons Antonio (my maternal grandfather) and Joseph.

My mom, Peg (Laurence) Charboneau, told me that the photo of Peter, Nelly and Diamond was taken on Wells St. So it’s possible that Peter first boarded his horse there — perhaps purchasing the property when there was only a stable and later building a house.

Diamond in the rough

How Peter’s dog Diamond ended up with his sparkling name leads me down another family history path. In 1992, my mom and I made a family history road trip to her Gloversville home town so she could show me around.

We stopped at 128 E. Fulton St. — the location of the junk shop/garage where our Curcio and Laurence/di Lorenzo ancestors worked and where the Curcio home once stood.

Building at the back of 128 E. Fulton St., Gloversville, N.Y. (1992). Could the vintage Diamond Tires sign have been the inspiration for Peter’s dog’s name? Photo by Molly Charboneau

The house was gone, but I snapped a photo of the remaining building — a wood frame structure at the back of the property with a vintage Diamond Tires sign nailed to the front.

The tire company took that name in 1909 — before the photo of Peter and his animals was taken. While it may be pure coincidence, I have to wonder: Could that sign have been the inspiration for the little dog’s name? Perhaps a nod to the future of car travel while Nelly symbolized the past?

Up next: My grandfather Antonio W. Laurence and his brother Uncle Joe. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants.

© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

1902-1912: A tale of three junkyards

Sepia Saturday 584 and the Genealogy Blog Party. 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. Then visit the September 2021 Genealogy Blog Party: What  You Learned to check out the skills that genealogy bloggers have shared.

© 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.