Location of Adams County within Colorado ADAMS COUNTY, COLORADO The COGenWeb Project

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FORGOTTEN PAST OF ADAMS COUNTY, VOL. II


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ITALIAN LIFESTYLE IN THE WELBY AREA

Sitting in the southeastern corner of Adams County exists the small community of Welby.  Welby is comprised of, for the most part, Italian citizens.  These families came to the Welby area in the late 1880’s and 1890’s bringing with them a lifestyle all their own.  Some of the first families to arrive in the area were the Rendes, Mauro’s, Center’s, Mazoni’s, DeRose’s, Domenico’s and the Covillo’s.

EARLY LIFESTYLE

In the beginning, life for all of these families was extremely hard.  Because of uncertain transportation, the families brought very few supplies.  They had to start from nothing.  Some of these families were brought to the Welby area by the railroad. They worked on the railroad for a while after arriving to help get them started.  With the money earned on the railroad, they bought small sections of land from a landowner.  On this section they had to build their house and any other buildings needed, plus their field.


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GARDENING

With this completed, they then worked on their only source of income, gardening.  Vegetables such as cabbage, squash, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and beans were grown.  Some of these crops were sold but the majority were used for food by the families.  When these vegetables were sold, they brought a very low price and the families often lost money.  Their gardening was also made hard by the lack of water.  Irrigation canals had to be dug to bring the water of the South Platte River to the semi-arid fields.  With help from all the families in the area, the Welby community began to prosper.

CHILDREN'S LIFESTYLE

The children of the Italian families had a rough life in the early years.  Long, hot days of hard work in the garden fields were very common.  Most of the children in the area attended school while they were young.  The Cline School, located in the heart of the Welby community was a major influence for Italian children.  Most of the families spoke only Italian, but in the Cline School, the children were taught English.  Another


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The Old School House (Welby?)


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Church (Welby?)


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problem for these children was the fact that they were looked down upon by the non-Italian families in the area. Some were even ashamed to admit that they were Italian. The average Italian child attended school up to the seventh grade. They were then needed to help work in the large garden fields. Life was certainly different then compared to the children’s lifestyle today.

RELIGION

Religion played a very important role in the community.  But when the early Italian families first arrived in Welby, there was only a small Protestant Church nearby. This church was attended until about 1912.  The Assumption Catholic Church was constructed in that year.  This brought the true religion of the Italians to the area.  Life was greatly influenced then and now by the church.

LIFE TODAY

Life in the area today is a mixed society. The area is still dominated by the Italians. Some of the families have chosen to remain with their original lifestyle. They continue to garden and some live in the original houses of


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the area. Others have taken up growing flowers and greenhouse work. Some have started a construction business. Many families have been successful while others live in poverty. One fact remains, the Italian influence in the Welby area of Adams County has been and continues to be very great.

Acknowledgments:

Mrs. Clara Ciancio
Ronald Rood

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I do not live in Colorado so I am unable to help with your personal research questions. All the information I know about Adams  County is posted promptly on this site. Please visit the "Research Resources" section of this site. I would suggest that if you don't find the information your looking for here, that you join the email list and post your question on the query board. The more places you ask the question, the better your chances of getting an answer.

 

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This Page Was Last Updated On: Sunday, 18-Sep-2011 16:45:51 MDT