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RADICE FAMILY HISTORY
San Fele, Italy to Buffalo, New York, USA
by Lawrence Piciulo
In 1883 a young 18-year-old named Sebastiano Radice, son of Giambattista and Francesca Radice, from San Fele, Italy, boarded a ship in Naples, Italy bound for the United States. The ships name was the "Birmania", and traveling with a companion, named Mario Radice, they arrived in New York on June 12, 1883.
Settling in Buffalo, NY, Sebastiano quickly learned English and worked as a laborer. In 1887, it is documented; he sponsored other Italian Immigrants when they were applying for US citizenship. Having saved enough money, he sent for his parents; his father Giambattista, his mother Francesca ("Frances") and youngest brother Giuseppe ("Joseph") to come to the US. Passage to the US was $75.00 per person, steerage class. Records indicate Giambattista, Francesca ("Frances") and son Giuseppe ("Joseph") arrived in NY in 1890. "Sebastian" met them in NY and they continued on to Buffalo.
They all lived in a tenement house at #12 Evans Street, (an area on lower Main Street by the water), this neighborhood was known as the "Hooks" and was inhabited by mostly Italian Immigrants.
On April 1, 1893 Pasquale Radice, Giambattista's oldest son arrived in NY. Later that year, Pasquale's wife Brigida Giallella (Mrs. Radice) arrived in NY on 12/27/1893 with their children: Maria Francesca "Frances", Giambattista Francesco ("Frank"), Michele ("Mike"), Maria Nicola ("Nicole") and Mariantonia ("Anna"). The ship's manifest listed the children all-traveling under their Mother's maiden name Giallella, this is common practice among Europeans and the custom still prevails today.
In 1895 the entire family was living at 63 Seventh Street, another tenement house in a better neighborhood. Lucy, Rose, Josephine and S.John ("Yitz") were born at this address. The 1900 Federal Census listed all the Radice & Giallella families living at this address.
The Radice, Giallella, and Tozzi families had close ties in San Fele, Italy. Our Great Grandmother Frances (nee Tozzi) Radice was first cousin to our Great Grandmother Maria Michella (nee Tozzi) Giallella. The Giallellas also lived with the Radice family when they moved to 91 Seventh Street.
Sebastino and Vittoria Giallella had two sons and a daughter, Vito, Anthony ("Harry Thaw") and Mary. Anthony ("Harry Thaw") Giallella‘s godparents were Sebastian and Lucy (nee Pignataro) Radice.
The 1906 Buffalo City Directory lists Giambattista Radice and wife Frances living at 91 Seventh Street. Pasquale’s occupation was listed as a junk dealer and his sons Frank and Mike were listed as machinists. Giambattista’s youngest son Joseph was listed as a musician. Joseph was an accomplished French Horn musician and played with the Philharmonic Orchestra. He also played with the "John Philip Sousa" marching band. They toured the Buffalo area.*
Katherine ("Katie") and Maria ("Molly"), Pasquale’s youngest daughters, were born at this address and Grandfather Giambattista died there in 1908.
By 1910 Pasquale and Bridget’s daughters Frances and Nicola ("Collie") were married. Frances married Donato Vincenzo ("Tony") Zaccagnino and Collie married Sebastiano ("Sebastian") Tronolone. Tony Zaccagnino and Sebastian Tronolone were both born in San Fele.
In 1911 Anna married Joseph Corritore and in 1914 Lucy married Salvatore Petruzzi ("Peters"). About 1912 Pasquale and Bridget Radice moved to 474 Seventh Street.
Around 1923 Pasquale and Bridget acquired a home at 433 Prospect Street. Their son Mike his wife Millie along with Rosie, Josephine, Yitz, Katie and Molly lived at this address.
In 1923 Frank Radice, Pasquale’s oldest son was killed in an incident in a restaurant in Buffalo, New York (see newspaper article enclosed).
Mike Radice became a master plumber and eventually became a City of Buffalo building inspector. S. John "Yitz" was a stage hand and lighting director for mostly live theatrical shows and legitimate theatre. He also owned and distributed gaming machines, (pin ball & slot machines). He sold this business in the late 1940’s. Mike Radice opened a cocktail lounge in 1947 in Franklin Street called Radices. They moved to Chippawa Street and the business was ultimately operated by sons Pat and Neal Radice, both men were involved in other business enterprises.
The 1925 Buffalo City directory lists Sebastian Radice living at 231 W. Genesee Street, where he operated a shoe repair and shoe shine parlor with about 5 employees. He moved the business to the Hotel Statler and became very successful. Having invested heavily in the Stock Market he lost most of his wealth in the 1929 stock market crash** He and his wife Lucy lived at 508 Prospect Street until his death . Sebastian’s son Larry (Dicky) Radice became a Neurologist, sons Pat and John operated “Freddy’s Doughnuts”. Pasquale’s youngest brother Joseph opened the Rotisserie Restaurant at 635 Main Street in 1915. Josephine (Josie) was listed as a cashier in the restaurant. As you all know the Rotisserie became a landmark in Buffalo for more than 50 years and after Joseph retired, the sons Marcus and John (Johnny) Radice continues its operation. Marc and John Radice sold the Rotisserie Restaurant and acquired Olivers on Delaware Avenue, which they operated until they both retired, the restaurant is still in operation today. Joseph’s daughter Frances married Bill Grosso, who operated a locksmith business.
In 1927, Aunt Collie’s husband, Sebastian Tronolone, became Chief Gardner at the Humboldt Park Conservatory. His flowers were viewed by thousands, especially his Easter displays, with over 1500 separate blooms.
The remaining Radice family moved to 506 Prospect Avenue, home of Mike And Millie Radice and their children. Grandfather Pasquale and Grandmother Bridget also lived with them at this address. Bridget died in 1935 and Pasquale in 1948 at this address. This home is still in the Radice family today.
The attending Doctor for most of the Radice family was Frank Valente M.D., who had close ties to the families and he was also from San Fele, Italy. He attended most of the Radice childrens' births and signed the death certificates of most of the family. The Radice Family belonged to several Churches in Buffalo, beginning with Saint Anthony’s Holy Cross, and Holy Angels.
All of the information in this family Record is based on immigration records, city directories, birth certificates, death notices, social security indexing, cemetery records and head stones, and the US Federal Census’ 1900, 1910,1920. Additional information provided by the Genealogy History Center of the Latter Day Saints. Some of the personal descriptions of individuals was obtained by conversation with known living relatives.
Some interesting oddities worth mentioning:
Frank B. Radice, first son of Pasquale and Bridget: I believe his real name was Giambattista Francesco, but cannot confirm. His name when coming thru Ellis Island was Gianbat (short for Gianbattista).
Frances Zaccagnino's husband was called Tony, his real name was Donato Vincenzo. I believe the correct spelling of the family name was Zaccagnino, but to date cannot confirm the spelling. George Zaccagnino (father of Danny Zack) was called "Cabaret Jim" real name Angelo. Salvatore Petruzzi "Uncle Sully" real first name was Saliatore.
* Joe the musician info provided by Danny Grosso
** Sebastian stock market and shoe business info provided by Danny Grosso.
I hope all of you will preserve this report for your families.
In closing, I wish to thank Paula Nigro for her experience and direction and also for establishing a fantastic website, which lists our Family Tree and focuses on our San Fele Genealogy.
Lawrence "Larry" Piciulo
Last Updated: 29 April 2017
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