Two brothers, one ticket: How two immigrants lost their names, found the American Dream

Jul 04, 2018 1064

BY: James Call

My American story begins with two Italian brothers and one ticket. Marco was 14; Gaetano 7. The boys came from Segni, a hamlet atop a hill south of Rome. One day in April 1904, Marco took Gaetano by the hand as they began a journey that would take them 110 miles to early twentieth century Naples, then thousands of miles across the Atlantic and end months later in the coalfields of West Virginia.

The two boys were orphans. What happened to their parents, James and Mary, is lost to history. The oldest sibling was away at a seminary. That left Gaetano in Marco’s care. They boarded the RMS Republic, a new ocean liner sailing from Naples to New York City. It was part of the fleet that would deliver more than 2 million Italians to Ellis Island between 1900 and 1910.

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