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Wooster Digital History Project

From the Homeland to Wooster

Map of Regions of Wooster's First Italian Families

This map shows the regions of Italy from where Wooster's Italian families came. Forty-nine percent hail from the Abruzzi region (now Abruzzo and Molise), 20 percent from Calabria and eight percent from Campania. Data courtesy of Dominic Iannarelli, A Touch of Italy in Wooster.

Despite the pouring rain, Vincent J. Cicconetti could not stop smiling on Tuesday, April 26, 1910, according to a Wooster Daily News article.1 He had received a telegram the day before informing him that his fiancée Carmello Tomosseti had arrived in New York City and was en route to Wooster. After six tumultuous years, including a devastating accident in which Cicconetti lost his foot while working on the railroad, the couple would be reunited in Wooster.

From 1880-1920, immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe flooded to America in a wave known as “New Immigration,” a time that brought many of Wooster’s Italian families to America. Though most Italians settled in large cities, a minority settled in small-towns and rural areas, often to work in mining camps and on the railroad.2 Italians found their way to Wooster through several different avenues. Some, like Sabbatino Di Lucca and the villagers of Collepietro, were sent by labor recruiters.3 In addition, as in Di Lucca’s case, Italians often came through paesani networks, networks of fellow villagers. However, the most apparent way Italians found their way to Wooster was through a personal network of family and friends. Young men like Cicconetti sent for their sweethearts and others like Andrew Massaro wrote letters to their families about the advantages a town like Wooster had to offer.


1 “Crosses Sea to Join Her Lover Who Waited Long.” Wooster Daily News. April 26, 1910.
2 Diane Vecchio, ""Ties of Affection: Family Narratives in the History of Italian Migration"" Immigration, Incorporation & Transnationalism. Ed. Elliott Robert. Barkan. (New Brunswick: Transaction, 2007.) Print.
3 Dominic Iannarelli, A Touch of Italy in Wooster. (Wooster: The Daily Record, 1968).