I photographed so many great portraits at Chicago’s Mount Carmel Catholic Cemetery that it seemed unfair to relegate them to a file on my computer, never to be seen. So I pulled out some I like most and made today’s post a simple pictorial.
I tried to do some research on the people pictured here but it didn’t yield much useful information. As I discovered in doing research on my own family tree, immigrants did not always divulge accurate information to census takers, if they told them anything at all.
The tradition of placing a portrait of the deceased on the grave marker was embraced and cherished by the Italian immigrants that came to Chicago and made it their home. Their gazes are often solemn, attired in their best clothes. We are blessed to have these mementos of their lives.
Maria Campo Rosone (spelled Rosoni in some records) came from Italy with her parents, Tom Campo and Margaret Gatagopa Campo. Her death record lists her as a housewife but I couldn’t find her husband’s name. She was only 40 when she died.
The only record for Sophie Rosone that I could find was that in 1928 she was living with her husband, Joseph, who was a candy maker. I don’t know if she was related to Maria Rosone.
I am 95 percent sure that this young man is Carmen Pintozzi but his name is not on the monument he shares with Vito Pintozzi (whom I believe was his father). It’s on a ground level marker, however. Vito (who was a newspaper dealer) died only three years after Carmen, who was a florist and married to Ruth Pintozzi. Carmen and his parents came to America from Salerno, Italy.
Three members of the Angelico family share one monument. Antonio and Rafaella both came from the village of Brienza in Italy and lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina before moving to the U.S. sometime after 1900.
Antonio is listed in the 1910 as a laborer. He looks rather well to do in his photograph.
I’m certain Rosina was greatly missed by her parents. In her portrait she is wearing her first communion dress. She was only 14 at the time of her death. The Angelicos had several other children who lived well into adulthood.
Rafaella Mautone came from Marigliano, Italy and was married to Sebastiano Mautone, who is listed as a laborer. She shares a marker with him and what appear to be two of her children who died in their 20s. But her face is the most interesting of the four. She most likely never became a U.S. citizen. Her husband died about 20 years before she did.
I wanted to include Onofrio Taglia’s mausoleum because it is a good example of how Italian immigrant families honored their beloved sons. His mausoleum features a statue and two portraits of him.
His parents, Vincenzo and Angelina, were from Italy but Onofrio was born in Chicago and worked for the city’s sewer department before he was drafted during World War I.
He died at Camp Logan in Houston, Texas in January 1919. I discovered that Camp Logan fell victim to the massive Spanish Flu pandemic. Military bases were especially susceptible to Spanish Flu outbreaks, so it is highly likely that Onofrio died from it.
The Sorianello monument leaves more questions than answers. This is Francesco “Frank” Sorianello, the son of Francesco Sorianello, Sr. He died at the age of 32. One record for him concerns a will indicating he left an estate of around $10,000 behind.
Even less is known about Francesco Sorianello, Sr., who died at the age of 50. He was probably an Italian immigrant. His wife is not buried with him but the words “Ricordo di Vittoria Sorianello” are on the base of the monument.”Ricordo” usually means “memory” or “remembered by” in Italian. The only record I could find for him was that he died intestate and the amount of his estate was undetermined.
Vittoria later remarried and was the wife of Rocco Petiffo, a butcher.
This portrait is on the side of the Sorianello monument and there are no names or dates under it. The only clue to whom it might be is that one more name is listed under those of the father and son. Franco Sorianello died at the age of one. But are these two different pictures of him? I don’t know.
This last portrait has to be one of the…well…creepiest I’ve ever seen. I was walking through the cemetery and looked up to see Pasquale staring back at me. It’s the first “post mortem” photo I have seen up close on a monument. I’ve seen a few online but never one in person. A post-mortem photo is taken after the person has died.
Pasquale’s name is a bit of a puzzle. The monument lists him as Pasquale Marcandento but the children listed below him are all Mercadante. I’m thinking perhaps his name was changed after he came through Ellis Island, as many Italian names were (remember The Godfather?).
I found a will for Pasquale that states he had an estate worth $20,000 when he died, so he must have been prosperous in his day. I have no idea why his family chose to have him photographed like this but perhaps no photos were taken of him when he was alive.
While I could post several more of these portraits, I’ll end it here. I hope you’ve enjoyed my Chicago rambles.
Arrivederci e che Dio vi benedica.