News from San Antonio Church – Sept. 5, 2021

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Weekly Bulletin September 5, 2021

by Terrie Evans

On this Sunday, September 5th San Antonio Church  Parishioners welcome the members of the D’Agostino, Minella and Ventre families who are descendants of the 1st generation of the Italian Colony who settled in South Fairmount and founded our church in 1922.  Those new arrivals of young poor immigrant families  we are honoring went through hardships and  difficult times to come to America for a better life for their families.  Many of the men came first  with almost nothing except for the clothes on their backs,  a few dollars in their pockets,  an address of their final destination their sponsor’s name and a job.  Two brothers, Sabato (1875-1956) and Raffaele Minella (1877-1963) both worked in the coal mines of Pennsylvania before settling in Cincinnati with their families.  They took manual labor jobs at Lunkenheimer’s; Sabato for 40 years and Raffaele until 1912 when he took a job at General Hospital for a $16 a week salary.  Luciano Ventre (1895-1984) came to the United States worked hard as a brick layer for the City of Cincinnati and lived to see his three Ventre  grandsons  Steve, Doug and Greg also work for the City as Cincinnati Police Officers. 

Those early arrivals to America worried over every dollar they made as  they had families to support with some of their monies going to other family members coming to Cincinnati.  The D’Agostino, Minella and Ventre families all  had help getting here, so they assisted  the  next group  of new arrivals from Fellitto, Rocadespeide or other remote little villages around  Southern Italy.  Everyday life was uncertain and a challenge with families losing children in infancy and spouses passing away at a young age.  Sabato and Philomena Minella lost 3 year old Eutimo in 1911 and 15 day old Rosa Antonetta in 1926.   Silvano and Dena Minella lost  10 month old  Lawrence in 1917  with Luciano and Maria (Schiavo) Ventre losing 1 month old daughter Carmines in 1925.  When men became widowers with children to raise, they chose to marry again to keep the family together as Vito Minella did when he lost his wife Maria.  When Vito married again to Palma, she was able to keep the family together and add Silvano, Mary and Brigid as siblings to their big family.  

When  Antonio  D’Agostino (1885-1926) died at the age of 41 years old but, Concetta Agnes Mary (D’Angelo) D’Agostino never  gave up.  Antonio left 8 children and a 37 year old widow with the oldest D’ Agostino sibling,  Josephine at 15 and the youngest, Jean a 1 year old.  Concetta took on the responsibility of raising her family by taking on  jobs of cleaning, cooking and becoming a caregiver and midwife to the women in the neighborhood.  The siblings Josephine, Mary, Carmella, Anna, Johnny, Nick, Russell, and Jean banded together doing whatever was necessary to keep the family together.  They became one of the  many success stories of the Little Italy neighborhood around San Antonio Church.  They stayed close,  celebrated successful marriages, careers, and with each generation, achieved  even more of the American dream. The granddaughter  of Antonio and Concetta D’ Agostino, Connie (Wakeman) McCluskey helped build a successful car dealership  with her late  husband Dan.  They had a plan and never gave up to live in the greatest country full of opportunities for their children and the many generations to follow.  They were proud to call America home.


You can also look forward to the future stories of another group of Minellas, sisters who made South Fairmount their home: Rosaria Minella Florimonte, Elena Minella Di Stasi, and Antonia Minella Carota.

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