1) Ignazio ‘John’ Matacia
IGNAZIO ‘JOHN’ A MATACIA, b. December 19, 1896, Cincinnati, VA; d. September 2, 1964, Baltimore, MD, SFC US Army World War I; m. MARGUERITE R.; b. December 24, 1899, Baltimore, MD; d. June 26, 1996, Stewartstown, York County, PA.
According to the US Census for 1920, John was living at that time in Baltimore. By 1930, as the Great Depression got underway, he was residing in Washington, DC with his wife, Marguerite and her family. Little is known of Marguerite. She was an old-time Southerner by culture and not, by any means, a supporter of Civil Rights for African-Americans.
A mild-mannered individual, John never spoke of his business. After embezzling money from the Matacia Fruit Company to pay a debt (lest he get a hand chopped off, or perhaps worse) John was sent to jail. He and his wife, Marguerite, lived in Baltimore, and understandably, kept their distance from the larger part of the Matacia family quartered in Charlottesville, VA.
Kathryn Matacia reported that John and Marguerite had a daughter, who tragically died very young.
2) Antonino ‘Tony’ Matacia
ANTONINO WILLIAM ‘TONY’ MATACIA was born February 27, 1898 in Cincinnati, VA, and died March 1982 in Charlottesville, VA.
1st wife: LOUISE N. MATACIA b. 1901; divorced
2nd wife: MARY MATACIA; divorced in Florida 1952.
After leaving the Matacia Fruit Co, Tony became the proprietor of a sandwich shop (US Census 1930) and later worked as a mechanic in the C& O roundhouse in Charlottesville. Tony looked out for those he loved: he adopted Ruby, who had been born (in 1915) out of wedlock to his 1st wife, Louise, when she was but a teenager of 14. The father of Ruby is unknown. Around 1930 Louise fell in love with a Catholic Monsignor, known as ‘Doc’, and eventually divorced Tony in order to marry the priest. Sometime later, Ruby had a daughter, Janice Lingen , born, like her, out of wedlock. Janice worked in the office of the Governor of Maryland in Annapolis. Neither of these women ever married. Tony’s 2nd wife was Mary, a waitress at Arthur’s Grill.
Tony, a ‘regular guy’ spoke English in a very staccato manner, and also could converse in perfect Sicilian. He had an outstanding bass-baritone voice and, as a young man, aspired to become an opera singer, but his father, Gus, would not permit him to take voice lessons.
From 1931-to 1938, Tony & Louise Matacia lived in this home at 610 E. High St. in Charlottesville. It was just a block over from his parents’ home at 606 East Jefferson. Many a Matacia Family drama was played out in this structure as Tony rented out rooms to boarders. The grave of John Jouett, Sr., the father of Jack Jewett a famous Revolutionary War hero, is located to the rear of this structure (which no longer exists).
Tony’s home at 610 E. High Street (part of which he rented out to boarders including Cholly Lehrer and the priest known as ‘Doc’) is mentioned by Mary Rawlings in a footnote accompanying her 1942 edition of the 19th-century recollections of Charlottesville made by one James Alexander:
The Swan Tavern: Still standing. Now the Red Land Club, corner of Park Street and East Jefferson. Of the Jouetts, Woods’ Albemarle County, pp. 240-41, tells us: “Among the earliest entries on the Court records in 1745, is a notice of the death of Matthew Jouett, and the appointment of John Moore as his executor. It can scarcely be doubted that John Jouett, who was for many years a prominent citizen of Charlottesville, was a son of this Matthew. In 1773 John purchased from John Moore one hundred acres adjoining the town on the east and north, and at that time most likely erected the Swan Tavern of famous memory. . . . In 1790 he laid out High Street, with the row of lots on either side. . . . He kept the Swan until his death in 1802. . . . At the time of his death, and for many years after, no public place of burial in the town existed. According to the custom of that day, he was most probably buried in the yard in the rear of his house, and his remains lie somewhere in the square on which the old Town Hall is situated. . . . The general tradition about Charlottesville has always been, that it was John Jouett, Sr., who performed the exploit of outstripping Tarleton. . . . As to the grave of the elder Jouett, there is a cluster of fine old box in the rear of the Matacia home, 610 East High Street (to the rear of the Town Hall), which is believed to mark the site of the burial plot, the grave, according to belief, being within ten feet of a spot now marked by a cherry tree.”
Actually, John Jewett, Sr. who is buried in backyard of Tony Matacia’s home on 610 East High Street, was the father of John ‘Jack’ Jewett, Jr. and Matthew Jewett. It was Jack (not his father John Jewett, Sr.) who made his famous ride during the Revolutionary War in 1781 to warn Thomas Jefferson at Monticello and the Virginia Legislature convening in Charlottesville VA that British commander Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton and his troops were on their way, thereby becoming the ‘Paul Revere of the South’.
3) Carmelino Matacia
CARMELINO A. MATACIA was born November 01, 1899, and died October 25, 1997 in Charlottesville, VA. He married LOUISE ‘LOUISA’ CORBIN b. May 10, 1912; d. November 16, 1963.
Sometime back before the Great Depression of the 1930s, one of the Papania sisters, cousins of the Matacias, had a love affair with Carmelino. Laurence Matacia has identified the object of Carmelino’s affection as Frances Papania who later became Sister Marie Concetta. But Larry Papania, a nephew of Sister Marie Concetta, believes that Marie Papania, Concetta’s younger sister, was the girl who became engaged to Carmelino.
Carmelino worked for the Matacia Fruit Co (in 1930 he was the bookeeper) and relaxed by attending the horse races in West Virginia on the weekends, notably without his wife, Louisa. A very handsome man, Carmelino played his cards close to the chest. He routinely came to Atlantic City every summer, and, after a week of going to the beach, playing the horses, etc, he would finally visit with his sister, Antoinette, mysteriously restricting those appearances to a mere half hour or so. One day Carmelino came home from work in Charlottesville to find that his wife, Louisa, had taken her life.
Child of CARMELINO MATACIA and LOUISA is:
ALFRED CARMELINO MATACIA, b. July 8, 1932, Charlottesville, VA; m. 1st Barbara Lynch Matacia. m. 2nd Barbara Wolcott. As of 2012 Alfred was employed by Prudential Townes Realty.
Children with Barbara Lynch:
Synora Gale “Sandy” Matacia b. abt. 1957 Charlottesville VA
Scott C. Matacia b. July 25, 1969 Charlottesville VA; d. June 27, 2006. m. Karen Roudabush Matacia b. August 9, 1968 Charlottesville VA; d. June 27, 2006
Alfred was a regular on the docks of the Matacia Fruit Company, where he worked alongside his father for many years. Eventually he went into real estate, founding Matacia Real Estate, Inc. His son, Scott ( and daughter-in-law, Karen, were killed in a tragic car accident on June 27, 2006.
OBITUARY: Scott Carmelino Matacia
Scott Carmelino Matacia, 36, of Keswick, died June 27, 2006 as result of an automobile accident. Born July 25, 1969, in Charlottesville, he was the son of Alfred C. Matacia of Charlottesville and Barbara Lynch Matacia of Virginia Beach. Scott was a graduate of Albemarle County High School and Lynchburg College. He is married to Karen Roudabush Matacia, who also died in the accident. Scott is survived by his mother; father; a sister, Synora “Sandy” Gale Matacia of Rhode Island; a niece, Michelle L. Cote of Virginia Beach; and three uncles, William A. Lynch, Clyde W. Lynch and Kenneth W. Lynch all of Charlottesville. A funeral service will be held on Saturday July 1, 2006 at 11:00 AM in the Cherry Avenue Christian Church. Interment will follow in Monticello Memory Gardens. The family will receive friends Friday evening June 30, 2006 from 6:30 to 8:30 PM at the Cherry Avenue Christian Church. In lieu of flowers the family asks that memorial contributions be made to a local S.P.C.A.
4) Louis Matacia
LOUIS JOSEPH MATACIA was born April 29, 1906 in Charlottesville, VA, and died there in October 1969. He married ANNA M. PERRY on December 28, 1929. Anna was born July 16, 1907, and died February 1978 in Charlottesville, VA.
Louis worked for the Matacia Fruit Company for many years; but during the last 15 or so years of his life, he went into the antique business with Bill Mueller, a student boarder from the post WW II years, who was still living in his home. Together, they operated a shop on the road leading up to Montecello.
Louis was a natural comedian. One day in the summer of 1961, while driving his station wagon on a road trip out into the countryside to find antiques, Louis’ two dogs, Gina and Sabrina, began leaping from the back of his station wagon up into the front seat. Louis, exasperated by his failure to quell them down, quipped to his wife: “Ya know, Anna, ah think these two he-ah dawgs wanna drave!”
His home in Fry’s Springs was a duplex built after WW II in conjunction with his brother Bill. Unfortunately, the two brothers developed a serious rivalry, and broke up. Louis continued to poke fun at ‘That nice Uncle Bill’ for the rest of his life.
Louis had tattoos all over his arms. Like his older brothers, he had served in both World Wars. He attempted to have the tattoos removed, but that only made them smear, so Louis wore long-sleeved white shirts to cover them. Even on the hottest days of summer, as he worked on the docks of the Matacia Fruit Company, Louis covered his tattoos with his long shirtsleeves.
Anna was the lifetime partner of Louis. A bright personality, she often assisted Louis and Bill Mueller in the antique business. Born a Protestant, Anna converted to Catholicism. In her latter years she became the head of the gift shop at Montecello, the home of Thomas Jefferson, after having worked there part-time for many years.
The following two items of French currency issued to American Troops during World War I, were brought back to America by Louis and presented to his sister, Antoinette, as souvenirs. Louis fought in the famous battle of Chateau-Thierry, which marked the turning point in the war.
The two children of LOUIS MATACIA and ANNA are:
1) LOUIS JOSEPH MATACIA, JR., b. August 14, 1930 Charlottesville, VA
Louis Jr. Matacia is a Southerner through-and-through. One family member puts it this way: Louis Jr. is still fighting the Civil War… and winning! As a young boy, Jr. was an avid camper, and at the slightest provocation (and there was a lot of that in the Matacia Family) he would take up a bedroll and head off in to the hills surrounding Charlottesville to cool off. Louis Jr. became famous in the family for his offhand remarks, to which his mom, Anna, was forever exclaiming: “Now Louis Jr., you didn’t mean that!”
Louis Jr., a surveyor by profession, eventually formed a partnership with his daughter Ginette to locate underground deposits via the ancient art of dowsing. An Internet site on dowsing reports:
“In the USA, Louis J. Matacia is a surveyor who has studied dowsing for years. During the Vietnam War he was commissioned to teach dowsing skills to US Marines so that they could avoid booby traps, navigate safely through jungles, and learn the whereabouts of the enemy. Soldiers reported that using the L-rod in this way saved many lives. Louis is particularly interested in the challenge of the search. Using his dowsing together with a range of scientific devices, he has located lost pipes, oil, wells, caves and buried treasures.”
Louis Jr. married Frances Ashby Wilson (c. 1954) by whom he had five children:
- Marlyn E. Matacia, BA Computer Science; 1st husband George Humphrey. 2nd husband: Rusty Jardin. Children of Marilyn and George Humphrey:
- Jennifer ‘Jem’ Jardin m. Don Yaxley, 36 with three girls: Natalie, Haley, and Alexia ‘Lexi’
- Dr. Summer Jardin, m. Chris Acevedo, Ph. d Neuroscience, 34 married with three children: Athena , Raeia, and Christopher Ares.
- Thomas Eugene Matacia b. December 28, 1955; m. Daria Borsa. Tom is an electrician by trade.
Louis Jr’s son, Thomas Eugene is married to the talented jazz vocalist and pianist, Daria Borsa Matacia b. January 28, 1956.
Daria Borsa and her brother, Fred (2nd husband of Rebecca Fontaine Matacia) are of Ukrianian and Italian decent, as well as their brother, Nicholas Fredrick Borsa, and their aunt Trina Mary Roman-Weir.
Daria has made two recordings with her band, Angel & Aces:
- 1958: REBECCA FONTAINE MATACIA b. June 15, 1958. BA Crimonology.
- m. 1st husband Jack Gaspar divorced June 15, 1997; children: Phillip Charles b. November 5, 1989 Los Angeles CA (m. Samantha, their child: Phillip Jr.); Jacqueline ‘Jacki’ Rose b. July 31, 1992 Los Angeles CA.
- m. 2nd Fred Borsa (deceased) their child Nick
- m. 3rd husband D. Hall
- Sara ‘Sara Alexander’ Matacia (Sara and Ginette are twins) b. August 27, 1958. son: Daniel Louis Cohen
- Ginette Matacia Lucas (Ginette and Sara are twins) b. August 27, 1958. m. Robert Lucas. Children: Anna and Isabelle ‘Izzi’
Ginette Matacia reported to Chick Matacia-Lehrer how she first became aware of her innate talent for perception:
“Regarding my unique talent: my grandfather, Louis, Sr., had it… he used to play cards with Robert Monroe of the Robert Monroe Institute, an Executive Training and Management Foundation, which was located in Charlottesville. Robert had a daughter who ran the foundation; she was married to a very famous psychic/remote viewer for the military. Not long before Louis Sr. died, my father, Louis Jr., became interested in the paranormal. He kept saying to his dad to communicate from the grave, and to talk with him once he had died. Both Louis’ spoke about the other side frequently at the breakfast table. And of course, my grandmother, Anna, would hit my father, saying ‘shut up’.”
“I assume that Uncle Tony and Uncle Carmelino both had psychic ability. When I was in elementary school I hung around them a bit. I was nine when my grandfather Louis’ funeral took place in the Holy Comforter Church in Charlottesville. I was sitting up front with my family when I noticed that the light above the casket was swaying. It was about 100 feet above the floor of the church, hanging down on long wrought-iron links like a pendulum. And I thought I saw my grandfather Louis Sr., swinging on that pendulum!”
“Uncle Tony was sitting at the back of the church. I gently walked back to him and asked him what was going on with the light, but I did not tell him I saw my grandfather swinging on it… I just told him that the light was swaying. Tony was more concerned about why he had decided to sit at the back of the church rather than up front with the rest of the family, and he did not seem to be paying attention to my observation. So, I quickly got my brother, Tom, to come over. Tom pointed out to Tony that the light was swinging and looked like it could fall. Tony was so alarmed that before he could even tell everyone to move, the lamp quickly jumped up in the air, fell, and exploded right above Louis, Sr.’s casket. Louis Jr., my father, said in reference to the event that Louis Sr. didn’t like long sermons.”
Additional note from Ginny Matacia: “Louis Jr. remembers that Tony was at the head of the Church, when he ran to get a stick to get the chains from coming down and hurting people…so Louis thinks Bill was at the back of the Church, with Tom and me.”
2) DAVID ‘BUCKSHOT’ J. MATACIA, b. January 29, 1935, Charlottesville, VA. m. CHARLOTTE D. MATACIA b. September 4, 1947
David was an expert builder of airplane and train models in his youth. A sensitive kid, he was beset by childhood illnesses, and therefore, very different from his brother, Louis Jr., a tough outdoorsman.
William ‘Bill’ Pettus remembered David Matacia in this timely e-mail to Chick Matacia-Lehrer in May 2009:
“During the years I knew ‘Buckshot’ he was more widely known as ‘Buck’, but he identified himself as ‘Buckshot’ to his closest friends at UVA. I never thought of Buckshot as a redneck, though his brother might fall into that category. Maybe I didn’t notice because I, too, was born and raised in a segregated society in Virginia.”
“Buckshot was an excellent student at UVA and sometimes got the highest grades in his engineering courses. He was mild-mannered and friendly and had a nice sense of humor. Girls were charmed by his manners, but he never seemed to become attached to any until he first married, sometime around 1963 or 1964. He and his wife moved to Binghamton, NY, where he worked for IBM. The marriage didn’t work out, and he remarried in the late 1960s, and worked in Maryland for IBM. I found Buckshot on the Internet a year or two ago. He was still in Maryland and with a third wife. Their names were in a church program that someone had posted.”
“One of the ties that made us good friends was our mutual interest in classical music. I played trumpet, but Buckshot only played the radio or phonograph. We attended many concerts together. During the years after graduation, when we both were employed at Sperry in Charlottesville, we were sent to one of the Sperry facilities on Long Island for six months. He and I stayed in a rented house in Levittown. He may have saved my life one evening when he discovered a yard-long flaming jet emerging from the furnace in the direction of a stack of newspapers. I had already gone to bed.”
5) William Matacia
WILLIAM VINCENT ‘BILL’ MATACIA was born January 15, 1907 in Charlottesville, VA, and died there on April 14, 1998. He married (1st wife) CLARA HISERMAN. She was born 1910. He married (2nd wife) MARY ROSEBUD ‘BUDDIE’ JENKINS. She was born 1918 in Culpepper, VA.
Like his father, Agostino, Bill had a violent temperament, but, inside he was a real softie. It was best to stay on his good side, though not easy for the many nieces and nephews who surrounded him. He and his 2nd wife, Buddie, lived in the slaves’ quarters attached to the Matacia’s homestead for many years, and it would appear from the 1930 US Census, that he had lived there previously with his 1st wife, Clara. Bill worked at the Matacia Fruit Company for his entire career as the company truck driver. Like all of the Matacia brothers, Bill served in WW II and returned home in good shape.
A real sweetheart, Aunt Buddie was beloved by everyone who knew her. She was the only one on earth capable of quieting the untamed man she lived with. A picture of her humility shows Buddie washing her husband Bill’s hair after his every haircut, as he sat in the undersized bathtub of the slave quarters attached to the Matacia Homestead.
Buddie was a talented singer, although she never pursued this field, and her later years she became the mentor of her adolescent Matacia nieces, Evelyn and Gilda. Buddie worked up at the gift shop at Montecello with her sister-in-law, Anna, and, like Anna, converted to Catholicism. At one time, she and Bill shared a duplex with Anna and Louis.
Buddie died of a heart attack, and was outlived by the irritable, if secretly sensitive, Bill by many years.
Child of WILLIAM MATACIA and CLARA HISERMAN is:
ROSE ‘ROSIE’ MATACIA
Rosie grew up to become an RN. Like her mother Clara, Rosie suffered from mental illness. Grandmother Rosina did not speak kindly of either Clara or Rosie because of this affliction. One wonders if certain superstitious aspects of Sicilian culture had come into play here.
OBITUARY OF ROSE MATACIA ADAMS
FORT ASHBY, W.Va. — Rose M. Adams, 79, of Fort Ashby, died Saturday, March 5, 2011 at the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center. Born Nov. 24, 1931 in Charlottesville, Va., she was the daughter of the late William Vincent Matacia and Clara (Hiserman) Matacia. She was also preceded in death by her husband, William Paul Adams Jr. and a half-sister, Mary Ann Aimi. Rose was a veteran of the Korean Conflict, having served as a nurse. Mrs. Adams had worked as a registered nurse at Lynchburg General Hospital. She was a member of the Ladies Auxiliary, Fort Ashby Post 6667, V.F.W. While a resident of the Dawnview Center, Rose attended the Catholic services there. She also enjoyed bingo and shopping on TV. Survivors include her step-children, Michael and Patrick Adams, Glenna Koontz, Sondra Mongold, and Rose Marie Adams; a brother, Julian Aimi; a half-brother, James Aimi; three sisters-in-law, Peggy Seeders and husband Harry, Shirley Elkins, and Nancy Gentzler; two brothers-in-law, Tim Adams and wife Pat, and Bennie Adams; and several nieces and nephews. The Upchurch Funeral Home, Inc., Fort Ashby, is in charge of the private arrangements.
6) Antoinette Matacia
ANTOINETTE ‘ANN’ MATACIA was born February 09, 1909 in Charlottesville, VA, and died April 1970 in Atlantic City, NJ. She married CHARLES JOHN ‘CHOLLY’ LEHRER 1930 in Charlottesville, VA, son of JOSEPH LEHRER and MARY BLOOMER. Cholly was born June 26, 1903 in Atlantic City, NJ, and died there on December 30, 1968. Ann and Cholly are buried next to one another in the Lehrer-Bloomer family plot at Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Pleasantville, NJ.
The two children of ANTOINETTE MATACIA and CHARLES JOHN LEHRER:
1) CHARLES ‘CHICK’ JOSEPH LEHRER born October 9, 1940. Married Phyllis Piejak 1962. Married Nancy Bonar 1983.
The four children of Charles Lehrer and Phyllis Piejak
1) CHARLES ANTHONY LEHRER
2) ANGELA IRENE LEHRER
3) PHILIPP LOUIS LEHRER
4) JAMES LEHRER
2) ERNEST VINCENT LEHRER born January 6, 1945.
Antoinette Matacia’s Boys Both Became Musicians
Antoinette ‘Ann’ Matacia Lehrer, the only daughter of Agostino and Rosina Matacia, graduated from the School of Nursing at the University of Virginia in 1930 and, soon thereafter, married Charles ‘Cholly’ Lehrer, an electrician who was in town to supervise the wiring of the new Paramount theater being built in Charlottesville.
During the Great Depression years, Ann scrubbed floors in Atlantic City for 50 cents an hour, in order to earn enough money to pay part of the family’s bills; but when World War II got underway, she had almost more work than she could handle at the huge hospital complex set up in Atlantic City’s Haddon Hall. It was there that solders, who were lucky enough to return from battle alive, were sent to have their wounds cared for.
THOMAS M. ENGLAND GENERAL HOSPITAL
Atlantic City was virtually transformed into a basic training and medical care center in 1943. Headquartered at Convention Hall, the largest building in the city, the Army referred to the take over of more than forty resort hotels simply as Army Air Forces Basic Training Center No. 7. Haddon Hall Hotel, a seventeen-story beachfront hotel, under the command of Col. Robert C. McDonald, M.C., was turned into a station hospital servicing tens of thousands of Army Air Forces recruits. It had approximately a two thousand-patient capacity.
The new General Hospital took on the gigantic task of handling severely wounded patients from overseas battlefields including: North Africa, Sicily, Normandy, Falaise, Gab, Mons, and Aachen.
By early 1945, the hospital had more than 2,800 patients. At the same time, only ninety-five Army and seventeen civilian nurses were on duty. This shortage was due to the continued drafting of nurses for all branches of the service.
The hospital conducted basic training for nurses, after which many were transferred to other hospitals all over the world. By January 1945, 1,446 nurses had received their basic training at this hospital.
By June 30, 1946, and the entire facility known as Thomas M. England General Hospital ceased to exist as the last remaining hotel was released to its civilian owners.
Some of Ann’s Southern Dialect Expressions
1) Did you see thayut? That they-a cay-ut lack tuh take a plug oatah Ah-cheh [Archie] lack ah donno wut!
2) Often said if a portion of food was too small: They not enuf thayuh to fill ma’hollow toof.
3) When feeling overworked and stressed: What-a you boaz think Ah em…the Model Steam Laundreh?
3b) On very hot days in the summer: Ya know Choleh, it’s hotta in hee-a than the Model Steam Laundreh goin’ full tilt. So, Ah think A’d bettah put mah-self inta a ha-azontil position oat cheea on the Davenpawt befowa Ah have a heat stroke! “
4) Ya know Cholleh, I think that bo-eh needs to have his haid examined: he’s got a whole pack a Chicklitts in his mowth! Can you imagine?
5) Why, they owta be a law!
6) To Chickie after he told Dan Fritz to blow it outta his ass: Honeh, cain’t chya be just a bit mo-eh diplomytic?
7) To Ernie after he’s had a really tough day at school Oh Errr-neh…. followed by a blast of tears from Ernie.
8.) Now Erneh, you latch onta that cheezeburga. And don’t eat so fast that chya get it stuck in yer craw.
9) Many a tam I chawed down on a piece of chocolate only to break a toof.
10) Upon discovering that a tiny piece of foil from a Wrigleys chewing-gum wrapper had become mixed in with the gum in her mouth: Wow, that felt lak lectrik!
11) When Chick and Ernie made trouble in the neighborhood: You boyez ah goin ta bureh us a-lave!
12) Chick and Ernie at it again: Hey, will you bo-ez cut that oat: we all gotta live hea.
13) Why, shut mah mowth, am goin Sowth!
14) Chickeh: Shike a laig, and get on a movin oat that front doa!
15) That [fill in the blank] ain’t worth a row a petitas.
16) Whatta you boyez doing with yer hats on in the howse? Whatta you think we ah… Jewush?
17) Yeh…fake oat.
18) Now, stop asking so many questions: whatta ya think this is, the Spanish Inquisition?
19) Stop that Chickeh; ya givin me the jittazz.
20) Those nuns are a giving me a case of the nervous dis-pepsia with all that a carryin’ on.
21) I’m gonna go put mah-self in a hawazontil position.
22) Well, Ill be a dirteh name!
23) Kiss my foot!
24) In answer to: Mom, can I have a glass a’ orange juice? Why natch, honeh!
25) This place is so small that they-uz not enough room in he-a ta swing a cay-ut!
26) Like a witch over a boiling cauldron Sleeeep my little darlings, sleeeep; for tomorra A’m goin’ ta take and eat chu!
28) If you keep that up, Chickeh, I’m going to throttle you one!
29) To Dad after seeing Chickie perform an action reminiscent of her father: Cholleh, look……Papa!
30) Chickeh: If Ronneh put his haid in the oven, would you do they-at too?
31) One typical use of the word gula: Now get your gula into the bedroom and learn those Catechism questions.
32) See: Ah told you… yer ahhs ah bigga they-n yer stomach!
33) Honey, cain’t you be a bit more charitable… Don’t call her ‘fat’, instead just refer to Miz Morbeh as a ‘heveh-set’ lady.
34) I once saw a chile make fun of a person with that kand of an ailment, and suddenly he got stuck that way,too.
35) Don’t grab: just ayux me, honey, when you need that, just ayux me.
36) Mocking the button setup on Chick’s new cool one-button-roll: Looks lak somebodeh’s been a yanking on that button.
37. Grandmom Matacia watching TV: Eddi a Fish… a nice-a Talian-a bo. Ann’s response: Nooooh mom-eh…! Eddie Fisheh’s not Eye-tralian!
38) Look, Cholleh, Erneh just took that Mahs Bah, and rammed it right down his gullet!
Ann was famous for her fabulous sense of humor, which brought great joy to all who knew her. She was a very talented singer, and could have easily developed a serious career in that area had she been given the opportunity. Ann was at the forefront of the Parent-Teacher’s movement in Atlantic City, having served as president of the group at Our Lady Star of the Sea Parochial School for many years. A sincere Catholic, Ann was president of the OLSS Rosary Society and also was a Grand Regent of the of the Catholic Daughters of America. Ann never missed the Saturday afternoon broadcasts of the Metropolitan Opera, to which she did her ironing.
7) Laurence Matacia
LAURENCE AUGUST MATACIA was born November 14, 1912 in Charlottesville, VA. He married KATHRYN POLOGRUTO October 26, 1942 in Washington, DC, daughter of GIUSEPPE ‘JOSEPH’ POLOGRUTO and GILDA SANTOSTEFANO. Joseph Pologruto, was a tailor who worked in a local clothing store in Charlottesville together with his son, Dominic.
GIUSEPPE ‘JOSEPH’ POLOGRUTO m. GILDA SANTOSTEFANO. Children:
KATHRYN POLOGRUTO b. Camden NJ; m. LAURENCE MATACIA October 26, 1942 in Washington, DC. Children:
JOSEPH ‘JOE-JOE’ MATACIA m. JUANITA POSADA. Children:
Joseph ‘Joey’ Matacia
Laurence ‘Larry’ Matacia m. Celly. Children:
Landon Domenic Matacia
Oliver Laurence Matacia
Gilda ‘GiGi Matacia m. Matthew ‘Matt’ Zocchi. Children:
Dylan Matteo Zocchi
DOMENIC POLOGRUTO b. Camden NJ
FRANK POLOGRUTO b. Camden NJ. Children:
Francis Pologruto m. Kim. Children: (several)
Thomas ‘Tommy’ Pologruto
Brian Pologruto m. Kimberly Rutledge: Children (5)
Laurence was born with extraordinary gifts for foreign languages, mathematics, music, and philosophy. In his 90′s he is still working on languages (Japanese, Greek, and Latin) and math every day in order to keep his brilliant mind alert, all the more since so his mother had died from Alzheimer’s disease.
Gus, his father, recognized Laurence’s gifts and nurtured them to the fullest. Laurence received both violin and piano lessons, and, on the math side, kept the books for the Matacia Fruit Company. At the University of Virginia, Laurence majored in Philosophy, along with French, Italian, and German. Unfortunately, he stopped speaking Sicilian at a very young age, and had to converse with his parents in English, thereafter.
In August of 1938, Laurence accompanied his father, Gus, to Europe. The plans included visits to Italy, France, and Germany, places where Laurence could make good use of his expertise in the languages of those countries. Unfortunately, Gus and Laurence had to cut short their trip due to the increasing violence in Germany. Gus left Genoa on September 27th, but Laurence did not leave Genoa until August 4th. On October 18, 1938, on Hitler’s orders, more than 12,000 Jews were expelled from Germany. A month later, on November 9 & 10, Kristallnacht saw the destruction of more than 200 synagogues and the ransacking of thousands of Jewish businesses and homes.
Laurence entered a monastery in Washington DC before completing his university studies, but left after a year. Eventually he married Kathryn Pologruto, despite ethnic dissension on Gus’ part: Kathryn, an Italian, was not a Sicilian.
Laurence and his family left Charlottesville for Guadalajara, Mexico during the 1960′s, and he became an investor for wealthy Americans who had retired there.
A quiet man by nature, Laurence was famous with his kids and nephews for never exceeding the 25 mph speed limit in Charlottesville. In addition, he was the first of the Matacias to express a disbelief in the tenants of religions.
Laurence’s wife, Kathryn Santostefano-Pologruto, was born in Camden New Jersey. From the time she was a young woman, she spoke English in a most perfect manner and had a wonderful presence. Like Laurence, Kathryn has superior gifts in music and language. Her mother’s niece, Rosemarie Santostefano-Visconti (Lewandowski), sent the following e-mail message to Kathryn’s son Joe-Joe wherein she outlined the genealogy of the Santostefano and Visconti Families:
“My grandmother, Domenica (“Minnie”) Santostefano Visconti, and your grandmother, Gilda Santostefano Pologruto, were sisters. They came from Alvita in Campania, Italy.
As a child, I came to Charlottesville with my parents, Frank and Elena Visconti, to visit your family, as well as my aunt, Marie Visconti O’Grince, who also lived in Charlottesville. I have very fond memories of holiday gatherings at your home, and even a sleepover with your sister Gilda in the big house on Jefferson. Everybody called me Rosie then. After you moved to Guadalajara, I corresponded with ‘little Gilda’, as my family called her.
In September, 1964, I accompanied my grandmother Minnie from NYC to Baltimore on a bus, where Aunt Marie and Uncle Sylvester O’Grince had moved. Uncle Syl then drove us to Charlottesville to visit Aunt Gilda in a nursing home.
Years later, my two daughters both fell in love with UVA and Charlottesville, and have graduated. Who knew what an impact those childhood family visits would have on my own children? They are the ones who asked me, “How did Aunt Marie end up in Charlottesville from NYC?” This led me back to the connection with your family. My cousin Richard DelFranco, the eldest of our generation, told me Aunt Marie met Uncle Syl, a student at UVA, while visiting her cousin Kathryn in Charlottesville.
I recently retired, and decided to search for Gilda, hoping to email greetings to her. I am so sorry to hear about her death.
Aunt Marie Visconti O’Grince passed away in 2005. She was 92, the last of her generation of Visconti. Uncle Syl lives in Ocean City, MD. My mother Elena Visconti is 89 and lives in Florida.”
Obituary Marie Angiolina Visconti O’Grince
November 07, 2005
The Baltimore Sun
On November 5, 2005, MARIE ANGIOLINA (nee Visconti) O’GRINCE; beloved wife of Sylvester O’Grince; loving mother of Donald O’Grince and his wife Kathy and Bill O’Grince and his wife Nancy; dear grandmother of Toni Keiser and her husband Michael, Tammy Whitcomb and her husband Todd, Claire Gardner and her husband Eric, Kevin O’Grince and his wife Erin and Teri O’Grince and her fiance Joseph Caple; great-grandmother of Zachary and Tyler Keiser, Michael and Joseph Gardner, Abigail and Gordon Whitcomb and Bryn O’Grince. Also survived by many loving nieces and nephews. Friends may call at the family owned Ruck Towson Funeral Home, Inc., 1050 York Road (beltway exit 26), on Monday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 P.M. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated in St. Joseph, Texas (Church Lane), on Tuesday at 10 A.M. Interment private. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the St. Jude Shrine, 512 W. Saratoga Street, Baltimore, MD 21201.
Gloria Del Franco reported the following to Chick Lehrer:
“My cousin Rosemarie Visconti Lewandowski was kind enough to forward to me some of the e-mails revolving around our family history. The news is, Chick, that there was another Italian family living in Charlottesville, part of the Visconti clan, and that consists of me, Gloria Theresa Del Franco and my mother Luigina (Gina) Visconti Del Franco. (My brother’s name is Richard Del Franco and he still lives in New York. My father was Enrico Del Franco).
Mama and I left my father and relocated to Charlottesville around 1954, living temporarily with Aunt Marie and Uncle Syl until Mama was established. She then worked at University of Virginia’s Department of Building and Grounds where Uncle Syl was the Superintendent. I attended and graduated from Lane High School, married a fellow student, had three children and lived there for over 40 years.”
Tommaso ‘Thomas’ Santostefano m. Rosa D’Aquila. Born in Alvito Frosinone, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, then in 1861: Kingdom of Italy. 8 children:
1. Gilda Santostefano m. Joseph Pologruto. Children:
Kathryn Pologruto m. Laurence Matacia. Children:
Joseph ‘Joe-Joe’ Matacia m. Juanita Posada. Children:
Joseph ‘Joey’ Matacia
Laurence ‘Larry’ Matacia m. Chelly. Children:
Landon Domenic Matacia
Oliver Laurence Matacia
Gilda ‘GiGi Matacia m. Matthew ‘Matt’ Zocchi. Children:
Dylan Matteo Zocchi
2. Domenica ‘Minnie’ Santostefano m. Luigui Visconti. Children:
Marie Visconti m. Sylvester ‘Syl’ O’Grince. Children:
William ‘Bill’ O’Grince
Frank Visconti m. Elena. children:
Rosemarie ‘Rosie’ Visconti m. Lewandowski. Children:
Robert ‘Bobby’ Visconti
Louis Visconti m. Marie
Luigina ‘Gina’ Visconti m. Enrico DelFranco. Children:
Gloria Teresa DelFranco m. _________. Children:
Richard DelFranco m. Louise
3. Betina Santostefano (returned to Italy)
4. Giovanina ’Jenny’ Santostefano (the youngest child)
5. Marie Santostefano
6. Filomena Santostefano
7. Thomas Santostefano
8. Rosa Santostefano (died in childbirth)
The two children of LAURENCE MATACIA and KATHRYN POLOGRUTO are:
1) JOSEPH ‘JOE-JOE’ MATACIA, b. June 15, 1945, Charlottesville, VA; m. JUANITA POSADA, November 27, 1970, Guadajara, Jalisco, Mexico. Juanita has 5 sisters: Emeteria, Teresa, Angela, Maria de Jesus, Manuela (Nolly) and one brother, Amadeo. Juanita’s parents are:
Vicente Posada, son of Guadalupe Posada and Brigida Luevano
and Maria Jaramillo, daughter of Eligio Jaramillo and Maria Nicasia de la Paz.
Joseph ‘Joe-Joe’ Matacia, a very polite person from childhood, possesses an outstanding ability to perceive the feelings of others. An early memory finds him attending a carnival (which he called a ‘carmel’) in Charlottesville with his sister, Gilda, and cousins Chick and Ernie Lehrer. Born in 1945, Joe-Joe is the same age as Ernie.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Joe attended the University of Virginia as a Spanish major, (Laurence had majored Italian, French, German, and Philosophy). When the family moved to Guadalajara, Joe was employed to teach the English language. At the present time he spends a great deal of time translating textbooks from English into Spanish. Like his dad, Joe-Joe also has a superior talent for business, and, at present, owns and operates a mine.
2) GILDA MATACIA, b. September 21, 1948, Charlottesville, VA; d. June 04, 1994, Reno, Nevada; m. DAVID C. PANTELL, b. Los Angeles. Date of marriage: November 14, 1977, Reno, Nevada.
As a young kid, Gilda was quite lively: she sang and danced with ease. During her teenage years, she became a real showoff and a tease. In light of those traits, it is not readably understandable why she did not pursue musical theater in high school or even attend college.
After she moved with her family to Guadalajara, Gilda worked for the local American paper there for a while, but had little commitment. According to her brother, Joe-Joe, Gilda seemed more interested in attending parties.
Joe-Joe reports that Gilda was sorely depressed during her latter years, as she did not love her husband, David Pantell, a real estate broker in Reno. At one point, Joe-Joe’s son, Joey, went to Reno for a year to live with Gilda and David in order to better learn the English language, as he was born in Guadalajara where he primarily spoke Spanish. All three of Joe-Joes children a bilingual; in fact, Larry grew up to be an instructor in English, and is now a connoisseur of a multiplicity of languages, including Sicilian.
Gilda lived only 46 years, dying from breast cancer in 1994. Several years prior to this she had a hysterectomy, which seems to point to an earlier bout. Her last days were spent completely with her husband David, as she would not speak with anyone else, not even her best friend from childhood, cousin Evelyn Matacia, who ironically discovered that she, too, had breast cancer at the very same time. Gilda asked to be cremated, and her ashes reside in Guadalajara, Mexico, at the home of her parents and brother, Joe-Joe.
The love affair between cousins Carmelino Demma-Matacia and Concetta Demma-Papania was somewhat echoed years later, in the affection cousin Chick Lehrer felt for his cousin Gilda, an affection which was never returned. Gilda’s comical phrase to Chick was: “You no lagga… lomba!”, that is: “If you don’t like it, lump it!”
The three children of JOSEPH MATACIA and JUANITA POSADA are:
1) JOSEPH ‘JOEY’ MATACIA b. September 21, 1971 Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.
2) LAURENCE ‘LARRY’ MATACIA November 19, 1974 Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. He is married to Marcella ‘Chelly’, and their children are:
Landon Domenic Matacia
Oliver Laurence Matacia
3) GILDA ‘GIGI’ B. MATACIA-ZOCCHI b. September 6, 1979 Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.
1st husband: Matthew Zocchi. Children:
Dylan Matteo Zocchi
JOSEPH ‘JOEY ‘ MATACIA
LAURENCE ‘LARRY’ MATACIA
GILDA ‘GIGI’ MATACIA: Part 1
GILDA ‘GIGI’ MATACIA: Part 2
8.) Ernest Matacia
ERNEST THOMAS MATACIA was born May 5, 1916 in Charlottesville, VA. He married ADELE ANTOON. She was born August 21, 1923, in Greenwood Mississippi and died December 1986 in Greenwood.
Ernest attended the University of Virginia, which eventually freed him from the back-breaking work at the Matacia Fruit Company when he became a CPA for the Public Schools of Charlottesville, VA. In youth, Ernest was an extraordinarily handsome man, and was well-matched to his wife, Adele, a woman of extreme beauty and Southern aristocratic demeanor. Ernest was his sister, Antoinette’s, favorite brother, and Ernest Lehrer, Ann’s second son, was named after him. Ernest Matacia’s second child, Ernie, Jr., was killed during boyhood in a car accident in front of his home.
OBITUARY OF ERNEST T. MATACIA
Ernest T. Matacia May 5, 1916 – January 4, 2011
After a long and fruitful life, Ernest passed away peacefully on January 4, 2011 in Phoenix, Arizona. Ernest, who preferred to be called Ernie, was born in Charlottesville, VA into a large Italian family that included 8 brothers and one sister. After attending the University of Virginia, Ernie joined his father and brothers briefly in the family business, The Matacia Fruit Company, which was located on 2nd St SE in Charlottesville. However, his thirst for travel and adventure led Ernie to join the Army Air Force in 1939. He successfully rose to rank of Lieutenant Colonel and was honorably discharged in May 1973.
During WW II, Ernie was stationed for a period of time at the Air Base in Greenwood, MS where he supervised 110 civilian employees, 25 enlisted personnel and 3 officers. It was during his station in Greenwood that he met his future wife Adele Antoon. Adele was a woman of extreme beauty and southern charm and the two were married June 1, 1947. Shortly thereafter, Ernest returned to Charlottesville with his bride and went back to work with his brothers at The Matacia Fruit Company. But the Matacia family dynamics proved too challenging so in the mid-1960s Ernie left the Fruit Company and joined the Charlottesville Public School System as a CPA and remained there until his retirement in 1985. In 1986, Ernie lost his wife Adele to cancer.
In 1987, Ernie moved to Phoenix, AZ to enjoy his retirement years and to be closer to his son Stephen. He loved being part of Stephen’s life and the climate in Arizona suited him well. Stephen and Ernie traveled frequently together and spent their free time playing tennis and golf. Ernie was an avid reader and a keen crossword puzzle solver. He loved to walk in the desert sun and was devout Catholic. He will be remembered for the twinkle in his eye, his warm smile, his wry sense of humor, and his southern gentleman demeanor.
Those of us who knew and loved Ernie consider his passing an overdue blessing and we will grieve for the gentle soul we have lost. He will be missed deeply by his devoted daughter Theresa Matacia and her husband Patrick Scanlon of Novato, CA, by his son and daughter-in-law Stephen and Cheryl Matacia of Phoenix, AZ, and by his four step-grandchildren, Patrick, Bradley, Candace, and Cambria. Ernie is survived by one older brother, Laurence, who resides in Guadalajara, Mexico and is preceded in death by his wife Adele, daughter Evelyn (“Eva”) M. Matacia, and son Ernest T. Matacia Jr.
Ernie will be laid to rest next to Adele and Evelyn in Oddfellows Cemetary in Greenwood, MS In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial contributions be made to The Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org or by contacting The Alzheimer’s Association, P.O. Box 96011, Washington, DC 20090-6011.
The four children of ERNEST MATACIA and ADELE are:
1) EVELYN ‘EVA’ MARGARET MATACIA, b. July 16, 1948, Charlottesville, VA; d. September 24, 2004, Atlanta, GA. Burial: October 01, 2004, Greenwood, MS
Evelyn Matacia, born in Charlottesville, VA, grew up to become a TV producer and freelance writer in Atlanta, GA. In the later years of her relatively short life (56 years), she became a partner with her cousins Joe-Joe Matacia and Chick Lehrer in creating the Demma-Matacia Family Tree. She was of 100% Mediterranean extraction: half -Sicilian and half-Syrian. Though very beautiful from childhood, she never married. Her excuse: “Bad judgment on my part regarding the character of men!”
Evelyn’s primary work was at WPBA, Channel 30 in Atlanta where she produced the long-running series, ‘Layman’s Lawyer’, a show which gave insight to the average person about the workings of civil law.
As reported in her obituary, Evelyn could be a very serious person, but like most of her Matacia cousins, could melt down into real fun behavior. Unbeknownst to all but her closest friends, Evelyn was a white-water rafting fan.
Evelyn died from cancer of the lungs in September of 2004. She had two previous bouts of cancer: breast and thyroid, and her return to Catholicism gave her solace in the final days of her life. An important aspect of her being was the comforting of others who suffered from her fate: she told her cousin Chick, that love and understanding were the keys there.
By her own request, Evelyn was buried next to her mother, Adele, in Greenwood, Mississippi.
Obituary of Evelyn Matacia
from the The Daily Progress of Charlottesville
Evelyn “Eva” Matacia, 56, of Atlanta, died Sept. 24, 2004, at Northside Hospital after a lengthy battle with cancer. A native of Charlottesville, Ms. Matacia was born in 1948. She was a graduate of Roanoke College in Salem, and lived in Atlanta for over 35 years. She formerly worked for WXIA-TV as a broadcast writer and producer and for WAGA-TV as promotion manager. During her career, she won numerous awards, including a Southern Regional Emmy, a finalist citation in the Sigma Delta Chi Journalism Fraternity Green Eyeshade competition, and Copywriter and Promotion Manager of the Year from the Atlanta Chapter of the American Women in Radio and Television. For the past 15 years she worked as an independent writer/producer for a variety of companies, nonprofit organizations and television stations including WPBA Channel 30, where she served as producer of the weekly series, The Layman’s Lawyer. Her freelance articles appeared in TV Guide, Glamour, Variety, the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the Atlanta Journal/Constitution Women’s Wear Daily, Atlanta Magazine and numerous broadcasting publications and local newspapers. She was past president of the Atlanta Chapter of the American Women in Radio and Television and served two terms as secretary, on the Board of Directors of the Atlanta Chapters of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. She also served on the Boards of Directors of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce, and Women in Film. A member of Alpha Phi Sorority in college, she served as Vice-President of the Atlanta Alumnae Chapter and was voted Member of the Year. She also received the Ursa Major Award from the National Alpha Phi Association for her professional accomplishments.
She was an active member of Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church. She enjoyed traveling and had white-water rafted all the major rafting rivers in America, as well as, others outside the U.S.
Ms. Matacia is survived by her father, Ernest Matacia of Phoenix, Ariz., her sister, Theresa Matacia Scanlon and her husband, Patrick Scanlon of San Francisco, Calif.; and her brother, Stephen Matacia and his wife, Cheryl, of Phoenix, Ariz.; as well as numerous aunts, uncles and step-nieces and step-nephews.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, 2004, at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to the St. Vincent de Paul Society at Our Lady of the Assumption Church or to Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church, 1350 Hearst Drive, NE, Atlanta, GA 30319.
H.M. Patterson and Son, Oglethorpe Hill, 4550 Peachtree Road of Atlanta, Ga., (404) 261-3510, is in charge of arrangements.
2) ERNEST THOMAS MATACIA, JR., b. May 22, 1952; died in childhood: March 11, 1959
3) THERESA ANN MATACIA, b. November 24, 1954, Charlottesville, VA; m. PATRICK HENRY SCANLON.
Theresa Matacia is a specialist in the field of Stock Market Analysis. She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University 1978 with a BS in Psychology, and went on to San Francisco State University where she received her MBA in Finance and Management in 1984. She was a business and e-services analyst with Dain Rauscher Wessels in San Francisco for several years.
Brought up in Charlottesville, VA, she was named after both her Aunt Theresa, her mother’s sister, and her great aunt, Teresa Demma-Pace, whose family lived in nearby Harrisonburg, VA. As a teenager, Theresa was a talented musician, playing the flute, clarinet, and (of all instruments) the oboe, which is the instrument of her cousin Chick Lehrer, a professional musician. She lives with her husband Patrick and his two sons in Novato, CA.
4) STEPHEN M. MATACIA, b. May 15, 1961. m. CHERYL LYNN b. 1963
Steve Matacia currently oversees all aspects of R&D, engineering design, system integration and deployment of all wireless enhancement services offered by Wireless Signal Solutions in Scottsdale AZ.
He is also the owner of Analog Research Labs Ltd., an RF engineering and manufacturing firm specializing in Land Mobile Radio and RF signal enhancement systems. From 1988 to 2005, he was responsible for all new product development as well as overseeing all of the manufacturing aspects. His company’s primary focus at that time was in amplifier design, both high gain linear for multi-carrier distribution and hi power LDMOS for transmitter output in commercial and government applications.
Prior to Analog Research Labs, Mr. Matacia was an RF consultant primarily in the broadcast industry where his primary focus was on hi fidelity receiver designs and broadband, low noise synthesizer designs. He also worked at Fairchild for 2 years as an RF engineer designing down-converter circuitry for Ku band Satellite applications and also worked at the Government Electronics Group of Motorola as an RF/ analog engineer designing analog and RF circuitry for military combat radios.
Mr. Matacia holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering with a minor in mathematics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
The Syrian Connection: Adele Antoon Matacia’s Relatives in Greenwood, Mississippi
Ḑahr aş Şafrā’ in Syria
Birth-place of the Antoon Family
Ḑahr aş Şafrā’ is a hill (class T – Hypsographic) in Tartus, Syria (Asia) with the region font code of Africa/Middle East. It is located at an elevation of 14 meters above sea level.
Dahr Safra at the top of the mountain and Harishe at the bottom, the latter about 100 yards from the Mediterranean, are now considered one village.
The desire of Christian males to avoid conscription into the Ottoman Army, may have led the four brothers: Farris, Asad, Buttress, and Paul Antoon and their Uncle Joseph Antoon to leave Ḑahr aş Şafrā’ in Syria, Ottoman Empire for America.
The Region around Ḑahr aş Şafrā’ in Syria
SYRIA: History from the 16th-Century through 1946
In 1516, the Turkish Ottoman Empire invaded the Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt, conquering Syria, and incorporating it into its empire. The Ottoman system was not burdensome to Syrians because the Turks respected Arabic (spoken in Syria) as the language of the Koran, and accepted the mantle of defenders of the faith. Damascus was made the major transshipment center for Mecca, and as such it acquired a holy character to Muslims, because of the baraka (spiritual force or blessing) of the countless pilgrims who passed through on the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca.
Ottoman administration followed a unique system that lead to a peaceful coexistence for centuries. Each religious minority — Shi’a Muslim, Greek Orthodox, Maronite, Armenian, and Jewish—constituted a so-called ‘Millet’. The religious heads of each community administered all personal status law (Muslim: Sharia Law, Catholic and Orthodox: Canon Law and Jewish: Talmudic Law) and performed certain civil functions as well.
By 1900, the Ottoman Sultan could claim rule over a domain that stretched from the deserts of Libya in Africa to the snow-covered mountains of Armenia and Kurdistan. This ruler controlled the oil fields and marshes of southern Iraq and the mountain valleys of Bosnia on the Austrian border. The Sultan’s flag flew along the shores of the Adriatic Sea near Italy in Europe and down to the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula in West Asia. Between these geographic extremes, lay a vast and diverse empire containing multiple ethnic and religious groups, many of whom disliked each other more than they disliked Turkish rule. By 1900 these peoples, including Syrians, were already identifying themselves as distinct national groups rather than as subjects of the Ottoman Empire.
In World War I (1914-18), the Ottoman Empire fought on the side of the German Empire, and during that time Syria was turned into a military base. However, nationalist Arabs within the Ottoman Empire, led by Emir Faysal, stood along side the British, with the legendary T. E. Lawrence and Field Marshal Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby.
In the midst of World War I, two Allied diplomats (Frenchman François Georges-Picot and Briton Mark Sykes) secretly agreed on the post-war division of the Ottoman Empire into two respective zones of influence in the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916. Initially, the two territories (‘Zone A’ France and ‘Zone B’ England) were separated by a border that ran in an almost straight line from Jordan to Iran. However, the discovery of oil in the region of Mosul just before the end of the war led to yet another negotiation with France in 1918 to cede this region to ‘Zone B’, or the British zone of influence. This border was later recognized internationally when Syria became a League of Nations mandate in 1920 and has not changed to this date.
During the war, E.T Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) fought with Arab irregular troops under the command of Emir Faisal, a son of Sherif Hussein of Mecca, in extended guerrilla operations against the armed forces of the Ottoman Empire. Lawrence obtained assistance from the Royal Navy to turn back an Ottoman attack on Yenbu in December 1916. Lawrence’s major contribution to the revolt was convincing the Arab leaders (Faisal and Abdullah) to co-ordinate their actions in support of British strategy. He persuaded the Arabs not to make a frontal assault on the Ottoman stronghold in Medina but allowed the Turkish army to tie up troops in the city garrison. The Arabs were then free to direct most of their attention to the Turks’ weak point, the Hejaz railway that supplied the garrison. This vastly expanded the battlefield and tied up even more Ottoman troops, who were then forced to protect the railway and repair the constant damage. Lawrence developed a close relationship with Faisal, whose Arab Northern Army was to become the main beneficiary of British aid.
In 1920, a short-lived independent Kingdom of Syria was established under Faisal I of the Hashemite family. However, his rule over lands extending from Syria to Egypt ended after only a few months, following the Battle of Maysalun. French troops occupied Syria later that year after the San Remo conference proposed that the League of Nations put Syria under a French mandate.
During the two years (1919-20) that followed the end of the war– and in accordance with the Sykes-Picot Agreement that was signed between Britain and France during the war – the British held control of most Ottoman Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) and the southern part of the Ottoman Syria (Palestine and Jordan), while the French controlled the rest of Ottoman Syria (modern Syria, Lebanon, Alexandretta) and other portions of southeastern Turkey. In early 1920s, the British and French control of these territories became formalized by the League of Nations’ mandate system, and France was assigned the mandate of Syria on 29 September 1923, which included the territory of present day Lebanon and Alexandretta (Hatay) in addition to Syria proper.
France and Britain refused to recognize Syria’s independence, and the Supreme Allied Council, meeting in San Remo, Italy, in April 1920, partitioned the Arab world into mandates as prearranged by the earlier Sykes-Picot Agreement. Syria became a French mandate, and French soldiers began marching from Beirut to Damascus. Arab resistance was crushed, and on July 25, 1920, the French took Damascus. Faysal fled to Europe and did not return to the Middle East until the British made him king of Iraq in 1921. Faysal’s brother Abdullah was recognized by the British as the amir of the region that became known as Transjordan. The boundaries of these states were thus drawn unilaterally by the European allies after World War I. Syria had experienced its brief moment of independence (1919-20), the loss of which Syrians blamed on France and Britain. These events left a lasting bitterness against the West and a deep-seated determination to reunite Arabs into one state. This was the primary basis for modern Arab nationalism and the central ideological concept of future pan-Arab parties, such as the Baath (Arab Socialist Resurrection) Party and the Arab National Movement. Aspects of the ideology also were evolved in the 1950s and 1960s by Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt.
By 1923, the Ottoman Empire was destroyed, replaced by a significantly smaller country simply known as Turkey, a nation stripped of most of its non-Turkish lands and peoples.
Also, several smaller nations were born out of the dead body of the Ottoman lands in the Middle East, including the states of Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and yet-to-be-born state of Palestine.
In addition, Arabia began its transformation into a country ruled by the al-Saud family, who seized the current Ottoman territory in Arabia, including the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Out of the remaining carcass of Ottoman-ruled Europe, Albania became an independent nation for the first time in over 400 years.
In 1925, Sultan al-Atrash led a revolt that broke out in the Druze Mountains and spread to engulf the whole of Syria and parts of Lebanon. Sultan Al-Atrash won several battles against the French, notably the Battle of al-Kafr on 21 July 1925, the Battle of al-Mazraa on 2–3 August 1925, and the battles of Salkhad, al-Musayfirah and Suwayda. France sent thousands of troops from Morocco and Senegal, leading the French to regain many cities, although resistance lasted until the spring of 1927. The French sentenced Sultan al-Atrash to death, but he had escaped with the rebels to Transjordan and was eventually pardoned. He returned to Syria in 1937 after the signing of the Syrian-French Treaty.
The administration of the region under the French was carried out through a number of different territories including the Syrian Federation (1922–24), the State of Syria (1924–1930) and the Syrian Republic (from 1930) as well as the smaller states of the State of Greater Lebanon, the Alawite State and Jabal ad-Druze (state).
Syria and France negotiated a treaty of independence in September 1936, and Hashim al-Atassi was the first president to be elected under the first incarnation of the modern republic of Syria. However, the treaty never came into force because the French Legislature refused to ratify it. With the fall of France in 1940 during World War II, Syria came under the control of the pro-Nazi Vichy France until the British and Free French occupied the country in the Syria-Lebanon campaign in July 1941.
The French mandate of Syria lasted until 1943, when two independent countries emerged from the mandate period, Syria and Lebanon, in addition to Hatay which had joined Turkey in 1939.
Continuing pressure from Syrian nationalists and the British forced the French to evacuate their troops from Syria and Lebanon in April 1946, leaving Syria in the hands of a republican government that had been formed during the mandate.
ANTOON FAMILY OF GREENWOOD MISSISSIPPI GENEALOGY
Brother of Progenitor: Joseph Antoon (1879-1963) in 1907 married Helen Sliman (1889-1958); owners of the Antoon Department Store in Greenwood, they had 6 children:
A) Dewey Joseph Antoon, b. Dec. 2, 1919, d. Feb. 2, 2008 Greenwood, Leflore County, Mississippi. In 1946 he joined the family’s business, Antoon’s Dry Goods Co., which was in business for 90 years. Dewey Joseph was also involved in Antoon’s Real Estate. Never married.
B) Lawrence Anthony Antoon (1915-2003) never married
C) Edward ‘Ed’ Joseph Antoon (1911-1993) m. Evelyn Saloum and had 1 daughter:
1) Mary Evelyn Antoon Thomas m. Ed Thomas Jr. of Jackson
D) Nezerra ‘Zee’ Antoon (1923-) never married
E) Lydia Antoon (1908-) m. Mitchell Saloum and had 3 children:
1) Isabell Salloum m. Joseph Hagger Jr. of Dallas
2) Mitchell Jr. of Gulfport
3) Lydia Mary Salloum m. Ron Werby of Gulfport
F) Mary Catherine ‘Cracker’ Antoon Salloum (1918-) m. Mitchell Saloum after Lydia passed away. Cracker died a couple of years ago. Her house in Gulfport, MS was destroyed during Hurricane Katrina.
Emigration of Syrians to the Southern States of the US
After the fall of the Ottoman Empire in World War I a substantial number of Syrians emigrated to the US. It so happened that some of these Syrians were turned away at Ellis Island because of their young age or for health reasons. Not to be dissuaded from their goal of reaching the US, many traveled to South or Central America before migrating north. Others entered through New Orleans or Galveston and settled near their ports of entry.
Yet others were the unwitting targets of Middle East ship owners, who promised passage to ‘Amerika’ but transported their passengers to South America instead. Some of these immigrants landed in Cuba or the Caribbean Islands and traveled to the United States from the islands. Others immigrated twice: once from their home countries in the Middle East and then from Mexico, Chile, Argentina or other Latin American countries by ship or sometimes overland through Texas.
Some immigrants remained in Latin America where, in the present day, there are numerous Arab population centers: Belize, Brazil, and Mexico, splitting families between North and South America.
Progenitor and his wife: names unknown, remained in Syria; had 6 children (A through F):
A) Farris Antoon, arrived in the US via Mexico; married to Rose ‘Sitie’ (grandmother in Arabic) Tobia (daughter of Joseph and Delel ‘Adele’ Tobia. Rose’s brother: Shaffy had 5 children). Together they had 5 children:
1) Adele Antoon, married to Ernest Matacia, had 4 children:
b) Ernest Jr.
2) Ellis Antoon married to JoAnn have 3 children and still live in Greenwood
b) Anthony ‘Tony’
3) Theresa Agnes Antoon; never married, lives in Greenwood
4) Asper Antoon married Erma who is deceased. Asper lives in Jackson, MS. They had 3 children:
b) John Farris
5) Cecelia Antoon Reynolds (deceased); married Harry Reynolds (deceased) and lived in Aiken South Carolina most of her life. They had 5 children:
a) Marie Cecelia
c) Christine (desceased)
B) Asad Antoon (whose family owned the Antoon Department Store in Greenwood) married to Marie Sliman (Helen Sliman’s sister). They eventually settled in El Dorado, Arkansas. Together had 5 children:
1) Agnes Antoon m. Albert Abdella and had 4 children:
a) Paul Albert Abdella
i) Amy Abdella
b) Genevieve Abdella Fouse (double first cousin of Dewey Joseph Antoon)
c) Lawrence Raymond Abdella
d) Josephine Abdella Schumann Turner
2) Lucille Antoon, never married
3) Blanche Antoon m. George Boab and had 4 children:
a) Alex, lives in Atlanta
c) Mary Helen
4) Genevieve Antoon never married, and still lives in the big house in Greenwood with her cousin, Nazira ‘Zee’ Antoon
5) Paul Antoon m. Donna
C) Buttress Antoon: did not stay in Greenwood too long.
D) Paul Antoon never married.
E) Lucille; remained in Syria
F) Sister name unknown; remained in Syria
In March of 2011, Theresa Matacia wrote to Chick Lehrer regarding her Antoon relatives in Greenwood Mississippi:
According to my uncle [Asper], my grandfather Farris left Syria with his 3 brothers to escape the war [WW I] and his 2 sisters and parents remained in Syria. There was never any discussion about my great grandparents Antoon or my great aunts Antoon who remained in Syria. So there is family in Syria, but I’m not sure if any of the older Antoons who are in Greenwood know much about them.
There were a lot of Antoons in Greenwood, among them were:
Farris Antoon – Adele’s father, my grandfather, married Rose Tobia, had 5 children.
Paul Antoon – Farris’ brother, never married.
Asad Antoon – Farris brother, married Marie Sliman and they had 5 children.
Buttress Antoon – Farris’ brother, he didn’t stay in Greenwood too long.
Joseph Antoon – Farris’ uncle, married Helen Sliman (Marie Sliman’s sister) and had 6 children.
From The Greenwood Enterprise, August 20, 1909.
The ground is being broken and brick and sand hauled for the new store building to be erected by Antoon & Co. at the corner of Carrollton Avenue and Main Street.
From The Commonwealth, August 14, 1914
The New Sliman Building
Mr. Sliman, of New York, is having an extensive addition erected to his storehouse at the corner of Main Street and Carrollton Avenue in this city, and occupied by the Antoon Dry Goods Co. When completed, the spacious building will make one of the most attractive business houses in Greenwood.
From The Greenwood Daily Commonwealth, May 14, 1924
Antoon’s Dept. Store Will Be Remodeled
Material is being placed on the ground for remodeling of Antoon’s Department Store at the corner of Carrollton Avenue and Main Street, and for the erection of two new stores, which will be added to the present building.
The department store will be completely remodeled inside, both upstairs and on the ground floor. An entrance to the department store will be made on Carrollton Avenue.
One of the new stores will front on Carrollton Avenue immediately in the rear of the present building. The other will front on Main Street. Both buildings will be two stories in height and similar in design to the present building.
Regarding the Antoon Store in Greenwood, Mississippi, Theresa had this to say:
The photo of the Antoon store is a fairly recent one. When downtown Greenwood was vibrant, the Antoon department store was a main shopping destination. There was a big “Antoons” sign above store that is no longer there. The store was owned by Joseph and Helen Antoon.
Joseph was my grandfather’s (Farris Antoon) uncle. Joseph and Helen had 6 children. I think 4 of those children ended up running the store after Joseph and Helen passed on…that would be Ed, Lawrence, Dewey, and Nezerra (“Z”). Their cousin Genevieve was also involved, I believe. The store closed a few years ago…downtown Greenwood is very depressed…most of the stores are boarded up.
Do you remember the movie Mississippi Masala with Denzel Washington? The movie took place in Greenwood, and towards the end of the movie there is a shot of a car driving through downtown, right past Antoon’s dept. store. There you can see exactly what the store looked like in its hey-day.
In an additional report:
“The Antoon’s that lived together in the “big house” in Greenwood for most of their lives were Genevieve, Lucille, Lawrence, Dewey and Zee. Now its just Genevieve and Zee. The others have passed. Ed and Evelyn lived next door to the big house. The big house was a grand ole antebellum mansion. It has lost its luster now and is now on the ‘wrong side’ of the river. The white folk moved to North Greenwood and the black folk took over Central Greenwood. The Yazoo River is the (imaginary) dividing line. Downtown is in Central Greenwood and there is very little business there now…with the exception of Viking Range, which is a huge company. My grandmother Rose Antoon owned property in Greenwood (“shanty town”) and used to drive over to collect rents from the black folk. My grandfather Farris would get so upset that Rose would go over there alone to collect rent, but Rose was a tough ole bird. There was no stopping her.”
“From my understanding, the Slimans were clothing vendors and perhaps came to Greenwood because Greenwood was the cotton capital of the US.”
Cotton Market: A Short History of Greenwood Mississippi
The first Euro-American settlement on the banks of the Yazoo River was a trading post founded by John Williams in 1834 and known as Williams Landing. The settlement quickly blossomed, and in 1844 was incorporated as Greenwood, named after Chief Greenwood Leflore. Growing in the midst of a strong cotton market, the city’s success was based on its strategic location in the heart of the Delta; on the easternmost point of the alluvial plain and astride the Tallahatchie and the Yazoo rivers. The city served as a shipping point for cotton to major markets in New Orleans, Louisiana, Vicksburg, Mississippi, Memphis, Tennessee, and St. Louis, Missouri. Greenwood continued to prosper, based on slave labor on the cotton plantations and in shipping, until the latter part of the American Civil War.
The end of the Civil War in 1865 and the following years of Reconstruction changed the labor market to one of free labor. The state was mostly undeveloped frontier, and many freedmen withdrew from working for others. In the nineteenth century, many black folk managed to clear and buy their own farms in the bottomlands. With the disruption of war and changes to labor, cotton production initially declined, reducing the city’s previously thriving economy.
The construction of railroads through the area in the 1880s revitalized the city, with two rail lines running to downtown Greenwood, close to the Yazoo River, and shortening transportation to markets. Greenwood again emerged as a prime shipping point for cotton. Downtown’s Front Street bordering the Yazoo filled with cotton factors and related businesses, earning that section the name Cotton Row. The city continued to prosper in this way well into the 1940s, although cotton production suffered during the infestation of the boll weevil in the early 20th century. For many years, the bridge over the Yazoo displayed the sign, “World’s Largest Inland Long Staple Cotton Market”.
The industry was largely mechanized in the 20th century before World War II. Since the late 20th century, some Mississippi farmers have begun to replace cotton with corn and soybeans as commodity crops, because of the shift of the textile industry overseas, and stronger prices for those crops.
Views Around Greenwood Mississippi
9) James ‘Jimmie’ Matacia
JAMES JOSEPH ‘JIMMY’ MATACIA was born September 14, 1918 in Charlottesville, VA, and died December 25, 1988 in San Antonio, TX. He married ELIZABETH ‘BETTY’ NOLEN February 14, 1953 in Casablanca, Morocco. She was born July 27, 1927 in Memphis, TN.
When one thinks of Jimmy Matacia, one event from his life is unforgettable, while at the same time it circumscribes the totality of his life experience: he married his wife Betty in Casablanca, Morroco! Jimmy was a warrant officer in the Army Air Corps during WW II, and eventually entered the OSI: Air Force Office of Special Investigations at war’s end. As Jimmy J. Matacia, he had returned home from WW II in Europe on the General A W Greely on September 26, 1945. Jimmy spent some time in India (or Burma). The large collection of gongs and other Far Eastern paraphernalia once enshrined in his mother’s parlor, attest to that.
James was a talented clarinetist and saxophonist, but was prevented by his father, who disliked him to the extreme, from entering Shenandoah Conservatory of Music. His brother, Laurence, once saved Jimmy’s life when father Gus tried to stomp him to death. Jimmy left home at 20, and never returned to Charlottesville.
Jimmy was also an avid tennis player, and he came to Atlantic City often to visit his older sister, Antoinette, and play tennis out at Bader Field. Because of his refusal to go anywhere near his father in Charlottesville, it was in Atlantic City that Jimmy was able to visit with his mother, who often stayed at Antoinette’s home there for extended periods of time.
Jimmy lived for a good part of his life in Spain, and was an unusually strict father (his 4 girls could never have sweets) who adhered very strictly to the tenants of the Catholic Religion. Like his sister Antoinette before him, Jimmy died of a malignant brain tumor.
For those who knew him, Jimmy was a ‘guy’s guy’!
The four children of JAMES MATACIA and ELIZABETH NOLEN are:
1) MARIA ELIZABETH MATACIA-CHENAULT b. September 2, 1954, m. DONALD CHENAULT, July 31, 1982, Jackson, Michigan.
Maria was brought up in Franco’s Spain, and attended convent in Madrid for her K through 12 education. After high school Maria attended and graduated from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. In addition, she entered the US Airforce rising to the rank of captain. Maria is a very sincere Catholic and lives in Brighton, WI with her husband, Don, and five children:
Raphael David Chenault, b. June 05, 1983; m. Loribeth Griffin August 2006. Their daughter: Mary Anne Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Chenault, b. July 2008.
Sebastian James Chenault, b. September 25, 1984; m. Christine Carson September 2007 . A US Marine, Sebastian has been deployed to Iraq twice with a third deployment due in early 2009.
Micaela Maria ‘Mica’ Chenault b. January 15, 1989. Mica, who is in college, is double majoring in Theater and Dance Education. She has her heart set on becoming a professional actor.
Matthias John Chenault b. August 3, 1990
Augustin Anthony Chenault b. November 30, 1992
2) ANTOINETTE ‘TONI’ MATACIA, b. September 15, 1955 Smyrna Tenn; d. June 29, 2004, Kenosha, WI.
Antoinette ‘Toni’ Matacia was named after her aunt Antoinette Matacia-Lehrer. As a young girl she was educated in the schools of Spain, while her father was stationed there serving in the U.S. Air Force. She also attended schools in San Antonio, Texas, and was a graduate of the Incarnate Word College of San Antonio.
Toni moved to Kenosha, WI around 2003, being employed as a legal secretary for Abbott Laboratory. As she loved being outdoors, she enjoyed sailing, and was a member of a bicycle club in Lake County, Illinois. In addition, and Toni taught an exercise class at Beech Pointe Senior Apartments in Kenosha.
Toni, was a very troubled woman, who had left the Catholic Church and joined the Society of the Ascension, changing her name to Daya Ishaya. She died by her own hand in 2004 after years of severe depression. She was 48 at the time.
3) REGINA ‘GINA’ MATACIA lives in Moses Lake, WA and has two children:
Tony Joseph Swisher, b. March 1, 1983
Cassandra Danielle ‘Cassie’ Swisher, b. May 10, 1985; m. Bruce Hargrave June 2006. Their son: Eldon b. October 2007.
Gina Matacia has been married twice. Her first husband was a Mr. Swisher whom she married during the period when the two of them were in the US Navy. They divorced when their children, Tony and Cassandra, were small. Around the time the children were going through high school, Gina married again, this time to a Mr. Green, but this marriage also ended in divorce. As Gina’s second husband, Mr. Green, did not adopt Tony and Cassandra, their surname remains that of their biological father, Mr. Swisher.
4) ANGELA MATACIA lives in Kenosha WI
Angela, a special needs child, is mentally challenged. According to her mother, Betty: “There were many who, in great faith prayed for her healing, probably at a time before it was understood that her condition was irreversible”.