PROGENITORS IN TERMINI IMERESE
AGOSTINO MATRACIA (b. abt. 1814)
father: Ignazio Matracia (b. 1786; d. September 23, 1834),
mother: Maria Palmisano.
grandparents: Agostino Matracia and Maria Catanzaro,
Paolo Mascari and Filippa Cianciolo
married ELEONORA MASCARI (b. abt. 1814) on January 22, 1837
Their offspring with the name of the 1st son.
AGOSTINA MATRACIA b. October 8, 1837 Termini Imerese; died before her sister of the same name.
IGNAZIO ‘IAZZO’ MATRACIA/MATACIA, b. July 29, 1840; Termini-Imerese, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies; d. Abt. 1910, Burial Baltimore MD. Listed as a sailor by profession, he arrived in New York from Palermo on the SS Archimede December 21, 1883 and again on November 16, 1887 on the SS Entella (listed as a fisherman). In 1902 he arrived in the port of Boston on the SS Commonwealth and was on his way to Washington, DC, reporting that he had lived in the US from 1891-1897. m. ANTONINA ‘ANNA’ CULOTTA
1st Son: AGOSTINO ‘GUS’ MATACIA, b. October 4, 1871, Termini-Imerese, Sicily, Kingdom of Italy; d. 1950, Charlottesville, VA; m. Rosalia Demma b. February 1874, Termini-Imerese, Sicily, Kingdom of Italy; d. 1965 Charlottesville, VA.
1st Son: Ignazio ‘John’ Matacia. b. December 19, 1896, Cincinnati, OH; d. September 1, 1964,
PAOLO MATRACIA/MATACIA (Agostina’s twin), b. April 25, 1843 Termini Imerese arrived in New York from Palermo on October 15, 1888 on the ship Iniziativa, with his wife MARIA ‘MARY’ PALMISANO b. abt. 1858. In Sicily, he was a fisherman by trade.
1st Son: AGOSTINO MATACIA b. June 12, 1889 Milwaukee WI, d. April 1972 Milwaukee WI.
AGOSTINA MATRACIA (Paolo’s twin) b. April 26, 1843 Termini Imerese. m. G. Massella, a shoemaker. They arrived together in New York from Palermo on the SS Utopia on May 17, 1889.
MARIA MATRACIA b. September 13, 1845 Termini Imerese.
LORENZO ‘LAWRENCE’ MATRACIA (twin of Giuseppe who died). Born October 23, 1848 Termini Imerese and a fisherman by trade. Lorenzo Matracia, who was married to CARMELINA CULOTTA, arrived in the US on May 4, 1891 and was heading for Milwaukee, WI. He reports that he had lived from 1895 to 1900 in Milwaukee WI, apparently with his brother, Paolo. On June 27, 1901, Lorenzo returned to the US to visit a brother [Ignazio] in Baltimore MD. By 1904, he was living in Lancaster with Carmelina; and it was in that same year that his son Paolo was born. Lorenzo was back in Termini Imerese during the visit of Antonino (Ignazio’s son) and his wife Flavia Pusateri with their children in 1909.
1st Son: AGOSTINO MATRACIA b. 1897 Termini Imerese. Sailed to America (destination: Lancaster PA) January 15, 1907; he was 10.
GIUSEPPE MATRACIA (twin of Lorenzo) b. October 23, 1848 Termini Imerese. He died before the birth of his brother of the same name.
SANTA MATRACIA b. November 3, 1851 Termini Imerese.
GIUSEPPE MATRACIA fisherman b. September 14, 1854 Termini Imerese. Arrived in New York on the SS Archimede at age 29 on October 24, 1884. He was heading for St. Louis MO.
The Fruit Business: Bases of Operation in America of the Matracia Brothers
Baltimore MD: IGNAZIO ‘IAZZO’ MATRACIA/MATACIA, b. July 29, 1840
1st Son: AGOSTINO ‘GUS’ MATACIA, b. October 4, 1871; d. 1950, Charlottesville, VA
Milwaukee WI: PAOLO MATRACIA/MATACIA (Agostina’s twin), b. April 25, 1843
1st Son: AGOSTINO MATACIA b. June 12, 1889 Milwaukee WI, d. April 1972 Milwaukee WI.
Lancaster PA: LORENZO ‘LAWRENCE’ MATRACIA (twin of Giuseppe who died). Born October 23, 1848
1st Son: AGOSTINO MATRACIA b. 1897
St. Louis MO: GIUSEPPE MATRACIA b. September 14, 1854
1st Son: not yet discovered, but must be an Agostino born about 1875-1900
Ignazio Matracia: Baltimore MD
IGNAZIO ‘IAZZO’ MATRACIA/MATACIA b. July 29, 1840; Termini-Imerese, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies; d. Abt. 1912, Burial Baltimore MD. Iazzo became a naturalized citizen of the United States on October 23, 1895. His parents were AGOSTINO MATRACIA and ELEONORA MASCARI. Sailing on the SS Archimede from Palermo he arrived in New York on December 21, 1883; which begs the question: did he marry Antonina Culotta, who emigrated 2 years earlier, in the US?
Another Ignazio Matracia born in 1843 in Termini Imerese sailed from Naples to Boston in March of 1902 on his way to Washington DC to visit Ignazio Matracia! He was 59 at the time. He had lived in the US earlier from 1871 through 1897
He married ANTONINA ‘ANNA’ CULOTTA, daughter of ANTONINO CULOTTA and CARMELA SCALIA (married June 4, 1843 Termini Imerese). Antonino Culotta’s parents were: Biaggio Culotta and Antonina Costa; Carmela Scalia’s parents were: Antonino Scalia and Maria Bisesi
Antonina was born in Termini-Imerese, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies on July 4, 1854. She emigrated to the US in 1881. Burial: Baltimore, MD
Ignazio Matacia’s US Citizenship document of October 23, 1895 follows:
According to the US Census of 1900, Ignazio was living at 314 Main Street in Charlottesville, VA at that time. Note that his Sicilian nickname ‘Iazzo’ is noted phonetically in English as ‘Yatso’. He reported in the census that he had been married for 30 years and had emigrated to the US in 1884. (Actually, he arrived in New York aboard the SS Archimede on December 21, 1883 which had sailed from Palermo.) His son, Agostino [Gus] was 12 in that year. Laurence Matacia, Gus’ son, reported that his father, Gus, emigrated to the US at age 14.
In addition, by 1902 as reported by Ignazio’s son, Antonino, who had just returned from Sicily, Ignazio’s wife, Antonina Culotta was also living in Charlottesville but at the 118 Main Street address.
Laurence Matacia reported that his grandmother, Anna Culotta-Matacia, who lived in Baltimore, MD when he was a kid, was the real prime mover in the family insofar as business was concerned: it was she who set up Laurence’s father, Agostino ‘Gus’ Matacia, and Gus’ brother, Antonino ‘Tony’ Matacia, in the fruit business in America. Laurence had no knowledge of his grandfather, Ignazio.
At least five of Anna’s relatives were employees of the Vaccaro Brothers’ Standard Fruit Company: her son-in law, Antonio ‘Tony’ Restivo; her son, Joseph ‘Joe’ Matacia; Joseph’s son, Ignazio Joseph ‘Joe’ Matacia; Dominic ‘Fred’ Stabile, the son-in-law of Anna’s son, Antonino ‘Tony’ Matacia; and lastly, the father of Benedict Benigno, the latter of whom was married Tony Matacia’s daughter, Leonore.
In addition, there was a Captain Peter (Pietro) Culotta (b. Palermo, Sicily 1851) who was a planter in Honduras. The latter country was one of the primary locations of the banana plantations tapped by Standard Fruit for produce, which was transported by Standard’s railroad to the Standard Fruit wharf at La Ceiba, Honduras. La Ceiba town was the center of Standard’s Honduras operations. Not only did Standard have its own railroad and wharf, but it opened its own bank in La Ceiba, the Banco Atlantico. A ship’s manifest of 1909 includes Peter Culotta, his wife Anna, and daughter Mary, sailing on the SS Agnella (a Norwegian merchant ship) from La Ceiba to New Orleans on February 19th.
On October15, 2010, Linda Germany wrote the following to Chick Matacia-Lehrer regarding Peter (Pietro) Culotta, who was her great-grandfather:
“My father, Arthur Peter Baudier, used to tell me stories about the time he spent on his grandfather’s plantation. When my father was very young, probably around 3 or 4, his father died (around 1912 or so). His widowed mother, Teresa Culotta Baudier returned with my father to the family’s plantation in Honduras where they lived for a while. My father knew quite a bit about Hounduras and the plantation from both his mother and her sister, Ida Christmas. [wife of the famous soldier-of-fortune, Lee Christmas]. In all of the stories I never heard anyone ever say that Pietro was in the service……….only that he was a sea captain. He did, in fact, own the plantation. One of his sons, either Salvadore or Phillip, can’t remember which one, made a replica of his ship and donated it to the Louisiana State Archives. I’ve never seen it, but was told numerous times that is was there. When I get the chance, I’ll start going through some old family papers. Maybe I will find some dates for you. “
It has yet to be determined if the planter Peter Culotta was a relative of Anna Culotta-Matacia; but if true, this certainly would go a long way to explaining why Anna was so successful in making a connection to place her sons and other relatives in the upper echelons of Standard Fruit Co. owned by fellow Sicilians, Joseph, Luca, and Felix Vaccaro, and Salvador D’Antoni. It might be mentioned that Salvador D’Antoni, was born in Cefalu, Sicily nearby to Termini-Imerese, the hometown of the Matacia and Culotta families.
Speaking of the term ‘planter’, Laurence Matacia reported that his father, Gus was very good friends with the Italian founder of Planters Peanuts, Amadeo Obici. Indeed, both Gus in Charlottesville VA and his brother, Tony in Staunton VA had peanut roasters in their places of business.
Anna Culotta-Matacia was living in Baltimore during the time of the 1910 US Census. The Census of 1920 reports that two of Laurence’s older brothers, John (age 24) and Carmelino (age 20) were boarding with Anna (who was their grandmother) and two of her youngest children (their aunts) Mary, 28, and Lena, 24. The age similarity of the four 20-year olds is remarkable, but not out of place because the girls were Antonina’s youngest children, whereas Gus, the father of the two boys, was her eldest.
The seven children of Ignazio ‘Iazzo’ Matacia and Antonina ‘Anna’ Cullota are:
1) AGOSTINO ‘GUS’ MATACIA, b. October 4, 1871, Termini-Imerese, Sicily, Kingdom of Italy; d. 1950, Charlottesville, VA.
2) ANTONINO ‘TONY MATACIA, b. 1876 Termini Imerese.
3) FRANCESCO ‘FRANK’ MATACIA, b. November 21, 1879, Termini-Imerese, Sicily, Kingdom of Italy; d. 1976.
4) JOSEPH ‘JOE’ MATACIA, b. November 16, 1885, Cincinnati, Ohio; d. February 1968, Flushing, NY.
5) ROSA ‘ROSE’ MATACIA, b. March 19, 1888, Cincinnati Ohio; d. October 9, 1993 San Mateo CA.; m. Anthony ‘Tony’ Restivo.
6) MARIA CATRINELLA ‘MARY’ E. MATACIA, b. October 1, 1891 [baptized August 24, 1895], Cincinnati, Ohio; d. March 1973, Arlington, VA. Her Social Security Card was issued in California before 1951.
In 1920 Mary was living with her mother in Baltimore and working as a stenographer for an insurance company. In 1930 Mary was out-of-work and living in Los Angeles where her sister, Rose Matacia Restivo lived; and where her sister Lena Matacia Cann would eventually move to look for work as a movie extra. By 1940 Mary was living in Miami, working on a farm. According to Katheryn Pologruto-Matacia (wife of Laurence Matacia) Mary Matacia never married.
7.) ANGELINA ‘LINA’ ‘LENA’ MATACIA, b. August 24, 1895, Ohio; d. May 12, 1996, Chula Vista, (San Diego) CA; m. Bertram Bervett Cann, Jr. b. October 18, 1897 Baltimore, MD.
Angelina Matacia, as Lena Cann, was a film actress. In 1920 Lena was living with her mother in Baltimore, MD and working as a stenographer for a manufacturing company. By 1930 Lena was married to Bert Cann and living in Washington, DC, so she most-probably would have become active as an extra in Hollywood during the mid-1930s. Lena lived to be 100 years old.
Paolo Matracia: Milwaukee WI
PAOLO MATRACIA/MATTACIA b. April 25, 1843 Termini Imerese and settled in Milwaukee WI. He had a twin: Agostina. He is the brother of Ignazio, Giuseppe, and Lorenzo Matracia.
The US Census of 1920 for Milwaukee WI lists a family headed by MARIA ‘MARY’ PALMISANO MATRACIA/MATACIA born c. 1859; died February 18, 1947 Milwaukee WI. She emigrated to the US with her fisherman husband, PAOLO MATRACIA/MATACIA (born April 25, 1843) arriving in New York from from Palermo on October 15, 1888 on the ship Iniziativa; Paolo is not included in the census of 1920; apparently he had already died. (confirmed in Milwaukee city directory of 1906).
N.B.: Lorenzo Matracia, who was married to CARMELINA CULOTTA, arrived in the US on May 4, 1891 and was heading for Milwaukee, WI. He reports that he had lived from 1895 to 1900 in Milwaukee WI, clearly with his brother, Paolo.
Children of PAOLO MATRACIA/MATTACIA/MATACIO and MARIA ‘MARY’ PALMISANO MATACIO:
- AGOSTINO ‘AUGUST’ MATACIA/MATACIO b. June 14, 1889 Milwaukee WI; d. April 12, 1972 Milwaukee WI. In 1924, his mother, Maria, was living with Agostino. He could not write: signed his WW I and WW II draft registrations with an X.
- LEONORA MATACIA born August 19, 1890 Milwaukee WI
- ANTONETTA MATACIA born November 16, 1891 Milwaukee WI. Mother’s name: Maria Frisco
- ALEX MATRACIA b. September 4, 1895
- VINCENZO ‘CHARLES’ PAUL MATACIA/MATACIO b. December 9, 1896 Milwaukee WI; d. August 9, 1982 Milwaukee WI; m. GRACE aka SARAH b. 1903 NY; d. August 26, 1975 and divorced March 18, 1971.
- REV. PAUL MERLO MATACIA/MATACIO b. August 7, 1922 Milwaukee WI; d. October 13, 2006 Berrien Springs MI; m. MAXINE SYLVIA HUNT b. May 12, 1921, d. October 16, 2006 Berrien Springs MI. Paul was a clergyman in Ottawa IL during the year 1956. By 1963 Paul was the pastor of a Seventh Day Adventist Church in Wichita KS.
Children of Rev. Paul Matacio and Maxine Hunt:
- LAUREN MATACIO b. 1949. Assistant Professor of Library Science Andrews University (a Seventh-Day Adventist Institution) appointed 1991. BA, MA Educational and Developmental Psychology Andrews University 1979. MSL Western Michigan University 1983. President of the Association of Seventh-Day Adventist Librarians 2011-12.
- DOUGLAS CHARLES MATACIO b. November 18, 1947 Detroit MI; m. VERLA R. b. August 25, 1950
- TIMOTHY PAUL MATACIO b. March 6, 1955
- MARY MATACIO BEYER b. 1924 Milwaukee WI
- AGOSTINA ‘CHRISTINE’ MATACIA b. October 14, 1898 Milwaukee WI; d. April 18, 1974; m. ROCCO CINCOTTA (b. March 23, 1895 Italy; d. September 1976) children:
- Rose b. June 29, 1917; d. August 14, 1984
- Joseph b. January 30, 1921; d. July 12, 1984
- Paul b. January 7, 1923
- Mary b. January 1, 1925
- Thomas b. December 8, 1926; d. April 19, 1996
- August b. September 24, 1930
- Carmella b. October 5, 1933
- Salvatore b. October 5, 1933
- Charles b. May 22, 1935
7. LUCILLE ‘LUCY PRUDENCE’ MATACIA/MATACIO b. October 6, 1901 Milwaukee WI; d. March 3, 1988; m. TOMMASO ‘THOMAS’ CEFALAU b. Italy 1884; d. 1981. Children born in Milwaukee, WI:
- Paul b. 1924
- Antonio ‘Tony’ b. 1927; d. 2012
- Rose b. 1929
- August b. 1932
- Mary b. 1932
- Lucille b. 1937
Lorenzo Matracia: Lancaster PA
LORENZO ‘LAWRENCE’ MATRACIA (twin of Giuseppe who died). Born October 23, 1848 Termini Imerese and a fisherman by trade. Lorenzo Matracia, who was married to CARMELINA CULOTTA, arrived in the US on May 4, 1891 and was heading for Milwaukee, WI. He reports that he had lived from 1895 to 1900 in Milwaukee WI, clearly with his brother, Paolo. On June 27, 1901, Lorenzo returned to the US to visit a daughter living in Baltimore MD. By 1904, he was living in Lancaster with Carmelina; and it was in that same year that his son Paolo was born (although in Termini Imerese). Lorenzo was back in Termini Imerese during the visit of Antonino (Ignazio’s son) and his wife Flavia Pusateri with their children in 1909. He is the brother of Ignazio, Paolo, and Giuseppe Matracia.
daughter: ELEONORA MATRACIA CULOTTA b. 1892 Termini-Imerese. Arrived in New York January 10, 1907 on her way to Lancaster; she was 15.
son: AGOSTINO MATRACIA b. October 16, 1896 Termini Imerese; d. July 21, 1918 Lancaster PA. Arrived in America January 15, 1907; he was 10. In 1911 he was living at 717 E. Walnut and working as a cork blocker.; retail fruit business with his wife.
son: PAULO ‘PAUL’ MATRACIA/MATACIA: b. September 17, 1904 Termini Imerese Via Reti 13 where his mother was still living when he left for America; d. March 7, 1957 Lancaster PA. m. ANGELINA CULOTTA b. May 14, 1913; d. July 1, 2001 Lancaster PA; her 2nd husband Brooks. Both Paul and Angelina were in the retail fruit business.
After a trip to visit to his mother Carmelina Culotta Matracia living at 13 Via Reti in Termini Imerese in 1921, Paul, returned to New York on November 6. He was enroute Lancaster where he joined up with his sister, Eleonora Matracia Culotta (obviously married to his wife, Angelina Culotta’s brother) living at 302 Revier. Had Paul and Angelina broken up? Eventually, Angelina married a man with the surname Brooks.
After marrying in late 1903 and becoming US Citizens, Flavia Pusateri and her husband, Antonino Matacia, returned to Termini twice. The first time was in 1909 with their first three girls Antonina, Rosa, and Giuseppa. Returning to America from Palermo on the SS Taormina, the family arrived in New York (Hoboken) on the 11th of June 1909. They were enroute to Baltimore MD. Flavia and Antonino had been visiting Ignazio Matacia’s brother in Termini: Uncle Lorenzo Matracia (born October 22, 1831) who had lived for a time in the US.
Paul and Angelina Matacia’s children:
LAWRENCE ‘LARRY’ A. MATACIA. b. March 20, 1941 Lancaster PA; d. March 10, 1950 Lancaster PA. Tony, who had rheumatic fever, only lived to be 9 years old.
LENA MATACIA (Who is this? Lorenzo did not have a sister named Lena) m. ANTONIO COLATTA
daughter: VINCENTA COLLATA b. November 11, 1877 Termini Imerese; d. April 8, 1952 Lancaster PA. m. VITALE
son: JOHN F. VITALE
Giuseppe Matracia: St. Louis MO
1st St. Louis MO Matracia Family:
GIUSEPPE MATRACIA b. September 14, 1854 Termini Imerese; d. November 10, 1896. Arrived in NY from Liverpool November 7, 1881 no destination given. Arrived in New York on the SS Archimede on October 24, 1884. Listed as a fisherman, he was heading for St. Louis MO. He is the brother of Ignazio, Paolo & Lorenzo Matracia/Matacia.
2nd St. Louis MO Matracia Family:
AGOSTINO MATRACIA/MATACIA b. April 1856 Italy; emigrated from the port of Palermo arriving in New York on May 14, 1888. Appears to have been born in Palermo UNLESS he is the Agostino Matracia b. July 19, 1855 in Termini Imerese; father Antonino Matracia, mother Cosima Sansone; if so, he is related to the Columbus family. Arrived in the US June 14, 1890 with his wife and 3 of his children heading for Cincinnati; a lemon peddler during the period of the 1900 US Census taken in St. Louis where the family had moved; m. MARIA ‘MARY’ (b. May 1863 Italy) in 1888.
ANTONINO/ANTONIO b. 1891; d. June 24, 1892
xJOHN b. August 1894 St. Louis MO
JOSEPH b. 1896 MO; d. November 10, 1896 MO (13-day old infant)
JOSEPH b. 1897; d. 1913 (must have died earlier as he is not listed in the US Census for 1900)
xMARY b. February 1897 St. Louis MO (another Maria Matacia b. abt. 1879 m. Agostino Catalano in Jackson on July 12, 1896)
xSAM b. December 1898 St. Louis MO
[SINEDA b. abt. 1898; d. December 20, 1900 at age 2 from an accident]
James R. Pannozzi writes: “Great site ! I have Russo, Corso, Mantia, Cosentino and Mancuso family names. We are said to be cousins of Matracia, and my great grandmother apparently brought over a Matraica woman who was orphaned sometime around 1885, to St. Louis, but how we are related is unknown. Also, my great grandfather Salvatore Mantia (1845-18??) was initially married to a Geraci woman but she passed away and then he married Maria Catalano. One of their children was Cosimo Mantia (1881-1919), my grandfather.