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  • Writer's picturePatty Vitale

Rounding Out the Story of Domenico Caldarelli

After my last blog post, I turned to the members of the Italian Genealogy group on Facebook to help me decipher the last name of the man that Domenico Caldarelli killed. One woman was able to find the following two articles and after a little more research, I believe that the victim’s name was Giuseppe Buoncuore (although it’s spelled differently everywhere I see it). I’m so grateful to the woman who found these two articles, because they really paint quite a picture of what happened.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, 3 July 1897

The New York Times, 13 July 1897

These articles really beg the question, what was the “quarrel over a woman” all about? Why would Domenico want to go into court and plead guilty to first degree murder? Was Domenico trying to keep this guy away from his wife, Maria, or was something else going on? Well, I just found the answer!

Eli and I are on a train home from New York, and I got out my iPad to do a little more digging. Incredibly, I just found a third newspaper article (from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, of all places), that confirms my suspicions. Giuseppe was in love with Domenico’s wife!

The Patriot, Harrisburg PA, 5 July 1897

And on his death bed, he also claimed that Maria loved him. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to determine whether or not that was true, but naturally there’s more research to do!

I can’t wait to review the actual court file, which I’ve requested and which should be transferred to the NYC Municipal Archives at the end of the week. And given that these 3 articles exist, I have to believe that there may be more. On my return trip to New York, I’ll need to go to the public library to review the old newspapers more carefully. Now that I know the dates of the shooting, Giuseppe’s death, and the court proceedings, my newspaper research will be a lot more focused. And I feel like I need to point out that this shooting happened on July 3, which would become my birthday 67 years later.

And I can’t forget about the old police files, which are not housed at the Municipal Archives. I would love to find some statements by the involved parties, and the ultimate find would be a mugshot or other photo. Next trip!

At the time of the shooting, Domenico and Maria had four children – Gennaro, age 21, Elisabetta (my great-grandmother), age 16, Angela, age 10, and Salvatore, age 8. I’ve been able to track the lives of Elisabetta and Angela (who the family called Giulia for some reason). They both ended up moving to Boston and marrying cousins (Pellegrino Vitale and Raffaele Ferrara). But I have yet to find out about the lives of Gennaro and Salvatore who, I believe, stayed in New York. Tracking them down is definitely on my short list of things to do.

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