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Pietro Cofrancesco (1875-1973) Print E-mail
Written by John Alling Cofrancesco   
Wednesday, 04 April 2007

Pietro Cofrancesco 

Pietro Cofrancesco was born in 1875.  An Italian passport, issued on May 18, 1890, authorized him to travel to New York.  The passport was valid for one year.  He immigrated in 1890 and was living at 18 York Street in New Haven, Connecticut with his wife Rose Blasi, according to the 1900 US Census.

Pietro Cofrancesco

They later moved to a home on Black Rock Avenue in New Britain, Connecticut where they lived for the rest of their lives.  They had two children, Paul, born in 1901 and Helen born in 1905.  Pietro worked as a general Foreman for the Fafnir Bearing Company for many years, and was known for his ability to grow beautiful flowers.  He died in 1973 from lobar pneumonia, and is buried at Rose Hill Memorial Park, Rocky Hill, Connecticut.  Helen remembers her father.
“The Cofrancesco family came from the Province of Benevento in the Town of Massa, a small town at the foot of the mountains.  My father was the first one to come here at about the age of sixteen.  He came alone and sent money back to his family and brought the rest of them over here - paid their passage.  My father was born on the 24th of, some certificates say April, others June 1875.  On the ship they wanted to vaccinate him, but he rubbed it off.  He didn’t believe in all that.  He never had my brother (Paul) or me vaccinated.  When he came here there was somebody who looked after him for a while.  I guess he got some work in the fields or something.  He was a very kind man.  I never remember my father or mother ever yelling at us.  My father was a very smart man even though he did not have the education.  When he came here, he went to night school for a while.  But if he had had a good education he would have been something.  But even so, he assembled the first ball bearing at New Departures in Bristol.”
The youngest son of Ralph and Maria Giuseppa Cofrancesco Morico remembers that Pietro was close to his mother, Maria Giuseppa, and his Uncles, Antonio and Simone.  The oral history of Pietro’s children, Paul and Helen, however, suggests that Pietro was not close to his siblings, as they grew older.  Not only did he live away from the New Haven area: he had a different life style and interests.

Paul comments, “We haven't had much to do with any of the relations”, and Helen adds, “I don’t know much about your side of the family”, referring to the descendants of Nicola and Angelina Corona Cofrancesco.  Although Pietro, like his siblings, had little formal education, he attended night school, and while working at the Fafnir Bearing Company, had several of his inventions patented.  He was interested in art and classical music, according to Paul.  “We’ve had the best of everything.  My mother and father took us to the opera.  I’ve met men like Arturo Toscanni, the greatest conductor the world ever had.  (Rudolph) Valentino was a friend of mine”. 

Pietro sent his son to the Yale School of Fine Art for five years where Paul earned his BFA degree.  His daughter received her BS degree from Central Connecticut Teachers College and her Master’s in Education degree from the University of Hartford.  She was employed in the New Britain school system and taught at the Smalley Street School.  Her teaching career spanned 50 years, for which she received a commendation from the governor.  Paul became an accomplished artist and musician (piano and organ).  He installed organs in churches and painted a number of murals, but his main source of income was from two sporting shirt factories (Paul’s Sportswear) he established in New Haven near the railroad station.  Neither Paul nor his sister married.  Paul died in 1994 at the age of 92.  His sister lived on Black Rock Avenue until her death in 1999, at the age of 94.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 05 April 2007 )
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