Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Vercellinos Return to America. December 3, 1903.

The American Line's SS St. Louis
From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
Today's focus for our virtual family gathering centers on the early days of the Vercellino family.  John (Giovanni) Vercellino was born in northern Italy.  He immigrated to the United States, arriving first in 1885 according to the 1920 US Census. There is a problem with his first arrival date. The 1910 US Census lists him as having arrived in 1880. The South Dakota state census of 1915 has his arrival in 1882. He married Maria Viano in 1894. The Vercellino's moved to Trojan (Lead), South Dakota in 1905, the same year Grandma Elda was born.

John and Maria Vercellino

We know the Vercellino's moved to Italy shortly after their marriage where their first born son Raymond was born in 1898. From Italy, the family moved to Kimberly, South Africa.  John Vercellino worked in the Kimberly Diamond Mine as a security guard ensuring the laborers didn't leave the mine with diamonds tucked away somewhere on their person.  The family lived in South Africa a short time (not even one year according to Charles Williamson, Elda's son) before returning to the United States, arriving on December 5, 1903 on board the SS St. Louis of the America Line.

The St. Louis's passenger manifest lists the Vercellino family on the ship's register.  

The SS St. Louis Ship Register. The Vercellinos are at the top of the page
Click to enlarge.
SS St. Louis, was a transatlantic passenger liner built by the William Cramp & Sons Building & Engine CompanyPhiladelphia and was launched on 12 November 1894; sponsored by Mrs. Grover Cleveland, wife of the President of the United States; and entered merchant service in 1895, under United States registry for the International Navigation Co., of New York with her maiden voyage between New York and Southampton,England. She was acquired by the United States Navy during the Spanish–American War and commissioned under the name USS St. Louis in 1898, and again during World War I under the name USS Louisville (ID-1644) from 1918 to 1919. After she reverted to her original name in 1919, she burned in 1920 while undergoing a refit. She was scrapped in 1924 in Genoa.

The SS St. Louis

 The Vercellino family most assuredly travelled in steerage (3rd class).  Their sleeping accommodations would have been similar to the ones seen above.  Spartan? Yes, but easily survivable for a five day Atlantic crossing.  

 The photo above shows the dining saloon of the St. Louis. It may have been for all classes considering the ship wasn't large. 

Post cards were available for messages home.

From Ellis Island in New York we lose the Vercellino's trail until they reappear in South Dakota in 1905. Great Grandpa John (Giovanni) found work in the Homestake Mine.  

Thank you for Reading,

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