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.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

The Vercellino Family History. Great Grandfather John Vercellino (Grandma Elda's dad) Passport Application to Return to the United States from South Africa.

Great Grandparents Marie and John Vercellion

From the Fortress of Solitude
Pleasant Grove

Hello All,
     I spent several hours today researching the Vercellino family lines.  In the search I came across our Great Grandfather John Vercellino's passport application filled out in South Africa for his return trip to the United States where he eventually settled in Lead.  

     I found several interesting things worthy of more research.  First we note that John and Marie have one child, Raymond (Remi).  John and Marie took a trip to Italy where their son Raymond was born. They left Illinois and moved to Cape Town South Africa.  Great Grandfather John worked in a diamond mine.  His intention was to stay no longer than 2 years.  They didn't.       Now I can give the exact length of their stay. They arrived in Cape Town in February 1903 and returned to the United States in December 1903; a short stay of 10 months.
John Vercellino was a guard in the diamond mine. Only blacks could work in the mine because of the heat. His job as a guard was  to search the miners when they'd come up form the mine to be sure they weren't stealing diamonds. 
     Great Grandmother Marie was the primary cause for the move back to the United States according to family stories.  Marie was so frightened of the native South Africans that John bought her a pistol with these instructions, "When someone comes and knocks on the door, NEVER open the door. Look out the peephole first."  One night a black man knocked on the door. She was frightened wondering why a black man would be on her doorstep. She took her pistol, no questions asked, and shot him through the door. She looked again and saw him running away. This incident lead to a quick return to the United States on the St.Louis.  It is also interesting to note that Raymond's real name is Remeigo.
     They moved straight away to Lead, South Dakota where Grandma Elda was born in 1905.  John's brother Fred was already living in Lead and had been for several years. He owned the Christoforo Columbo Saloon and was known for his excellent homemade wines. The family stayed in Lead where both John and Marie died.    

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