The term “dago” is a corruption of Diego, a Spanish equivalent of James. It has been applied as a generic proper name to Spaniards. A name originally given in the south-western section of the United States to a man of Spanish parentage; now extended to include Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian people in general, or as a disparaging term for any foreigner.1
In my last post I described the journey of my great uncle Domenico Carbone to America. He was the first immigrant ancestor of my family to reach the shores. Many immigrants of that time seemed to stay on the east coast but Domenico made his way westward to, we think, Newcastle,Wyoming.
Domenico traveled with four countrymen who were likely from the small village of Cirella di Plati, Reggio Calabria. Domenico and his three brothers were sons of Rocco Carbone (1837-1945?) and Maria Perre/Perri (1853-1916). His grandfather was Antonio Carbone (1793-?) who was married twice, first to Elisabetta Varacalli (1783-1832) and then to Carolina Raco (1802-?), Domenico’s mother. 2
Because of his father’s earlier marriage, Domenico had several half-first cousins who were to immigrate to Pennsylvania and eventually changed their surnames to “Carbon.” Since we have no record of Domenico between his arrival at Ellis Island and his appearance in Wyoming in 1902, we might conjecture that he stayed with his half first cousins in Pennsylvania?
I mention the year 1902 because we do have a record for him. On 2 October 1902, he married Christina Massaro in Weston County, Wyoming.3 The town may have been Newcastle or Cambria, which is now a ghost town, as the witnesses to the marriage were Joe Polito and Gemma Polito of Cambria.
On 5 August 1903, his brother BrunoAntonio, 18, (1885-?) arrived from Naples aboard the steamship SS Lahn.4 He traveled with three paesani or cugini from Cirella : Francesco Antonio Mediati, 18, b. about 1885; Maria Teresa Reitano, 44, born about 1859, a widow, and Maria Carmelo Reitano, 18, [daughter?]. His eventual destination looks like Brett Hill, Ohio, which was recorded on the ship manifest, but very difficult to decipher.
By 1907 Domenico had moved to the coal-camp of Carneyville, Wyoming. 5 On the evening of 14 April 1907 he was alleged to have been in a Knife-affray with a group of other miners, including his brother, BrunoAntonio. The Laramie Boomerang described it in a yellow journalistic, racist, sensationalist way: Americans vs Dagoes. See previous post for story.
According to the account, the fight erupted over a disagreement about a dog fight. There were at least two men stabbed, James Hughey and Charles Fuller. Apparently, there was another man attacked by the name of Dan Reynolds. Hughey died on Wednesday morning, 17 April, at the Wyoming State Hospital. Before he died Hughey testified the man who stabbed him was the man who worked in the second west opposite of Gilroy.6 That man, according to the newspaper, was Dominick [sic] Carbone. Domenico was arrested with two others and was held in the Sheridan County jail. 7
By April 30 another newspaper report stated that Michael Brumbaka [sic] (Bumbaca); Tony Papilli; and Bruno Carbona [sic] (BrunoAntonio Carbone) have been bound to the district court in Sheridan County. Their attorneys made a plea for a writ of habeus corpus, which was denied by Judge Thomas and [the parties] would remain in jail on account of a “making a murderous assault of Dan Reynolds, one of the Americans cut in the fight of April 14.” So, two weeks after the event, another stabbing victim was revealed.8
Cheyenne is Wyoming’s capital and the most populous city, but it is one of the least-centrally located capital of any state. News of the affray did not reach the Cheyenne Daily Leader until April 23. The newspaper reported, Ialian [sic] Who Killed Carneyville Miner Can Not Be Located….which of the Italian miners under arrest for the killing James Hughey, victim of a street fight in Carneyville last week, is guilty has not been determined. 9 The article goes on to allege the prisoners likely know who this person is.10
There are three different cases here: the killing of James Hughey, mortally injuring Charles Fuller, and the stabbing of Dan Reynolds. The men arrested and being charged are my two great uncles, Domenico and BrunoAntonio Carbone, another miner Tony Papallia and a person who will soon be related to me through marriage—Michael Bumbaca.
The next post will go further into the way that the Wyoming press covered the event.
- “Dago,” definition, Brooks Memorial Library Databases, Oxford English Dictionary Online (https://www.oed.com/ : accessed 3 April 2020). Go to brookslibraryvt.org -> Search and Learn->Databases A-Z-> Oxford English Dictionary (library card required)
- Giacomo and Maria Antonia Ciciarrello Carbone Family Tree, managed by user Romeojar and Carbone Family Tree, managed by user jjocarbone, Ancestry Family Trees (ancestrytrees.com : accessed 3 April 2020)
- Dominick [Domenico] Carbon [sic]Carbone; Miss Costonga Massar [sic] Christina Costanzo Massaro marriage record No. 8177, (2 October 1902), Marriage License Record, Book 1, page 296: 296; Wyoming State Archives, Weston County, Weston, Wyoming.
- “New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957, Ancestry (ancestry.com : accessed 31 March 2020), Carbone, Domenico, manifest, line 65, SS Lahn, arrived 24May1895. Citing NARA Selected Passenger and Crew Lists and Manifests,microfilm M237, Roll 641
- “The Coal Camps of Sheridan County,” Wyoming State Historical Society Encyclopedia (https://www.wyohistory.org/encyclopedia : Downloaded 31 March 2020). Go to Encyclopedia->C->Coal Camps of Sheridan County.
- “Knife wound proves fatal, “Semi-Weekly Enterprise no. 7, April 19, 1907, Wyoming State Library,Wyoming Newspaper Project (https://newspapers.wyo.gov/ : Downloaded 31 March 2020).
- “Bound Over to Court”-Semi-Weekly Enterprise no. 9 April 30, 1907, page 5, Wyoming State Library,Wyoming Newspaper Project (https://newspapers.wyo.gov/ : Downloaded 31 March 2020)
- Murderer is Still a Mystery,” Cheyenne Daily Leader no. 199 April 23, 1907, page 7, Wyoming State Library,Wyoming Newspaper Project (https://newspapers.wyo.gov/ : Downloaded 31 March 2020).
- “Murderer is Still a Mystery,” Cheyenne Daily Leader no. 199 April 23, 1907, page 7, Wyoming State Library,Wyoming Newspaper Project (https://newspapers.wyo.gov/ : Downloaded 31 March 2020)