Vineland was founded in 1861 by Charles K, Landis. After his successful experience
in the founding of nearby Hammonton in 1857, he decided to start a settlement on a much larger scale.
He selected a tract of land consisting of about forty-eight square miles situated in the wildest part of the state along the right-of-way of a new railroad line which linked the area with New York.
Landis carefully laid out a one-square-mile area in the center of the tract and called it Vineland. The town would eventually attract industrialists, businessmen, and professional people. The acreage surrounding the town, which finally became Landis Township, would be devoted to agriculture... vegetable farms, orchards, and vineyardg.
Landis advertised in a series of New England newspapers for "city people" to settle his new town. He went to Genoa, Italy, to promote the possibilities for farmers in Landis Township.
In the development of Vineland and Landis Township, Landis was encouraged by Secchi de Casali, one of the first American Italians to recognize the importance of directing Italians into New Jersey's rural districts. Casali persuaded Landis to go to Italy and offer the people the opportunity to come and own their own land rather than immigrate under the "padrone system" then in vogue. Well-planned colonies, such as Vineland, would reduce the need for "padroni. "
The padrone system was run by a "padrone" (Italian word for boss"). The padrone spoke both Italian and English and was able to complete arrangements for supplying American employers with cheap labor to work in mines, on railroads, in factories, and on farms. A self-serving padrone could easily take advantage of gullible and ignorant immigrants, often binding them to contracts for as long as seven years. He was the "middleman".., negotiating all the contracts, transporting the laborers to their place of work, and sometimes demanding commissions from both the laborers and their employers.
Landis was not interested in the Padrone system. He wanted Italian immigrants who would bring to his new town their variety of skills especially their knowledge and experience in farming and growing grapes. He was determined that Vineland would not be patterned after some of the mill towns he had seen. He wanted his new town to be a place where opportunities would exist for those with ambition and de-termination; where they could be rewarded for their honest toil with at least a measure of independence and a sense of security, if not with material wealth and creature comforts.
Since Landis did his recruiting in the mid 1870's in and around the area of Genoa, the first immigrants to Vineland were Northern Italians who bought the uncleared land for $20-$25 per acre.
All the Italian immigrants to Vineland did not come directly from Italy. Some came from New York City.
During the late 1870's, Landis discovered a man who was to play, a significant role in the development of the community in Vineland and Landis Township. This man's name was Carol Quairoli. He was living in New York and was discontent and discouraged with his life in America. He had already decided to return to his native Italy.
Quairoli was persuaded by the Italian Consul to visit Charles Landis who, at the time, was searching for an educated Italian to assist the immigrants with problems they encountered in this new land. Quairoli, a graduate of two universities in Italy, liked what he saw in Vineland and agreed to move to the new settlement and assist Landis with the newcomers.
Besides farming, the Italian families who came to Vineland brought a knowledge of many other trades and occupations. There were carpenters, shoemakers, druggists, painters. tailors, mech-anics, blacksmiths, and merchants. One of the first blacksmiths to arrive in Vineland is now in his nineties and still operates an ironwork-ing shop on Wood Street.
From the time the first Italians settled in Vineland during the 1870's until the fifty-year period which ended in the mid 1920's, about 1400 Italian families had settled in Vineland and its surrounding area.
The immigrants who followed occupations other than farming settled in the southeastern section of the town and the farmers settled in the surrounding areas.
One of the better organized agricultural areas in the new settle-ment was New Italy, now called East Vineland. (Since I was born on Italia Avenue in the center of New Italy, I am more familiar with the families who settled there. )
New Italy, an area covering approximately five square miles, was planned by Landis himself. The roads were given such Italian names as: Trento, Dante, Italia, Genoa, Palermo, Venezia, Cornu-. copia, and Piacenza.
Soon after the first families settled in the East Vineland (New Italy) area, plans were made for the construction of a church. This was in keeping with the old-country custom where the church was the center of all social and community activity besides being a place to worship.
In 1884, St. Mary's Parish was organized and on April 22 of that year, the cornerstone was laid for the church building which was located on Chestnut Avenue. Unfortunately, the building was not constructed of the most durable materials and it was demolished by a torrential rainstorm in November, 1884. Three years later, it wasrebuilt.
St. Mary's is considered one of the first all-Italian Catholic parishes in America. Most of the early parishes were of mixed nationalities, According to the Catholic Standard of June 20, 1891, the first Italian church established in Philadelphia was St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi in 1852. Other large cities such as New York, Chicago, and St. Louis established their all-Italian churches between 1859 and 1872,
Except for the cities mentioned above, the nation's first all-Italian parishes rose up in small villages, strangely enough, St. Mary's in East Vineland (New Italy is considered the first of such village parishes.
My maternal grandfather came to New Italy.in, 1895, He had migrated to the United States from Austria in 1892, Although he came from Austria, I've always considered him Italian, not Austrian.
When he came to America he went to work in the coal mines of Pennsylvania. Unhappy with working and living conditions there, he came to Vineland and bought 30 acres of woodland on Dante Avenue in New Italy. He cleared the land...built a home (which still stands ), and started a small farm. Later, he acquired a cow and a horse. The horse became an important part of his farm revenue, because it en-abled him to take his produce to the town market.
Being a carpenter, as well as a farmer, he enlisted the aid of two of his neighbors, the Smaniotto brothers, and built our Lady of Pompeii Church on the corner of Dante and Cornucopia Avenues in 1908.
Even though St. Mary's Church was only about three miles away, the establishment of Our Lady of Pompeii indicates the importance which these Italian immigrants attached to their own parish church which served them as a community and social center besides being the focal point of their activities.
In fact, the marriage of my mother and father was the first one solemnized in the new church on February 1, 1910.
Sadly enough, my maternal grandfather, who died at the age of 59, was the first person to be buried in the new cemetary of Our Lady of Pompeii Church. The church had been built in 1908 and, during its first twelve years of operation, the dead of the parish were buried in the cemetary of nearby St. Mary's Church.
(1) The American Italians, Andrew F. Rolle, page Sc,
(2) Vineland Historical MacYazine; Elena I. Darling, Editor, 1961, page 27,
(3) Italian-American History, Volume II, Giovanni Schiavo, The Vego Press, New York, N. Y.
My sincere appreciation for assistance in the preparation of this paper is graciously extended to the following people who helped provide much of the information on which the effort is based:
Rev. George DeMarco, 0. S. A, , Historian-Librarian, St. Augustine Preparatory School, Richland, N. J.
Loren D. Flood Vineland Historical Society, Vineland, New Jersey.
Rita Cresci Quinn Grand daughter of the Cresci family, one of the first land-owners in East Vineland.
FAMILY HISTORY OF DORA LOUISE GALBIATI WALSH
GIUSEPPE GALBIATI (Grandfather)
Religion: Roman Catholic
Six Children: Luigi, Ersilio, Massimo, Maria, Francesce, and Dina.
Luigi, oldest son, emigrated to New York City in 1901. The rest of the family remained in Italy.
LUIGI ANTONIO GALBIATI
Born: August 6, 1880 Died: November 28, 1954
Religion: Roman Catholic Education:
Oratorio Salesiano-Scuola di Arti c Mestieri Turin, Italy (2 years - 1897-8)
Occupation: (Italy) Typographer - Milan Newspaper (U. S. A. ) Toy factory, New York City
(U.S.A. ) Farm owner, Vineland, N. J.