Eight Generations of the Salmina and Morosoli Families in Ticino and California

by Tony Quinn, United States

Since the first Salmina from Intragna arrived in California in 1858, we have kept in touch with our Ticinesi family, and recorded our history. The first picture we have is of Felice Salmina, (1795 -1883), who lived in Corcapolo, a “frazione” of Intragna.

The next picture shows his son Giacomo Salmina (1831-1911) at the time of his marriage to Caterina Tonascia (1831-1906) in Intragna in 1856.

In 1877, Giacomo and Caterina’s daughter, Sabina Salmina (1857-1948), married Battista Salmina (1834-1907), also a native of Intragna, and accompanied him back to his home in Napa, California.  Battista had come to America in 1857 and found his way to the Napa Valley.  In 1878, he and Sabina settled in St Helena where their first daughter, Katie Salmina (1878-1970) was born.  For the next two decades, they owned the “William Tell Hotel” in St Helena.

In 1880, Battista and Sabina brought her brother, Felix Salmina (1861-1940), to America where he too settled in the Napa Valley and studied the wine making business.  In 1892, the Salminas founded the Larkmead Winery near St Helena with the name F. Salmina and Company.

Larkmead became one of Napa Valley’s leading wineries, winning many wine awards including a Diplome d’Honneur at the 1937 Paris International Exhibition.  The family sold the business in 1943.

Here is Felix Salmina in his later years.

The following pages show a brochure and a wine box label used by the Larkmead Winery in the 1930s.

In 1898, Sabina and Battista’s daughter, Katie Salmina, married Fulgenzio Morosoli (1876-1908).  Fulgenzio was born in Gudo and raised in Cugnasco, but his family is the Morisoli family of Monte Carasso, with the spelling slightly altered.  Fulgenzio was brought to St. Helena as a lad of 15 in 1892.  Sadly, however, he died in an accident in 1908, leaving his widow Katie and three children.

The three Morosoli children, in this picture taken about 1910 are Eugene (1898-1988), Antoinette (1900-1978) and standing on the chair, little Sabina (1907-2008).  Following her husband’s death, Katie and her children moved to St Helena and lived with her mother, Sabina, and uncle, Felix.

Sabina Salmina’s 90th birthday party, St. Helena, 1947.  Shown in this picture are all the Salmina and Morosoli descendants in 1947, 70 years after Sabina arrived in California.   Sabina Salmina was the last Swiss born member of this family.

By this time the family was four generations in America.

Katie Morosoli’s 90th birthday, St Helena, 1968.  Here is Katie with her three children, Antoinette Morosoli Lynch, Eugene Morosoli, and Sabina Morosoli Quinn.

The Salminas 100 years later.  Here are the descendants of Sabina Salmina and Felix Salmina at a Swiss family party in 1980.  The family had grown in size and now includes and variety of non-Ticinesi last names, many of them Irish!  The party was in St. Helena.

Sabina Quinn’s 90th birthday party, San Francisco, 1997.  Sabina is shown with her niece and nephew, Raymond and Antoinette Simmons, her great niece, Molly Simmons, and her great great nephew, Alexander Harrison.  Antoinette Simmons is the daughter of Sabina’s sister Antoinette Lynch.

Sabina’s 95th birthday, also in San Francisco, 2002.  Sabina is showed with her two sons, Tony Quinn and John Quinn.  In the background is Sabina’s Swiss family tree.

Sabina’s 100th birthday, Stockton, 2007.   Sabina is shown with her nephew, Eugene Morosoli, Jr. and his son David Morosoli and daughter Susan Morosoli.Sabina is pictured here at her 100th birthday with her two Salmina first cousins, Jeanne Edson and Katherine Vanoncini.

Sabina Morosoli Quinn at her 100th birthday.  Sabina lived to be just short of 101 years old.  She was the last of the Salmina and Morosoli family who could speak, read, and write the Italian language of her Ticino ancestors.  In her long life, Sabina saw the evolution into American life of six generations of her Swiss family.

2 thoughts on “Eight Generations of the Salmina and Morosoli Families in Ticino and California

  1. Great Story and photos!!! On my Bisi Family tree there are two Salmina’s. I only knew one of them Silvio Salmina who married Olga Bisi. They lived in the Salinas Valley…of CA..He is gone but Olga is still there…Any connections you think to these Salmina’s? There is no relation to me except by marriage…Thanks, Amy

  2. Hi Anthony, just read this for the first time as I am fooling around browsing this morning…love this…you did a fabulous job!! Great seeing you recently, Michele

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