By William J. “Bill” Adams, United States
My mother Florence* (1895-1979) was the youngest of 13 children born at Cugnasco, Canton Ticino of Filippo Dodini (1848-1924) and Teresa Braghetta (1851-1899). She was immigrated at age two by Teresa and her older sister Teresa (1882-1962) to the Mimi dairy farm in Marin County. Later the sister Teresa married Steve Brughelli (1874-1963) who was born at Gudo, Canton Ticino. At age 14, Steve immigrated to San Francisco by ship going around Cape Horn of South America. They started a dairy at Birds Landing in the Suisun delta region and got flooded out the first winter. Then Steve bought 80 acres at Lanare, about 4 miles west of Riverdale in Fresno County and established an alfalfa dairy farm. There the Brughelli’s raised my mother from age 4 when her mother died in 1899, and four sons. Alfred, Philip, Elmer and Gene (100% Ticino Swiss and my favourite cousin). Gene was the only one interested in farming. He stopped the dairy and concentrated on field crops, supplementing earnings by dry farming under verbal contracts with Basque sheepmen on the Westside of San Joaquin Valley. He acquired several 640 acre sections of land which became very successful with the development of the San Luis reservoir and the California State Canal, which brought irrigation water down the Westside, even to the Los Angeles area.
My uncle Philip Dodini Sr. [moved] to the Rockville Road of Suisun Valley and was killed while blasting holes to plant orchard trees. Julius Dodini started a farm near Dixon. Lucy Dodini married [in] Yolo [County] near [the town of] Benicia. Ralph Dodini established a general store in Riverdale. Antoinette Dodini married Fulgenzio Morosoli and had a daughter Sabina Morosoli who is the mother of Anthony Quinn, the author of “On Wings of Gold” and Dale Bechtel met him in Sacramento recently.
*Florence Dodini Adams name was engraved on the American Immigrant Wall of Fame by the Ellis Island foundation, Inc. on April 28, 1989.
(This family story was submitted to swissinfo by regular post. The author is not online.)