The Lafranchi letter carried by the wind

From Rosa Giovanni, Italy

I worked for many years in the port of Genoa. It used to be customary to see stacks of old papers on the docks.

One day, passing near a large pile of papers, the wind blew a letter in my direction. It was a signed and dated April 19, 1881 by an editor of the Swiss newspaper in California “The ELVEZIA” and was sent to the village of Coglio in Ticino. The editor organised the collection of money among the Ticino community in California to compensate, in part, for the loss of the house of Mr. Charles LAFRANCHI destroyed in a fire.

The names of many Swiss immigrants who made donations are listed in the letter.



2 thoughts on “The Lafranchi letter carried by the wind

  1. Dear Rosa Giovanni,
    Thank you for preserving and sharing this letter. It shows the caring relationship between the Swiss Italian immigrants in California circa 1880’s and their country people still in Ticino. It is a great historic document in a humble, sincere and generous way. I recognize some of the surnames and places of the benefactors listed on the letter.
    Best Wishes, Marcia

  2. The Lafranchi letter epitimises the love for family, homeland & generousity of the Swiss Italian immigrants of the late 19th Century. My great grand father, Isodoro Ernesto Rodoni, immigrated to Hepburn Springs, Victoria, Australia in 1888 from Biasca. On a recent trip to Biasca, my wife & I were fortunate enough to be given a number of letters dated from 1920 to 1940 which told stories of the immigration, the concern for family “back home” and indeed financial assistance for those in need.

    There are many “familiar” names in Central Victoria including Tinetti, Pedretti, Vanzetta, Righetti, Lafranchi, Gervasoni just to name a few

    Terry Rodoni, 12th Feb 2010

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