Monteleonese Society of Trenton, NJ USA
Our History . . .
By the end of the 19th Century, more than 5.3 million Italians had emigrated from their homeland in search of a new country, the United States of America, which would provide opportunities absent in their native land.
Around the same era, a priest by the name of Father Jachetti had been assigned to the Trenton, New Jersey area to establish a Roman Catholic parish. That parish still exists today on Chestnut Avenue where it was originally known as Immaculate Conception Church. Recently it merged with Saint Joachim's Church and is now known as Our Lady of the Angels Parish.
Father Jachetti was a native of Monteleone di Spoleto before arriving in the United States, therefore, it was only natural that natives from Monteleone seeking a better life were drawn to the Trenton area where some contact or connection existed. Trenton at that time, was a major industrial city producing wire rope, pottery, rubber products, etc., which provided abundant job opportunities for immigrants.
In an era prior to Social Security, unemployment insurance, disability benefits, healthcare, insurance, etc., there existed a need to help fellow paisanos who might meet such a fate, thus the idea was born of creating a benevolent society to address such needs. George Calisti, Angelo and Guilio Pierleonardi are given the credit for the concept and organization of such a challenge.
Natives of Monteleone residing in the Trenton area responded to the call and the need for a formation of the new society. On May 30, 1907 "Soccorso Monteleonese Maschile" (Society for the Mutual Aid to Males of Monteleone) was created.
During the last century the "Lodge" (as it was often referred) performed many benevolent charitable and humanitarian deeds. Even more important, the Society seeks to "keep alive" its heritage and culture by recruiting new members whose ancestors have roots from Monteleone di Spoleto. Many members, past and present, have visited our ancestral home in Italy and on occasions have hosted current residents from the village visiting the Trenton area.
Our present enrollment consists of over 50 members. The majority of our members still reside in the Mercer County area; however, we do have a presence in California, Virginia, Nevada and Florida. Over the last 100 years, members' sons, grandsons and great grandsons have been mainstreamed into the American lifestyle, but never forgetting their roots. Past and present members have made their mark on society. Presently, the Society is proudly represented by men in the professions of medicine, education, accounting, banking, engineering, administration, government service, and other professions including tradesmen and business owners.
The Society presently celebrates two annual events - a Christmas dinner and a celebration commemorating the Societies' Anniversary. In addition, the society conducts bus trips and participates in parades, cultural events and festivals. Regular meetings are held six times a year at the Hamilton Township Library.
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