After arriving in New York in April of 1883 Filippo & Nicola Minicola and the 8 other men from Roseto were hired by a railroad company. In May they were sent to ‘Indian Springs’ near Peterborough. Indian Springs is likely Indian River, east of Peterborough. The Ontario and Quebec Railway (later bought out by the Canadian Pacific Railway) was being built at exactly this time through Peterborough and east to Havelock. Track laying in the city of Peterborough began on August 7th, 1883. The first train reached Norwood on November 28th of that year. With Indian River being almost exactly half way between Norwood and Peterborough I think it’s safe to say they were working on the CPR. After a short six months, the group disbanded and scattered. Some of them joined the group in Bangor, PA.

The names of those that traveled with the Minicolas were: Nicola Rosato, Lorenzo Pacifico, Algelo Maria Castellucci, Domenico Stefano Ruggiero, Nicola Falcone, Nicola Cacciacarro, Nicolangelo and Lorenzo D’Uva.

The rest of the family (Mother Lucia and children Marguerite, Rosaria, Leonardo, Donato, Maria and Pasqualina) were brought over in September of 1886. There is no American port record of them arriving so it’s assumed they came directly to Canada. Canadian port records are not indexed online yet. Apparently, the vast majority of immigrants to Canada at this time arrived via the ports of Quebec City or Halifax. Quebec City makes the most sense with it being on the Grand Trunk railway. The family could have traveled by rail from Quebec to Port Hope. From Port Hope a branch line of the Grand Trunk ran north to Peterborough via Millbrook. Port records from Quebec for the year 1886 show no record of the rest of the family arriving in Canada.

There are some portions of the 1886 records that are unreadable and unfortunately the original records were destroyed after they were microfilmed. There is one particular entry from September, 1886 that lists a group of Italians arriving in Quebec, but the page is so faded that none of the names can be read. Also arriving on this particular ship were about 50 children destined for the Barnardo home in Peterborough.

Update: I’ve finally uncovered the landing records for Lucia Minicola and the remaining children. They arrived in New York September 16th, 1886 at the old immigration center at Castle Garden in the Battery. The reason the entry had eluded me was that they were all listed with the last name Ronca which was Lucia Minicola’s maiden name. Apparently it was a common practice at this time for female passengers to be recorded on ship manifests with their maiden name. The listings show: RONCA – Donato, Leonardo, Lucia, Margherita, Maria, Pasquale (Pasqualina) and Rosaria. Destination on all records is listed as unknown. Occupation is either listed as peasant or child. Place of last residence is listed as Foggia. Other details as follows:

Transit: Emigrante
Travel compartment: Ponte
Port of embarkment: MARSEILLES & NAPLES
Name of the ship: BRITANNIA
Date of arrival: 9/16/1886

Click here for more information on these records.

Note: this is the same ship that Filippo and Nicola arrived on just three and a half years earlier.

Minicola family portrait September, 1886 – Peterborough, Ontario. Left to right back row: Rosaria, Margerita, Nicola
Center: Leonardo
Seated Left to right: Philip (Filippo), Donato, Maria, Pasqualina and Lucia (Ronca)

We have very little information on the 1884 – 1888 time period. The 1888-1889 Peterborough Directory lists ‘Philip Minigold’, laborer as living at 67 Elm St. The writers of directory must have had problems understanding his thick Italian accent. For a brief period of time they may have also lived in Trenton and Belleville, Ontario. The majority of these early years in Canada were likely spent in the Peterborough area working as laborers.

The 1891 census of Canada lists the family as living in Peterborough, probably at 67 Elm although the address is not listed in the records. The records show Philipho 49, Lucie 45, Edward 14, Thomas 13, Mary 10, Norrie 8, Joseph 3, Nicolas 27, Matilda 23 and two boarders or guests, Cipriano and Filnicous DeFranco. Philip and Nicholas are listed as General Laborers and young Edward is listed as a Water boy. Edward, Thomas, Mary and Norrie are listed as being able to read and write. It appears they were able to attend school during these early years allowing them to learn to read and write in English. Note the names that were changed: Leonardo is listed as Edward, Donato is listed as Thomas and Pasqualina is listed as Norrie. Pasqualina was later known as Nora. The two older girls – Margerita and Rosaria are not listed as they had both married and moved away by this time. Margerita had married Donato Sabatino and was living in Lakefield. Rosaria had married Antonio Vecchio and was living in Toronto.

It appears the family was renting the house at 67 Elm up until 1894. According to Peterborough city land records Philip was finally able to purchase the house in 1894 from George A. Cox for the sum of $1000.