How romantic to get married on Valentine’s Day. The date is shared by at least two couples in the George line that I know of – Custode Iacobucci and Adriano George and Elaine (Lainey) George and Richard McGreevy. Thankfully Lainey and Rick have had a much longer run than Custode and Adriano. Happy 47th anniversary Lainey and Rick!
Custode and Adriano married in Pittsburgh on February 14, 1899 and parted ways sometime around May 20, 1912. I’ve never found any indication that they ever got a divorce. According to Custode’s testimony in a lawsuit in the summer of 1912, May 20th was the last time she saw her husband and she didn’t think he was ever coming back. It looks like her hunch was correct – I’ve found nothing to suggest that Adriano ever returned to America.
None of their children are alive to shed any light on what happened or how their father’s absence affected them. Most of Custode and Adriano’s grandchildren say that their family never talked much about Adriano. The leading theory of why he left, which was the only thing Joseph George told his daughters, is that the Black Hand was coming in the front door (of the grocery store) while Adriano was going out the back.
Another theory, shared among some of the grandchildren is that Grandmother might have had an affair with a boarder, which prompted Adriano’s sudden departure and apparent attempt to leave her, and their eight children, without support. We’re not likely to prove that theory without DNA testing but it could be done. We know that Frank, the last child born to Custode, was born sometime in 1912 or 1913. If Adriano were his father, he and any of his male descendants would have the same Y chromosome as any other male descendants of Adriano and his sons. We know that Frank George had a son named Gerald George, born in Pittsburgh (I think) on September 16, 1937. If that son, or any of his sons, were willing to take a DNA test, we might know the answer to the mystery of whether or not Custode was unfaithful to Adriano. Of course, that wouldn’t prove that was the reason for his departure, but it would be interesting.
It’s still a mystery as to where Adriano went when he left Pennsylvania. In her testimony Custode speculated he may have gone out west or to South America. Some of his grandchildren remember hearing from their parents that he went to Argentina. If he did go to South America, Argentina’s a good guess because during the peak of Italian emigration, from the late 1800s to 1930s, Argentina was second only to America as the destination for Italian emigrants. From 1857 to 1958, 46% of all immigrants to Argentina were from Italy.
I’ve searched for Adriano Giorgio and Andy George in immigration records to Argentina without success but I do know there were quite a number of emigrants from Castel di Sangro – Custode’s home town – who settled in Argentina – beginning as early as 1857. I’m creating a spreadsheet to see if I can make a connection in Italy between those immigrants and the Giorgio or Iacobucci families. It’s taking awhile but it might help identify known relatives in Argentina.
But back to the more romantic facts about this day. Here is the marriage license application filed by Custode and Adriano in Alleghany County, which is the source for the date of their marriage. The April date at the bottom of the document is the date the marriage return was sent back to the county courthouse from the officiant performing the marriage ceremony.
And here’s an excerpt of Custode’s testimony in the summer of 1912
Custode George (the orator in the complaint) is a resident of Fayette County, Pennsylvania and resides in Dunbar. The defendant, Andy George, was, until on or about May 20, 1912, a resident of Dunbar, but that his present residence is unknown to Custode.
Custode avers (says) that she and Andy George, were married on February 13, 1899, at Pittsburg, PA and that from that day until May 20, 1912, lived and cohabited together in the relationship of husband and wife. They have resided in Dunbar for the past eleven years and that there has been born to them eight children, the oldest of which is now twelve years old, the youngest one year, all of whom are still living.
For the past seven years Custode and Andy have been in the grocery business in Dunbar and during that time they devoted their time and attention to that business, by reason of which they have acquired considerable real estate and earned a good living for themselves and their family.
With the profits they made and by their thrift and energy, Custode and Andy acquired certain real estate in Dunbar, defined as follows: three separate lots with improvements each of which was originally conveyed to Andy and Custode, jointly.
On February 24, 1912, at Andy’s suggestion and request, Custode signed over her interest in the property to him. This was done by a deed, which legally vested title to the property (all three lots) to Andy.
Since May 20, 1912, Andy has willfully, maliciously and without reasonable or just cause, deserted Custode and their children and since that date has neglected and refused to provide for suitable maintenance for his wife and children even though he has sufficient means and ability to.
Notice that in her testimony, Custode cites as their marriage date as February 13th, which doesn’t quite match the official records.
We find evidence of Adriano’s return to Italy in the margin note of his birth record copied below. The note indicates he contracted to marry Maria Flamminio on June 1, 1913. Unfortunately, the marriage records for San Vito Chietino for 1913 are not available on line and the margin note is hard to read so I can’t actually determine whether or not the second date is the date of their actual marriage or something else. It is certainly possible that Adriano could have returned to Italy and never told anyone about his marriage to Custode in America but how sad to not have any contact with their eight (or perhaps nine) children.
Before ending this post I want to wish a belated happy anniversary to Carole Ann George and Glenn P. Johnson who were married on February 8, 1964. This picture is from the local paper published shortly after the wedding. Congratulations on 54 years of marriage!