circa 1800 - 1952
The Italian surname Scioli may be patronymic from a derivative of Scio, a palatalized reduced form of the personal name Desio. It could also come from the medieval word sciolus (saputello) which essentially translates to “smart-ass”. Most Scioli families immigrated into the United States during the late 19th or early 20th century and mostly settled in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts. Over two million Italians immigrated to America during the 1910s, with a total of 5.3 million between the years 1880 and 1920 but about a third of them actually returned to Italy after an average of about five years of working in the United States. Italian women seemed to go by their maiden names in Italy since Italian records and passenger lists list their maiden name but once living in the U.S. they went by their married name.
Our Scioli family begins with Biase Scioli, son of Giovantomaso Scioli. Biase was born around 1780, probably in Monteroduni, and married Carmina Scioli. They were likely distant cousins. Biase and Carmina had at least six children:
Angelomarino Scioli, who was born around 1821 in Monteroduni. He married Antonia Biello, born about 1823, sometime before 1846 and they had five known children in Monteroduni:
Giovantomaso, who sometimes went by Tomaso or Thomas, married Lorenza Palladino in Monteroduni on February 27, 1870 and had at least three children, one born at sea and the other two in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania:
Angelo seems to have either gone by his middle name or changed his name later in his life since he is recorded as Charles on more than one record and on his gravestone. Giovanni wound up using the English version of his name later in life, John.
Australia was born aboard the British Merchant Marine named Australia and thus named after the ship. Unfortunately, she did not survive the journey and died a few days after her birth. The destination of the ship is unknown but may have been Philadelphia, since this family made frequent trips to and from Philadelphia and Monteroduni, which was not uncommon for Italians from this time period. We know that in 1879, Giovantomaso and Lorenza were in Monteroduni for their marriage but by Angelo’s birth in 1881, they were in Philadelphia, and still there for Giovanni’s birth in 1884. In 1887, they returned to Monteroduni. Giovantomaso may have gone back to Philadelphia in 1888, and then Lorenza and the two children followed him in 1889. There is then record of Giovantomaso and Angelo arriving in New York on their way to Philadelphia in 1893. Whether or not Lorenza and Giovanni had gone back to Monteroduni with them and returned to Philadelphia at another time is unknown. By 1899, Angelo was 17 and old enough to travel on his own. We find him returning alone to Philadelphia from Monteroduni in 1899. He then made one last trip to Monteroduni around 1902 to marry his wife, returning to Philadelphia in early 1903. Giovanni is also seen returning for the last time to Philadelphia via New York in 1901 when he was 17. He made his adult life in Philadelphia where he married Elisabetta Marianni and had three surviving children. There are no records of Giovantomaso and Lorenza remaining in the United States after this point so it’s presumed they remained in Monteroduni once their sons were old enough to travel back there on their own.
Since Angelo return to Philadelphia alone in 1899, it’s not surprising to find him in 1900 living in a boarding house in Pennsauken Township (possibly on Petty Island in the Delaware River), New Jersey run by the Bailto family. Also living there were the possible cousins of Angelo’s future wife, or relatives of Angelo’s grandmother Michael and Joe (?) Biello, 27 and 26 respectively. Angelo was the only member of the house who was not born in Italy but despite this, he was not literate in English, though he was able to speak it. All the members of the household apart from the owners worked as RR Laborers which suggests the house was near a railroad. Several of the workers in the house were listed as married with children but their families were not living in the boarding house, suggesting it was a temporary residence while they worked on a certain R.R. project. Angelo would wind up working for the Pennsylvania Railroad his whole life, as did his brother Giovanni.
Josephine Lariella Biello was born on December 6, 1885 in Monteroduni, Italy where she also married Angelo around 1902 when he was 21 and she was 18 years old. She was originally called Giuseppa, the Italian form of Josephine, and was nicknamed “Pippina”, which was probably a feminine of “Peppino”, a diminutive of Giuseppe, the Italian form of Joseph. They were probably married in either 1902 or early January of 1903 since the now wedded Angelo can be found on a passenger list having left Italy via Naples on January 15th and arriving in New York on January 31th onboard the Lahn before heading to Philadelphia. He was listed as married but his new wife was not travelling with him, she followed him later that year when she left from Naples in October of 1903, arriving in New York on November 12 of the same year. She had a mere $12 in her pocket when she sailed on the Hohenzollern and was intent on reuniting with Angelo in Philadelphia where he lived at 750 South 7th Street.
His brother Giovanni was briefly living at the same address when Angelo had arrived earlier in the year. This address is now an Italian restaurant called Saloon. Josephine was travelling with a 24 year old woman named Domenica (Mamie) Scioli who may have been a relative of Angelo’s. Domenica’s husband, Giovanni (John) Melfi, was also living at the same address as Angelo, further supporting the idea that they were family. They later moved to Camden, New Jersey. Additionally the more permanent residents at this address were other members of the Biello family headed by Dominick, a jeweler/banker born around 1850, who was probably related to Josephine, perhaps her uncle. He appears to have been living at 750 South 7th Street from 1890 to 1913 and ran a jewelry/watchmaking company called D Biello & Son and seemingly also a steamship agency called Biello & Lotti. Dominick probably died in Berks County in 1922. His father’s name was Michael so if he was Josephine’s uncle, that would make Michael her grandfather.
Josephine was reported on the passenger list as a farmer, which matches up with family lore that her family owned a farm in Monteroduni. She was illiterate at the time of her immigration and according to those who remember her, even in her final years, she spoke English with a thick accent.
Josephine and Angelo had nine children:
Theresa was born May 14, 1905 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and baptized at Our Lady Help of Christians. Sadly, Antonio died just seven months after his birth on August 11, 1908; he is buried in Holy Redeemer Cemetery in Philadelphia.
The family first settled into 3405 Weikel Street in Philadelphia but by 1918, they lived at 3277 Aramingo Avenue in Northeast Philadelphia which was unusual since this was a predominantly Polish and Russian neighborhood of the city. Angelo was working as a Shipyard Foreman which may explain their choice of neighborhood since it was in the north east part of Philly, near the Delaware River. By 1920, fifteen year old daughter Theresa was working as a Duffer in a Woolen Mill. A duffer was usually someone who peddled cheap goods which doesn’t sound like a position at a factory such as a Woolen Mill so it’s possible she was actually a dubber, someone who raised the nap of cloth. A few years later, Theresa was among the more than 1,500 women who entered Atlantic City's Inter-City Beauty Contest in 1921, the first ever Miss America Pageant, which was created in attempts to extend the tourist season in Atlantic City after Labor Day. She did not make it to the final though, the winning contestant for her city of Philadelphia was Nellie Orr and the overall winner of the contest was Margaret Gorman from Washington D.C.
By 1930, Angelo was working on the other side of town as a Railroad Foreman on 46th Street but the family still lived in the same home, worth $8,000. By this point, the neighborhood was becoming a little bit more diverse so it’s understandable why they stayed. Angelo’s son Joseph was only 16 but had been working as an oiler in a factory, though he was unemployed at that time, probably due to the economic depression. Sometime between 1935 and 1942, Angelo had moved out of the city to Tullytown in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, on Bordentown Road. He still worked in the city though, for the Penna R.R. on 46th Street. Ten years later, Angelo had moved in with his son Joseph back in Philadelphia, on 4634 Kraydor Street, probably due to his age and health.
In late January of 1952, Angelo suffered an attack of Cerebral Hemiplegia due to Arteriosclerosis, a thickening and hardening of the arteries. He survived for a month after the initial onset of the Cerebral Hemiplegia, a total paralysis of one side of the body, before he succombed to it and died in Joseph’s home on February 22, 1952. After his death, wife Josephine continued to live with their son even when he moved to 4018 Hulmeville Road in Bensalem Township, Bucks County. She lived here until she died at Lower Bucks Hospital on November 26, 1960 when she was 74 years old. She had been suffering from Hypertensive Cardiovascular Disease, a type of heart disease, for ten years and died of Acute Pulmonary Edema, a condition where fluid builds up in the lungs, often due to heart failure. Angelo and Josephine are buried at Lady of Grace Cemetery in Langhorne, Pennsylvania.
Theresa married John Liguria Demore, an immigrant from Pachino, Italy, on December 7, 1922. You can read more about their life together in the Demore Family Chapter.
© Robin Bauer 2010-2013
Scioli Photos and Documents
Josephine Biello and Angelo Scioli at their wedding in Monteroduni.
The Lahn, which Angelo sailed on in January of 1903 when he returned to the U.S. after marrying Josephine in Monteroduni.
Hohenzollern, the ship Josephine Scioli (née Biello) immigrated to the U.S. on in late 1903 with her possible sister-in-law, Domenica Melfi (née Scioli).
750 South 7th Street, Philadelphia, an address where both Angelo and his brother Giovanni briefly lived and also the more permanent home of members of the Biello family. It is now an Italian Restaurant called Saloon.
The headstone for Angelo Charles Scioli and his wife Josephine Biello in Our Lady of Grace Cemetery in Langhorne, PA.