Michelle Ann Kratts

Archive for November, 2012|Monthly archive page

It’s Been a Long, Long Time…

In Cemetery Plots, Off to War, St. Joseph's Cemetery Records, The Italians of Niagara Falls, New York on November 30, 2012 at 9:16 pm

We stumbled over his grave one day in St. Joseph’s Cemetery–quite by accident.  Winter white and washed away from many years of sun and snow and ice,  Anthony W. Salamone stands strong and bright.  He is certainly hard to miss.

But I’m sure he was missed.  First reported “Missing in Action” on March 4, 1944, the fateful letter from the War Department came to 457 12th Street a few weeks later.

“Killed in Action”

Someone’s heart was broken when that letter was opened.  He had only recently written to his mother that he had only “a few” more missions to complete before he would be granted a furlough.  He said he would be back home in Niagara Falls soon.

Technical Sergeant Anthony W. Salamone was a gunner in the Army Air Corps.  He graduated from Niagara Falls High School and had attended Niagara University.  He was an employee of the Electro Metalurgical Company at the time of his induction into the Army.

Anthony was killed in action over Frankfurt, Germany, on January 30, 1944.  He had been serving with the 526th squadron, 379th group, U.S. Air Force, in England.

Anthony Salamone finally returned home to Niagara Falls at 8:00 am on June 15, 1949.

salamone pic


Going to War in Niagara Falls

In Uncategorized on November 29, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Click on the following link for a PDF of a Niagara Falls Gazette article,
“Two Busloads of Draftees Quit City for Induction into Army,” May 7, 1942.



Arthur Emil Barthel

In Off to War on November 28, 2012 at 9:12 pm

My grandfather, Arthur Emil Barthel, was born on September 3, 1912, to Swiss-born, Emil Barthel and Katie Bandi (also of Swiss ancestry) in Wheeling, West Virginia.  He came to Niagara Falls, New York, sometime in the late 1930’s and lived with his cousin, Mrs. Herman (Gertrude) Schmidt and their children (Carl, Marie, Elsa (Glessner), and Anna (Beeton), at 1350 Cleveland Avenue.  Herman Schmidt, who had been born in Germany, was a local tailor and an accomplished musician.   He was a member of the old Shredded Wheat Band.  The 1940 Census lists my grandfather’s occupation as mechanic.

I am slowly piecing together his war years.  When I sent to the National Archives requesting his military papers they responded with their usual story involving the great conflagration of 1973.  “If the record were here on July 12, 1973, it would have been in the area tha suffered the most damage in the fire on that date and may have been destroyed.”  They did enclose NA Form 13038, Certification of Miltary Service.

I do know a few things, though.  Things that lead me to more questions.     My grandfather served in England for two years–in a bomber squadron  in the Army Air Force.  My father had a ring that had been soddered from scrap metal from the plane that he had flown in during the war.  I wish I knew what happened to that ring.  It broke and I never knew what my father did with it after that.  It had the name of my grandfather’s  plane and the type of plane (either a B-17 or B-24).   I have postcards and photographs from England, news articles.  He came home, finally, on December 14, 1945.  His name appears (among many men’s names) on board the Queen Mary.  After the war, he served at Fort Niagara, and helped guard the German POWs that were kept there.  My father remembered that one of the German POW’s actually returned to America years later and showed up on their doorstep with a bottle of wine.  Apparently they had become friends somewhere along the line.  I often wondered how difficult it must have been for my grandfather to serve against German soldiers when his own family was German.   I imagine he enjoyed the company of the German POWs.  Perhaps they reminded him of his parents.

My grandfather died on January 21, 1978 in Largo, Florida.  Since much of my early life was spent traveling around the world as an Army brat, I never was able to truly know my grandfather.   I was never able to ask him any questions about his service during the war.  I was told that he suffered deeply from his experiences–whatever they may have been.    In fact, he even received a stipend for awhile for emotional problems that were a result of his service overseas.  I’ve always been fascinated by the Flyboys from World War 2.  It’s probably because of my grandfather.  Those men experienced some of the worst trauma of the war.

This is only the beginning.  Hopefully bit by bit, I will be able to piece his story back together like a puzzle.  And one day I will be able to truly and deeply know my grandfather, PFC Arthur Emil Barthel.


Welcome to the Army

In Arthur E. Barthel, Off to War on November 28, 2012 at 6:26 pm

Induction into ArmyWelcome to the Army

On May 7, 1942, two busloads of men from Niagara Falls left their usual lives behind and entered into the service of the United States Army. They had been called upon through the operation of Draft Board 583. They assembled at the Gorge Terminal at 7:15, were called by name and promptly inducted. By 8:00 they were on their way to Buffalo.

Further research may reveal that some never made it home. My grandfather, Arthur E. Barthel, was among the men who left. He served the entirety of the war in England with the 8th Air Force. He survived, but he would never be the same after that fateful day.

Here is the list of men with addresses. Perhaps your grandfather was among these men.

There were many sorts of Niagara men. Interestingly, there was one (unnamed man) who “refused to be sent to Buffalo, claiming that he was a conscientious objector.” He said he would rather go to jail than war.

Mauro Buzzelli

In As Niagara Falls, Pictures at Niagara Falls, The Italians of Niagara Falls, New York on November 24, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Mauro Buzzelli, 1890’s

Submitted by Marcia Buzzelli

Milking the Cows on 19th Street

In The Italians of Niagara Falls, New York on November 24, 2012 at 4:35 pm

542 19th Street, Niagara Falls

Submitted by Marcia Buzzelli

Four Sisters

In The Italians of Niagara Falls, New York on November 24, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Four sisters, left to right:  Teresa Amendola, Rosina Scrivano, Marrietta Abruzino and Carmela Serianni

Submitted by Marcia Buzzelli

Riposa in pace

In Cemetery Plots, Niagara Deaths, St. Joseph's Cemetery Records, The Italians of Niagara Falls, New York on November 17, 2012 at 6:01 pm

St.  Joseph’s Cemetery….

I was struck by her beauty as I passed the little ceramic photograph that adorned her headstone.  Classic, tragic, undying beauty. Born in the picturesque comune, San Pier Niceto, in the province of Messina, Rosa Certo was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Guiseppe Certo.  She was only twenty four at the time of her death and so she will always be twenty four.

Beside her was another perfectly matching headstone belonging to a handsome young man.  Tommaso was Rosa’s nephew.  He suffered from a fractured skull.  He was smiling at us as we walked by and he will always be smiling.

Then I noticed how their death dates matched and I knew at once there was a story linking these two together for eternity.

It was February in 1932.   They had only meant to visit a sick relative and return to Niagara Falls.  Instead they took a fatal turn in Miles Heights, near Cleveland, Ohio, where their automobile was struck by a train.

Tu Scende Dalle Stelle (You Come Down from the Heavens)

In Cemetery Plots, St. Joseph's Cemetery Records, The Italians of Niagara Falls, New York on November 17, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Tu Scende Dalle Stelle (You Come Down from the Heavens)

This is the strange story of the founding of St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Niagara Falls.


California Digital Newspaper Collection

In Digital Newspapers, Uncategorized on November 16, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Check this out:

Genealogists know what a treasure a digital newspaper collection can be.

This collection contains 55,970 issues comprising 495,175 pages and 5,658,224 articles.