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Friday, May 8, 2015

52 Ancestors Year 2 #20: Elisabetta Maria Cattarina Wegher, beloved Mother

     Elisabetta Maria Catterina Wegher, known as Maria, was the youngest of nine children born to Luigi Paulino Wegher and Elisabetta Fachini. Maria was born on 14 Nov 1830 in Maso Milano in the parish of Sporminore.  Maso Milano is a small community based on a large rocky plateau at the place where the two rivers, Noce and Sporeggio, join.  It was founded by Alberto Pezzi, a blacksmith from the Odrio district of Milano, when he came to Sporminore and set up business as a blacksmith. He is noted in the Church records in 1577. His son took over from him and then it passed to other blacksmiths until in 1750 Michele Wegher came from Lauregno and took over.  Luigi was his great grandson. The Weghers lived in Maso Milano and the family is still there today.

     Maria married Giovanni Luigi Stefani on 20 Oct 1849 at the age of 18.  She brought a fair amount of property into the marriage as her family was prosperous.  Giovanni and Maria had bad luck with their children.  Out of seven children, when the youngest, Francesco, was born only two others were alive.  And one of these, his brother Giacomo died when Francesco was 4.  The only other surviving child, his sister, Adelaide, had an accident when young and spent 6 years convalescing resulting in her having a hunched back.  This must have been heart wrenching for Maria.

     She must have doted on her youngest son, Francesco, who was strong and healthy and devoted to her. Her husband, on the other hand, didn't take any of this well and became a ne'er do well drunkard.  Frank would hold back as much money as he could from what he and his father earned by peddling and give it to his mother.  When he was older he went to Germany and France and worked at various jobs (Railroad, mines, chemical plant) and sent money back to his mother. It wasn't until after she died on 23 Nov 1884, that he left for America.  In later years he told his children how terrible his father was but praised his mother.  "He dearly loved his mother" is how his son, Clement, put it.

     The family lived in house #54, which still stands in Sporminore today. I believe that she would have been very proud of her son and her daughter, their lives and their families and the many descendants both have living in America and Italy today.

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