23 May 2011

Rosemary Brook Farm, Needham, MA

664 Central Avenue, Needham, MA

Rosemary Brook Farm was established in 1915 by my great-grandfather Antonio Cefalo.  Antonio was born in Pietradefusi on 6 August 1875.  Family lore states he was a short, red-headed dictator with a hot temper.  

It is said that on his third trip to the States (in 1905) he became so angry with his older half-sister that he left New York on foot and, by the time he cooled off, found himself in Massachusetts ... where he stayed put.  Naturally, no one remembers what the fight was about.

I never had the chance to meet Antonio - he died in 1931 from an aortic aneurysm - but often find myself wondering if we would have liked one another.  I'm not much of a dictator, but did inherit his fiery temper, so who knows ... maybe our personalities would have clashed.

Antonio married Maria Pasqualina de Carro in Torre le Nocelle on 4 April 1901.  Maria Pasqualina was born in Torre on 19 December 1879.  The photo below was probably taken shortly after their marriage.

Antonio's paternal line is based in Pietradefusi, but I've traced his maternal line (and both of Maria Pasqualina's lines) back to the early 1600's in Torre.  Pedigree charts are below.  As you can see I still need to do quite a bit of research on my Pietradefusi ancestors.  One of these days I'll get around to it, but Torre has a death grip on my heart and at the moment I have no desire to research any another comune.

Pedigree of Antonio Cefalo

Pedigree of Geltrude di Nuzzolo - Antonio's mother

Pedigree of Maria Pasqualina de Carro

Pedigree of Gennaro de Carro - great great-grandfather of Maria Pasqualina

Hokay, back to the farm.  The farmhouse and  22 acres of land were purchased circa 1915.  The header photo shows the original farmhouse with the gray barn still out back.  (Antonio's will values the land at $6000 back in 1931... today that wouldn't even cover the down payment.) 

Antonio and Pasqualina had seven children (actually eight, but one boy died in infancy) and all worked the farm alongside their parents.  The older boys worked the land and the girls ran the farm stand out front.  Below is a photo of my cousin Bill.  I'm not sure who the gentleman in the background is, but the land behind him belonged to the farm.

Handsome devil, isn't he?

Next is the farm stand.  Marilyn, the girl on the left, was hired to help out at the stand ... and fell madly in love with Bill.  They're still married :-)

Here's the old farm truck with my great-uncle Giuseppe at the wheel.  The little boy honking the horn is his oldest son Antonio.

This last shot shows Maria Pasqualina in the field with her oldest son Giuseppe (the same one that's driving the truck) and Giuseppe's daughter Lena.  This was probably taken circa 1935.

Each child, once married, was given a piece of land adjacent to the farmhouse to build their own home. Eventually the older boys grew tired of the hard labor that comes with farm life and ventured into the contracting / construction business. The farm was broken up into lots, developed and sold.  

Here's a Google map image of what the area looks like today. The blue dot is the farmhouse.  The yellow dot is my cousin Antonio's home (the little boy honking the horn on the truck) and the red dot is the Vietnam Memorial that Antonio built in the cul-de-sac in front of his house.  Just above the red dot you can see Cefalo Road ...

... yep, that's us ;-)

If you should find yourself in the general vicinity, stop in and see Antonio ... he'll make you a nice lunch and entertain you with stories of the old farm.  

Here's a shot of the Vietnam memorial with his house in the background. 


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