Category Archives: Parisse Leoni

Parisse Leoni—Italian Protector

I received a note from Michelle Leoni Hazelton of Monongahela, Pennsylvania, this week.

She referenced the name of her great grandfather, Orlando Leoni, in the “Clifford Houben’s Address List” post on this site.

Orlando Leoni’s name appears on one page of the list, and eleven pages later there is a seemingly unrelated reference to two locations:


Above these place names is penned “BRO.”

“MONONGHLA, Penn.” is evidently a reference to Monongahela, Pennsylvania, and “ACQUARTA, IT.” seems to reference the Italian comune of Arquata del Tronto.

My guess is that “BRO” is Clifford’s abbreviation for brother. All this was confirmed by what what Michelle shared with me.

In her email, Michelle wrote, “I am the great granddaughter of Orlando Leoni. He was mentioned in Clifford Houben’s list of addresses. There was also another entry ‘R.I. Arquata.’ I believe this may have been his brother, Parisse Leoni, who resided with his wife and roughly eight children in Faete, Arquata del Tronto, Italy.

“Orlando came to America and became a citizen around 1920 but traveled home often to support his family. In America, Orlando resided in Monongahela, Pennsylvania.

“I am trying to learn more about Parisse Leoni and any other relatives that remained in Italy. If you have any further information it would be most appreciated.”

Here is the text of a newspaper article Michelle sent me that describes Parisse’s activities during WW II:

Separated for 50 Years, Brother, Sister Reunited

By Jane Robinson
The Daily Republican (Monongahela, Pennsylvania) – Herald-American (Donora, Pennsylvania) Wednesday, August 19, 1970

“I’m so happy…I thought I’d never see my brother again,” said Mrs. Dominick Varone, now 74, with visible emotion.

After all, fifty years is a long time to wait.

The reunion of brother and sister took place just last week when Mrs. Varone’s brother, Parisse Leoni, 65, arrived in this country from his native Italy. The two had parted in November, 1920, when Mrs. Verone, then Benedetta Leoni, had left Italy for America at the age of 24. Her brother, who accompanied her to the bus but in the confusion never managed to say a final good-bye, was 15 at the time.

She arrived in America in December, sponsored by her brother, Orlando Leo [sic] of RD 1, Bentleyville, and within the next year was married to Dominick Varone. Her brother, Parisse, married too. He has lived and raised his family in the village of Faete, in the same house where he and Benedetta and all the children were born.

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