The Franzia Wine Family

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1923-1929

In 1923, despite his work requirements, Giuseppe managed to attend citizenship training classes in S

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1915-1920

1915 was a watershed year for Giuseppe and Teresa. All of their children were born, and their vineya

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The great experiment, Prohibition, became law on January 16, 1920, and would last until December 5, 1933, almost fourteen years. It appeared to be a death blow to the Franzias and their thriving vineyard.

On March 12 of 1920, Giuseppe’s cousin, Giovanni Piuma, joined him in New York. In his memoirs, Piuma states that he arrived in New York and stopped “as usually” at the Hotel Campidaglio at Blecker and Thompson streets; that is likely where both men met and stayed. They departed on the 16th for a visit to their home village of Vado Ligure, in Italy. They landed in Genova on March 28, taking the first available train to Vado. Giuseppe left Italy at Genova on June 22, 1920. He is recorded as arriving on his return from Italy in Boston, Massachusetts, on July 9, 1920, aboard the Cretic; he was gone from home for four months.

Candida Franzia, Giovanni’s widow, may have returned to Italy with Giuseppe and his cousin, taking her three children with her. We know that she left about that time. Eventually Giovanni’s two daughters returned to Stockton, California, where both died unmarried. Mary, who worked as a maid, died of cancer January 26, 1958. At one time she had worked as a maid for her cousin Amelia Franzia Gallo. Catterina, called “Rina” by the family, was a seamstress for an upper-end clothing store in Stockton. Her obituary in the Stockton Record, states that she died March 13, 1982, at age sixty-six. It lists a brother, Dr. Frankie Franzia of Savona, Italy. Frankie was a dentist in the city of Savona. He visited his sisters once in Stockton, and his cousin Louie Franzia visited him once in Savona. Giuseppe would have visited his nephew and nieces during his trips to Italy.

There are no descendants of Giovanni Battista Franzia living in the United States in 2011. He has living grandchildren in Italy and in Greece. Frankie’s widow is still alive in Italy.

The 1920 Census shows Giuseppe and Teresa living in Dent Township. A Joseph Moresino, age 33, was shown living with the family. He was a hired man who had immigrated from Italy in 1908.

The National Prohibition Act, informally called the Volstead Act, passed to enforce the Eighteenth Amendment, sought [1] to prohibit intoxicating beverages [2] to regulate the manufacture, production, use, and sale of high-proof spirits for other than beverage purposes [3] to ensure an ample supply of alcohol and promote its use in scientific research and in the development of fuel, dye, and other lawful industries and practices, such as religious rituals. It further stated that “no person shall manufacture, sell, barter, transport, import, export, deliver, or furnish any intoxicating liquor except as authorized by this act.” It did not specifically prohibit the use of intoxicating liquors. The act defined intoxicating liquor as any beverage containing more than 0.5% alcohol. Table wines vary from 8-14% alcohol. Many vineyards were uprooted and cellars were destroyed. Many vineyardists were able to survive by selling their wine grapes. Every head of household in the United States was allowed to make 200 gallons of wine per year. A few wineries were able to stay in operation in order to provide churches sacramental wine, an allowed exception to the Prohibition laws. Alcohol for medicinal purposes was also exempted. Illegal wine sales boomed during the 1920’s.