Dominic Nester, born Domenico Nastasi, and Rose Nester, born Rosaria Miraglia, were the parents of Nicolina Bongiovanni.
Domenico Nastasi was born in Sicily, Italy on October 23, 1863. His parents were Antonio Nastasi and Nicolina Catanese. Rosaria Miraglia was born in Sicily, Italy on June 21, 1867. Domenic & Rose married in 1892 and had four children prior to their immigration to America.
On September 24, 1902, Domenic boarded the newly built steamship SS Sardegna at the Naples, Italy port and made the journey to America. He had $10 in his pocket and was planning to meet his brother, Natale Nastasi, in Carnegie, Pennsylvania. He arrived at New York harbor on June 8th and proceeded through the inspection at Ellis Island. Domenic’s brother Natale had made the trip to America just four months earlier along with his cousin Antonio Catanese. The next year, Dominic’s brother, Nicola, also came to America. Other family members who were already in America prior to this were Antonio’s father, Nicola Catanese, and Dominic’s Uncle Francesco Catanese.
It appears the men all came to America and got jobs and then sent for their wives and children. It was common for the men of Italy, particularly those who were oppressed and poverty-stricken on the Island of Sicily, to come to America to work with intentions of going back. But often the decision was made to stay in America and send for their families to join them.
In 1904, Rose and Nicola’s wife, made the journey to America to join their husbands in Carnegie, Pennsylvania. Rose had her four children with her: Nicolina, Caterina, Antonio, and Concetta. Nicola’s wife, Anna Marie, had her 7 month old son, Antonio, with her.
Domenic and Rose’s first four children had been born in San Pier Niceto, in the Province of Messina, Sicily. The oldest was Nicolina, who was born on November 9, 1893. Next was Caterina, better known as Catherine and sometimes Katie, was born on January 22, 1896. In 1897, Antonio, better known as Tony, was born. And in 1901 Concetta, better known as Ann, was born.
Domenic was 29 years old when he married Rose and 39 when he immigrated to America. Rose was 25 when she married Domenic and was 37 when she immigrated to America. Rose had $60 with her and the journey across the Atlantic took 12 days. The ship she traveled on had been built in Germany in 1899, and was called Konig Albert.
Domenic and Rose had lived in Carnegie, Pennsylvania for the first couple years, but later moved to Washington, Pennsylvania. At least two of the Nesters next children were born while they lived in Carnegie. A daughter named Frances and another daughter named Mary. Mary was born in May 1906 in Carnegie, so the Nester’s were in Carnegie at least till then.
After moving to Washington, the Nesters lived in a rented house at 355 West Chestnut Street. It was there that they took in a boarder named Tony Bongiovanni, who fell in love with and married their oldest daughter, Nicolina. According to family member, Nicoline had not wanted to marry Tony. She was supposed to have been in love with someone else. If this is true, then her parents must have pressed for the marriage. Perhaps Tony was favored by her parents because Tony’s father was a doctor.
Tony was not the only boarder that the Nesters took in. There were a few others and among them was Angelo Alberta, who fell in love with and married the Nester’s second daughter, Caterina. Since Caterina was only 14 years old, Domenic had to sign papers for her to get married. The papers say she was 16, but that is not correct.
Tony married Nicoline in April 1910. Angelo Alberta married Nicoline’s sister just four months later. It appears the they all lived together with the Nesters for a while before they moved into their own places. Often times the houses in the area would be divided into separate apartments with different families living on each level.
The house on Chestnut Street was located near the Pennsylvania railroad station (the house and station are not longer there). Sometime during the 1910s, the families moved to a farm in South Strabane Township. It was located on Manifold Road just outside of Washington, PA to the east, northeast. It was there that some of the Nester’s grandchildren were born.
Sometime prior to 1920, Tony and Nicoline moved back into town. In 1921, the Nester’s youngest daughter, Mary, married Dominick Fuoco in Martins Ferry, Ohio, which is just across the border about 35 miles from her parent’s home in Washington, PA. Mary was in her mid-teens and Dominick was in his middle twenties.
Prior to 1926, the Nester family met with tragedy when the farm burned down. They ended up moving back into town to a house at 39 South Ruple Avenue. It was there that Rose started a small grocery store out of her home. Her granddaughter, Sarah, who had been born in 1914, was said to have worked in the store when she was little.
Then in 1928 an even greater tragedy came to the family when Rose’s husband Dominic was unexpected killed. It was on April 17, 1928 that Dominic was heading home and hitched a ride with a passing car. The car, a Chevrolet coupe, was being driven by an Ohio man named R.A. Harrison. Dominic, who was 64 years old at the time, was two miles outside of Washington to the northeast when he hailed the car. Mr Harrison said he stopped because he was an old man, but he didn’t have room in the car because he had two other passengers traveling with him. Dominic hopped onto the back of the car and braced his feet against the spare tire. Mr Harrison thought he seemed safe enough for the ride, so he headed down Murland Avenue, but missed the turn to head southward at Ridge Avenue to take Dominic home to Ruple Avenue. At that point a steep descent began on Murland Avenue and Mr. Harrison was not used to the hilly roads of Pennsylvania. As the car gained speed heading toward the 3-way intersection at Locust Avenue, Mr Harrison sifted into second gear, but lost control and could not make the turn at the bottom of the hill and ran into a parked Ford coupe and Harrison’s car went onto the sidewalk.
Dominic was thrown from the car and smashed his head against the curb. Harrison and the driver of another car picked up Dominic and put him in the other driver’s car and headed to Washington Hospital. Dominic’s head was badly crushed and he died shortly after reaching the hospital.
Although they had moved from the farm a few years prior, Dominic was listed as a farmer on the coroner’s report, so it is possible he was working on a farm and that may be the reason he was miles outside of town and tried to hitch a ride home. Harrison was arrested and there was a trial, but the jury found him not guilty and concluded the accident was unavoidable.
It was the next year, in 1929, that Rose’s daughter Fran died. Family members said that Fran, who was in her mid-20s, died of Anemia. Then in 1933, Rose’s daughter Mary divorced Dominick and married Santo “Sandy” Sim. Sandy was a widower and had a son named Frank and a daughter named Emma.
In 1950, shortly after Rose’s grandson-in-law moved his family to Flint, Michigan, there was a get-together with several of the Bongiovanni family members. A five generation photo was taken with Rose, her daughter Nicoline, her granddaughter Minnie, her great-granddaughter Beatrice, and her great-great granddaughter Susan. Also that day, a family photo was taken with young and old of Rose’s extended family. Rose was 83 years old and her hair was completely white. Rose had also become blind.
Rose lived with some of her children during her later years after her blindness set in. In 1954, Rose’s son Nat and his wife Sylvia, who lived with Rose in the house on Ruple Avenue, gave Rose a special party for her 87th birthday. There was a write-up about it in the local newspaper. According to the article, all seven of Rose’s children that were still living were residents of Washington, Pennsylvania.
Rose’s 95th birthday also appeared in the local newspaper. At that point Rose was living with her daughter Mary Sim at 148 Scott Avenue. This time the newspaper listed Rose’s daughter Ann Gitto as being a resident of Martin’s Ferry, Ohio, but all the rest of her children were still residents of Washington. At this point Rose had 30 grandchildren, 48 great grandchildren, and 7 great-great grandchildren (I am one of the great-great grandchildren).
Rose lived to be 97 years old. She died on April 1, 1965 of congestive heart failure at the Washington Hospital. Rose and Dominick are both buried at the Immaculate Conception Church Cemetery in Washington, PA. Dominick’s grave number is 158B.
All family pages will continue to be updated whenever new information is discovered. (Last update for this page was made July 19, 2015)