It’s 1916. The Riley children were coming of age, with weddings, jobs, and school. Will and Josie Riley were enjoying the fruits of their labor. Will was age 53, Josie was 47.
It’s 1916. Let’s check in on each of the Riley children. Then we’ll see what Will and Josie are up to.
Sedalia’s growth slowed in the first decade of the 1900s, up slightly to 17,800. It was still a railroad center, but the new-fangled automobile was beginning to make itself known.
Sedalia’s population growth had slowed in the last decade, but it reached 16,000 in 1905.
It was a cosmopolitan town, with streetcars, electric lighting, and two telephone companies.
The Missouri State Fair began in 1901 and has been held in August every year since.
Anything you needed could be found for sale in downtown Sedalia.Continue reading
January 1, 1900, rang in a new year and a new century.
Josie and Will Riley were in their forties. They had a lovely home and three children. They had a telephone, and perhaps electric lights.
William Riley celebrated his 18th year working for E.G. Cassidy.
It seemed like a long time ago and a world away when Josie Pensa arrived from Italy with her family forty-one years ago. And Will had been born on his family’s Missouri farm during the Civil War.Continue reading
It’s 1891. We’ve met Will Riley’s family. Josie Pensa is spending a lot of time in Sedalia. They’re an item.
They want to get married.Continue reading
It’s 1890. Sedalia remained a railroad hub, although the cattle trailhead had moved on.
There were still seedy joints and houses of ill-repute, but they were now localized along West Main Street. Downtown Sedalia was safe and respectable.Continue reading
After Antonio Pensa left for Italy in 1888, Josie spent a lot of time at her sister Kate Gardella’s in Sedalia. It’s there that she met Will Riley.
The Gardellas were well known in Sedalia. Andy Gardella had opened a small fruit and produce stand there in 1875.Continue reading
It’s 1890. Josie Pensa has been staying at her sister Kate Gardella’s in Sedalia. She’s met William Riley, and they’re going to get married. We’ll meet Will and his family.
But we can’t leave St. Louis without a word about the Pensa saloons and the beginnings of “yellow journalism.”Continue reading
In 1880, the Pensas and Gardellas had been in St. Louis for ten years. The population was 350,000, up from 310,000 in 1870. Irish and Eastern Europeans were the largest immigrant communities. The number of Italians had grown to thousands, and would increase dramatically in the next 20 years.
Here’s an amazing fact. In 1880, our Pensas, all the way from Roccatagliata, were the only Pensas in the United States.