215 – Will Buys the Business

Sedalia – Ohio Street looking south – c 1905

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

214 – A New Century

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

206 – St. Louis 1880s

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.

Pensa surname – Ancestry.com
Continue reading