Antonio and Julia Campodonico came to Hornitos, CA from Italy in
1856. They sailed to Panama, came across the Isthmus, got on
another ship with all their furniture and sailed up the Pacific
to San Francisco and then to Mariposa County. Antonio, a
sea captain by profession, was 32 and his wife, Julia was 18
years old. They had visions of getting rich in the gold
country and going back to Italy and enjoying the good life.
As all dreams go, this did not materialize. Antonio could
read and write in 5 languages as his ships went to many ports
around the world. Antonio bought a General Merchandise
Store in Hornitos and their living quarters were adjacent.
He also operated the Campodonico Mine and others in the area.
In 1871, a plague of Scarlet Fever swept through the area and 3
of their boys died of it within 3 weeks. Julia almost lost
her mind and had to be taken on a long journey around the state
to recover. Two years later, another son, age 6, fell in
the well and drowned. The remaining 2 boys and 4 girls all
went to the little one-room school and got a good education for
the times. Theresa passed the Teacher's Examination at 15
and taught school. When the youngest child, Angelina
(Lena), was 2 years old, the timbering in the mine collapsed and
Antonio went down to inspect the damage. He stood in cold
water up to his chest and got pneumonia and died shorly
after. Julia and the children managed to run the store and
survive, but it wasn't an easy life in those pioneer days.
As told by granddaughter, Anna O'Brien Ecker
ANTONIO AND JULIA CAMPODONICO
ANTONIO is in the middle of the photo below- Can you identify the other
MAYPOLE DANCE - HORNITOS, 1892
Angelina Campodonico, daughter of Antonio and Juila, is the
second from the right in the last row
Hornitos- about 1905