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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
Gabriel Cirasunda

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[This information is from Vol. III, pp. 88-89 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Gabriel Cirasunda was born on May 2, 1870, in the province of Benevento, Italy, and died on May 12, 1915, in Little Falls, Herkimer county, New York. He married Anna Izzo, also born in the province of Benevento, Italy, and now living in Little Falls. All their ancestors were natives of Italy.

Gabriel Cirasunda obtained his education in the schools of Benevento, his birthplace, and while he was always noted for his cleanly and neat appearance, he was obliged to be content with the poorest kind of clothing in comparison with that worn by most of his schoolboy companions. Clothes, however, never troubled Gabriel Cirasunda's mind as a boy. His principal interest in life at that time was learning, and he was indifferent to the fact that he was poorly dressed as long as the teachers said he was the brightest boy in his class, and as long as he could easily hold his place at the head of the class and win the silver medal which was awarded to the highest as the number one prize. He did so more than once while a pupil in the Benevento schools.

After he had finished his education in Benevento, or had gone as far as the means of his parents would permit, Gabriel Cirasunda became dissatisfied with the outlook for the future for him if he remained in Italy, and decided to seek his fortune in America, which he had learned to regard as the home of opportunity for the people of Italian birth. He landed in New York city in 1897, remained there only a short time, and then moved on to Little Falls in Herkimer county. In Little Falls the first work Mr. Cirasunda obtained was in a tailor shop, where he remained for a year and studied the business closely. Then he left the shop and established a merchant tailoring business of his own. His start was a modest one and also a very successful business venture, and it was not very long before Mr. Cirasunda had the reputation of being the leading merchant tailor in Little Falls and Herkimer county. Four years after he had made his start he was able to send to Italy for his wife and their little son, Francis.

While attending a clam bake in Little Falls at about this time in his business career Mr. Cirasunda was induced to sing an Italian song for the entertainment of the gathering, and did so with such a remarkably sweet and expressive tenor voice that the Rev. Father William H. White, pastor of St. Mary's Roman Catholic church in Little Falls, who was among those present at the clam bake, persuaded him to join the choir of the church. Mr. Cirasunda was really a notable singer, willing and accommodating, delighting in song and ready on all occasions to give his services for the benefit of his fellowmen and for the glory of God, being a very devout member of the Roman Catholic faith. In 1906 he bought the property on South Second street now occupied by his son, and was generally recognized as one of the leading Italian-American citizens of Herkimer county. In 1915 he was the leader in organizing the Sons of Italy in Little Falls, establishing the Lodge of Victor Emanuel the Third, and became the first president of that organization. The death of Mr. Cirasunda was the occasion of the largest funeral that has ever been held in Little Falls. He was a republican in politics, a member of the Roman Catholic faith in religion, a regular attendant at St. Mary's Roman Catholic church, and a member of the Holy Name Society of the church. Fraternally he was affiliated with the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks; the Royal Arcanum; the Modern Woodmen; the Knights of Columbus, in which he was a fourth degree member of Council No. 220, Little Falls; and of St. Rocco, an Italian society.

Mr. Cirasunda was married in 1896, in Benevento, Italy, to Miss Anna Izzo, and they were the parents of two sons and five daughters, namely: Francis, Mario, Mary, Yolanda, Esther, Elsie and Helen Cirasunda.

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