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April 18, 1913: Eloping Italian couple’s plans foiled by interloping Italian cop

On this day in Duluth in 1913, Duluth police foiled a plot by 22-year-old Felix Cacciola and 14-year-old Angeline Stefani of Ironwood, Michigan, to get married without the consent of the bride’s mother. Cacciola, who came to the U.S. from Italy three years earlier, was living in an Ironwood boarding house operated and shared by Angeline’s parents, and according to the Duluth News Tribune, had fallen in love with her. She agreed to marry him, and her father approved—but her mother, well, not so much. So Felix and Angela struck off to Duluth to get married, and once there checked into the Miller hotel. But Ironwood police had tipped off Duluth’s finest, who had the young lovers in custody two hours later. Mrs. Stefani wanted to charge Cacciola with white slavery, and that’s when police captain Anthony Fiskett stepped in. Fiskett, born Antonio Gaetano Fischetti, had changed his name in order to join the Duluth Police Department; at the time, Italians—especially Southern Italians like Fischetti—held the bottom rung of society’s ladder as far as immigrants were concerned. His beat stretched from the western end of downtown to Rice’s Point, including much of Duluth’s Little Italy—his language skills often helped resolve situations that arose from cultural misunderstandings. Fiskett translated that Cacciola had told him “I love her and want to marry her right away.” The newspaper reported that Angeline had answered exactly as Cacciola had. Fiskett assured local officials that this was a case of true love, telling them the couple would be returned to Ironwood the next day and was also hopeful that the couple would indeed marry.

Anthony Fiskett. (Image: Zenith City Press)

Workin’ on the Rail Road…book…

Thanks to everyone who turned out to Glensheen for our annual February of Wednesday night Zenith City on Taps—and of course thanks to Glensheen’s fantastic staff for hosting the event and making it free for anyone who wants to attend, and to Bellesio’s for bringing the beer and wine. Next year’s presentations will include “Prohibition…

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Mary McFadden

Mary McFadden was an intrepid young woman who made her way to the Zenith City to find success and fame during those heady times, only to disappear from the collective consciousness within a generation. In 1874, McFadden was born to immigrant Irish parents in New Brunswick, Canada. Within a few years, her parents became pioneers…

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