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Michael Francesco "Michele" Corrato
Birth: May 8, 1888
Puglia, Italy
Death: Jul. 28, 1924
Mount Holly
Burlington County
New Jersey, USA

Michael Francesco Corrato was born May 8, 1888 in the town of Fragagnano located in the Province of Taranto in the Pulgia Region of Italy. His parents were Francesco and Maria Corrato, also of Fragagnano, Italy.

On October 16, 1906, single, five foot one Michael with $12 in his pocket, paid for his own passage and set sail out of Naples, Italy on the S.S. Cretic arriving in New York, New York October 29, 1906 where his cousin was waiting for him.

Four years later, Michael, who worked as a laborer, met and fell in love with Maria Domenica Serenelli-Corrato, an Italian immigrant from the town of Chianche located in the Province of Avellino in the Campania Region of Italy.

They married civilly in New Jersey on August 15, 1909. By April of 1910, the couple lived in an apartment at 341 Monroe Street in North Bergen, New Jersey. Michael was employed as a mixer at a fireworks factory. Maria was three months pregnant with the couple's first child, Maria Josephine.

On July 14, 1912, Michael and Maria decided to reaffirm their love by receiving the sacred Roman Catholic Sacrament of Matrimony and were married in Our Lady of Libera Church located at 5808 Kennedy Boulevard in West New York, New Jersey. At the time, they were living at 656 5th Street in North Bergen, New Jersey their with baby Maria Josephine.

In June of 1917, ambitious Michael had accomplished a milestone in his life by opening his own fireworks company. He was living in North Bergen, New Jersey at 1459 Newkirk Street with Maria and their four children.

Sometime after January 17, 1920, Michael moved his family from 1228 Newkirk Avenue in North Bergen, New Jersey to 214 Water Street, Mount Holly, New Jersey, which was across the road from where he manufactured fireworks at his Mount Holly Fireworks Company.

According to the log of the Order of the Sons of Italy in America, Michael was a member of the Captain Antonio Silva Resnati Lodge of the Order of the Sons of Italy in America located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where his date of initiation was March 2, 1924 and his date of registration was March 3, 1924. When he joined, he lived at 214 Water Street, Mount Holly, New Jersey. The Lodge was named after the famous Italian aviator Captain Antonio Silva Resnati who died in 1918.

On the afternoon of Monday, July 28, 1924, Michael at the age of 36, who by now was a well-known fireworks expert in the country, was tragically killed in an accidental explosion at the Mount Holly Fireworks Company as he prepared firework displays in his workshop at the factory. The workshop was one of four buildings on the property on lower Water Street, in Mount Holly, New Jersey.

Sadly, Michael's oldest daughter Maria Josephine Corrato was killed with him in the explosion. She was only 14 years old.

Josephine, as she was called by her family, had been working with her father sitting in the doorway of the firework's workshop. She was packing sawdust around three-inch bombs at the time of the explosion.

Newspaper accounts of the accident at the time reported, "It was the opinion of Inspector James H. Tallon, of the State Department of Labor at Trenton, together with Lieutenant Norman Gaskill, of the Mount Holly Police Department, who both investigated the explosion, that the blast was caused when a spark was generated by a steel punch Michael was using to punch holes in cardboard for a spinning wheel."

Ironically, two months earlier, on the afternoon of Tuesday, May 27, 1924, at approximately 3:15 p.m., Michael's beloved wife Maria, who was 38 years old, was also killed in an accidental explosion at the Mount Holly Fireworks Company.

In that explosion, their partner of two months, Augustus "Gus" Rudolph Biagi was killed. Gus was 30 years old. He had been employed by the Corratos prior to becoming their partner and formerly worked at the cannery factory in Mount Holly, New Jersey and in Reading, Pennsylvania.

Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Gus left behind a wife, Lucille Farfone-Biagi, of Italian decent, and their two children, daughter Agnes Biagi, age 10 and a son, Ellsworth R. Biagi, age 4. His family buried him in Brooklyn.

Michael was survived by his devastated, orphaned children Maria Antonetta Corrato 12 years old, Frank Michael Corrato 10 years old and Lucia Maria Corrato 9 years old.

A funeral Mass was held for Michael and his daughter Josephine at Sacred Heart Church in Mount Holly, New Jersey on Thursday, July 31, 1924 officiated by Father Kelly with interment at St. Mary's Cemetery on Washington Street in Mount Holly, New Jersey at 9:00 a.m. where Michael and Josephine were laid to rest next to their beloved Maria.

Perinchief Funeral Home of Mount Holly, New Jersey handled the wake and burial.

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Biography written by Find A Grave Member gwtwqueenie. Please do not reprint without permission.

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An obituary for Michael appeared in the Mount Holly Herald on Thursday, July 28, 1924.

Name: Corrato, Michael
Death: Date: Jul 28, 1924
Place of Death: Mount Holly
Place of Burial: St Mary's Cemetery
Publication: Mount Holly Herald
Aug 2, 1924
Page: 4
Column: 1

Notes: Age 45

The Obituary states Michael's age as 45, but Michael was only 36. An obvious reporter's error.

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Family links: 
  Maria Domenica Serenelli Corrato (1886 - 1924)
  Maria Josephine Corrato (1910 - 1924)*
  Maria Antonia Corrato Dandorph (1912 - 2004)*
  Frank Michael Corrato (1914 - 1987)*
  Lucia Maria Corrato Lykowski (1915 - 1995)*
*Calculated relationship
Note: Sacred Heart Cemetery is formerly St. Mary's Cemetery.
Sacred Heart Cemetery
Burlington County
New Jersey, USA
Plot: The location of the grave is unknown. Sacred Heart Church, who manages St. Mary's Cemetery, said they are unable to locate the Corrato's burial records. The newspaper articles written about their deaths indicate they are buried at St. Mary's Cemetery in Mount Holly, New Jersey, along with records from Perinchief Funeral Home, of Mount Holly, New Jersey, who handled the wake and burial.
Created by: gwtwqueenie
Record added: Jun 27, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 92682130
Michael Francesco Michele Corrato
Added by: gwtwqueenie
Michael Francesco Michele Corrato
Added by: gwtwqueenie
Michael Francesco Michele Corrato
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Ginny DeLong Parker
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