Advertisement

Egisto C. Palmieri

Advertisement

Egisto C. Palmieri

Birth
Volterra, Provincia di Pisa, Toscana, Italy
Death
7 Jun 1901 (aged 47)
San Francisco, San Francisco County, California, USA
Burial
Colma, San Mateo County, California, USA Add to Map
Plot
Block 98, Lot 1
Memorial ID
View Source
UN CARATTERE BENEVOLE E DOLCE

Egisto C. Palmieri was born in the Tuscan comune of Volterra, province of Pisa, on January 26, 1854. At twenty years of age, he immigrated to New York, and soon thereafter travelled to California to join his father, who had immigrated previously. He arrived in San Francisco on June 16, 1875, and found work as an architect at the firm of Davitt Fergusson and Company. When a strike caused the stoppage of building construction in 1878, he took a position as an accountant at the Agenzia di Passaggi G. Onesti. By 1885, he was a full partner of the firm, and became a well-respected businessman in San Francisco's Italian Colony.

In 1884, at the age of 30, he became the first Italian elected to the California State Senate. His tenure as a State Senator was short-lived, however. As it turned out, Palmieri had been elected from a district in which he did not reside, and was required by law to vacate his seat in the State Senate. The seat remained vacant for the remainder of his term, and he decided against running again in the following election.

On November 16, 1885 he married Adelina Garibaldi, the daughter of San Francisco Italian-American pioneers Francesco and Maria Garibaldi. The Garibaldi family was legendary in San Francisco, and part of the well-heeled social elite of The City. Adelina's siblings would later be part of a very public battle over Palmieri's estate.

In 1887, Egisto Palmieri left the Agenzia di Passaggi G. Onesti, and teamed up with businessman, banker and philanthropist John F. Fugazi. Together they operated J.F. Fugazi & Co. and Casa Italo-Svizzera-Americana, selling tickets for various steamship lines, such as the White Star Line and Compagnie Générale Transatlantique. Both Palmieri and Fugazi made a fortune, and soon were among the wealthiest men in San Francisco.

By 1892, Palmieri was described in a national publication as "a man of strict integrity and fine business qualifications..." It was further noted that "…he has met with most flattering success in his various undertakings." He was known throughout the Italian Colony as a gentle, kind and generous man, always willing to help those in need. Those in financial distress could always count on Palmieri's help.

He was also a member of the International Order of Odd Fellows and the Union League, as well as a 3rd degree Mason of the Speranza Italiana Lodge of the Order of Free and Accepted Masons. On March 8, 1900, he became a 32nd degree Mason of the California Bodies of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.

Barely a year later, however, his tenure was cut short—this time by the Grim Reaper. At the age of 47, he was at the pinnacle of his career, serving as the Vice-President of the Banca Colombo, which had been founded by his friend and business partner John F. Fugazi. He was also at the top of the social ladder, simultaneously serving as president of the Società Bersaglieri, the Filormonica, the Filodrammatica, the Scuola Italiana and the Italian Chamber of Commerce.

His death was peculiar, to say the least. At the end of May 1902, Palmieri unexpectedly fell ill. His physician Dr. Barsotti was called to attend him, and after consulting with fellow physician Dr. Perone, diagnosed Palmieri with a condition known as erysipelas. Also known as "Ignis Sacer" (Holy Fire), erysipelas causes the victim to burn with fever, and exhibit massive inflammation of the skin resembling severe burns. Today the condition can be easily treated with antibiotics, but a century ago, the standard medical treatment was to shave the patient's head and facial hair, cover his face with a mask of hot cloths, and have him drink a lot of cold water.

Palmieri considered this treatment to be ridiculous, so he discharged his doctors. He called in his friend Signor Delfino to cure him using a folk medicine treatment from the old country known as signare (to sign). This treatment consisted of the practitioner making certain signs over the patient, saying prayers, and appealing to a particular saint. The ceremony was generally performed by some elderly person skilled in such matters. Palmieri's wife Adelina concurred that this course of treatment was far superior to what the medical doctors had proposed.

Unfortunately for Palmieri, the treatment was not successful, and he succumbed to his illness on June 7, 1901. More than a decade after his death, Cesare Crespi wrote that Palmieri would always be remembered as "…a kind and benevolent character with a generous heart."

The above biographical sketch appeared in L'Italo-Americano weekly newspaper on June 16, 2011
UN CARATTERE BENEVOLE E DOLCE

Egisto C. Palmieri was born in the Tuscan comune of Volterra, province of Pisa, on January 26, 1854. At twenty years of age, he immigrated to New York, and soon thereafter travelled to California to join his father, who had immigrated previously. He arrived in San Francisco on June 16, 1875, and found work as an architect at the firm of Davitt Fergusson and Company. When a strike caused the stoppage of building construction in 1878, he took a position as an accountant at the Agenzia di Passaggi G. Onesti. By 1885, he was a full partner of the firm, and became a well-respected businessman in San Francisco's Italian Colony.

In 1884, at the age of 30, he became the first Italian elected to the California State Senate. His tenure as a State Senator was short-lived, however. As it turned out, Palmieri had been elected from a district in which he did not reside, and was required by law to vacate his seat in the State Senate. The seat remained vacant for the remainder of his term, and he decided against running again in the following election.

On November 16, 1885 he married Adelina Garibaldi, the daughter of San Francisco Italian-American pioneers Francesco and Maria Garibaldi. The Garibaldi family was legendary in San Francisco, and part of the well-heeled social elite of The City. Adelina's siblings would later be part of a very public battle over Palmieri's estate.

In 1887, Egisto Palmieri left the Agenzia di Passaggi G. Onesti, and teamed up with businessman, banker and philanthropist John F. Fugazi. Together they operated J.F. Fugazi & Co. and Casa Italo-Svizzera-Americana, selling tickets for various steamship lines, such as the White Star Line and Compagnie Générale Transatlantique. Both Palmieri and Fugazi made a fortune, and soon were among the wealthiest men in San Francisco.

By 1892, Palmieri was described in a national publication as "a man of strict integrity and fine business qualifications..." It was further noted that "…he has met with most flattering success in his various undertakings." He was known throughout the Italian Colony as a gentle, kind and generous man, always willing to help those in need. Those in financial distress could always count on Palmieri's help.

He was also a member of the International Order of Odd Fellows and the Union League, as well as a 3rd degree Mason of the Speranza Italiana Lodge of the Order of Free and Accepted Masons. On March 8, 1900, he became a 32nd degree Mason of the California Bodies of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.

Barely a year later, however, his tenure was cut short—this time by the Grim Reaper. At the age of 47, he was at the pinnacle of his career, serving as the Vice-President of the Banca Colombo, which had been founded by his friend and business partner John F. Fugazi. He was also at the top of the social ladder, simultaneously serving as president of the Società Bersaglieri, the Filormonica, the Filodrammatica, the Scuola Italiana and the Italian Chamber of Commerce.

His death was peculiar, to say the least. At the end of May 1902, Palmieri unexpectedly fell ill. His physician Dr. Barsotti was called to attend him, and after consulting with fellow physician Dr. Perone, diagnosed Palmieri with a condition known as erysipelas. Also known as "Ignis Sacer" (Holy Fire), erysipelas causes the victim to burn with fever, and exhibit massive inflammation of the skin resembling severe burns. Today the condition can be easily treated with antibiotics, but a century ago, the standard medical treatment was to shave the patient's head and facial hair, cover his face with a mask of hot cloths, and have him drink a lot of cold water.

Palmieri considered this treatment to be ridiculous, so he discharged his doctors. He called in his friend Signor Delfino to cure him using a folk medicine treatment from the old country known as signare (to sign). This treatment consisted of the practitioner making certain signs over the patient, saying prayers, and appealing to a particular saint. The ceremony was generally performed by some elderly person skilled in such matters. Palmieri's wife Adelina concurred that this course of treatment was far superior to what the medical doctors had proposed.

Unfortunately for Palmieri, the treatment was not successful, and he succumbed to his illness on June 7, 1901. More than a decade after his death, Cesare Crespi wrote that Palmieri would always be remembered as "…a kind and benevolent character with a generous heart."

The above biographical sketch appeared in L'Italo-Americano weekly newspaper on June 16, 2011


Sponsored by Ancestry

Advertisement