The Full Story
In the late 1880's to 1909 about 150 Italian families had settled in Meadville, PA. The major reason for the young Italian men and their families to locate here was the lure of job opportunities at the two major industries in Meadville, the Erie Railroad and the Phoenix Iron Works.
The majority of Italian men who arrived here went to work at the Erie Railroad, as did "Big John" Euliano in 1906. He became labor foreman at work and a recognized leader of the Italian community. He acted as their interpreter and aided them in many ways to adjust to this new life in America.
As the years passed the Italian population grew, and in the 1920's many of them realized the need to meet, organize and be united. They were the victims of open and severe discrimination. They were denied jobs and participation in civic activities. They worked long hours, mostly at jobs others did not want. Because of this and the desire to develop and encourage better American citizenship, they started meeting in their homes. The first of these meetings took place at "Big John" Euliano's home on Walnut Street and was appropriately called "The Big John Club." Other names for those later groups were:
The Italian-American Club
The Italian-American Citizens Club
The Italian Political Club
Along with "Big John" Euliano some of the other men who played an early major role at this time were:
Thomas Fortuna, Vincent Pepicelli, Charles Rago, Sebastian Trucco and Guido Trucco, August Demascola, Anthony Aiola, Anthony Bucci, Dr. Joseph Mancuso, Rocco Schiavone, John H. Pendleton, Joe Ailoa, Anthony Grasso, and Carl A. Triola.