Wednesday, October 13, 2010

T. Ratto & Co., Wholesale Confectioners

A very early and scarce example of a postcard used for business use.

T. Ratto & Co., Wholesale Confectioners
159, 161 & 163 Strand.

Thomas Ratto was born in 1843 in Italy. He emigrated to America at an unknown date, but certainly before 1872.

Thomas married Mary Repetto on August 8 or 15, 1872 in Louisville, Jefferson Co., Kentucky. Mary was born in 1851 in Kentucky. She was the daughter of John and Mary Repetto of Louisville. John, a saloon keeper, was born circa 1822 in Italy, and his wife Mary Repetto was born about 1822 in Italy. They were living in Louisville, Kentucky at the time of the 1860, 1870 and 1880 census.

Thomas Ratto and his first wife Mary had a daughter named Mary Anna Louisa Ratto, who was born May 28, 1873 in Galveston. She died December 10, 1923 in Galveston, and was buried there at Calvary Cemetery. This daughter Mary married, November 6, 1893 in Galveston, Victor Louis Baulard, who was born about 1871 in Galveston, and died January 18, 1941 in Galveston, Texas.

In the Galveston census of 1880 Thomas was listed as a Wholesale Candy Dealer, age 37, and widowed. It is unknown when his wife Mary died.

About one month after the census, Thomas went back to Louisville, Kentucky and married the younger sister of his first wife, Louisa Repetto on July 25, 1880. Louisa was born in 1857 in Kentucky. I would suspect that they went down to Galveston almost immediately after the marriage, so he could resume his business.

Thomas' business was located at 159, 161 and 163 Strand (old style numbering) by 1881, when the postal card was dated and mailed. The Sanborn Insurance map of 1885 shows the location, below, at 161 Strand.

Thomas Ratto and his second wife Louisa had a child, Joseph Ratto, who was born November 19, 1883 in Galveston, and baptized January 20, 1884 in St. Mary's Cathedral, also in Galveston.

In the January 17, 1895 issue of the Cameron Herald (Milam Co., Texas) newspaper, it was reported that "T. Ratto, wholesale dealer of candy and fruits in Galveston failed last week."

While there was subsequent mention of his daughter Anna after this date, I have not been able to trace Thomas and his second wife, nor his child, Joseph, by that marriage. Whether they pulled up stakes and moved elsewhere is unknow, as I haven't been able to find them listed in any 1900 (or later) census returns. Their names did not show up on the 1900 Hurricane list of known dead. A close look at the Galveston City Directories may provide further details of this family.

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