The Ricchetti family can be traced back many generations to Castelluccio Valmaggiore, Foggia,
Pugliza, Italy well before the 1800's. Ferdinando Ricchetti and Cristina Gizzi are the earliest known
family going back 4 generations. The family line passed down from Bartolomeo Ricchetti (b. 1804)
and Angiola Pompa (b. 1807) who were married on 26 Mar 1832 in Castelluccio Valmaggiore. They
had 4 children: Maria Concetta (b. 8 Dec 1834), Giuseppe (b. 5 Feb 1836), Ferdinando Ricchetti (b.
17 Jul 1839), and Maria Concetta (b. 7 Apr 1845).
Giuseppe Ricchetti married Clementina Bollucci (Bellusci)? (b. 1834) They had one known child,
Bartolomeo Antonio Ricchetti, (b. 4 July 1865)
Bartolomeo Ricchetti was born on the 4th of July, 1865 in Castelluccio Valmaggiore, Italy. His family
being from Castelluccio Valmaggiore, which is close to the Adriatic Sea, in eastern Italy. Bartolomew
immigrated to America, at the age of 30. He departed Naples, Italy about the 1st of May 1895, on a
ship named the Bolivia, which was an American Liner and made the long arduous trip across the
ocean arriving in New York on the 3rd of June 1895. Bart as he was known to most friends had lived
with Antonio DeMatte and his wife Elisabetta as a boarder while they lived and mined coal in West
Virgina in the 1890's. Eventually Antonio left Elisabetta to return to Italy. When Antonio DeMatte left
for Italy Bart married Elisabetta and began the arduous task of traveling across the United States
settling for a short time in Colorado where he and Elisabetta had 2 children, Joe and Clemantine.
Bart worked most of his life as a cotton farmer, coal miner and eventually an oil worker settling in
Lehigh Oklahoma. Bart and Elisabetta live a hard but normal life. Bartolomeo was known to have a
few drinks to many and was from time to time arrested for drunkeness and diorderly conduct at the
local saloon. Bartolomeo received his citizenship papers on July 17, 1917. He was 5'9, and weighed
165 lb., had black hair and brown eyes. Bartolomeo died on June 15, 1935, at 70 of an apparent
stroke. He was buried in Lehigh Oklahoma with the Rev. Hilder Branet presiding. At that time his son
Adam was incarcerated in Jackson County jail, Missouri for his alleged participation in the Kansas City
Massacre, his trial would be completed in 2 more days.
Elisabetta Carolina Zamboni was born on 29 May 1865, in Vigalo Vittaro, Italy she was the daughter of
Nicolo Ignazi Zamboni and Domenica Moratelli who were married 1 March 1851. Nicolo her father was
born on 31 January 1827 and was the son of Giovanni Baptista Zamboni, and Elisabetta Dallabrida
who were married on 18 October 1822. Domenica Moratelli, Elisabetta's mother was born on 16 June
1829 and her parents were Nicolo Moratelli and Barabra Nicoletti who were married 25 February 1824.
Antonio De Matte and Elisabetta Zamboni, their religion being Catholic, were married on 25 October
1884 in Vigalo Vattaro, Italy, and had immigrated to this country in the mid 1880s. The De Matte's and
Zamboni's came from Vigolo Vattaro, which is located in the Province (much like our counties) of
Trento, Region (much like our states) of Trentino Alto-Adige Italy, which is 170km East North East of
Milan, Italy. The Trentino-Alto Adige, region in northeastern Italy, bordered on the north by Austria
Antonio De Matte and Elisabetta Zamboni had 5 children. Ricardo born in Italy (unknown) William
(born 3 DEC 1891, MT Carmel, Pa. died Aug. 1979, Dillonvale, OH), Ralph (born 1892, died
unknown) and Mary (born in 1897, died unknown) . They also had a young child David who died in
infancy. After being in the United States for several years and living in the Pennsylvania, West
Virginia, Ohio area, Antonio had left his wife Elisabetta and the 3 younger children behind. Antonio
not caring for the US choose to move back to Italy, taking his oldest son Ricardo with him some time
around 1896. This was a very common practice for Italian immigrant men, who would work for a short
time in this country as laborers and then return to Italy.
Elisabetta was to remarry Bartolomeo Richetti around 1897-98. He had been a boarder living with the
DeMatte family. Bartolomeo and Elisabetta Richetti raised 9 children and stepchildren by Elisabetta's
first marriage as a De Matte while living in Lehigh Oklahoma. William (born 3 Dec 1891, MT Carmel,
Pa. died Aug 1979, Dillonvale, OH), Ralph (born 1892), and Mary E. (Rankin) (born March 15, 1897
Mt Carmel, Pa, died Jan 19, 1930, Lehigh, OK) . The Richetti children were: Joe,(born 22 Mar 1899,
Colorado, died Oct 1978, Shelby, IL) Clementine,(born 3 Jun 1901, Colorado, died Aug 1984, Santa
Clara, CA), Dave, (born 29 Aug, 1903, died 10 Dec 1987, Dillonvale, OH.), Minnie, (born 1 Feb 1906,
in Davies W.Va., died 4 June 1992, Dillonvale, OH), Adam,(born 5 Aug, 1909 in Strawn, TX, died Oct
7, 1938, Missouri State Prison), and Eva, (born 3 Sept 1912, died 30 Aug 1985.
Elisabetta had birthed a total of 13 children, of which two had died in childhood. The De Matte's and
Richetti's had settled in the West Virginia, Pennsylvania area for a short time as William was born
(1891) in MT Carmel, Pennsylvania, and then by 1906 Minnie Richetti was born in Davies, W.Va.
They had traveled extensively looking for employment, as Clementine, had been born in Colorado. It
is not know why the Richetti/De Matte family left the area, however in 1907 the second Oklahoma land
rush was occurring and then Adam had been born just across the state line in Strawn, Texas in 1909.
Elisabetta and Bartolomeo settled in Lehigh, Oklahoma. In 1910 they lived on Olive Street with their
family and became life long residents. Oklahoman's pronounced their last name "Rich-ity". The
Richetti's were unable to give their children the advantages of a modern education, they were poor
but honest hard working immigrants. Their children were raised in the Catholic Religion. Some of
their children, Clemantine, David, Adam, and Eva became involved on the wrong side of the law.
Clementine and David were sent to the Oklahoma Reformatory School in their teenage years for
petty theft. They lived out their life as share croppers, truck farming their crops to the local grocers.
Many of the family had worked in the coal and oil fields in and around Coalgate and Lehigh Oklahoma.
LIFE IN LEHIGH: The small town of Lehigh had grown into a very prosperous place to live and was
bristling with business's and recreation. In 1901 the first telephone was installed, and by 1910 a water
system had been installed, although it carried water that was unfit to drink, from a strip pit high on the
hill, at least there was good pressure and water, and by 1914 there had been an accidental discovery
made by a mining company of artesian wells which they later pumped into their city water supply. By
1913 electricity was introduced to the town and they were to have their own power plant. The town
began to thrive, so much so that the schools became overcrowded. Land on the outskirts of town was
being sold for farms and ranches. Bridges were built and roads were improved, being made principally
of red dog clay, which is a by product of coal. The town consisted of many business's, as much as a
town of today consisted of. World War I took a toll on Lehigh in 1917, many young men were drafted
and left the area. The mining operations couldn't get enough good men to work the mines, the horses
and mules were being shipped to Europe. Just after the Armistice was signed in the winter of 1918/19,
the flu hit the town hard. People died by the dozens, doctors worked day and night, along with the
undertakers. The children went to school with a small bag of garlic or asafetida tied around their
necks to ward off the deadly germs. The miners went out on one of the last and largest strikes in the
mining town, and by 1921-22 the mining companies shut the doors for good. The men and families
that worked the mines began to drift away, and a town of 4,000 people shrank to less than 320. The
boll weevil hit the same year and devastated the cotton crops. By 1923 the two banks in Lehigh
closed their doors and started calling in all loans. People lost their life savings, and all of Main Street
was lined with teams of saddle horses, cultivators, wagons, and farm tools. The mines were allowed to
fill up with water and the railroads began to pull up their tracks around 1926. Lehigh had assumed so
much indebtedness that it could not survive, it began defaulting on its bonds.
After Bartolomeo died Elisabetta continued to live in Lehigh, Oklahoma, . She died on 2 Jan 1945 at
79. Funeral services were conducted at the Catholic church in Lehigh, OK. Rev father Philip
officiated, and interment was in Lehigh cemetery with Slaters in charge. Adam had listed her as his
emergency contact while he was in jail, and prison in 1934-38
Lizzy's time in Oklahoma, 1930s, cotton
Bart and Lizzy's home in Oklahoma
Bartolomew Ricchetti, abt 1931.
Bartolomeo Ricchetti, born 4
July 1865 - 15 June 1935
Elisabetta Zamboni, 29
May 1865 - 2 Jan 1945
Castelluccio Valmaggiore, Italy
Pictures of Coalgate and Lehigh Oklahoma