Thursday, January 11, 2018

Early Greek Immigrant Steve Lamonetin: Tales of Wrestling





STEVE LAMONETIN:  TALES OF WRESTLING

By Steve Frangos

Published in The National Herald, October 28, 2017  

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I am excited to announce that The National Herald has given Hellenic Genealogy Geek the right to reprint articles that may be of interest to our group. 

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Steve Lamonetin was one of a generation of early Greek wrestlers who toured the United States. Beginning in the very early 1880s, professional Greek wrestlers were to be found, in ever growing numbers, all across the nation.

Lamonetin, known in one newspaper account after another as the “Terrible Greek,” wrestled in a host of venues and circumstances. Lamonetin met challengers in opera houses, on vaudeville theater stages, in local parks or fair grounds, along carnival side show midways and elsewhere. During this early era wrestlers were rarely paid for their attendance. Rather the winner of the wrestling bout received a percentage of the money gathered by the event, known as the purse, as well as side bets.

For our purposes here Lamonetin can well serve as your average Greek wrestler from this generation, winning and losing bouts within a specific region of the country. Published news accounts place Lamonetin moving among Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana, and Pennsylvania to wrestle a host of opponents. In 1911 and again in 1915, Lamonetin also worked as a carnival wrestler both of which toured the southern states. Yet, all in all, the real back-story here is the life Lamonetin and all the others wrestlers of this generation lived. The mandatory traveling from town to town, the daily regime of training, proper eating, resting and then the actual matches.

While this early generation of Greek wrestlers were certainly not opposed to winning and holding wrestling championship titles it is clear that they were for the most part focused on their earnings and/or potential earnings. Aside from the purse or percentage of the receipts for any given wrestling bout side bets were not only placed but often the only circumstances under which particular wrestlers would participate. In various newspaper accounts one often reads of “sponsors” or “supporters” of specific wrestlers. These were individuals and small collectives who, aside from the individual wrestlers, would place their own bets on the individual matches. Side bets could be anywhere, with anyone, for $10 to $500 or more. This, at a time, when one dollar to three dollars a day were common wages for the average worker.

Massive as Lamonetin appears in his newspaper photographs – even at 6' 1” and at a trim 204 lbs. – he was far from a thoughtless brute. Lamoniten is frequently described, in the public press, as a “scientific wrestler” who simply out-maneuvered his opponents (Fairmont West Virginian April 21, 1911; April 26, 1911). Although Lamonetin was identified as a Spartan in various news accounts little else about his ethnicity or private life see discussion (Fairmont WV, Sept. 22, 1909).

Reading through news accounts Lamonetin always claimed to be most comfortable as a catch-as-catch-can wrestler, also known at the time as American-style. Although Lamoniten would meet other wrestlers observing the Greco-Roman style regulations he always spent extra time training in that specific form. Unexpectedly, Lamoniten also prided himself as a long-distance runner. Reporters, and local citizens would frequently visit professional wrestlers during their training sessions. Newspaper accounts of their individual training efforts were clearly meant to build anticipation for upcoming bouts.

At this time wrestling bouts were most often three fall events. The wrestler who subdued his opponent at least twice won the overall match. Again, generally speaking, such matches took approximately one hour. There was a referee and for varying reasons matches could be postponed, delayed or stopped. It was around this time that wrestling matches also began to feature timed rounds as in boxing.

Between 1909 and 1915, Lamonetin met a host of established and up-and-coming young wrestlers.

Notably in 1909, Lamonetin wrestled Nick Nolte champion title-holder for the state of West Virginia (Fairmont WV Sept 29, 1909). “Lamonetin and Nolte worked very fast. Lamonetin won the first fall and the second one went to Nolte. In the third Steve was getting stronger as the wallowing on the floor progressed. He pinned the shoulders of the Wheeling man to the floor with a hammer-lock hold. The work was clean. The bout was for a

Massive strongmen wrestlers like Lamoniten, were often the first modern Greeks rural Americans ever saw

side bet of $500 (Fairmont WV Oct 1, 1909).” News accounts before and after this match are unclear if this was a title match or not. Lamonetin also wrestled and in various matches overcame Walter Bonecki, who was also, for a time, the West Virginia state title-holder. But again, I can find no published account reporting that Lamonetin was that state's champion..

The Clarksburg public press credits Lamoniten has holding “the belt for the best wrestler in the city for a number of years (Sunday Telegram (Clarksburg WV) May 30, 1915).” Between 1909 and 1915, Adam Erbe, the German Oak, is often identified as the WV title holder and was a wrestler Lamoniten met many times and whom the Greek beat on various occasions (Fairmont WV April 15,1911). But, once again, it is still to be determined if Lamoniten ever held the West Virginia state title.

Aside from Nolte and Erbe Nolte, between 1909 and 1915 the Terrible Greek met a host of opponents including but were certainly not limited to Paul Bowser, Charley Hickman, Paul Keyser, Fred Kindberg, Ole Oleson, John Stanton, Al Thomas and many others.

Lamonetin always sought to please his many fans. In the summer of 1915, Lamonetin was living in Clarksville West Virginia. “Steven Lamonetin, the terrible Greek wrestler of this city threw, Ole Oleson, the Swedish champion twice in less than twenty minutes at Norwood Park Monday night. The match was so short that it disappointed many of the spectators so Lamonetin would give ten dollars to any in the audience who could stand before him for fifteen minutes. Fred Kindburg, of Grafton, was in the audience and accepted the offer but Lamonetin disposed of him in short order (Daily Telegram (Clarksburg WV July 6, 1915).”

Lamoniten was also a carnival wrestler. In 1911, Lamonetin is reported to have been with the Welder Amusement Company (Portsmouth Daily Times (Ohio) May 4th). Then, again, in 1915 Lamoniten signed with the Dye Brothers Greater United Shows as that season's wrestler/strongman. Few realize today how important the touring “athletic shows” were to small town America (Sunday Telegram Clarksville, WV, March 28, 1915). Long before any of the electronic media we now use on a daily basis individuals who had never left (and in all likelihood would never leave) their small towns looked forward to the strange sights, sounds and individuals common to the carnival/circus midways. Among the acts seen along any midway was the strongman who bent steel bars, held full-grown men in chairs above their heads and snapped chains wrapped around their massive chests.

These midway strongmen also used to wrestle local men. Cash was always involved. Sometimes the strongmen offered a fixed among of money if the local man remained undefeated for a fixed period of time. With virtually every such match side betting took place. According to the professional wrestlers who appeared as carnival wrestlers this was the hardest kind of contest. To begin with professionals, such as Lamoniten, very often had to carry the local man through the match without getting hurt themselves. Ending the match in seconds, which would have been no problem for a professional facing an amateur, would not only be an extremely disappointing contest—the excitement necessary for of side-betting could not take hold if the contest ended quickly.

Massive strongmen wrestlers such as Steven Lamoniten, were often, quite literally, the first modern Greeks rural Americans ever saw. If we are to understand the written history of Greeks in the United States then we must come to terms with how successive generations of Americans have viewed persons they identified as Greek. And this being the case the overall history of Greeks in the United States since the 1870s must take into account these dedicated Hellenic Athletes of old.


Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Book "GREEKS OF THE MERRIMACK VALLEY" - Massachusetts, New Hampshire - 532 names - 189 photographs



GREEKS OF THE MERRIMACK VALLEY
The book “GREEKS OF THE MERRIMACK VALLEY”, authored by E. Philip Brown, forward by Elaine Kevgas, includes 189 photographs and was published in 2017 by Arcadia Publishing.  

Below you will find a description of the book, the Table of Contents, and a list of 532 names included in the book.

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DESCRIPTION:
The Merrimack Valley became home to Greeks after the great immigration to the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries. After its independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1832, Greece had inadequate resources for its citizens, which led to much hardship. Many of these refugees came to the Merrimack Valley in search of a better living. They settled in Haverhill, Lawrence, and Lowell, Massachusetts, or Concord, Manchester, and Nashua, New Hampshire, where they secured jobs in factories and mills. Those who were unable to gain employment in the manufacturing industries went into the service sector; others became self-sufficient, building restaurants, shoe shops, and grocery stores. Although they suffered discrimination because of their distinct language and culture, they were not deterred; instead, they remained focused, went about their activities in peace, and contributed immensely to the socioeconomic development of their newfound home.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Foreword
Acknowledgments
Introduction
The Greek Family Bond
Preserving Faith
Employment, Business, and Industry
Commitment to Public Service
Dedication to Community
Celebrating Greek Culture and Tradition
Defending Home and Homeland
Athletic Accomplishments

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LIST OF NAMES INCLUDED IN BOOK

Agganis, Harry
Agrios, Anthe
Alvanos, George
Andromedas, James
Angelicas, Priscilla
Antoniadis, Effie (Tolios)
Antonopoulos, Charles
Athanas, Lou
Athenais, Florence (Borjokas)
Bacopulos, Cleo
Bariahtaris, Olga
Barjokas, Nicholas
Bart, Constantine
Bart, Mercese
Bashas, Mrs. George
Bashios, Peter
Battiato, Mary (Carelis)
Baumann, Teresa
Behrakis, George
Beikoussis, Eleftherios “Steve”
Beikoussis, Marina
Belkousi, Eirini “Irene”
Bentas, Vaitsa
Berys, Rose
Blazonis, Peter Vincent
Boches, C. S.
Boches, S. J.
Boland (Battiato), Susan
Boukis, Adam
Boukis, Chrisoula
Boukis, Helen (Kamberalias)
Boukis, Michael
Boukis, Nicholas
Boukis, Thalis
Brachos, Dimitri
Brennan, Greg
Brennan, Terry
Brennan (Relias), Anne
Brown, Chrisi Kotis
Cacavitsas, Georgia
Callas, William P.
Cambadhis, Dr. Alexander P.
Capetan, Stelle
Caraphilakis, J.
Carelis, Catherine
Carelis, Mary
Carelis, Socrates
Carelis, Sophia (Karadimopoulos)
Carr, Chris
Castanias, Eustace
Chaloge, W.
Charcalis, George
Charcalis, Harry
Charcalis, Helen
Chigas, Vessarios G.
Chiklis, Charlie
Chiklis, Katherine
Chiklis, Michael Charles
Chiotinos, Stergios
Chiungos, John
Christopher, Billy
Christopher, Red
Christos, Astrid Mary
Clainos, P.
Cocalis, Kosta
Conides, J.
Constantinides, Fr. Panos
Contakos, Nicholas C.
Copaduis, George
Coravos, Andrew
Corey, Maria Pappas
Coronis, James
Cotsana, J.
Cotsanas, James
Cotsanas, Martha
Coutsonikas, Arthur
Dachos, Sam
Darrah, Bonnie
Demogenes, Helen (Strules)
Demogenes, Stelios
Demos, Maria
Demoulas, George A.
Demoulas, Telemachus “Mike”
Dennis, Nick
Depanfilis, Frank
Depanfilis, Metilda
Depanfilis, Romeo
Depanfilis, Stella
Depanfilis, Thalia
Diamandopoulos, Rev. Nicholas
Dimakis, Evdokia
Dimitsios, John
Dinell, Mrs. Mary
DiZoglio, Diama
DiZoglio, Diana
Docos, Soterios
Doussas, Charles
Douzenis, Anastine
Downs, Idella
Drossos, Michael
Dukakis, Alexandra (Christos)
Dukakis, Apollo
Dukakis, Constantine S.
Dukakis, Euterpe (Boukis)
Dukakis, Michael S.
Dukakis, Olympia
Dukakis, Stelian
Dukas, George
Eames, Gayle Hitchmoth
Economides, Thomas
Economou, Constance
Economou, George
Eliades, George C. Sr.
Fanaras, Christine
Fanaras, John
Faneros, Arthur
Farkas, Margaret (Demogenes)
Farmer, Brian
Fikis, Christina
Filides, Katherine
Fotis, Frank P.
Fragoyianis, Christos
Frangos, Fr. Demetrios
Gagalis, George “Gigi”
Gardikis, Demetrius
Gatsas, Theodore “Ted”
Gavriel, Dimitrios “Dimmy”
Gegas, Costas
Gegas, Nicholas
Gekas, Charles
Gendron, Paula (Skrekas)
Gendron, William “Bill”
Georgacopoulos, Eleni C. (Helen Georges)
Georgacopoulos, Leonidas C. (Leonard George)
George, Lenny
Georges, Spiro “Phil”
Georgiadis, Kiki
Gianis, Dr. George
Gianopoulos, Pansy
Gilman, Themis (Petrakis)
Gioka, Celia
Gioka, William
Gioldasis, Petros
Gipoka, Helen
Girard, Rich
Gosey, Christopher
Gotsis, Dennis
Grekos, A. G.
Grekos, Apostolos
Guduras, Peter
Hadgis, Bill
Hagibiros, Zissis
Halas, George
Hanides, Simone J.
Hantzis, Peter
Hasiotis, A.
Hasiotis, W.
Hideriotis, Amy
Hideriotis, Cindy (George)
Hideriotis, Debbie
Hideriotis, Eleanos (Paquette)
Hideriotis, James (Jim, Jimmy)
Hideriotis, Maria
Hideriotis, Mark
Hideriotis, Michael
Hideriotis, Nicholas
Hideriotis, Susan
Hollis, William
Houliaris, G.
Janackas, Peter
Judice, Kristen (Voutselas)
Kacavas, George
Kakavitsas, John
Kakavitsas, Kerry (Souliotis)
Kakavitsas, Ketty
Kakavitsas, Maria
Kakides, James
Kalivas, Christos Nicolan
Kallachey, Christopher
Kallachey, Despo (Mouyios)
Kallachey, Harry
Kallachey, John
Kallachey, Peter
Kallachey, Petro
Kallas, Lela
Kallechey, Constance
Kallechey, George
Kalloni, Maria (Verros)
Kampatsos, John
Kapayanis, Helen
Karabelas, Peter
Karaberis, Christos H.
Karabetsos, Dora
Karadimopoulos, Despina
Karadimopoulos, Eleni
Karadimopoulos, Melpomene
Karadimopoulos, Olga
Karadimopoulos, Sohia
Karahalios, Fr. George
Karamousiani, Nicholas
Karamousiani, Smyriado
Karamousiani, Vaios
Karampalas, Greg
Karampalas, Peter
Karampatsos, Catherine (Carelis)
Karanikas, Philip
Karas, Nicholas
Karas, Nick
Karas, Vasiliki
Kassos, Virginia
Kastanas, Reverend Michael
Katelouzous, Christitsa
Katsaros, Kostas
Katsaros, Efiie
Katsaros, George
Katsaros, John
Katsaros, Mary
Katsaros, Sotiris
Katsirubas, Peter
Keramidas, Leonidas V.
Kevgas, Elaine
Kevgas, Eleni “Helen”
Kevgas, George
Kevgas, George John
Kevgas, John
Kevgas, John George
Kevgas, Katherine (Kiklis)
Kiklis, Constantine “Charles”
Kiklis, Katherine
Kiklis, Marina (nee Diamandas)
Kilonis, John
Kiriakou, Paris
Kiritsy, A. L.
Kiritsy, Charles
Kitsopolous, Chris
Kokinos, Angeline
Kokinos, Athena
Kolofolias, Elias J. “Louie”
Kontraros, Anargyros
Koravos, Olympia
Korcoulis, C.
Kosmes, Kara
Kotis, Celia Gioka
Kotis, Chrisi
Kotis, George
Kotis, George N.
Kotis, John
Kotis, Nicholas
Kotis, Nicholas George
Kotis, Sophie
Kotis, Sophie N.
Kotseos, Paul
Kotsopoulos, Ernie
Kouchalakos, Peter
Koukias, Evanthea
Koumantzelis, John
Kourides, P.
Kulungian, Susan
Kyriacopoulos, Constantine
Kyriacopoulos, James
Kyriakou, Paraskevas “Paris”
Kyriakoulis, George
Lagios, Argire (Tsiolas)
Lagios, Arthur
Lagios, Helen Elaine (Pappas)
Lagios, James “Jimmy” Arthur
Lagoulis, Anthony
Lagoulis, Jennie (Niarchos)
Lagoulis, John
Laitsas, Maria
Lappas, Eta
Lasonides, Efthimios
Lasonides, Hariklia
Lazos, Lambrini
Lekas, Evangelos
Lekas, Jim
Lekas, Ted
Lekites, Amy
Lellios, H. G.
Letares, Gregory
Lillios, Sophie
Lillios, Steve
Liokas, J.
Liponis, Bessie
Liponis, Charlie
Loches, Charles
Loucopoulos,  Charles
Loucopoulos, Peter
Lucas, Bill
Lynch, Jack
Lynch, John J. Jr.
Lynch, Maria
Makiej, Fr. Christopher
Makiej, Presbytera Katerina Sitaras
Makos, George “Mousie”
Makris, C.
Makris, Gregory
Makris, Lambros
Mamos, T. G.
Manelas, Mrs. Chris
Manemanus, Dean
Manemanus, George
Manemanus, Pearl
Manias, Dorothy
Manias, George
Manikas, Stuart
Margaritis, Sotorios Milto
Markos, Jim
Martines, Ethel (Gioka)
Martines, Nick
Matthews, Byron J.
Mavraides, Menil “Minnie”
Mavros, Constantine E. (born Georgacopoulos)
Meletis, Anna
Metoulis, Nick
Miamis, George
Miamis, Panagiota
Miamis, Panagoula
Michael, Gloria
Michaelides, Steven
Michaleas, Pierros
Michitson, Arthur
Michitson, George
Michitson, John
Michitson, Paul
Michitson, Sophie
Mitchell, Arthur
Moskos, Despina
Moskos, Marina
Moskos, Stamatia
Moutafis, Greg
Mytilene, Anna (Mrs. John Karampelas)
Mytilene, James J.
Mytilene, John Hideriotis
Mytilene, Michael
Mytilene, Nicholas
Mytilene, Rose
Newton, Helen
Niarhos, Anastasis
Niarhos, Constance
Niarhos, Jennie
Nikitas, Chris
Nikitas, John
Nikitas, Kathy
Nikitas, Matt
Nikitas, Mike
Nikitas, Rose (Gioka)
Nikitas, Spylios
O’Dea, Sandy Baumann
Paikos, John P.
Palavras, James
Pallas, Maha
Panagiotakos, Steven C.
Panagiotopoulos family
Panagopoulos, Joanna
Panakis, John
Paoutsy, Christos
Papadopoulos, Philip
Papaefthemiou, Adele (Mantrafelios)
Papaefthemiou, Bill
Papaefthemiou, Chris
Papaefthemiou, Colleen
Papaefthemiou, John
Papaefthemiou, Sotirios “Sam” V.
Papafthemiou, Bill
Papafthemiou, Chris
Papafthemiou, John
Papagiotas, G.
Papanastasiou, T.
Papandreou, V.
Papanikolaous, Alex
Papanikolaous, Aristotle “Telly”
Papanikolaous, Byron
Papanikolaous, Dena
Papoulis, George
Papoutsy, Christos
Papoutsy, Mary
Pappadopoulos, Rev. Haralambos
Pappas, Athena
Pappas, Fr. Christos
Pappas, Pauline
Parlitis, Mary
Parrish, John
Paul, Anastasia
Paul, Daniel
Paul, Danny
Paul, Frank
Paul, Kathleen “Poppy”
Paul, Nick
Pavlakis, Liberty
Perdis, Morphia
Pervanas, Vasiliki
Petrakis, Demetra
Petrou, Bill
Petrou, Stephen
Petrou, Toula (Limnios)
Phinfinis, Fr. Polyefktos
Pillis, Bessie (Vasileky)
Plateras, Nick
Plomaritis, Titus
Price, Mrs. Donald
Primes, Elana
Psaledas, Mrs. Arthur
Regan, Rob
Relias, Anastasia (Katelouzous)
Relias, Anastasia Paul
Relias, Athena Kallas
Relias, Chrisi Giokas
Relias, Fotis “Fritz”
Relias, Panagiota Pappas
Relias, Thomas “Tom”
Respass, Dalton W.
Rinn, Inez
Rivanis, Nicholas A.
Rodis sisters
Ross, Fannie
Sakelarides, John
Salpas. George
Samaras, George
Samaras, Georgia
Sampatakos, Sotiros
Sampson, Ellen A.
Sarantos, Fr. John
Sarbanis, Meghan
Serfeles, Aphrodite
Sgouros, Fr. Demetrios
Sidiropoulos, Sokratis
Siodis, Helen
Skrekas, Helen (Paul)
Skrekas, James
Skrekas, Jim
Skrekas, Paula
Skrekas, Thomas
Souliotis, Evangelos
Souliotis, Maria
Sovas, Harry
Spanos, Cleoniki
Spanos, John
Spanos, Thomas Jr.
Spirou, Arthur
Spirou, Chris
Spyliopoulos, Vasil
Stamas, Dr. Theodore A.
Stamoulis, Anthie
Stavros, A. G.
Stavros, Arthur
Stelianou, Irene
Stephanos, Maria
Stergiou, George
Stylianos, Philip
Surette, Gina
Svoliantopoulos, Agnes
Syrniotis, Maria Kakavitsas
Tagis, Christine Elaine
Talas, Toni
Talmers, Frederick Nicholas (Tseckares)
Tassie, Christy
Tavoularis, Dean
Theodorakeles, Egnatios
Theodorou, Katherine
Theodosopoulos, V.
Theokas, John
Theokas, William
Thomas, George
Thompson, Kris (Callas)
Tickelis, Harry
Timbas, Maria
Tingas, Arthur
Tingas, Socratis
Tingas, Stephen
Tolios, Erato
Tolios, Theodore
Triandafilou, Evan
Tritzon, James
Tsaffaras, Angeline
Tsaffaras, James P.
Tsaffaras, Peter (aka Peter Jeffreys)
Tsakirellis, Aglaia “Aimee”
Tsakirellis, Despoina
Tsakirellis, Dimitrios
Tsakirellis, Erin
Tsakirellis, George
Tsakirellis, Sarantos
Tsakiris, Despoina
Tsakiris, Moises
Tsakiris, Panagiotis
Tsakiris, Tasos
Tseckares, Evangeline
Tseckares, Nicholas
Tsialas, Charles
Tsiatsios, Mrs. Charles
Tsirinokos, X.
Tsitzon, Jim
Tsolas, Cleopatra
Tsongas, Efthemios George
Tsongas, Niki
Tsongas, Paul
Tsournas, Rev. Dr. G. J.
Tzanetakos, Anne
Tzitson, Jim
Tzitzon, Jim
Valaskatgis, Chris
Vasiliades, Mary Despina
Vasiliou, Teddy
Vasiliou, V.
Vasilopoulos, Koula
Vathally, George
Vathally, Ted
Vathally, Thomas S.
Vatoseow, Gary
Vazanos, Kiki
Vergados, Peter J.
Vidalis, Demetri
Vidalis, Demitrios
Vourtsas, Eleni
Williams, Ted
Xenakis, Jeff
Xenakis, John
Xenakis, Sophie (Papoutsy)
Xenakis, Ted
Yannekis, Steven
Yorgakopoulou, Maria
Zachos, Kimon
Zachos, Victoria
Zafiriades, Evanthia (nee Lazos)
Zazopoulos, Andrew
Zazopoulos, Chris
Zazopoulos, Elizabeth
Zervoudakes, Dr.
Zervous, Efthemia
Zografos, Katherine
Zombas, Themistocles