Comardo Family History

Antonia Graffia and Mark Comardo and their son Philip, lived in Poggioreale, Sicily in Italy when they decided to journey to a new land in America with Antonia’s sister and her husband, Mark’s brother Nick and his wife, and other families around 1905. They left behind their families and friends and boarded a ship that took several weeks to get to their new home. Arriving through the Port of Galveston, they headed to the Bryan-Navasota area. They were told Texas had good farm land. Antonia and Mark had three more children, Lena, Annie and Leda. Then Mark became very sick, pneumonia they said, while trying to save the crops during a bad winter storm. He died and was buried in the Navasota area. Antonia, her son Philip and her brother-in-law Nick worked the farm and took care of the children. When Antonia’s sister died, her husband went back to Italy with their children. When the railroad was constructed, Antonia’s family followed the other families on the train to Stafford’s Point which was the first train depot in Texas. After a difficult period of trying to farm the land in Stafford, Nick decided to move to Houston on Airline Drive to operate a soda water bottling factory. Antonia met and married Sam Battaglia from the Post Oak area. Lena married Tony Martino, Annie married Frank Mancuso, Leda married Julius Martino and Philip married Frances Vaccaro. Philip, Frances, Antonia and Sam farmed a small piece of land in Stafford. Philip’s contribution to the war effort in the early 1940’s was by working at the Houston ship yard. In 1945, Philip had an opportunity to purchase land in Bellaire. He and Frances, along with Antonia and Sam, grew vegetables and sold them at the Farmer’s Market and in River Oaks. In 1947, Philip was very proud to obtain his American citizenship. He wanted to provide a better lifestyle for his family, so he decided to be an apprentice at a shoe repair shop in Houston for a couple of years. In the late 1940’s, he opened and successfully operated the Bellaire Shoe Shop until his death in 1963. Philip was well respected in the City of Bellaire.