CIAPUSCI FAMILY NARRATIVE*
This large cemetery plot is the final resting place for family members and descendants of two half-brothers, Mark Pedotti and Antonio Ciapusci who emigrated from Italy with their mother, Rosa Bianchi Pedotti Ciapusci in the late nineteenth century. Their families enjoyed a close relationship, both in their native Italian village and on the Mendonoma Coast. Through their industriousness as both farmers and businessmen they went on to acquire most of the land comprising the greater town of Gualala. Members of the Ciapusci family buried here are the following:
Gregorio Antonio “Antone” Ciapusci was born in Chiavenna, Sondrio, Italy on 29 Jun 1858. His parents were Antonio Ciapusci and Rose Bianchi. He emigrated to the United States with his mother Rose and half-brother Mark Pedotti to join his brother Lorenzo “Noe” Ciapusci who had arrived in 1875. The trio stopped in Nevada, possibly where Andrea “Andrew” Penoni (the father of Matilda Penoni Pedotti and the husband of Giuseppa Ciapusci) was working in the mines, arriving in Northern California by 1886. The brothers walked inland over the hills from the coast and found the perfect spot to establish a homestead. They built the family home at Signal Ridge in 1892, planting their vineyard and chestnut trees, merging their lives in Italy with their new home in California. While Lorenzo settled near Napa, he transacted business with his brothers over the years and purchased the Signal Ridge property in the early 1880’s. In 1891 Lorenzo sold Antone and Mark the property. In 1903 Mark and Antone purchased the Tait Ranch, and then the Gualala Hotel in 1907. Antone died 22 August 1932.
Mary Florence Noriel Ciapusci was born in Olema, Marin County, California on 18 January 1874. Her parents were Jose “Joseph” De La Cruz Noriel and Josefa “Josephine” Maria Sais Smith. At the age of sixteen, she married Antone Ciapusci, who was thirty-two, in Gualala. They had twelve children: Josephine, George, Eliza, Ida, Lena, Flora, Louise, George, Charles, Catherine, Anita, and Mary. Mary Noriel Ciapusci died 8 October 1908.
Mary Noriel Ciapusci’s father, Joseph, was born in Chile, emigrating to the United States, and marrying first, Maria Loretta Hilaria Garcia, the daughter of Eugenio Maria “Rafael” Garcia (1791-1886), the holder of the Garcia Land Grant, and for whom the Garcia River north of Point Arena was named. After Maria’s death, Joseph married Josephine Smith (b. 12 Jan 1855 in Bolinas, California), and had six children: Mary Florence, John, Rafael Jr., Phillip, Anita, and Joseph Francis. Jose died in 1911 after he was hit by a train in Ukiah.
Josephine Smith was a descendant of the Sais family, originating in Spain. Her great-grandfather, Justo Nasario Sais was born in 1742 in Villa Sinaloa, Sonora, Mexico. He came to Monterey, California in 1776 and settled at the Monterey Mission. He made a living by farming and served as a soldier in 1782. In 1790 the Sais family, along with others, were sent to San Jose de Guadalupe, the first pueblo established in California.
Barbara Mae Ciapusci was born 4 Feburary 1926 and died 24 January 1937 from injuries sustained in an automobile accident on Signal Ridge Road. Riding with Emil Nimela and Frank Gianoli, neighbors and friends of the family, they plummeted down and rolled 150 yards. She died at the Stanford-Lane Hospital in San Francisco. Barbara was the daughter of George Ciapusci and Evelyn Pearl Pickrell (b. 1905 in Stewarts Point, California), and shares a headstone with her grandparents, Antone and Mary Noriel Ciapusci.
George Dewey Ciapusci, the eighth child of Antone and Mary Noriel Ciapusci, was born on 12 July 1902. He grew up at Signal Ridge, and operated the Gualala Hotel with his brother, Charlie, after his father’s death. An avid sportsman, he was a member of the Santa Rosa Elks Lodge, the Point Arena Lodge, and the Native Sons of the Golden West. He first married Evelyn Pearl Pickrell (b. 1905) of Stewarts Point, and had one child, Barbara Mae. After his divorce from Evelyn, he married Ida Louise Gianoli. George died from health complications 28 September 1944 in Marin County, California.
Eda “Ida” Louise Gianoli Ciapusci Bower was born during a snowstorm on 1 January 1912 to Dominic “Domingo” Gianoli and Louis Togana. Her parents made the trek from the Gianoli Ranch on Signal Ridge to Cloverdale for her birth at the home of her uncle Bautista Gianoli. She grew up at Signal Ridge, riding her horse twelve miles to the Ornbaum Valley once a week to get the mail, and daily to school. She ran the Gualala Hotel with her husband George, and was known for her Abalone Chowder, Steelhead Dinners, and Blackberry Pies. After George’s death, she married John Bower, and they were instrumental in the development of the town of Gualala. They donated property to establish Bower Park, Gualala Baptist Church, Mary Star of the Sea Church, a parcel for an elementary school, and developed a site for the Redwood Coast Medical Services to relocate from Stewarts Point. She and John had one son, John.
Lena Ciapusci, the fifth child of Antone and Mary Noriel Ciapusci, was born 26 September 1896. She grew up at Signal Ridge, and at the age of twelve, while playing in the kitchen, her clothes caught fire from the stove. Lena suffered burns throughout her body, head, and face and succumbed to her injuries about a week later, dying on 7 July 1909.
Eva Marie Ciapusci was born 12 June 1935 to Charles Ciapusci, and Vivetta “Clara” Urbani. She died on 1 Mar 1936. Charles and Clara had two other children: Charles, Jr. and Patricia.
George D Ciapusci was born 3 Mar 1892 and died on 9 Sep 1894. He was the second child of Antone and Mary Noriel Ciapusci.
Carl Victor Jacobson was born 2 Jun 1896 to Jacob Erick Jacobsen and Anna S. Styris in Lincoln County, Oregon. He married Anita Rose Ciapusci on 13th August 1921 in San Francisco, California. He served in World War I, in the 17th Company, 20th Engineers aboard the troopship, Tuscania. He had been removed from the ship before it was torpedoed and sank on 5 February 1918 in the North Channel between Scotland and Ireland by German submarine UB-77. After his death in 1924, Anita married Carl’s brother, Alfred Jacobsen.
*Research compiled by Kelly Richardson, Anchored Genealogy