Perhaps one of the most popular Italian Americans on the West Side in Merced County is Angelo Iacopi of Los Banos.
The record of his progress since landing in America when a lad of thirteen is one of thrift and perseverance. He
was born at Montuolo, Lucca, Italy, on December 11, 1870, the son of Louis and Justina lacopi, both natives of
the same section of Italy as our subject. This worthy couple had five children: Almina, living with her mother
in Italy; Angelo, our subject; Felice, represented on another page in this history; May, also in Italy; and Pasquale,
who died when he was twenty seven years old, while on a visit back to his home. Louis lacopi died on May 5, 1905
at the age of seventy eight; the mother is still living and at the age of ninety eight is hale and hearty and does
not look over fifty.
Angelo went to the Italian schools until he was thirteen, then he came to America and upon arriving in San Francisco
he sold fruit out of a basket on the streets of that city. He next went to work on the San Pedro ranch in San Mateo
County, saved his wages and soon was able to rent some ground and raise vegetables for himself. In 1889 he went
to Firebaugh in Fresno County and worked for Miller and Lux, but in 1890 he was recalled to Italy and had to serve
his allotted time in the Italian Army, being an artilleryman. As soon as he was free from military service he hurried
back to California and began raising beans and potatoes on Staten Island, in the Sacramento River. This was very
discouraging, for beans sold for sixtyfive cents per hundred pounds and potatoes for ten cents a sack, simply enough
to pay for the sack. He quit business and returned to Firebaugh and went to work for Miller and Lux again for twenty
dollars per month. He was frugal and saved his money and soon had enough to take him back to Italy in 1897, where
he married the girl of his choice who was waiting for him to make his pile in America and go back and get her.
Returning to California he went to work for the Kern County Land Company at Bakersfield in opening an artesian
well. From there he went to Tulare, then back to Firebaugh and finally got to Los Banos in 1900. Here, he in partnership
with his brother, Felice, began the manufacture of soda water and syrups of various kinds and met with success,
Angelo buying out his brother and continuing the business. Before this Mr. Iacopi was in the liquor business, having
a retail and a wholesale establishment. He made money, invested it in property in Los Banos and built houses and
today owns some of the most valuable business corners in the town. He also had a nice home built in Italy for his
parents, in which his mother is still living and where his father died.
A short time before National prohibition was declared by President Wilson, Mr. Iacopi became a candidate for the
city council and before he entered the office he disposed of his large stock of liquors at a heavy loss because
he did not want to hold office while he was selling liquor. He also has been a heavy loser by indorsing notes for
his friends. Notwithstanding all his losses he is optimistic and enjoys life to its full. He has always been large
hearted and generous, liberal with his money and has made and retains his friends.
Mr. Iacopi was married in Italy in 1897 to Miss Clara Puccinelli, a native of Lucca, and they have five children:
Nello, who is in the employ of the Standard Oil Company, in Los Banos; Amebilia, who married A. Michelotti and
has one daughter, Peggy; Jennie, married P. Carlotti, lives in Dos Palos and is the mother of a son, Bruno; Mary
married F. Cosella of Dos Palos; and Laura, who is attending school in Los Banos. Mr. Iacopi received his citizenship
in Merced in 1902 and is a Republican. Fraternally he belongs to the Eagles, the Druids, the Foresters and the
I. D. E. S., all in Los Banos. He conducts an oil station on the highway at the edge of Los Banos. He has a bowling
alley and soft drink parlor in his own building on I Street. He is an ex councilman, serving from 1915 to 1919,
during which time many of the improvements were made in the city, streets paved, sewers installed, and the water
works enlarged and improved.
History of Merced County, California
With a Biographical Review
History by John Outcalt
Historic Record Company
Los Angeles, California 1925
Merced County, CA
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