America's debt to Italy has been a mammoth one since a citizen of Genoa started out on the exploration that
first brought knowledge of the new world to the old. Since that time many of the sons of Italy have become residents
of the United States and many of them have proven their worth in business circles and as factors for good citizenship.
Among the number in Utica is Nicholas Camelo, a member of the Utica Construction Company, doing an extensive
contracting business. He was born in Casalciprano, Italy, July 17, 1877, a son of Gennaro Camelo, also a native
of Italy, where he was for many years engaged in business as a rope manufacturer. Nineteen years ago he came to
Utica, where he established a grocery store, which he conducted successfully until a short time ago, retiring from
further active business with a well earned and substantial competence. He was one of-the organizers of the Utica
Construction Company and served as its president for several years. He was also one of the organizers of the Italian
Mutual Benefit Society of Utica and is still active in its deliberations. His children are: Nicholas; Guy, who
is with the Utica Construction Company; Dominick, who is now in college in Valparaiso, Indiana, taking a law course;
Mrs. Julia Yapaolo, of Utica; and Mary, at home.
Nicholas Camelo attended school in his native city until ten years of age, when he sailed alone for America to
join his parents, who were in Antwerp, New York. He tells of his four days' experience with the immigration authorities
in New York city, having forgotten his destination, while his father was unaware of his arrival in the United States.
An Italian banker took Nicholas to his home, promising the authorities to find his father, which was done and the
parent was duly notified of the boy's arrival. Gennaro Camelo immediately hastened to New York for his son but
the boy's heart was well nigh broken when the father discarded his Italian clothes for such as are worn by American
boys. He was placed in school in Antwerp, where he pursued his studies for some time and then joined a railroad
construction gang, being thus employed for a period. Later he went to Philadelphia, where he secured a situation
in the railroad coal yards, working there for some time and winning promotion to the position of foreman. He afterward
went to Glenfield, New York, where he was employed with the Rome, Watertown & Ogdensburg railroad in connection
with his father. Soon afterward he came to Utica, where the family has since resided and here Nicholas Camelo obtained
work in a mifi. After a brief stay he entered the employ of Whiffins & Company and later of the Young Bakery
Company. Before engaging in the contracting business, about fifteen years ago, Mr. Camelo was graduated from the
Utica School of Commerce and the commercial law department of the Utica Business Institute and thus more thoroughly
qualified for a responsible position in the business world. After six months spent with S. J. Bowers & Company,
he was married, and at the same time engaged in the contracting business, being now at the head of the Utica Construction
Company. flis work in this connection has established him in a foremost position among the contractors and builders
of the city. He has been superintending many important contracts, some of the more notable being the foundation
for the new store of John A. Roberts, the foundation for the Utica Hotel and for the Central fire engine house.
He did the beautifying of the grounds around Senator Davenport's residence at Clinton, New York, the constructing
of the St. Charles Hotel seawall at Oneida Lake and he superintended the Watertown Gas Light Corn. pany's plant
and mains to the city of Watertown, New York. He has been superintendent of construction for various public works
in different parts of the state. The subways for the Utica Home and Bell Telephone Companies and t.he Bell subways
at Watertown and at Little FalLs, New York, were his work. He made the excavations and did the construction work
for the State Hospital and the Masonic Home at Utica and the excavation work for the West End Brewery, and the
old forge waterworks. He also had the contract for excavations for the Seneca Lake gas works and much other important
contract work has been successfully executed by him. The Utica Construction Company was organized in 1904 under
its present form and today stands as one of the strongest companies in this line of business in the city.
Mr. Camelo has been married twice. He first wedded Miss Annie Castello, and to them were born five children, of
whom two are now deceased. The wife and mother died March, 1910, and Mr. Camelo has since married Miss Grace M.
Camelo, of Oneida, New York. Mr. Camelo is particularly influential among the Italian residents of this city and
has made for himself a prominent position in financial circles. He has been connected with an Italian employment
bureau and has acted as agent for steamship lines. He is an honorary president of the Labor Union No. 35, for life,
is a past chief ranger of Utica Court, No. 350, Forresters of America and ex-secretary of the Italian Family Society.
He filled the office of notary public for ten years and served as deputy under Sheriff Jones, being the first Italian
to receive appointment as special officer in Utica by the police and fire commissioners. His political allegiance
is given to the republican party and he has been very active in public affairs. He is a devout Roman Catholic,
being a member of St. Mary's church of Mount Carmel and acted as sponsor for the bells, being instrumental in procuring
the funds for the purchase of the same. In character building as well as in the attainment of success he has done
well. While maintaining a love for the sunny land of his birth he soon saw the wisdom of adapting himself to American
customs and manners and soon forgot his boyhood's dislike for the American clothing and the new, though effective
ways of his adopted country. He is today thoroughly American in spirit and interests and a most loyal champion
of our republican form of government and of the ideals which the citizens of the United States have attempted to
inculcate as forces into the government.
History of Oneida County, New York
From 1700 to the present time
of some of its prominent men and pioneers.
By: Henry J. Cookinham
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Oneida County, NY
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