"Uncle Eugenio asked me for the pistol, and when I hesitated, he said, "What use is a pistol to a girl?" "The same as for a boy," I answered, and tied the string around my waist, and said I wanted to keep it. I wanted Uncle Eugenio to know that out here we are all starting over again."
—Teresa Viscardi[3]

Teresa Angelino Madden (née Viscardi; c. 1869 – July 16, 1952) was the daughter of Rose and Mr. Viscardi. She was the elder sister of Antoinetta, Ernesto, and Tomas. In 1883, Teresa's family left their home in New York City to settle in the Idaho Territory, where they joined a community called Opportunity.


Early life

Teresa was born the first child of Rose and Mr. Viscardi around 1869.[1] She had three siblings, Antoinetta, Ernesto, and Tomas. Her grandmother emigrated from Trappeto, Sicily,[4][5] an island region of Italy. Teresa's family lived on Wooster Street and owned a store in New York City, New York, until 1883.

Journey to Idaho

In early 1883, Teresa's father announced that they would be moving to the Idaho Territory to form a community named Opportunity with several other families. Teresa's mother was hesitant at first to agree, but eventually relented. That April, Teresa and her family boarded a train heading west, after taking a ferry to New Jersey. On the train, Teresa met her friend, John Wilson Anderson.

They reached the last train stop in Watertown in late April. Teresa's family began preparing for their journey on the wagon trail by purchasing several essentials. A week later, they formed a wagon train and headed straight towards the Idaho Territory. It was a grueling journey, which required Teresa to walk around ten miles a day. Teresa spent much of the trip doing chores for her mother, and visiting her friends, John Wilson and Mary Margaret Degler, who she met on the trail.

In mid-June, news of a nearby silver strike reach the wagon train and several men left to go look for it, including Teresa's father and uncle. The rest of Teresa's family continued west, until they were left behind after her aunt, cousin, and brother fell ill. Two days later, Teresa and her grandmother went to Rapid City to retrieve her father and uncle. Upon returning to the wagon, Teresa learned about her sister's death. Still devastated, they buried Antoinetta and rejoined the wagon train.

Later life

Teresa's entire family prospered in Opportunity, where her father opened up a thriving farm. The following year, she was hired as an assistant teacher to Mr. Cross. She became head teacher six years later, before retiring in 1936. Teresa married at thirty-six to James Madden. They had three children as well as several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Teresa and James were together until her death on July 16, 1952.[2]

Personality and traits

Her grandmother was constantly lecturing Teresa about what how a proper lady should act or be, which Teresa always ignored. Teresa, as a girl, was often frustrated that she was not allowed to do certain things that her brother could. As their journey continued on, Teresa proved to her family that she was just as strong as any boy. She was also permitted to drive the wagon and became skilled at it.

Family tree

The Viscardi Family Tree
"Nanna" Viscardi
Marta Viscardi
Eugenio Viscardi
Mr. Viscardi
Rose Viscardi
Rosaria Viscardi
Teresa Viscardi
James Madden
Ernesto Viscardi
Antoinetta Viscardi
Tomas Viscardi
Four children
Three children

Behind the scenes



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