XVIII Century – From Corsica to Sardinia, on the run from the French government

In 1773 Padron Pietro Altieri (1733-1787), was Antonio, on the run from the Cape-Course for problems with the French government, he settled with his entire family in the island of La Maddalena in Sardinia. The Marquis de Castrie, the then Secretary of the Navy in Versailles and Regnier du Tillet, Commissioner of Ports and Arsenals of Corsica, intervened in the matter. Here we understand the importance attributed to the phenomenon of the exiled from Corsica after taking possession of France. He settled in La Maddalena will join the Royal Navy Sarda as sub-pilot.

His son, Giuseppe Antonio (1776-1859), just eleven years old, will inherit this work after the death of his father in 1787, thanks to a letter sent to the Commander of the Viceroy Pigpen.

Giuseppe Antonio, 21 October 1833, already maritime master, controls the boo from 39 tons “The Virgin of Mercy” owned by Antonio Tartavull. The boat is shipwrecked on the rocks of Gavetti (at Piantarella) and, very damaged, is reported in the port in Bonifacio and there sold for 500 francs. Giuseppe Antonio was a member of the congregation of St. Erasmus and was a city councilor in 1847.

The sister of Giuseppe Antonio, Maria Angela Altieri (born in Barrettali in 1765, was Peter) in 1781 married Salvatore Ornano, was Francis (known character in Sardinia). Salvatore, nom de guerre Lu Spassu, is a brave sub-naval officer Sardinian. He participated, April 15, 1787, in a fight against a Tunisian xebec, with its degree of under-comito, on the half-jail “Blessed Margherita”, commanded by Matton of Benevel. He reported an injury to his hand and was decorated with a silver medal. On January 3, 1794 took part in the fighting between the ships and two sardines xebecs Tunisian waters of Porto Vecchio: a Tunisian set fire to Santabarbara (powder) of his sailing ship, causing it to explode. There were many dead and wounded, including Ornano who had suffered a bad wound in the arm, and, in spite of that, he had ceased to fight. Led, like the others, in a makeshift hospital in the island of Santo Stefano, died of putrid fever caused by an infection.

He left six children, Maria Laura (1780), Joan (1781), Mary Catherine (1784), Francis Benedict (1787), Peter (1789), Maria Nunzia (1792). Until then the widows of sailors who died in the service were not entitled to any financial reward and officers prayed, from time to time by representatives of the government against being abandoned to hunger families of the fallen. From the state government’s financial depended more or less generosity of the intervention of a one-off due usually to some rations of bread daily for his wife and minor children. In this case, however, given the seriousness of the situation, the King had granted a subsidy of 90 pounds to the widow Maria Angela Altieri and a promise to intervene with a kind of small pension. He was not happy the situation of the woman who had to overcome painful years with his willpower alone until the two boys were also entered in their service Marina (Peter had taken the nom de guerre of the father) away from the island. The eldest daughter, Maria Laura, married very young, in 1798, with the enterprising Joseph Bertoleoni while Maria Angela Altieri remarried two years later with another widower, Peter Culiolo. After some years, the third daughter, Mary Catherine, was married and had a son, Peter, but some time after she was widowed. It was hosted by the elder sister, entering the sphere of influence of a man with a strong personality and unpredictable ways, adapting the whole family to his whims, had made his mistress with a condition of life for us difficult to understand. The two sisters were living under the same roof, even dividing the attention of the man who was lawful husband of one and the other lover. Bertoleoni had solved the possible scandal that the situation might lead to, away from the sight of his fellow citizens on ménage: the old church of Santa Maria was the house that housed both with their children. For some years it had been going on without anyone to intervene until the courageous mother of two young men took the initiative to report the situation causing an intervention of the Commander Islands who immediately was put on the trail of the culprit to arrest and children to be baptized. But Bertoleoni was not one to be caught and had done away with the traces of Mary Catherine and children by her, John and Easter, transporting them on the Sardinian coast and entrusting them to friends who do not refused to give some fellow trade in contraband l ‘ help needed. To permanently resolve the matter without giving up the two women, Bertoleoni occupied another island, Tavolara, far enough away so as not to arouse curiosity dall’arcipelago, where Mary Catherine was placed firmly and continued to be his second wife unlawful. From the marriage of Joseph and Maria Laura Bertoleoni Ornano Paul who was born in 1836, so the legend goes, was crowned King of Tavolara by Charles Albert, King of Italy, thus creating the smallest kingdom in the world. Queen Victoria of England snapped a photograph the whole family, even today, exposed to Buckingham Palace.

In the postscript to the letter of March 6, 1813, sent to the Secretary of State, Commander Millelire said that Ambrose Casabianca and Pasquale Altieri (was Peter of Corsica), with his grandson, were taken prisoner by a French privateer on their way to Malta under the British flag, transported first in Naples and then in Rome manage to escape and a boat will depart from and arrive at Fiumicino Maddalena March 6 after a day of sailing.

In 1823, Captain Pasquale Altieri, having discovered that one of the passengers had escaped secretly at night with the precious merchandise, anchored his ship, flying the British flag in the Gulf of Newfoundland (the present Antalya). He went to the British Consul Peter Putzu, demanding justice. Putzu urged the Altieri to take no thought for what had happened, because he knew very well what path to take to find the culprit; he immediately began to hunting, horseback, accompanied by a huge and ferocious mastiff, reached the unfortunate villain who was looking for, he did bite the dog and eventually killed him. Then he hid the loot and returned to Newfoundland, pretending not to have found him.

Ambrose Casabianca, who married in the Temple, had an affair with Santa Ornano, daughter of Salvatore and Maria Fiore Altieri, widow of Nicholas Semonry privateer, who had married in 1807. From this relation of the children who are born in the parish register of La Maddalena defines spurious, legitimized only after the death of his first wife of Ambrose (1856) and subsequent marriage to Santa (1857). The children are Anna Maria (who will marry in 1846 with the notary Bonifacio Francesco Saverio Serafino, which will be part of a family of senior military officers, the last of which was General Antonio who lived in Ajaccio), Pasquale and Maria Fiore .

From 1839 to 1843, Domenico Andrea (n.1807), was Giuseppe Antonio, already used to the customs, was part of the committee in the negotiation of the division of land in Sardinia.

Peter Ornano, son of Salvatore and Maria Angela Altieri, married, in 1814, Maria Zonza daughter of Cesare and Maria Antonia Varriano. Cesare Zonza was one of the most interesting characters in the history of that period: master maritime, very active in fighting the Barbary and smugglers, he managed to create a small fortune with the proceeds of the prey.

The family Altieri at Magdalene owned land, vineyards, pastures and a couple of small islands. They were sailors, Royal Navy officers, employees at customs and Regio Gabelle in Cagliari.

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