Category: Italians

Lakeport Legacies · The Adventures of the Bastianelli and Pianalto Sisters: History from the Tontitown Museum

The Adventures of the Bastianelli and Pianalto Sisters: History from the Tontitown Museum

presented by

Dr. Rebecca Howard (University of Arkansas & Tontitown Museum)

Thursday, May 26

Refreshments & Conversation @ 5:30 pm
Program @ 6:00 pm

Mary Bastianelli (l) and Katie Pianalto (r).

Photograph of Mary Bastianelli (l) and Katherine Pianalto Ceola (r) taken around 1917, possibly at the Washington County (AR) Fair. Mary is wearing an engagement ring; her sweetheart, Jack Zulpo, was killed in France in 1918. Courtesy of Tontitown Historical Museum

The Bastianelli & Pianalto sisters were part of the first wave of Italian immigrants that came to the Sunnyside Plantation in Chicot County in the 1890s. Later they immigrated again to Tontitown in northwest Arkansas with Father Pietro Bandini. Many in the generation who immigrated as children followed Old World marriage habits, meaning young couples delayed marriage until they were financially established. Few walked down the aisle before their late twenties or thirties. So what did a young woman in the 1910s in rural Arkansas do with an extra decade or so as a single woman? Between the five Bastianelli and Pianalto sisters, they lived in at least four states, taught school, became nurses, and aided priests. One sister was a long-time schoolteacher in Lake Village. Another was among the first graduates of St. Edward Nursing School in Fort Smith. Two exercised their voting rights for the first time in California. An examination of their lives reveals fascinating information about an often “silent” generation.

Please click to RSVP to this FREE Event

Lakeport Legacies (LL) meets in the Dining Room of the Lakeport Plantation house. LL, held on one of the last Thursdays of the month at the Lakeport Plantation, features a history topic from the Delta. For more information, call 870.265.6031.

Lakeport Plantation to Host Author Susan Young

From Sunnyside to Tontitown:
Author Talk and Book Signing with Susan Young

Saturday, February 27, 2010 • 1:00 p.m.
Chicot County’s Italian history comes down from
the hills and back to the Delta with author Susan
Young’s discussion of her new book, So Big, This
Little Place: The Founding of Tontitown, Arkansas,
1898-1917, at Lakeport Plantation, Sat. Feb. 27.
• 1:00 p.m. Tour of Lakeport Plantation Home
• 2:00 p.m. Author Talk – Susan Young w/ book
signing to follow
In 1895, 100 Italian families came to Chicot
County’s Sunnyside Plantation from Genoa, Italy
to make a new life. Three years later, 40 families
left the harsh conditions of the plantation and
founded Tontitown in the Ozark Mountains.
Young’s book is richly illustrated and contains a
newly compiled genealogical register.
All are welcome to this free event.

The Lakeport Plantation is one of Arkansas’s premier historic structures. The house, constructed ca. 1859, is the only remaining Arkansas plantation home on the Mississippi River. Lakeport’s mission is to research and interpret the people and cultures that shaped plantation life in the Mississippi River Delta, focusing on the Antebellum, Civil War, and Reconstruction periods.

The plantation was donated to Arkansas State University in 2001 by the Sam Epstein Angel family. After more than five years of restoration, the plantation opened as a museum and educational center in September 2007. Arkansas State University’s Arkansas Heritage SITES Program operates two other heritage sites: the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center in Piggott and the Southern Tenant Farmers Museum in Tyronza.

Lakeport Plantation • 601 Highway 142 • Lake Village • AR • 870-265-6031 •