Hi, Arline -
I agree totally - I am very curious to know more about Fr. Monteverde's life beyond the fact he may have been born in the same town near Genoa in Italy that my great-grandfather Domenico Monteverde came from and shares the same first and last name.
I actually found a photo of the St. Augustine's church Fr. Monteverde built in Austin, Nev., in 1866 - it was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003 - I also discovered the church is now owned by Jan Morrison, who also owns several shops on the historic Main Street in Austin and does Victorian re-enactments or some such. She plans to restore the church and use it for receptions. It sounds as if she has a great interest in history as well.
Regarding Fr. Monteverde's time in Nevada, he served 1876-1894 - when he removed to the Brooklyn, NY, diocese.
I left a message for the Catholic Church archivist here in San Francisco, but I suspect with the holidays, it may take a while to hear back. At some point, it looks like parts of Nevada were under the California diocese but Austin under Salt Lake City.California's diocese itself was divided north and south.
I'm also trying to get in touch with the Brooklyn Diocese to see if maybe Fr. Monteverde's credentials were removed with him to that area. While in Brooklyn, he built still another church: Holy Rosary. He died in 1897, according to the Brooklyn Eagle newspaper, from complications of a head injury he sustained decades earlier when he was thrown from a horse in Nevada.
The newspaper accounts also mentioned that he was quite honored to have taught Emma Nevada, born in 1859 near Nevada City, who went on to become a world-famous opera singer. After her success in Europe, she returned to give a concert in Nevada City in 1892 (Fr. Monteverde was still in Nevada) and then performed in your town of Reno in 1902. Her physician father's surname was Wixom and her mother's first name Maria - I wonder if she had an Italian mother - and that's how they got to know Fr. Monteverde.
I find focusing on one person often gives me a sense of what the era a person lived in was like.
I hope your trip to the Reno Historical Society is successful. I am certain Fr. Monteverde kept notes on establishing his church - but whether they survived and where they might be may well take some time to discover.
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