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Community Forums › General › General Discussion Groups › Catherine Scalise Farina, my Great-Grandmother

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Catherine Scalise Farina, my Great-Grandmother
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JamesBianco
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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2008 3:03 pm    Post subject: Catherine Scalise Farina, my Great-Grandmother Reply with quote

Some of you might remember the story of my maternal great-grandmother Caterina Scalise Farina, who in 1921 murdered my great-grandfather Foca "Frank" Farina by chasing him into a field, knocking him down and, (using a small hatchet) held him down and ended his life.

Yesterday my mom found a new picture of Caterina, one we hadn't seen before. In it she is holding my mother as a little girl (on the back of the photo is written that my mom was 1 1/2 years old). My mother (and everyone else evidently) was terrified of her. She was quite mean and sometimes got physical. On one occasion she slapped my other great-grandmother Amelia across the face for no reason.

Doesn't my mother look terrified??

Caterina Scalise Farina and grandaugter Peggy

here is a little from the newspaper (1921) detailing the trial...

Haverhill Evening GazetteTuesday July 5, 1921

One of the most gruesome murders in the history of the city was perpetrated shortly after midnight Saturday when Mrs. Katherine Farina, age 34, 4 ½ Atlanta Street, mother of six children, killed her husband, Frank Farina age 39, by hacking his head into a pulp with a hatchet. The deed occurred, according to the confession the police say she made. After he had come home in an intoxicated condition, dragged her through the house by the hair, and then the husband chased her 14 year old daughter from the house claiming that he would kill her.Mrs. Farina pleaded not guilty to a charge of first degree murder when arraigned before Judge John J. Winn in central district court this morning. With her 11 month old baby in her arms, Mrs. Farina, who has maintained a stoical calm ever since her arrest, entered her plea through an interpreter. She pleaded not-guilty on the advice of her counsel, Attorney William J. McDonald.The case will be given a hearing Saturday morning being continued until that date by the court after the police and defense counsel has agreed upon the continuance.Judge Winn ordered the prisoner held without bail until Saturday and also ordered that Mrs. Farina be permitted to take her 11 month old son Anthony to jail with her.

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nuccia
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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2008 3:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Catherine Scalise Farina, my Great-Grandmother Reply with quote

Hmmm..interesting news article. Calm woman taking her 11 month to jail with her. News articles are also so misleading. Maybe she became mean because of the life she had endured and that caused her to murder her husband. Perhaps after that she just snapped. Wonder if anyone will ever really know....

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JamesBianco
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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2008 3:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Catherine Scalise Farina, my Great-Grandmother Reply with quote

Her 11 Month old son Anthony is the only child still living. She may have snapped after the murder, but regardless, she was very mean after. When she got old, her children passed her around, because she would become physically violent. Very sad!

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Poipu04
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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2008 3:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Catherine Scalise Farina, my Great-Grandmother Reply with quote

Jim, what happened at the trial? Did she go to prison? Do you think she was an abused spouse and finally snapped??? Fascinating!

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JamesBianco
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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2008 3:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Catherine Scalise Farina, my Great-Grandmother Reply with quote

I am missing the newspaper articles regarding the exact verdict (I have to go back up there to Haverhill one of these days and get it) but she was eventually released and removed soon after to Springfield (where I live).

Her children all grew up here, and she lived to 1957.

here is some more detail from the newspaper:

Katherine Farina, wife of the Victim, made the following statement:"I live at 4 ½ Atlanta Street. I was born in Italy in the town of Angoli, Province of Catanzaro. I am 34 years old and the mother of six children. I have been married 15 years to Frank Farina, who is employed in Winchell's Shoe Factory. My husband came home drunk about 12:00 and brought home some meat. He told me to get out. I called my daughter to take her out and he grabbed hold of me and he fell on the stove. The lady that lives upstairs, Mary Angelo, came down. He took hold of my hair and threw me down on the floor. He started after my daughter. And threw me on the floor in the bedroom and Mary Angelo and my daughter took him off. My daughter and I were going out the door and he threw a dish of food at us. He said "If you don't get out I'll kill you" He then ran after my daughter and I took the axe from the woodshed. I went down the back of the house because I thought that the girl had gone that way. When I got on Bennington Street, I saw him standing there and he said "I am going to kill your daughter" then I struck him with the axe. I don't know how many times I struck him. After I struck him I went back to the house.He had been drinking hard lately and had assaulted and abused me very often.

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