The United Society of the Brotherhood (Fraternity) of Italians was first established in Philadelphia in 1867 when the Italian population was relatively small in Pennsylvania and in the United States.
The fraternity served as an Italian-American mutual aid society and was unique, as it did not confine membership to particular regions of Italy. It welcomed Italians from all sections of Italy to join and participate in its events.
During the first decades of the 20th century, two chapters of the fraternity were active in Clearfield County, one in Osceola Mills and one in Janesville in Gulich Township.
Both groups cooperated with each other and held their annual picnic at McDonald’s Spring in Allemansville, Gulich Township on Aug. 15, the Roman Catholic Holy Day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The local chapters waned by the 1950’s although the former meeting hall, shown in the background of the group photo, still stood in Janesville until its demolition in the 1990’s.
The display will be available for visitors to view at the Kerr House museum from May until October of this year. It includes:
- A group photo of Socitia members taken at the meeting hall in Janesville
- Ribbons worn by members to denote membership
- A Socitia presidential sash
- A Janesville membership certificate signed by Mentore Wulderk and Albert Genesi of Smithmill
- A Socitia book of rules and meeting procedures owned by Giovanni Palmieri of Allport, who belonged to the Osceola Mills chapter
- A pre-World War I Italian national flag exhibiting the crest of the constitutional monarchy and labeled Societa di Unione e Fratellanza di Italiana, Osceola Mills.
Julie Ruggiero Houston and David Wulderk, Clearfield County Historical Society board members and descendants of founding members of the Osceola Mills and Janesville chapters supplied the artifacts for the pictured display.