As told by his great-great granddaughter, Sunny Bates DeKoning.
Sunny: It’s a family story. I don’t even know his first name, only the name of his daughter, my great grandmother, Luisa Messa. My great-great grandfather – my mother’s father’s mother’s father – was a follower of [Giuseppe] Garibaldi, [a military Italian rebel who sought to unite Italy.] He was a decent thrower, but a lousy bomb maker. He tossed a bomb into someone’s carriage and it never went off. In the resulting confusion, he escaped to the port and stowed away on a vessel that ended up in the US!
GM: How did you find out about the story?
Sunny: It was repeated commonly by all members of my mother’s generation.
GM: Did they say it with humor, with pride, with shame?
Sunny: My mother said it with pride and humor. The rest of them sort of whispered it under their breath, with great embarrassment.
To read more about Garibaldi and his role in Italian history during that time period, you will find a piece written by Robert McNamara at: