Pepe, Antonio

  Antonio Pepe is an Italian banker and wholesale grocer, conducting a profitable and growing business. He came to New Haven a poor boy without even the advantage of a knowledge of the English language or of the customs of the American people. He started out in life in a humble way and by his thrift and industry steadily worked his way upward and step by step has advanced until he now occupies a position of honor and prominence in the business circles of his adopted country. His life record should serve as an example to his fellow countrymen and to others, showing what may be obtained in this land where effort is not encumbered by caste or class.

  Mr. Pepe was the pioneer Italian grocer in both retail and wholesale lines in New Haven. He was born in Salerno, Italy, November 7, 1860, and is a son of Donato and Rachel (Rossi) Pepe, the former a representative of a family of prominent merchants in Italy. He followed in the footsteps of his father, conducting a mercantile business at Scafti, Italy, where he passed away in 1892. After five years his widow came to America and resided with her son Frank in Waterbury until her death in 1911. She had five sons and four daughters, namely: James, Frank, Joseph, Antonio, Mrs. Angela Rosa, Mrs. Giovannina Romana, Mrs. Maria Cozzolino, Mrs. Annunziata Maisano, and Mrs. Raffaela Nastri.

  In his boyhood days Antonio Pepe attended school in Italy, where he had good educational advantages. On completing his studies he received his mercantile business training and in 1885 he came to America, settling in New Haven. He was unfamiliar with the language and the customs of the people. He secured a position with the Sargent Manufacturing Company, but after three years decided to return to his native land and secure a stock of goods in order to embark in business on his own account. After purchasing his merchandise he again came to the new world in 1888, starting the first Italian retail grocery store in New Haven. He began business in a small way, as this was but an experiment, but after ten years of successful effort in that field, during which others had opened various Italian grocery stores, he decided to open an exclusive wholesale grocery house, being the first Italian house of that kind in the state. In this connection he has built up a business of large and gratifying proportions and is now the president of the Pepe Wholesale Grocery Company. He never falls short of successful completion in anything that he undertakes, overcoming all obstacles and difficulties by earnest and determined effort. His next venture was the establishment of a private bank for the purpose of dealing with the Italian people. This was in 1897, since which time he has developed one of the most successful Italian banks of the state, and today he occupies a most enviable and prominent position among the Italian residents of Connecticut.

  On the 17th of March, 1881, in his native city, Mr. Pepe was married to Miss Rosa Amarante, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Felix Amarante of that place. Mr. Pepe has never held any political office nor sought to become an influential factor in political affairs. He belongs to the Garibaldi Society, also the Fratellanza Society and a number of others, including several church societies. His religious faith is indicated in the fact that he is a communicant of St. Michael’s Catholic church. While Mr. Pepe had excellent educational opportunities he is in a business sense a self-made man whose progress in commercial and financial circles has been notable and whose worth has thus been demonstrated. He is today one of the valued and representative citizens of New Haven, where he has now made his home for almost a third of a century.

Modern History of New Haven
Eastern New Haven County


Volume II

New York – Chicago
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company 

pgs 855 - 856

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pages / text are copyrighted by
Elaine Kidd O'Leary &
Anne Taylor-Czaplewski
May 2002