ROMEO FRIGANZA, merchant, Mound City, was born October 17, 1815, on Minocar Island, one of the Balearic group, in the Mediterranean Sea, subject to Spain. His life has been a checkered one, almost romantic. His father, Salvador Friganza, was a native of Malta, in the Mediterranean. He died in Minocar, where he had been married to Juanna Pons, a descendant of one of the oldest and most renowned families on the island, members of which occupy positions of the highest trust. She died on the island after giving birth to thirteen children, of whom only two sons are now living — Joseph, who never left his native island, and is now living on the estate of his parents, and Romeo, our subject, who was partly educated on his native island, but received most of his education on board the United States man-of-war, "Constitution," the commodore ship of the Mediterranean squadron, on which he had embarked without the knowledge of his parents, and on which he stayed two years, when he was transferred to the "North Carolinian," who relieved the old "Constitution." He stayed on her till 1827, when he was transferred with the Paymaster, N. H. Perry, to the United States sloop-of-war, "Lexington," on which he remained till his arrival in New York in 1830. He was then transferred by Commodore Isaac Chauncy, to the New York navy yard, for the purpose of learning the trade of ship joiner, there to remain till the age of twenty-one. Through his industry and efficiency, he was, at the breaking out of the Mexican war, made foreman of the joiners in the navy yard, continuing as such till 1856, when he was promoted to master joiner a position of high trust, which he held till the breaking out of the civil war, when he was ordered to St. Louis, there to aid Admiral Foote in building and equipping gun-boats for the Mississippi Squadron. He remained in the service till July 1, 1874, which was after the abandonment of the naval service at Mound City. After a continual service of forty-six years, he retired from the public service, and for the last two years has been keeping a book store. His record in the navy is one of the very best, and should deserve a better reward. During the years from 1861 to 1865, while acting as Naval Constructor, $3,000,000 passed through his hands, yet no questions were asked at Washington. His was the only office of that kind that was not investigated after the war. Admiral Porter in a letter, says: "You ought to feel highly honored, as yours is the only office that does not need investigation." He is also honorably mentioned in naval histories.
Our subject has been married twice. His first wife was Delilah Boardman, who died in 1856, leaving eight children — Joseph, Henry, Romeo, John Margaret, Eliza, Sarah and Charles (deceased). Joseph was in the navy during the war, and Henry and Romeo were in the army. His second wife, Mrs. Anna Huckleberry, whose maiden name was Harrington, is the mother of six children — Allen, Ira, Ida and Charles Huckleberry, from her first husband, and Archy and Willie Friganza, with our subject. Mr. Friganza is Democratic in politics. He has been Mayor of Mound City for the last ten years, also County Commissioner for two years. Is now President of the School Board, in which he served twelve years. He is also an active member of the A., F. & A. M.
Extracted 02 Nov 2014 by Norma Hass from 1883 History of Alexander, Union and Pulaski Counties, Illinois, Part V - Biographical Sketches, pages 263-264.