Moses Tamburini

Submitted to the West Virginia Biographies Project by:
Valerie & Tommy Crook
July 9, 2000

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 441-442

MOSES TAMBURINI. This is the name of the veteran
merchant of Bayard, Grant County, where he has been
selling goods and building up a fine mercantile service in
that mining community for nearly thirty years. His career
is an interesting example of an American of foreign birth
who came to this country with neither capital nor influen-
tial friends and has made good both in business and good

He was born at Trentino in Tyrol of Austria, April 23,
1859. His father, John Tamburini, was born in the same
locality and his ancestors had lived there for generations.
John Tamburini married Margaret Bertini, and both died
and were buried near their old home. The father was a
farmer and millwright. Of their four children three grew
to mature years: Mary, who married Bartholomew Girar-
dini and lives in Tyrol; Moses; and Henry, who after
spending some years in the United States and West Vir-
ginia returned and is now living in his native country.

Moses Tamburini as a boy learned farming as practiced
in the mountain country of Austria, also the trade of mill-
wright, and had a limited education in the common schools.
On leaving home he spent a year or so in France, chiefly
employed in and near the City of Paris. His last work in
that country was quarrying stone for the building of high
fences to enclose the vast estate of the wealthy Rothschilds
near Paris.

Leaving Prance, he started for New York, and passed
through old Castle Garden with his wardrobe as his chief
capital. He arrived in this country March 23, 1883. He
and a shipmate who had traveled with him went to Phila-
delphia, and there through an employment office they were
directed to a farmer who wanted help. Eleven dollars a
month and board was the highest wage offered, less money
than they were making in France, and they finally decided
to look elsewhere. They took the pike leading to Cincinnati,
and followed it until their money was exhausted. This
brought them within about a mile of Bayard and to a point
where the old West Virginia Central Railroad was then in
progress of construction. They secured their first employ-
ment in America with the construction company, and did
common labor until the road reached the top of the moun-
tain. Remaining with the same company, the two young
foreigners labored in the stone quarry and also in the
mines of the company until January, 1885.

At that date Mr. Tamburini started off to see more of
America, and going by way of Chicago and Minneapolis
and over the Great Northern reached Portland, Oregon.
Business was dull there, and further travel and investigation
offered no special opportunities in California. He spent a
couple of days at Seattle, Washington, and while there vis-
ited the Yakima tunnel, then in process of construction,
saw Tacoma, and after several months of very intermittent
employment and little beyond the pleasure of travel to re-
ward him he returned to West Virginia in April, 1885.

Then for a few months he again did railroad work, and
was in the mines digging coal until February, 1893. At
that date he went back to his old home in Tyrol, but in
April again came to America, and resumed work in the
mines for the West Virginia Central. In 1894 occurred the
great industrial strike, and he then gave up mining for
good. About that time he decided to marry the young
woman of his choice and who had consented to travel life’s
highway with him. They were married at her old home at
Keyser, and set up housekeeping in Bayard.

In 1894 Mr. Tamburini opened his first stock of mer-
chandise, a stock of groceries in Bayard, and his splendid
mercantile enterprise today is located on the very spot
where lie started in that year. From groceries his trade
gradually expanded to general merchandising, including
departments of millinery, furniture and building material,
and his is the most popular place to supply the needs of
merchandise in the little mining town.

Besides his work as a merchant Mr. Tamburini helped
organize the First Bayard National Bank, and has served
as president of that prosperous institution from the be-
ginning. He has declined public office, having no inclina-
tion for politics beyond voting as a good citizen. He took
out his first papers as a citizen at Keyser in 1887, and two
years later received his final papers in the same court. He
has been a democrat throughout his voting career. He was
reared a Catholic, and is still in the same faith.

The date of his marriage was August 9, 1894. The name
of his bride was Margaret Hughes. She was born in Min-
eral County, West Virginia, about a year younger than
her husband. Her father, Terence Hughes, was born in
the town and county of Longford, Ireland, where he mar-
ried Mary Kenny. They came to the United States during
the administration of President Andrew Jackson, and after
moving about the country several years settled at old Hamp-
shire, West Virginia, where Mrs. Tamburini was born.
Terence Hughes helped build the tunnels in the construc-
tion of the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, and in later life was
a coal miner. He died about the close of the Civil war
and was buried in the cemetery at Frostburg, Maryland.
His widow survived him until 1899, being about ninety-
five years of age when she died. There were ten children
in the Hughes family, the four survivors being: Mrs.
Elizabeth Moore, of Washington, D. C.; James, of Western
Port, Maryland; Francis Hughes, of Mount Savage, Mary-
land; and Mrs. Tamburini. Of the deceased children Peter,
the oldest, left two sons; Mary, who married Michael Mur-
phy, was survived by ten children; Mrs. Bridget Halpin
was survived by five children.

Mrs. Tamburini was educated in the public schools of
West Virginia, attended the Shenandoah Normal School,
and was a very popular and successful teacher for eleven
years. She was teaching when she met her husband at Elk
Garden, Mineral County. Of the four children born to Mr.
and Mrs. Tamburini three survived. Mary Josephine, a
graduate of DeSalles Heights Academy at Parkersburg,
and who finished a normal course in the preparatory school
at Keyser, is a teacher in the Bayard schools. The son
John is a graduate of DuQuesne University of Pittsburgh,
and his brother Terence graduated from the same school.
The sons are actively associated with their father’s business
at Bayard.