Chronicle of the Casaretto Family

Chronicle of the Casaretto Family

The chronicle of the Casaretto family, created by Dr. Friedrich-Josef Casaretto in November 1975, is reported in the following narrative.

In 1775, Crevelt in the county of Moers was a flourishing trading and silk producing town which enjoyed the patronage of the Prussian kings Friedrich Wilhelm and Friedrich II.

Amongst the companies of merchants and silk producers in the town, one of the most distinguished was silk business belonging to the brothers Friedrich and Heinrich von der Leyen.  The two brothers lived in their comfortable house, referred to in the vernacular as “Haus in den Ketten”, enjoying the refined, luxurious, French lifestyle of the situated in the so-called new town north of a line Dionysius Church, Rheinstrasse at the corner of Friedrichsstrasse.

The company of the von der Leyen brothers had gone through a long successful development from the production of silk braids to the production of larger, special silk fabrics. Within the European silk industry in competition with the French town of Lyons, it had achieved an excellent position.

Although both brothers had already reached a considerable age, they decided to strengthen their competitive position by bringing in specially trained and skilled workers.

At the time the very traditional silk processing techniques of the Genoese were world famous.

For this reason the von der Leyens sent recruiters to Genoa, capital of the Ligurian maritime state which had for some time been in political and economic decline; due to lack of money the Genoese Republic had even sold the island of Corsica to the French in 1768.

In 1775, the brothers Bernhard (born 1749) and Lazarus (born 1751) Casaretto were recruited by the von der Leyen brothers with a view to expanding the silk production business. They distinguished themselves through their special knowledge and skills in the production of silk and silk velvet.

The Casaretto brothers came to Krefeld in 1775. On the journey they were accompanied by their sister, Maria Nicoletta (born 1747), and Bernhard’s wife Maddalena de Negri.

The parents Pietro-Antonio Casaretto and his wife Maria Susanna Campadonien remained in Genoa.  Once arrived in Krefeld the newly recruited workers were allocated the house promised in the contract on the north side of Weststrasse not far from the square where Baron Conrad von der Leyen built the new mansion in 1794 (today the town hall).

As time went on, the family started to become established in their new homeland and gained a good reputation.  A grandson of the immigrants even managed to penetrate the highest levels of society in Krefeld.  It was Friedrich-Josef Casaretto who was born in 1805 in the house provided by the von der Leyens who founded his own factory and became famous for the designs of his paraments beyond the borders of Germany and even as far as Paris.

In the 1860s, he was town councillor and deputy mayor of the town of Krefeld.

Even today, 200 years since the immigrants arrived, there are many descendants of the brothers Bernhard and Lazarus in Krefeld, and the name Casaretto is well-known to many Krefeld citizens.