Biographies and activity
Author: ARDELEANU KONSTANTIN
One of the most important commercial houses from Galaţi was established by the Sardinian subject Filippo Pedemonte, who settled at Galaţi in 1831, probably after his involvement in the revolutionary movements from the Italian Peninsula. He was soon followed by his brothers Antonio and Francesco, who also invested in the profitable Danubian grain trade, then at its beginnings. Filippo died in 1837, and with Antonio returned to Genoa, the Galaţi branch of the family commercial house was directed by Francesco and his nephews Paolo, Giovanni Battista (Filippo’s sons), Angelo, and Giacomo (Antonio’s sons). Francesco died in 1849. Initially, the company was called “Pedemonte and Peretti”, as Gerolamo Peretti of Genoa was a close partner of the founder and the chief of the house’s branch at Brăila. The venture was reorganised several times, according to the involvement of other partners, “Pedemonte and Bottaro” or “Pedemonte and Dodero”, the name of the family’s agent to Constantinople. However, at its apogee the company was known as “Fratelli Pedemonte”. The company owned immovable properties, houses, and magazines at Galaţi and Brăila, and understanding the profitability of buying grain directly from its producers, in more distant areas of the Danubian Principalities, it also opened branches at Calafat, in Wallachia, and at Botoşani, in northern Moldavia. Angelo Pedemonte was also involved in leasing agricultural lands, and had two estates in Moldavia. The company also bought three ships built in the shipyard of Galaţi (two of 200 tons and one of 250 tons), which were used for loading grain in inland ports upstream the river and carrying it to the Lower Danube. The entrepreneurial family was involved in the export of grain, timber, animal products, but was also a large importer of colonial and manufactured goods brought to Galaţi from its commercial contacts in Naples, Constantinople, Leghorn, Trieste, Messina, Marseilles, Nyssa, Toulon, Algiers, Calais, Malta and London. In 1841 the company had a turnover of 14 million lei, and a capital of 2.4 million lei. The commercial house was greatly affected by the commercial crises of 1847 and no longer played a major role on the local commercial market.
Giovanni Fanciotti came together with his wife from Novi to Galaţi in 1842. He established the company “Fanciotti & Lamberti” together with his conational Pasquale Lamberti, who settled at Galaţi after some economic misfortune at Odessa. They went bankrupt in 1847, when they owned houses and magazines at Galaţi and Brăila. Vincenzo Fanciotti, a brother of the founder, came to Galaţi in 1846 and proved more fortunate in the grain trade, and in 1851 owned a company together with G. Peretti. He remained at Galaţi and was in good relations with the local elite and in the early 1880s offered his estate for building a school. His house also hosted the local exchange room.
Cesare Giovanni Battista Dall’Orso of Leghorn was mentioned at Galaţi in 1843, after some economic misfortunes and a period when he was imprisoned at Constantinople. At the Danube he invested in the grain trade. One of his sons, Augusto, worked at a local bank and by late 19th and early 20th centuries was one of the most important local enterprisers, owing a bank and an important commercial house. In 1887, for example, he owed a large mill, and his bank, after some reorganisations, was taken over by the large “The Marmorosch, Blank & Co. Bank”. Not least of all, it should be mentioned that he also hold the office of consul of Denmark at Galaţi.
The Bulgarian brothers Hristo and Evloghie Gheorghiev settled at Bucharest, Brăila and Galaţi in the early 1830 and operated in the two ports large commercial houses that were involved in the export and import of different goods. They earned well from the grain trade, and by the 1860s also invested in leasing and buying landed properties throughout Romania. Thus, they had an estate at Obileşti, in Ilfov County, and one at Şuţeşti, in Brăila County, and then leased, with several Romanian partners, the domain of Brăila, one of the most fertile in the country. Initially they had good commercial relations with the Danubian ports of Ruse and Shvistov in Bulgaria, but they extended their contacts to the largest ports in Europe: London, Manchester, Marseilles, Leghorn, etc. Besides the grain trade, they exported several other goods, such as animal products or rape seeds. In the same period, they invested in local agriculture, in banking enterprises and in industry. Evloghi was based at Galaţi, and after his brother death in 1872 moved to Bucharest. They were also business partners with the Puliev company, belonging to their uncle, and after Evloghi’s move to Bucharest the Galaţi branch was taken over by Gavril Avramos. The Gheorghiev brothers were great supporters of the patriotic movement of the Bulgarian nation.
Watson & Youell
This was one of the most important entrepreneurial families at Galaţi, established by the British investors Watson and Edward Youell. They started with a shipping company based at Galaţi, and having agencies at Brăila, Sulina and Constanţa, serving as a representative of the Johnston line and Wender, which connected the Danubian ports to the Mediterranean and Northern Europe. They also served as insurance agents of the “Lloyd and Co.” company of London, and of some of the largest insurance companies in Western Europe. They were also involved in trade, selling in Romania raw materials (coal) and manufactured goods of British and German production (agricultural machines, sewing machines, Diesel engines). Watson also held consular obligations.
Zannis Chrissoveloni from Chios came to Galaţi in 1848 and established a company that was initially involved in the grain trade. In the following period he opened agencies at Brăila and Bucharest, and his ventures were taken over by one of his sons, Nicolas Z. Chrissoveloni (1838–1913), who also invested in buying landed estates in Romania, as well as in Greece and the Ottoman Empire. In 1879 he bought the estate of Ghidigeni and Ciorăşti, and excellent land for grain cultivation and vine growing. Nicolas invested for the development of this estate, where he also built a school, a church, a palace. A local raki distillery was turned into a modern spirit factory, followed by other factories of gouts and potash, mechanical workshops, etc. The castle was a very fashionable place for the Romanian elite, and several parties were organised here in the presence of the queen and princesses of Romania. It also enjoyed sport facilities, some of them unique in the country. Nicolas was married to Callirhoe Economo of Trieste, and the couple had three children. The family businesses were taken over by Jean N. Chrissoveloni (1880–1926) and his brother Dumitru N. Chrissoveloni (1883–1957). Jean was married to Sybille of the family Youell. The family is famous for their investments in banking, as the Chrissoveloni Bank was one of the most important private banks in interwar Romania.
Osias Auschnitt came to Galaţi in 1870 and in 1875 opened a large store of ironsmith. In 1890 he owned a large deposit of agricultural machines, and in 1903 he had a branch at London. He also owned a factory of nails, wire (The Romanian Sheet and Galvanising Co.), etc., which produced good quality products. His sons, Max and Edgar, became some of the largest industrialists in interwar Romania, with lots of investments in the metallic industry, such as the plants Titan, Nădrag, Călan, Reşiţa, investments in iron ore mines etc. At Galaţi they owned, during the interwar period, the plants Titan I, II, Ciclop, Moara Steaua, with a capital of 220 million lei and 2,000 employees. Max Auschnitt was also a politician and a close friend of King Charles II.
 Raluca Tomi, “L’histoire de la Maison de Commerce Pedemonte et Fils”, Historical Yearbook, 3 (2006), 111–122 and Eadem, “Imigraţia italiană în spaţiul românesc: italienii din Galaţi şi Ismail (1834–1876)”, Revista istorică, new series, 19:3–4 (2008), 215–238; also see Constantin Buşe, Comerţul exterior prin Galaţi sub regimul de port franc (1837–1883) (Bucharest: Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste România, 1976), 71 and Constantin Ardeleanu, “Alcune notizie riguardanti la navigazione e il commercio degli stati italiani preuniteri alla focie del Danubio (1829–1856), in vol. L’Italia e l’Europa centro-orientale attraverso i secoli, edited by Cristian Luca, Gianluca Massi and Andrea Piccardi (Brăila: Editura Istros, 2004), 393–404.
 Buşe, Comerţul, 72, 85;Paul Păltănea, Istoria oraşului Galaţi de la origini până la 1918, second edition, edited by Eugen Drăgoi (Galaţi: Editura Partener, 2008), vol. I, 323–324, 327, II, 21, 67, 277.
 Ibid., II, 159, 177, 198, 292.
 D. Kosev, V. Paskaleva, Vl. Diculescu, “Despre situaţia şi activitatea economică a imigraţiei bulgare în Muntenia şi Oltenia în secolul al XIX-lea (până la războiul ruso–turc din 1877–1878)”, in the vol. Relaţii româno–bulgare de-a lungul veacurilor (sec. XII–XIX). Studii (Bucharest: Editura Academiei, 1971), vol. I, 283–368; Anca Dobre, Felicia Lebădă, “Rolul fraţilor Gheorghiev în comerţul franco–englez al Ţărilor Române”, Hrisovul. Buletin al Facultăţii de arhivistică”, new series, 2 (1996), 211–214.
 “Marile Noastre Case de Comerciu. Casa Watson & Youell”, România ilustrată, 6:4–6 (July – September) 1908, 50–51.
 Marius Mitrof, “Arhitectură şi spaţiu privat. Ansamblul conacului de la Ghidigeni”, Danubius, 29 (2011), 325–348; Mihaela Gudană, Monografia comunei Ghidigeni (Adjud: Armonii culturale, 2014), 98–131.
 “D. Osias Ausschnitt”, România ilustrată, 6:4–6, 1908, 51; Tudose Tatu, Istoria trudită a fabricelor uitate (Galaţi: Patronatul Fabricilor Mici şi Mijlocii, 2008), 474–479.
 Marius Verbiceanu, Monografia industriei şi comerţului oraşului Galaţi. Studiu economic şi istoric (Galaţi: s.e., 1938), 37–38.
Serviciul Judeţean Galaţi al Arhivelor Naţionale (The National Archives, Galaţi Branch), Primăria oraşului Galaţi (The Municipality of Galaţi), files starting with 1831.
“D. Osias Ausschnitt”, România ilustrată, 6:4–6, 1908, 51.
“Marile Noastre Case de Comerciu. Casa Watson & Youell” [Our Large Commercial Houses. Waltson and Youell House], România ilustrată, 6:4–6 (July – September) 1908, 50–51.
Ardeleanu, Constantin, “Alcune notizie riguardanti la navigazione e il commercio degli stati italiani preuniteri alla focie del Danubio (1829–1856), in vol. L’Italia e l’Europa centro-orientale attraverso i secoli, edited by Cristian Luca, Gianluca Massi and Andrea Piccardi (Brăila: Editura Istros, 2004), 393–404.
Buşe, Constantin, Comerţul exterior prin Galaţi sub regimul de port franc (1837–1883) [The Foreign Trade through Galaţi under the Regime of Free Port (1837–1883) (Bucharest: Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste România, 1976).
Dobre, Anca, Lebădă, Felicia, “Rolul fraţilor Gheorghiev în comerţul franco–englez al Ţărilor Române” [The Role of Gheorghiev Brothers in the French–English Trade of the Romanian Principalities], Hrisovul. Buletin al Facultăţii de arhivistică”, new series, 2 (1996), 211–214.
Gudană, Mihaela, Monografia comunei Ghidigeni [The Monograph of Ghidigeni Commune] (Adjud: Armonii culturale, 2014).
Kosev, D., Paskaleva, V., Diculescu, Vl., “Despre situaţia şi activitatea economică a imigraţiei bulgare în Muntenia şi Oltenia în secolul al XIX-lea (până la războiul ruso-turc din 1877–1878)” [On the Economic Situation and Activity of the Bulgarian Immigration to Muntenia and Oltenia in the 19th Century until the Russian–Turkish War of 1877–1878], in vol. Relaţii româno-bulgare de-a lungul veacurilor. Studii (Secolele XII–XIX) [Romanian–Bulgarian relations along the Centuries. Studies (12th – 19th Centuries], vol. I (Bucharest: Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste România, 1971).
Mitrof, Marius, “Arhitectură şi spaţiu privat. Ansamblul conacului de la Ghidigeni” [Architecture and Private Space. The Ensemble of the Konak from Ghidigeni], Danubius, 29 (2011), 325–348.
Păltănea, Paul, Istoria oraşului Galaţi de la origini până la 1918 [The History of Galaţi from Its Beginnings to 1918], second edition, edited by Eugen Drăgoi (Galaţi: Editura Partener, 2008).
Tatu, Tudose, Istoria trudită a fabricelor uitate [The History of Forgotten Factories] (Galaţi: Patronatul Fabricilor Mici şi Mijlocii, 2008).
Tomi, Raluca, “Imigraţia italiană în spaţiul românesc: italienii din Galaţi şi Ismail (1834–1876)” [The Italian Immigration in the Romanian Space: The Italians from Galaţi and Ismail (1834–1876), Revista istorică, new series, 19:3–4 (2008), 215–238.
Tomi, Raluca, “L’histoire de la Maison de Commerce Pedemonte et Fils”, Historical Yearbook, 3 (2006), 111–122
Verbiceanu, Marius, Monografia industriei şi comerţului oraşului Galaţi. Studiu economic şi istoric [The Monograph of the Industry and Trade in the City of Galaţi] (Galaţi: s.e., 1938).