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Sylvia and Luis Cotta family papers

Identifier: MC-018

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of photographs and ephemera of various members of the Sylvia family, family correspondence from five of the Sylvia brothers (Philip, Antone, Frederick, Lawrence, George) while they served in the military during World War II, and a selection of Philip Sylvia’s Little Compton, Rhode Island well drilling business and personal records.


  • 1890-1998

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Conditions Governing Access

No known restrictions.

Biographical / Historical

The Sylvia (or Silva) and Luis Cotta family of Little Compton, Rhode Island originated from Ponta Delgada, Flores, Azores, and Santa Barbara, Terceira, Azores. Joao Silva (John Sylvia) was born in Ponta Delgada in 1874 and in 1892 immigrated to Little Compton, Rhode Island where he worked on the Arthur MacComber farm. Emilia Serafina Luis Cotta was born in 1880 in Santa Barbara, Terceira, Azores. She immigrated to Little Compton about 1895 with her sister. Her brother Jose, the oldest of 14 children, had gone to Little Compton in 1888 to work on the Levi Sisson farm. Emilia also worked for the Levi Sisson family. Seven other brothers and sisters, some of whom first went to Little Compton, went to California where they acquired property and dairy ranches in and around Los Banos in the San Joaquin Valley. Joao Silva and Emilia Luis Cotta married in 1898 in New Bedford and settled in Little Compton. They purchased a large dairy farm there and eventually had 15 children all together: John, William, Lawrence, Mary, Frank, Amelia, Anna, Alice, George, Antone, Philip, Pauline, Frederick, and Elton.


2.1 Linear Feet (5 manuscript boxes)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Frances Sylvia Gracia, between 1997 and 2000.

Related Materials

See Pereira Garcia family papers, MC 19; Frances Sylvia Gracia papers, MC 165.

MC 18, Sylvia and Luis Cotta family papers
Judy Farrar.
July 2000
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the UMass Dartmouth Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives Repository

Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives
University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
285 Old Westport Rd.
N. Dartmouth MA 02747 USA