By Danny Crownover
Many people in Etowah County do not realize that many of the hard-working citizens of the area were from other countries. Two of those early citizens were George and Domina Likos.
The Vagabond recently spoke to a former classmate of his, Tina Likos Wilson, on her grandparents, who came from Greece to live in Gadsden. The story was unbelievably interesting! Tina’s aunt put together the story and Tina shared it with The Vagabond.
Domina Kalfas Likos, George’s wife, was born April 10,1899 on the small island of Tenethos at the entrance to the Dardanelles. Tenethos was where Greek soldiers supposedly hid and made the Trojan horse during the Trojan War. The island is now part of Turkey and known as Bozcaada.
Domina had three sisters – Portokaleah, Leekareeah and Maria. Domina was the third youngest daughter and had two older stepbrothers – Paloslowous and Panayotis, or Uncle Pete. Domina was named after her father’s first wife and mother of her stepbrothers. She passed away when her sons were young.
Domina’s mother’s name was Efthemia (meaning “happiness” in Greek) and her father’s name was De-metrios, or James. Demetrios was a carpenter and was well liked and trusted by the Turks in Tenethos.
Tenethos was under four national flags when Domina lived there – England, Italy, France and Turkey – but the island still followed Greek customs. Domina’s family lived near the Italian sector, where Ambassador Antonio and his wife Kyria Maria were stationed. The Ambassador and his wife were and congenial.
At the age of 11, Domina left home for what she thought would be a better life. Her mother’s cousin Kyria Myneesootis lived in the nearby town of Seeros. Kyria’s daughter was married to the brother of a woman who was looking for a young girl to help her with housekeeping. Being that Domina’s family was not wealthy and had four daughters to marry, her parents decided it would be to Domina’s advantage to go where she would have a better lifestyle.
Domina’s oldest sister Portokaleah was already doing domestic work in the family’s hometown, and Domina had sometimes gone with her and enjoyed it. In her girlish imagination, Dominan dreamt of a more exciting life.
The night before Domina left home, however, her father was unhappy and told her that he did not want her to go. But Domina left the next day and was met at the boat by Kyria Fellini, the woman she was to work for.
Kyria immediately put Domina to work. Kyria seemed to mistreat Domina more when her three daughters were around. When they were gone, she was much nicer to her. Kyria’s youngest daughter, Aspasia, felt sorry for Domina, but the eldest girl was much like her mother. The father,
Kyrios Fellini, was very kind but would not interfere with his wife’s running of the house.
Domina worked very hard and was continuously mistreated until neighbors made plans to help her. One of those neighbors, a seamstress who came to the house to make preekas, which were linens for the girl’s dowries, knew Yaya Effie’s cousin Kyria Meneesootes, who Domina called Thia, or aunt. When seamstress told Thia what was going on, Thia immediately planned to help Domina. Thia knew an elderly schoolteacher named Kyria Boveeklee who she knew would be kind and possibly help. Kyria Boyeeklee indeed agreed to help in letting Domina live with her and go to school. The seamstress then told Domina that Thia had made arrangements for her to leave the home of Kyria Fellini.
Domina was very pleased and stole away to the home of Kyria Boyeeklee. Domina was very happy, but within a few days, Kyria Fellini had summoned the police to bring Domina back.
Luckily, the policeman was a nice man who was a friend of both Thia and Kyria. After they explained the situation to him, the policeman assured Kyria Fellini that it was okay for Domina to stay in her new-found home.
When Yaya Effie heard about all that had happened, she immediately came to see Domina and confirmed that this was also her wish for Domina to stay with Kyria Boyeeklee. The elderly schoolteacher was kind to Domina and had her enrolled in school. Domina stayed there for several years until Kyria Boyeeklee retired and went to live with her married daughter.
Domina then wrote her Uncle Gregory, who was Yaya Effie’s brother, asking for his help, because she did not want to return home after all that happened. Uncle Gregory sent her money to come to Athens where he lived. Since he had a family and did not have much room, Uncle Gregory helped Domina get a job at Combas Winery, where she stayed with several other girls who worked there. Being that she was a little more educated than the other girls, Domina put labels on the wine bottles while the others put in the corks.
Through a friend, Domina later got a job working in the home of Kyrios Theamergees, a lawyer in Athens. One day as Domina sat with a girlfriend on the balcony, some soldiers came by. One soldier was especially attracted to Domina and sent her a note in the book Robinson Crusoe, telling her Domina had beautiful brown eyes. He later he asked her out, and with the encouragement of her friend, Domina went on the date.
The soldier’s name was George Constantinos Likos, who was born in the Greek village of Adreamos on January l, 1895 to Constantinos and Karatchoola Likos. The family name was Bosbowkas but George’s grandfather hunted wolves for the pelts and became known as “Likos,” which means wolf in Greek.
Around l912, George worked in Salonica for his uncle, who had a grocery store. This was the year that George’s youngest sister Phyllo was born. Over the next few years, George worked in a restaurant in Halketha, Evya, and later went to Athens.
Sometime between l913 to l914, George’s father passed away. Because his father had been ill and could not work, he had many bills unpaid. George came home, and with his savings, helped his mother pay the bills and save their home.
George intended to ask Domina to marry him when he found out someone else was interested in her. A Greek American who was staying close by had seen Domina and wanted to marry her and bring her to America.
When George learned of this, he told Domina to tell the man that he wanted to talk to him. George then told the American that he was Domina’s older cousin and he was responsible for her and felt she was too young to marry him. The man learned later that he had been tricked and that George and Domina had become engaged.
George was attached to the King’s Guards but served as a house boy for General Pericles Soochos at Syndigma near the king’s palace. George and Domina were married on September 19, 1918 at the home of General Soochos’ cook’s daughter.