I seem to be getting some mobofiles stopping by lately so will chat about that. Contrary to popular belief the mafia wasn't a 20th century invention. One need only to look at a sensational Mafia trial from back in the summer of '96, 1896 that is. One Salvator Serio was shot and killed in Brooklyn by a guy named Antonino Cincotta and a few other guys. During the trial terms like omerta and mafia were tossed around. Cincotta was even asked if he was a "captain" of a group of men. Of course he denied it. Like the mafia trials to follow in the 2oth Century Cincotta & co. walked on Nov. 23, 1896, the headline reading Mafia Suspects Acquitted, but it wasn't the last NYC heard of him. The following June 1, Cincotta was again involved in a shooting -Talk of Mafia Conspiracy- the media reported.
Cincotta would have a long reign in Brooklyn, his crime of note was trying to shake down opera star Enrico Caruso for thousands of dollars and ending up in jail. Like any good mafia boss (technically he was called a black-hander) Ol' Cincotta got his comeuppance on February, 16, 1915, at the ripe old age of 47, when he was shot down while exiting a theatre. In the article disucssing his murder the New York Times described him as having, "a wide influence among the Italian residents of that borough (Brooklyn) and his power was almost absolute." Sounds like a mob boss to me. 1915-1916 were big years for mob hits there was a couple of LoMontes, a Terranova, the Gallucci's. Perhaps Cincotta was the first of the series. Lets have a seance and ask Ciro Terranova.
Anyways this is a long winded way to say that if you are into early mafia than you will want to know Tom Hunt he is the premier mob historian and in addition to his newsletter be sure to check out his site on the Morello-Terranova clan.