Chicago gangster Ted Newberry says: "He must have done something. They don't kill you for nothing." Ted was rubbed out on January 7, 1933

Arrest of Francis 'Two Gun' Crowley

Meet Kiki

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Four, make that three, fierce Flanagans

Eighty-nine years ago today Tom Flanagan, one of the four fierce Flanagans - a quartet of gun wielding law breaking brothers- gave up the ghost after somebody pumped a bullet into his chest at Yumpsy Cunningham's saloon. His pals, being the good fellows that they were, placed him in a cab and sent him to his fathers apartment. Pop Flanagan, being of sounder mind thought that a hospital would probably be a better place. He fetched a cop who saw that Tom made it to Bellevue without further ado.

Inside the hospital Tom was questioned about the shooting but, having memorized the Official Rules of the Underworld Volumes I-IV, he refused to say anything about it and passed out of this life at the ripe old age of thirty.
     If you wanna know more about Tom and the other Flanagan brothers you can read all about it, as the newsies would say, in Bad Seeds in the Big Apple

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Another boxer KOed

Barney Solomon immigrated to the USA from England around 1908 and became a boxer under the moniker of Barney Smith. Following his career in the ring he became a starker, hiring out goons to bust heads during clothing strikes.

Rival gangsters wanted Solomon out of the way and gave him a beating as a warning. Being a boxer Solomon received his fair share of beatings and was undeterred in his gooning affairs. Their first warning unheeded Solomon's rivals decided that Barney should go the way of the dinosaur.

After a night of drinking, Barney was found on a lower east side curb, ninety-three years ago this morning, suffering from gun shot wounds. He was taken to the hospital but threw in the towel during surgery. Solomon Goons was out of business.

Friday, November 11, 2011

I ain't talkin' (or writing for that matter)

On this date back in 1930 Frank Calibrese and his cohorts were involved in a shooting with rival gangsters. Five bullets plowed into various parts of Frank, one of which smashed into his mouth, severing his tongue.
His partners loaded him into their car and drove him to the house of one of Frank’s distant relatives, Dr. Edward Caselnova. Realizing he couldn't do much for him the doctor brought Frank to the hospital where police questioned him. Since he was missing part of his tongue Frank said, "Dffe msiy wrrfyy don" which translates to "Your wasting your time." The police however, thought Frank was asking for a pencil and paper. Writing implements procured, Frank scribbled down his name, address and the location of where he was shot but not his assailants. Then Frank died.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

It's all in the name

He didn't have an underworld moniker that invoked fear but let us mark the passing of James "Pinhead" Cauley who was extinguished from gangland in 1927. Pinhead had just finished serving five years for robbery and was working as a boss stevedore on a west side pier. How does one walk out of prison and become a boss stevedore? Connections my friends connections.

Pinhead was making the rounds on his beloved west side at around nine that night when somebody came up and pumped three bullets into him. Why? Well the coppers say it was because he was vying for leadership of a bootleg gang. But to this day there are some grisly old dock workers with gnarled hands who spend their days hoisting shells of cheap beer and eating pickled eggs who swear that back in their day when Irish gangsters had nick names like "Killer", "Mad Dog" and "Peg Leg" they simply couldn't be embarrassed with a mug named "Pinhead".

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Requiem for a fighter

Eighty-one years ago this morning a milk man was making his rounds in Queens when he came up on the the corpse of Felix Lopresti. The twenty-five-year-old ex-boxer had been garroted with a sash chord and his throat had been slit.

Police believed that Felix was lured into a car in Manhattan and strangled. His killers then drove to Queens to dump the body. There they slit his throat to ensure death. the knife was found a short distance away in a vacant lot.

Judging by his shabby clothes it appears that Felix was down on his luck at the time of the murder. In addition to boxing the dead man was also known as a gambler and crook. He had been arrested three times in the past three years for robbery, assault and felonious assault but was acquitted in each case. At a loss for a reason behind Lopresti's murder, the authorities wrote down a handful of motives and put them into the chief of detectives hat. The slip of paper chosen said, "Killed for welching on a gambling debt." Everyone agreed that that sounded like a good choice so they went with that.