During the Capone era many mobsters were in power. As Al Capone grew, he began to associate with many different bosses and was in the neighborhood with many mob run gangs. After being involved and associated with these gangs, Capone then joined one, which just so happen to be run by Johnny Torrio, mobster to become leader of the underworld. There were many influences that helped Capone grow and gain until his rise to power as Chicagos most notorious mobster. One of the most common fictions is that like many gangsters of Capones era, he was born in Italy. “This is untrue, he wasnt born in Italy but was born in New York”(Bardsley 1). “Alphonse Capone was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1899, of an immigrant family. Gabriele Capone, Al Capones father, was one of 43,000 Italians who arrived in the United States in 1894. He was a barber by trade and was one of the few who could read and write his native language.
He was from the villa of Castellmare di Stalia, sixteen miles south of Naples. Capones mom, Teresina Capone, came to America with her two-year-old son Vincenzo and infant son Raffaele. InMay of 1906, Gabriele became an American citizen. Al Capone quit school after the sixth grade and associated with a notorious street gang. Becoming accepted as a member. Johnny Torrio was the street gang leader and among other members was the great Lucky Luciano (Al 1).
As Capone grew, Torrio gave him more responsibility and Capone soon became apprenticed by him. “On December 18, 1918, Capone married at the age of 19, to a 21 year old Irish girl names Mae Coughlin. A short time later Albert Francis Capone was born to the couple. At the same time this was going on, in New York Johnny Torrio moved all of his operations to Chicago. Torrios prospects in New York looked dim because Capone was indicted for two murders. He was released when a witness lost her memory, and evidence suddenly vanished from the court. Capone knew that he had Torrio to thank for his fortunes. In 1920, Capone then joined Torrio in Chicago where he had become an influenced lieutenant in the Colosimo mob (Tyler 1). “He moved his family to a home at 7244 Prarie Avenue, Chicago”.
Capone was later known as a powerful leader as he stole, murdered, and cheated his way to the top of the Mob. He believed he could do pretty much all he wanted, which made him dangerous on the streets. One day came where he earned his nickname of “Scarface”. He was in a bar with his fellow mobsters and leaned over to a girl hed never met before and said, “honey, you have a nice ass and I mean that as a compliment”. The girls brother was sitting next to her and he punched Capone in the face. Thinking Capone disrespected his sister he pulled out a knife and cut Capones face three times before he grabbed his sister and ran. There were many claimed stories about how he received his name but that was the presumably most believable. Capone later found the man and murdered him. Capone was very grateful to Torrio and is quoted as saying: “I looked on Johnny as my advisor and friendand the party that made it possible for me to get my start”.
A man by the name of “Big Jim” Colosimo was the new under world leader. Johnny Torrio became jealous of Colosimo and wanted his power. Torrio called upon Capone and “Big Jim” Colosimo was killed on the night of May 11, 1920 (World Crime 606). The reason for his death was mostly because the Prohibition Act passed in 1920. The acts forbid alcohol to be distributed to all the saloons in Chicago. Torrio told Colosimo to start an underground that could supply all the Saloons with beer and Liquor. Colosimo refused and soon Capone was to be his executioner.
During this time Al Capone actually became a hero to some bar hoppers. Some say that he was cheered at a baseball game in Chicagos Rigley Field, while President Herbert Hoover was booed. Capones street mob began to grow and soon was in its prime. His street mob had of over 1,000 members and half of Chicagos police forces. Capones payroll at the time consisted of police officers, alderman, states attorneys, mayors, legislators, governors, and even congressman . Two men by the names of John Scalise and Albert Anselsni were planning to murder Capone. Capone somehow found out and invited them over for a banquet in their honor, when he really had his own plans for them. When the banquet got to its climax of the evening, Capone invited them in his office for a private meeting, he then tied them to their chairs and smashed there heads in with hammers.
Later on in his life, while he was still in his prime, Capone was to be arrested for tax invasion. A man by the name of Eddie OHare, one of the best under cover men hired by the IRS, was searching through Capones files determined to get him in jail and off the streets. Finally, OHare found that Capone had never paid any type of income tax and the federal government put him on trial. After a long court sentence Capone was given the maximum sentence, which was a 50,000-dollar fine, court costs of 30,000 dollars, and eleven years in jail. He was sentenced in an Atlanta prison. In 1934, he was transferred to “The Rock” otherwise known as Alcatraz. Later that year, Capone was judged insane and was released to his family. During this same period of time, gunmen in Chicago sought out Edward J. OHare and shot him to death in his car.
In January 1947 Capone had a massive brain hemorrhage in Florida and died. His body was removed from his estate in Florida and transferred back to the Chicago, where he had lived most of his life and achieved the title of “The most Notorious Mobster”. “Immediately upon arrival to Chicago by train, the corpse of the dead crime czar was met by guards who escorted it to Mt. Olivet Cemetery. Even in death, Capone commanded gunmen to protect him against unseen enemies, in this case ghouls” (world Crime 617). The families held a private ceremony at the cemetery, but were wary of grave robbers taking the corpse, so they reburied Alphonse Capone in a seaside lot in Mt. Carmel Cemetery. Alphonse Capone truly was the most vicious mobster and killer of the century. He killed his way to the top of the Mob from a young boy to an old man and is still today influential to other mobsters. The crime syndicate will always remember him.
- “Al Capone”http://www.fbi.gov/yourfbi/history/fancases/capone/capone.htmBardsley, Marilyn. The Crime library. Al CaponeWysiwy://62http://www.crimelibrary.com/capone.capone/caponemain.htmBender, David. Gangs. Sandigo, CA: Gren Havn Press, inc., 1997Cook, Fred J. Mob Inc. New York, NY Motta press, Inc., 1997.
- Cox. Bill G. et. al. Crimes of the 20th Century. Lincoln, Illinois. Publications international, 1991Jackson, Robert. True Crimes. New York, NY: Smith Mark Publishers, 1992Tyler, Gus. Organized Crime in America. Binghamton, NY: the University of Michigan Press and Simultaneous, 1962Historical Society 1998, Al Capone.
- Http://wwwchigts.org/history/capone/cpn1.htmlWorld Crime Encyclopedia. Chicago, IL: International Printing, vol. 11, 1997