American Mafia History Website

Jump to Website Menu

Timeline Part 1. 1282-1899

The American Mafia first takes root in the immigrant Sicilian communities of New Orleans, Louisiana. The city's underworld remains divided into factions for decades. The assassination of New Orleans Police Chief Hennessy and the lynchings that follow bring international attention to the Crescent City's Mafia organization. The Morello-Terranova-Lupo family of Corleone bring a new level of organization to the American Mafia upon their arrival in the U.S.

1282 Mar 29
Palermo, Palermo, Sicily
Citizens of Palermo
Sicilian Vespers revolution against the occupying Angevins is traditionally viewed as the birth of the Sicilian Mafia. There are no contemporary mentions of the name "Mafia," a term which comes into being hundreds of years later, but the underground movement against Anjou may be seen as the ancestor of a later Mafia. The revolution began on Easter Sunday in 1282 - March 29 by the Julian calendar then in use.
Source: FBI Mafia Monograph, July 1958, section I, p. 5.
1843    
New Orleans, LA, US
Joseph P. Macheca
A son is born in New Orleans to a couple known to history as Peter and Marietta Carvanna. Marietta later marries Giuseppe Macheca, and her son takes the name Joseph Peter Macheca. As an adult, Joseph Peter Macheca becomes a patron of and adviser to the fledgling Mafia in New Orleans.
Source: Hunt, Thomas, and Martha Macheca Sheldon, Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia, Createspace, 2010.
1856 Jun  
New Orleans, LA, US
Norbert Trepagnier
An attempted murder of court clerk Trepagnier, a Know-Nothing political leader, by a group of men who look to be Sicilians prompts violent reprisals against the New Orleans Sicilian colony.
Source: Hunt, Thomas, and Martha Macheca Sheldon, Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia, Createspace, 2010.
1857 Nov  
Monreale, Palermo, Sicily
Charles Matranga
Future New Orleans Mafia leader Charles Matranga is born in Monreale, Sicily, the son of Stuppagghieri Mafioso Salvatore Matranga.
Source: Hunt, Thomas, and Martha Macheca Sheldon, Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia, Createspace, 2010; Passenger manifest of Sicilian bark Anonimo arrived New Orleans in January 1858.
1858 Jan  
New Orleans, LA, US
Salvatore, Antonio, Charles Matranga
The Matranga family arrives in New Orleans.
Source: Passenger manifest of Sicilian bark Anonimo arrived New Orleans in January 1858.
1860 Jan  
New Orleans, LA, US
Raffaele Agnello
Palermo Mafioso Raffaele Agnello arrives in New Orleans. His brother Joseph is already settled in the city.
Source: U.S. Census of 1860, Louisiana, Orleans County, New Orleans, Ward 5; Passenger manifest of Sicilian bark Glasgow arrived New Orleans in January 1860.
1861 Sep 10
New Orleans, LA, US
Joseph P. Macheca
Following Louisiana's secession from the United States and merger with the Confederacy, Macheca enlists in the 22nd Louisiana Infantry of the Confederate Army.
Source: Hunt, Thomas, and Martha Macheca Sheldon, Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia, Createspace, 2010; Macheca Civil War Service Record.
1862 Jan 22
Burgio?, Agrigento, Sicily
Vito Cascio Ferro
Birth of Vito Cascio Ferro to Accursio and Santa Ippolito Cascio Ferro. He may have been born at this date in Burgio, Province of Agrigento, or nearby in Province of Palermo. Some authorities indicate June 25, 1862, as his birthdate.
Source: Petacco, Arrigo, translated by Charles Lam Markmann, Joe Petrosino, New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1974, p. 90, 170;
1862 Apr  
New Orleans, LA, US
Raffaele Agnello
As federal forces advance on New Orleans, Confederate soldiers and regular police officers are moved out. A force of foreign-born residents led by Raffaele Agnello and others is assembled to keep order.
Source: Hunt, Thomas, and Martha Macheca Sheldon, Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia, Createspace, 2010
1862 Jun 25
Palermo Province, Sicily
Vito Cascio Ferro
Vito Cascio Ferro is born to Accursio and Santa Ippolito Cascio Ferro.
Source: Report of Palermo Police Commissioner Baldassare Ceola, noted in Petacco, Arrigo, translated by Charles Lam Markmann, Joe Petrosino, New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1974, p. 170.
1862    
Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Giuseppe Rizzotto
First known literary use of a Mafia-related term occurs in the Sicilian play entitled I Mafiusi della Vicaria. Written by Giuseppe Rizzotto, the play's setting is a Palermo prison.
Source: FBI Mafia Monograph, July 1958, section I, p. vi; Hess, Henner, Mafia & Mafiosi: Origin, Power and Myth, New York: New York University Press, 1998, p. 2.
1863 Aug 28
New Orleans, LA, US
Joseph P. Macheca
Joseph P. Macheca, Anthony Skillman and Capt. Hayes are tried and convicted in military court in connection with a scheme to steal and sell U.S. Army barrels of pork and beef. Macheca is let off with a $50 fine.
Source: Hunt, Thomas, and Martha Macheca Sheldon, Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia, Createspace, 2010; "The city," New Orleans Daily Picayune, Aug. 28, 1863, p. 4.
1866 Oct 11
Sicily
 
The London Times uses the term "Maffia" in reporting on events in Sicily. It notes that "Maffia" is a secret society that includes "among its members many persons of an elevated class."
Source: London Times, Oct. 11, 1866.
1867 May 02
Corleone, Palermo, Sicily
Giuseppe Morello
Giuseppe Morello is born in Corleone to Calogero and Angela Piazza Morello.
Source: Prisoner Criminal Record, Bureau of Detectives, Police Department of the City of New York, Giuseppe Morello Prison File, no. 2882, Atlanta Federal Prison, NARA.
1868 Oct 24
New Orleans, LA, US
Joseph P. Macheca
Macheca forms a mostly Sicilian street gang called the Innocenti and leads them on violent anti-Republican, anti-African American marches in the days leading up to the 1868 Presidential election. (The group is nominally led by well-respected resident Pascalis Labarre, but later inquiries reveal that Labarre was little more than a figurehead for the organization.)
Source: Hunt, Thomas, and Martha Macheca Sheldon, Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia, Createspace, 2010.
1868 Oct 28
New Orleans, LA, US
Joseph P. Macheca
Macheca's Innocenti gang has seized control of many city streets in response to the killing of one of the gang's members on Oct. 27.
Source: "The troubles in the city," New Orleans Daily Picayune, Oct. 27, 1868, p. 1.
1868 Oct  
New Orleans, LA, US
Litero Barba, Raffaele Agnello, Joseph P. Macheca
Litero Barba, Innocenti member and leader of the Messina colony in New Orleans, is killed on his way home from an Innocenti meeting. Initially, suspicion is focused on businessman Octave Belot, but Macheca's gang later decides that local Sicilian leader Raffaele Agnello was responsible. A gang war erupts between Sicilian factions - one comprised of the followers of Palermo-born Agnello and the other comprised of Messinian gangsters and allied immigrants from Trapani, Sicily.
Source: "Murder in the second district," New Orleans Crescent, April 2, 1869, p. 1; Hunt, Thomas, and Martha Macheca Sheldon, Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia, Createspace, 2010
1869 Feb 28
New Orleans, LA, US
 
Violence between Sicilian factions on Royal Street. Several men suffer gunshot and knife wounds. No one mortally wounded.
Source: New Orleans Commercial Bulletin, March 2, 1869; New Orleans Daily Picayune, March 2, 1869.
1869 Mar 02
New Orleans, LA, US
Raffaele Agnello, Joseph Agnello, Alphonse Mateo, Joseph Banano
In an effort to restore peace, Joseph Agnello hosts a party at his house on Royal Street between St. Philip and Ursulines. (The date of the party is uncertain. Sources say it occurred weeks after the murder of Barba. It appears to have occurred more than four months later.) He invites several of the Trapanesi allied to the Messinian gang, including Joseph Banano. A fight breaks out late in the evening. Banano is shot in the back but survives. Alphonse Mateo, believed to have killed Litero Barba on orders from Raffaele Agnello, is shot in the face. He too survives.
Source: "Murder in the second district," New Orleans Crescent, April 2, 1869, p. 1.
1869 Mar 03
New Orleans, LA, US
Joseph Agnello
On the day after Joseph Agnello's party, Messina-Trapani faction of the New Orleans Sicilian underworld shows up well armed and in force at the Old French Market, preparing to do battle with the Palermo faction. Palermo leaders anticipate the move and do not show up at the market.
Source: "Murder in the second district," New Orleans Crescent, April 2, 1869, p. 1.
1869 Mar 07
New Orleans, LA, US
Joseph Agnello, Alphonse Mateo, Frank Sacarro, Joseph Banano
Agnello and Mateo burst into the Chartres Street home (between Dumain and St. Philip) of Giovanni Casabianca where leaders of the Messina-Trapani faction are gathered. They open fire with shotguns. Casabianca, Joseph Banano and Pietro Allucho escape with minor injuries. They decide to leave New Orleans to regroup in Galveston, Texas. They are pursued by Frank Sacarro, godson of Raffaele Agnello.
Source: "Murder in the second district," New Orleans Crescent, April 2, 1869, p. 1.
1869 Mar 22
New Orleans, LA, US
Joseph Banano, Giovanni Casabianca, Pietro Allucho
Banano, Casabianca and Allucho return to New Orleans. They quietly go to work not at the usual Old French Market but some distance away at Poydras Market.
Source: "Murder in the second district," New Orleans Crescent, April 2, 1869, p. 1; New Orleans Daily Picayune, March 24, 1869; New Orleans Times, March 26, 1869.
1869 Mar 23
New Orleans, LA, US
Giovanni Casabianca, Pietro Allucho, J. Daniel Clark, Salvatore Rosa, Joseph Agnello
Joseph Agnello and Salvatore Rosa locate Casabianca and Allucho at the Poydras Market and a gunfight ensues. Bystander J. Daniel Clark is struck by a bullet in the throat and later dies. Agnello and Rosa escape. Casabianca and Allucho are arrested and charged with causing the death of Clark.
Source: "Mysterious shooting affair!", New Orleans Crescent, March 24, 1869, p. 1; "Murder in the second district," New Orleans Crescent, April 2, 1869, p. 1.
1869 Apr 01
New Orleans, LA, US
Raffaele Agnello, Frank Sacarro, Joseph Florda, Joseph P. Macheca
Raffaele Agnello, perhaps believing the gang war is concluded, strolls with his godson and bodyguard Frank Sacarro through the Italian sections of New Orleans business district. As he reaches the front of the Macheca produce shop on Old Levee Street between Toulouse and St. Louis, an assassin fires a brass-mounted blunderbuss pistol into Agnello's face. Agnello is instantly killed. The assassin, believed to be Joseph Florda (this is one of many names by which the man is known - others are Ignatio Renatz, Jose Flora and Gaetano Arditto), is wounded by Sacarro as he flees.
Source: "Murder in the second district," New Orleans Crescent, April 2, 1869, p. 1; "Murderous doings on Old Levee Street," New Orleans Bee, April 2, 1869.
1869 Jul 23
New Orleans, LA, US
Joseph Agnello, Salvatore Rosa, Joseph Banano, Pietro Allucho
Banano and Allucho are engaged in a gunfight with Agnello at the Old French Market, when Salvatore Rosa emerges from a nearby cart with a shotgun. Rosa shoots and kills Banano and Allucho.
Source: "The Sicilian feud," Shreveport LA South-western, Aug. 4, 1869, p. 2; New Orleans Daily Picayune, July 23, 1869.
1869 Aug 21
New Orleans, LA, US
Salvatore Rosa
While awaiting trial for the murders of Joseph Banano and Pietro Allucho, Salvatore Rosa suddenly becomes gravely ill. He is released after friends post a bail of $15,000. He dies at his home on Aug. 21, 1869.
Source: New Orleans Republican, Aug. 22, 1869; New Orleans Times, Aug. 24, 1869.
1869 Sep  
Ciminna, Palermo, Sicily
Rosario Dispenza
Birth of Rosario Dispenza, future boss of the Chicago Mafia, in Ciminna, Sicily, to Nicholas and Vita Ganga Dispenza.
Source: Cook County IL Death Index.
1869 Nov  
New Orleans, LA, US
Joseph Agnello, Dominick Ciaffo, Baptisto Lamana
Joseph Agnello, awaiting trial for charges related to the killings of Joseph Banano and Pietro Allucho, is granted release in bail of $4,000, provided by Dominick Ciaffo and Baptisto Lamana.
Source: Casey, Doug, "Sicilian feud in New Orleans," unpublished.
1872 Apr 20
New Orleans, LA, US
Joseph Agnello, Joseph Maressa, Joseph Florda, Vitali Dimichelli
Joseph Agnello is cornered by Joseph Maressa (also known as Vincent Orsica, business partner of Paul Salamoni), Joseph Florda (suspected killer of Raffaele Agnello), Vitali Dimichelli (his father Rosario was killed in March 1869 in the feud) and another gunman (whose name was given as Tilorez or Toledano) at the Picayune Tier of the New Orleans docks. He leaps onto the deck of the moored vessel Mischief, where he is shot to death by Maressa. The slug fired by Maressa's horse pistol leaves a hole completely through Agnello's midsection. Customhouse Inspector Joseph Soude, a bystander, is caught in a crossfire and killed. A boy on the Mischief, Edward O'Nixon, was wounded in the gunfight.
Source: "Local intelligence," New Orleans Republican, April 21, 1872, p. 5; New Orleans Daily Picayune, April 21, 1872; New Orleans Times, April 24, 1872; Casey, Doug, "Sicilian feud in New Orleans," unpublished.
1875 Feb 16
Colosimi, Cosenza, Calabria, Italy
Jim Colosimo
Vincenzo "Jim" Colosimo, future underworld organizer in Chicago, is born to Luigi and Giuseppina Colosimo.
Source: James Colosimo World War I draft registration card, serial no. 2862, Chicago IL, Sept. 12, 1918; Bilek, Arthur J., The First Vice Lord: Big Jim Colosimo and the Ladies of the Levee, Nashville: Cumberland House, 2008, p. 27; United States Census of 1900, Illinois, Cook County, Chicago, South Town, Ward 1, Enumeration District 20; "James 'Big Jim' Colosimo," Find A Grave, findagrave.com.
1877 Jan  
Palermo Province, Sicily, Italy
Antonino Leone, Giuseppe Esposito
Soon after the kidnapping of English businessman John Forester Rose by a band led by Leone and Esposito, Italy engages in repressive policies to combat brigands.
Source: Dickie, John, Cosa Nostra: A History of the Sicilian Mafia, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004, p. 75-76; Servadio, Gaia, Mafioso, London: Seckler & Warburg, 1976, p. 43; "Captured by brigands," New York Times, Dec. 2, 1876.
1877 Mar 21
Palermo, Palermo, Sicily
Ignazio Lupo
Future Brooklyn Mafia leader Ignazio Lupo is born in Palermo to Rocco and Onofria Saietta Lupo.
Source: Admission summary, July 27, 1936, Ignazio Lupo Prison File, #2883, Atlanta Federal Prison, NARA; “Ignazio Lupo,” Find A Grave, findagrave.com; World War I draft registration card, Sept. 12, 1918.
1877 May  
Aliminusa, Palermo Province, Italy
Antonino Leone, Giuseppe Esposito
Brigand chief Antonino Leone, betrayed by a follower, is surrounded by Italian police. As Leone and two of his lieutenants attempt to fight their way out of the trap, they are shot to death. Leone lieutenant Giuseppe Esposito was not with the gang at the time.
Source: "Declaration of Michele Lucchesi," June 1, 1877, Executive Document No. 20, Report from President Chester A. Arthur to the U.S. Senate, United States Senate, 47th Congress, 1st Session, Dec. 19, 1881, p.17-18; "Brigands killed," Atlanta Constitution, June 3, 1877, p. 1; "Palermo," New York Tribune, June 4, 1877, p. 5; "Leone...," New York Tribune, June 29, 1877, p. 4.
1877 Jun 23
Termini Imerese, Palermo Province, Italy
Antonio Leone, Salvatore Salpietra, Giuseppe Esposito
Former Leone lieutenants Giuseppe Esposito and Salvatore Salpietra and two men named Gallo and Giglio are hiding in Termini Imerese. Esposito separates from the group as he explores the possibility of escape on a ship. A cottage occupied by Salpietra, Gallo and Giglio is surrounded by police. The three brigands are captured after an exchange of gunfire.
Source: Testimony of Gaetano Salemi, Executive Document No. 20, Report from President Chester A. Arthur to the U.S. Senate, United States Senate, 47th Congress, 1st Session, Dec. 19, 1881, p. 19; Testimony of Giuseppe Napoli, Executive Document No. 20, Report from President Chester A. Arthur to the U.S. Senate, United States Senate, 47th Congress, 1st Session, Dec. 19, 1881, p. 20; London Times, July 3, 1877.
1877 Jul 9
Alia, Palermo Province, Italy
Giuseppe Esposito
Giuseppe Esposito, upon learning of the capture of Salvatore Salpietra, surrenders to authorities in Alia.
Source: Executive Document No. 20, Report from President Chester A. Arthur to the U.S. Senate, United States Senate, 47th Congress, 1st Session, Dec. 19, 1881, p. 18; "Opinion of John A. Osborn, Commissioner," Executive Document No. 20, Report from President Chester A. Arthur to the U.S. Senate, United States Senate, 47th Congress, 1st Session, Dec. 19, 1881, p. 8; "Randazza, the brigand," Los Angeles CA Herald, Aug. 10, 1881, p. 3; London Times, Aug. 11, 1877.
1878 Sep 5
Palermo, Palermo Province, Italy
Giuseppe Esposito, Salvatore Salpietra
While they are being transported to trial at the Court of Assizes in Palermo, an orchestrated plan results in the escapes of Esposito, Salpietra and an associate.
Source: "Brigandage in Sicily," London Times, Sept. 12, 1878; Statement of the Legation of H.M. the King of Italy, Executive Document No. 20, Report from President Chester A. Arthur to the U.S. Senate, United States Senate, 47th Congress, 1st Session, Dec. 19, 1881, p. 37; "Opinion of John A. Osborn, Commissioner," Executive Document No. 20, Report from President Chester A. Arthur to the U.S. Senate, United States Senate, 47th Congress, 1st Session, Dec. 19, 1881, p. 8.
1878 Nov  
San Francisco, CA, US
Rosario Meli, Ignazio Trepani, Joseph Bianchi, Salvatore Messino
Mafia leader Rosario Meli and associates Trepani and Bianchi are convicted of robbing G. Pennelli in a San Francisco pool room. Similar charges against Messino are dismissed when he cooperates with authorities.
Source: "The crimes of a bandit," National Police Gazette, Dec. 13, 1879, p. 11.
1878 Dec 7
San Francisco, CA, US
Rosario Meli, Ignazio Trepani, Joseph Bianchi
San Francisco Mafia leader Rosario Meli is sentenced to five years and six months in California State Prison for robbery. Accomplice Trepani gets five years and three months, and Bianchi gets five years.
Source: "The crimes of a bandit," National Police Gazette, Dec. 13, 1879, p. 11; "In the municipal criminal court...," Daily Alta California, Dec. 8, 1878, p. 1.
1879    
New Orleans, LA, US
Giuseppe Esposito
Esposito flees Sicily and makes his way to the United States. After a brief stay in New York City, he moves on to settle in New Orleans.
Source: Nelli, Humbert S., The Business of Crime: Italians and Syndicate Crime in the United States, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1976, p. 29.
1879 Aug 07
Salemi, Trapani, Sicily
Gaspare Messina
Future Boston Mafia leader Messina is born to Salvatore and Gasparina Messina in Salemi.
Source: World War I Draft Registration, Sept. 12, 1918; Petition for Citizenship, 167233, filed U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York on April 4, 1930.
1879 Dec 23
Washington, DC, US
Rosario Meli
Following an application by the government of Italy, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State John Hay signs an extradition order for Rosario Meli.
Source: "An Italian brigand in town," New York Times, Sept. 1, 1880, p. 5.
1880 Aug  
Sacramento, CA, US
Rosario Meli
California Governor George Clement Perkins pardons convicted robber Rosario Meli so he can be released from California State Prison and turned over to agents of Italy for extradition. The matter is kept quiet out of fear that Meli's Mafia associates will try to help him escape.
Source: "Sending a brigand back to Sicily," Daily Los Angeles Herald, Aug. 25, 1880, p. 1; "A murderer extradited," New York Herald, Aug. 25, 1880, p. 7.
1880 Aug 31
New York City, NY, US
Rosario Meli
Meli reaches New York City in the custody of Italian police officer Lucca Garrette and California law enforcement officer, Captain Stone. A group of New York City Sicilians arranges for representation by attorney William F. Kintzing. The group attempts to visit Meli at police headquarters but is refused permission.
Source: "A San Francisco policeman...," New York Evening Post, Sept. 1, 1880, p. 1; "The Italian brigand," New York Evening Telegram, Sept. 1, 1880, p. 1; "Rosario Meli tells his story," New York Times, Sept. 2, 1880, p. 8.
1880 Sep 8
New York City, NY, US
Rosario Meli
Meli is taken to Pier No. 50 North River, placed aboard the steamer Canada bound for Havre and released into the custody of agents of the Italian police.
Source: "Two fugitive criminals," New York Times, Sept. 9, 1880.
1881 Mar 31
Washington, DC, US
Giuseppe Esposito
Responding to the application of Italian Prince Camporeale, U.S. Secretary of State James G. Blaine grants a warrant to arrest Giuseppe Esposito and conduct an examination into Italy's criminal charges against him, with a view to surrendering him for extradition to Italy.
Source: Letter of James G. Blaine to Prince Camporeale, March 31, 1881, Executive Document No. 20, Report from President Chester A. Arthur to the U.S. Senate, United States Senate, 47th Congress, 1st Session, Dec. 19, 1881, p. 37; Statement of the Legation of H.M. the King of Italy, March 30, 1881, Executive Document No. 20, Report from President Chester A. Arthur to the U.S. Senate, United States Senate, 47th Congress, 1st Session, Dec. 19, 1881, p. 37.
1881 Jul 7
New Orleans, LA, US
Giuseppe Esposito, David Hennessy, Mike Hennessy
Giuseppe Esposito (aliases Giuseppe Randazzo, Vincenzo Rebello) is captured in New Orleans by police detectives David and Mike Hennessy, cousins. He is turned over to private detectives working as agents of the Italian government and subsequently transported to New York City.
Source: "Leones lieutenant," New Orleans Times, July 8, 1881; Pitkin, Thomas Monroe and Francesco Cordasco, The Black Hand: A Chapter in Ethnic Crime, Totowa, New Jersey: Littlefield, Adams, 1977, p. 23.
1882 Jan 20
Irsina, Basilicata, Italy
Johnny Torrio
Giovanni Torrio is born as the second child of Thomas and Maria Torrio. His father dies in an accident soon after.
Source: Stelzer, Patricia Jacobs, Prohibition and Organized Crime: A Case Study, An Examination of the Life of John Torrio, master's degree thesis, Dayton OH: Wright State University, 1997, p. 3.
1884 Apr
New York, NY, US
Johnny Torrio
After her husband's death, Maria Torrio takes her young son to New York, leaving daughter behind with relatives in Italy. Maria and Johnny Torrio settle in the home of Maria's brother Dominic Carlucci.
Source: Stelzer, Patricia Jacobs, Prohibition and Organized Crime: A Case Study, An Examination of the Life of John Torrio, master's degree thesis, Dayton OH: Wright State University, 1997, p. 3.
1884 Nov 19
Piana dei Greci, Palermo, Sicily
Giuseppe Ardizzone
The future southern California Mafia leader is born in Sicily to Antonio and Giuseppina Ardizzone.
Source: Tiernan, M.L., He Never Came Home: The Mysterious Disappearance that Devastated a Family, The Early History of Sunland, California, Vol. 5., Amazon Digital, 2014; World War I Draft Registration Card, Los Angeles County, Sept. 12, 1918; Giuseppe Ardizzone Declaration of Intention, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, No. 13512, July 14, 1920.
1886
New York, NY, US
Johnny Torrio
Maria Carlucci Torrio, mother of Johnny Torrio, marries Salvatore Caputo, who owns a small grocery on James Street near the East River.
Source: Stelzer, Patricia Jacobs, Prohibition and Organized Crime: A Case Study, An Examination of the Life of John Torrio, master's degree thesis, Dayton OH: Wright State University, 1997, p. 3-4.
1886 Jan 17
Menfi, Agrigento, Sicily
Giuseppe Masseria
Future U.S. Mafia boss of bosses Masseria is born to Giuseppe and Vita Marceca Masseria in Menfi.
Source: Warner, Richard N., “The Warner Files: On the trail of Giuseppe ‘Joe the Boss’ Masseria,” Informer: The History of American Crime and Law Enforcement, February 2011, p. 58
1886 May 15
Corleone, Palermo, Sicily
Vincent Terranova
Vincent Terranova, half-brother of Giuseppe Morello, is born to Bernardo and Angela Piazza Terranova.
Source: Petition for Naturalization, 105297, Supreme Court of the State of New York, May 6, 1920.
1886 Sep 30
Houston, TX, US
Mike Hennessy
Mike Hennessy, who moved from New Orleans to establish a detective agency in Houston, is shot to death a short distance from his home. The gunman escaped unseen.
Source: "A detective assassinated," Topeka KS Daily Capital, Oct. 1, 1886, p. 1.
1887
Castellammare del Golfo, Trapani, Sicily
Gaspare Milazzo
Future Detroit Mafia leader Milazzo is born to Vincenzo and Camilla Pizzo Milazzo in Castellammare.
Source: Birth records of Castellammare del Golfo.
1888 Jul 20
Corleone, Palermo, Sicily
Ciro Terranova
Ciro Terranova, half-brother of Giuseppe Morello, is born to Bernardo and Angela Piazza Terranova.
Source: Petition for Naturalization, 78124, Supreme Court of the State of New York, submitted July 25, 1918.
1889 Sep 27
Corleone, Palermo, Sicily
Gaetano Reina
Reina, future Mafia leader of Bronx, NY, is born in Corleone, Sicily.
Source: Gaetano Reina World War I draft registration card, New York, NY, July 1917.
1890 Jan 06
Corleone, Palermo, Sicily
Nicholas Terranova
Nicholas "Coco" Terranova, half-brother of Giuseppe Morello, is born to Bernardo and Angela Piazza Terranova.
Source: Petition for Naturalization, 36747, Supreme Court of the State of New York, submitted Nov. 3, 1913.
1890 May 6
New Orleans, LA, US
Antonio Matranga, David Hennessy
Though police officials believed they had resolved a New Orleans underworld feud between Mafia factions led by the Matranga and Provenzano families, the feud erupts with an early morning ambush of Matranga workers. Three men, including Antonio Matranga, are seriously wounded. Provenzano leaders are jailed, as Police Chief David Hennessy takes personal charge of the investigation.
Source: Hunt, Thomas, and Martha Macheca Sheldon, Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia, Createspace, 2010.
1890 Oct 15
New Orleans, LA, US
David Hennessy, Charlie Matranga, Joseph P. Macheca
Police Chief David Hennessy is shot and mortally wounded by a group of gunmen as he approaches his home. He is heard to say "Dagoes" are responsible. The Matranga Mafia faction, led by Charlie Matranga and advised by Joseph P. Macheca, is believed responsible, as that faction had viewed Hennessy as a protector of the rival Provenzanos.
Source: Hunt, Thomas, and Martha Macheca Sheldon, Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia, Createspace, 2010.
1891 Jan 26
Cosenza, Calabria, Italy
Frank Costello
Birth of Frank Costello (Castiglia).
Source: Petition for Naturalization, no. 61756, May 1, 1925, District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York.
1891 Feb 27
San Roberto, Calabria, Italy
Frank Milano
Future Cleveland Mafia leader Milano is born in Italy.
Source: World War I draft registration card, June 5, 1917; U.S. Naturalization record index, U.S. Department of Labor, Immigration and Naturalization Service, Form No. 1-IP, March 18, 1920.
1891 Feb 27
New Orleans, LA, US
Joseph P. Macheca, Charlie Matranga, David Hennessy
Macheca, Matranga and seven other defendants are tried for the murder of Police Chief Hennessy.
Source: Hunt, Thomas, and Martha Macheca Sheldon, Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia, Createspace, 2010.
1891 Mar 13
New Orleans, LA, US
Joseph P. Macheca, Charlie Matranga, David Hennessy
A jury finds none of the nine defendants guilty of the murder of Chief Hennessy. The New Orleans population is enraged. A group of local political leaders organize for a rally that will storm the Orleans Parish Prison, where the defendants remain, the next morning.
Source: Hunt, Thomas, and Martha Macheca Sheldon, Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia, Createspace, 2010.
1891 Mar 14
New Orleans, LA, US
Joseph P. Macheca, Charlie Matranga, William Parkerson
A mob forms under the direction of political leader William Parkerson. The mob storms Orleans Parish Prison, and a select execution squad is sent into the institution. Macheca and ten other prisoners are murdered. Matranga, recognized leader of the local Mafia, is spared by the execution squad.
Source: Hunt, Thomas, and Martha Macheca Sheldon, Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia, Createspace, 2010.
1891 Apr 18
Corleone, Palermo, Sicily
Jack Ignatius Dragna
Future southern California Mafia boss is born in Corleone.
Source: California Death Index, Los Angeles, Feb. 23, 1956; Petition for Naturalization, U.S. District Court at Los Angeles, No. 76286, June 21, 1940.
1891 Jun 03
New York, NY, US
Jim Colosimo
Future Chicago underworld organizer Jim Colosimo arrives in New York on his way to Chicago.
Source: Passenger manifest of S.S. Alsatia, arrived New York City on June 3, 1891; Bilek, Arthur J., The First Vice Lord: Big Jim Colosimo and the Ladies of the Levee, Nashville: Cumberland House, 2008, p. 27-28.
1892
Bisacquino, Palermo, Sicily
Vito Cascio Ferro
Cascio Ferro serves as president of an anarchist "Fascia" organization in Bisacquino. After a government crackdown on leftist groups, Cascio Ferro goes into hiding in Tunisia.
Source: Petacco, Arrigo, translated by Charles Lam Markmann, Joe Petrosino, New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1974, p. 91; Dickie, John, Cosa Nostra: A History of the Sicilian Mafia, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004, p. 154.
1892 Sep
New York, NY, US
Giuseppe Morello
Estimated time of Giuseppe Morello's first arrival in the United States.
Source: Ciro Terranova testimony, United States v. Giuseppe Calicchio et al., U.S. Circuit for the Southern District of New York, Criminal Case 2-347, January-February 1910.
1893 Feb 1
 , Palermo Province, Italy
Emanuele Notarbartolo, Raffaele Palizzolo, Giuseppe Fontana
Anti-Mafia business and political leader Emanuele Notarbartolo is stabbed to death on a train traveling between Termini Imerese and Palermo. His enemies Palizzolo and Fontana are believed responsible. Fontana is arrested along with a group of Mafiosi from the town of Villabate.
Source: Petacco, Arrigo, translated by Charles Lam Markmann, Joe Petrosino, New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1974, p. 88
1893 Mar 08
New York, NY, US
Giuseppe Morello, Bernardo Terranova
The Morello-Terranova family arrives in New York City to join Giuseppe Morello.
Source: Passenger manifest of S.S. Alsatia arrived New York City on March 8, 1893.
1894
Palermo Province, Sicily
Vito Cascio Ferro
Cascio Ferro returns from Tunisia and begins organizing criminal activity in Palermo Province.
Source: Petacco, Arrigo, translated by Charles Lam Markmann, Joe Petrosino, New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1974, p. 92.
1894 Mar
Louisiana, US
Giuseppe Morello, Vincent Terranova, Ciro Terranova, Nicholas Terranova
Estimated time of the Morello-Terranova family's move from New York to Louisiana. Giuseppe Morello moved two months earlier.
Source: Ciro Terranova testimony, United States v. Giuseppe Calicchio et al., U.S. Circuit for the Southern District of New York, Criminal Case 2-347, January-February 1910.
1894 Jun 04
New York, NY, US
Guarino Moretti
Moretti (also known as Willie Moore), later a power in the Mafia organizations of East Harlem, Buffalo and New Jersey, is born to Genaro and Marie Moretti.
Source: Investigation of Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce, Part 7, New York - New Jersey, Hearings before the Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce, U.S. Senate, 81st Congress 2nd Session, 82nd Congress 1st Session, Washington D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1951, p. 322; U.S. Census of 1910, New York State, New York County, Ward 12, Enumeration District 318.
1894 Sep
New York, NY, US
Salvatore Clemente, Antonio Franco
Authorities arrest leaders of the Clemente-Franco counterfeiting ring.
Source: "Counterfeiters caught," New York Sun, Feb. 17, 1895, p. 5.
1895
New York, NY, US
Tommy Dyke
Future New York City and Buffalo gangster Tommy Dyke is bron to Rocco and Angelina Bellantoni on Mulberry Street.
Source: "Thomas Bellantoni, East Side figure, 49," New York Times, June 22, 1945, p. 12; U.S. Census of 1910.
1895 Feb 16
New York, NY, US
Stella Frauto, James Merendino, Raffaele Federico, Giuseppe Abbio, Salvatore Frauto, Salvatore Clemente, Madeline Clemente
Secret Service agents arrest Stella Frauto and other gang members at East 70th Street for counterfeiting U.S. coins.
Source: "Counterfeiters caught," New York Sun, Feb. 17, 1895, p. 5; "Caught eight counterfeiters," New York Herald, Feb. 17, 1895, p. 12.
1895 Mar
Bryan, TX, US
Giuseppe Morello, Vincent Terranova, Ciro Terranova, Nicholas Terranova
Estimated time of the Morello-Terranova family's move from Louisiana to Bryan, Texas.
Source: Ciro Terranova testimony, United States v. Giuseppe Calicchio et al., U.S. Circuit for the Southern District of New York, Criminal Case 2-347, January-February 1910.
1895 Apr 02
New York, NY, US
Frank Costello
Frank Costello, four years old, arrives in New York.
Source: Petition for Naturalization, no. 61756, May 1, 1925, District Court of the United States for the Southern District of New York.
1896 Jan 15
New York, US
Candelaro Bettini, Nicola Taranto, Joseph Giordano
New York Mafia leaders Bettini and Taranto, along with Bettini aide Joseph Giordano, are arrested for wholesaling counterfeit U.S. currency. A number of "passers" of counterfeit currency are also arrested.
Source: "Thousands in bad bills," New York Times, Jan. 17, 1896, p. 1.
1896 Mar 19
New York, NY, US
Nicola Taranto
After jury deliberations of just fifteen minutes, Taranto and several others are convicted of selling and passing counterfeit U.S. currency.
Source: "New York, March 20...," Maysville KY Evening Bulletin, March 20, 1896, p. 4; "New York, March 20...," Freeland PA Tribune, March 26, 1896, p. 2.
1896 Apr 23
New York, NY, US
Nicola Taranto
Taranto is sentenced to five years in Clinton Prison for counterfeiting. Taranto is said to be suffering from an incurable disease. Judge Brown makes the sentence a relatively light one.
Source: "Five years for a counterfeiter," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, April 23, 1896, p. 14; "Nicolo Toranto sentenced," New York Tribune, April 24, 1896, p. 5.
1896 Jun 26
New York, NY, US
Candelaro Bettini
Bettini is convicted of possession of counterfeit currency. He is sentenced to eight years in prison.
Source: "Counterfeiters sentenced," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, June 28, 1896, p. 4; "Counterfeiters sentenced," Chicago Inter Ocean, Oct. 30, 1888, p. 1; "Threatened with death," Chicago Daily Tribune, Oct. 30, 1888, p. 5; "Italian criminals," Los Angeles Herald, Oct. 30, 1888, p. 4.
1897
New York, NY, US
Giuseppe Morello, Vincent Terranova, Ciro Terranova, Nicholas Terranova
Estimated time of the Morello-Terranova family's move from Bryan, Texas, back to New York City.
Source: Ciro Terranova testimony, United States v. Giuseppe Calicchio et al., U.S. Circuit for the Southern District of New York, Criminal Case 2-347, January-February 1910.
1897 Nov 11
Lercara Friddi, Palermo, Sicily
Charlie Luciano
Salvatore Lucania, later known as New York Mafia boss Charlie Luciano, is born in Sicily to Antonio and Rosalia Lucania.
Source: "Luciano dies at 65; was facing arrest," New York Times, Jan. 27, 1962, p. 1; "Salvatore Lucania...," FBI report Albany 100-5170, Oct. 16, 1942, p. 1; "Salvatore Lucania...," FBI report NY 62-8768, May 5, 1946, p. 2.
1898 Apr 13
New York, NY, US
Stella Frauto
Frauto is again arrested for coin counterfeiting. Reports indicate that her husband died in prison while serving time on a counterfeiting conviction.
Source: "Two counterfeiters arrested," New York Sun, April 14, 1898, p. 5.
1898 Jun 14
Palermo, Palermo, Sicily
Vito Cascio Ferro
Police arrest Cascio Ferro and several other men, charging them with the abduction of Baroness Clorinda Peritelli. Cascio Ferro does not deny the charge, but argues that the abduction was performed for cause of conspirator Girolamo Campisi's love for the baroness. Cascio Ferro receives a three-year suspended sentence. Other defendants are discharged.
Source: Petacco, Arrigo, translated by Charles Lam Markmann, Joe Petrosino, New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1974, p. 92-93.
1899 Jun 28
New York, NY, US
Rosario Dispenza
Rosario Dispenza of Ciminna, Sicily, arrives in New York City with his wife and children on their way to Chicago. Dispenza will quickly become boss of the Chicago Mafia.
Source: Passenger manifest of S.S. Aller arrived New York on June 28, 1899.
1899 Jul 09
New York, NY, US
Rocco Racco
Future Calabrian underworld leader of western Pennsylvania, Racco arrives in New York City on his way to join relatives in Albany, NY.
Source: Passenger manifest of S.S. Tartar Prince, departed Naples on June 23, 1899, arrived New York City on July 9, 1899.
1899 Oct 26
New Orleans, LA, US
Giuseppe Ardizzzone
The future southern California Mafia leader arrives in New Orleans.
Source: Giuseppe Ardizzone Declaration of Intention, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, No. 13512, July 14, 1920.
1899 Dec 8
Palermo, Sicily, Italy
Emanuele Notarbartolo, Raffaele Palizzolo
Palizzolo is arrested for the 1893 murder of Emanuele Notarbartolo.
Source: Petacco, Arrigo, translated by Charles Lam Markmann, Joe Petrosino, New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1974, p. 88.