Salvatore Maranzano

Salvatore Maranzano
1886 to Sept. 10, 1931.
"Don Turridru"

Maranzano was regarded as a Mafia hero in Sicily before coming to the United States in 1925 (D.L.Chandler says it was in 1927) and was probably descended from a Sicilian noble family.

Born near Castellammare del Golfo, Sicily, in 1886, Maranzano was near 40 when he showed up in New York City. He was immediately welcomed by the predominantly Castellammarese Mafia group run by Cola Schiro in Brooklyn. Maranzano settled into bootlegging and into smuggling Sicilians into the country. Some say that Maranzano was deliberately sent to New York by Sicilian boss of bosses Vito Cascio Ferro to prepare for Cascio Ferro to transplant his entire organization to the New World.

Cascio Ferro was jailed in Sicily by the Fascists shortly after Maranzano's arrival in the U.S., so, if such a plan existed, it was almost immediately scrapped.

For whatever reason, a number of Mafia leaders across the country appear to have quickly allied themselves with the newcomer Maranzano. Some of those might have been loyalists of former boss of bosses Salvatore D'Aquila, who was murdered by Giuseppe Masseria in 1928.

In 1930, Maranzano mobilized forces opposed to Masseria, who had begun excessively meddling in the internal affairs of Mafia groups across the country. The Castellammarese War resulted. Maranzano gradually won the support of a number of key Masseria subordinates and benefited from the 1930 deaths of Masseria allies Al Mineo, Steve Ferrigno and Giuseppe Morello.

In 1931, Masseria lieutenant Charlie Luciano secretly arranged with Maranzano to assassinate Masseria. That was accomplished on April 15. Maranzano took the opportunity to declare himself king of the Sicilian-Italian underworld in the U.S. At two meetings, one for New York Mafiosi in the Bronx and another entertaining the criminal societies leaders from around the country in Chicago, Maranzano accepted cash tribute and spoke as the supreme ruler of the American Mafia.

Luciano and his allies, including non-Italian gangsters, were too independent-minded to follow Maranzano for long. The new boss understood that and targeted Luciano for assassination. Luciano beat him to the punch, however, having Maranzano stabbed and shot to death in his Manhattan offices on Sept. 10, 1931.

Related Links:

2007 T.Hunt
The American "Mafia"