November 1857 to Oct. 28, 1943.
Charles Matranga and his older brother Antonio (born in 1856) were key members of a Mafia group that took root in New Orleans in the 1870s.
Charles Matranga, born in Sicily in 1857 and taken to the United States as an infant, eventually became the leader of the New Orleans Stuppaghieri Mafia group co-founded by his father Salvador and Salvatore Marino.
In the 1880s, the Matranga Brothers began moving in on the dock rackets of rival Giardinieri Mafia leader Joe Provenzano. By 1888, authorities estimated that a Matranga-Macheca gang had strengthened itself by importing 320 members of the Monreale, Sicily, Stuppagghieri.
War between the Matranga and Provenzano factions began within a year. New Orleans Police Chief David Hennessey actively supported the Provenzano side.
Charles Matranga was among those charged with conspiracy in connection with the assassination of Hennessey in 1890. No convictions were obtained for any of the 19 defendants in the murder case (only nine stood trial), and the public apparently took matters into its own hands.
Joseph P. Macheca was one of 11 suspects shot and hanged to death by vigilantes who stormed the prison on March 14, 1891.
Matranga was left unharmed, though he was widely known to be the chief of the local Mafia. He remained a power in the local underworld (quickly incorporating the remainder of the Provenzano mob) until the 1920s, when he moved aside for Sylvestro "Sam" Carolla.
The Matranga family appears to have been connected with Mafia organizations southern California and western Florida. Connections in the American Midwest are also possible.
Charles Matranga died of natural causes on Oct. 28, 1943.
© 2007 T.Hunt
The American "Mafia"