? to Nov. 8, 1924.
Merlo is regarded as the greatest leader the Chicago Unione Siciliana ever had. He also happened to be a Mafia visionary who inspired Johnny Torrio and Al Capone.
During his long reign, Merlo negotiated disputes among the various gangs of Chicago while transforming the Unione Siciliana fraternal organization into a front for the nation's Mafiosi.
Little is known of Merlo's early life, but he appears to have immigrated into the United States through New Orleans. He later traveled to the Midwest, settling in Chicago.
Merlo died of cancer on Nov. 8, 1924, and was given one of the most spectacular funerals ever seen in his adopted hometown. Upon his death, Chicago burst into gang warfare which did not subside until Alphonse Capone emerged as the supreme local boss in 1931.
© 2007 T.Hunt
The American "Mafia"