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Encyclopedia > Johnny Torrio
Giovanni Torrio
Image:Johnnytorrio.jpg
Born February, 1882
Irsina, Basilicata, Italy
Died April 16, 1957
Chicago, Illinois, USA

John "Papa Johnny" Torrio, a.k.a."The Fox" (born Giovanni Torrio) (February, 1882April 16, 1957) was an American mobster who helped build the criminal empire known as the Chicago Outfit in the 1920s that would later be inherited by his protege, Al Capone. He also put forth the idea of the National Crime Syndicate in the 1930s and became an unofficial advisor to the Genovese crime family. photo of mobster johnny torrio This work is copyrighted. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Year 1882 (MDCCCLXXXII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... Irsina is a town and comune in the province of Matera, in the Southern Italian region of Basilicata. ... Basilicata is a region in the south of Italy, bordering on Campania to the west, Puglia (Apulia) to the east, Calabria to the south, it has one short coastline on the Tyrrhenian Sea and another of the Gulf of Taranto in the Ionian Sea to the south-east. ... April 16 is the 106th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (107th in leap years). ... 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Nickname: Motto: Urbs In Horto (Latin: City in a Garden), I Will Location in the Chicago metro area and Illinois Coordinates: Country United States State Illinois County Cook & DuPage Incorporated March 4, 1837 Government  - Mayor Richard M. Daley (D) Area  - City  234. ... Official language(s) English[1] Capital Springfield Largest city Chicago Largest metro area Chicago Area  Ranked 25th  - Total 57,918 sq mi (149,998 km²)  - Width 210 miles (340 km)  - Length 390 miles (629 km)  - % water 4. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Year 1882 (MDCCCLXXXII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar). ... April 16 is the 106th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (107th in leap years). ... 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Organized crime or criminal organizations are groups or operations run by criminals, most commonly for the purpose of generating a monetary profit. ... The Chicago Outfit is a crime syndicate that has a long and extensive history dating back to long before Prohibition and part of the U.S. phenomenon known as the Mafia. ... The 1920s is a decade that is sometimes referred to as the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties, usually applied to America. ... “Capone” redirects here. ... The National Crime Syndicate was the name given by the press to a supposed loosely-organized organized crime syndicate, set up in the 1930s, by Charles Lucky Luciano and based in New York City. ... Face The 1930s (years from 1930–1939) were described as an abrupt shift to more radical and conservative lifestyles, as countries were struggling to find a solution to the Great Depression, also known in Europe as the World Depression. ... The Genovese Crime Family is one of the Five Families that controls organized crime activities in New York City, USA, within the nationwide criminal phenomenon known as the Mafia (or Cosa Nostra). ...

Contents

Early life

Born Giovanni Torrio in the village of Irsina, near the city of Matera, Italy, his father died when he was two years old, and his widowed mother emigrated with him to New York City. Growing up in the slums of Manhattan's Lower East Side, his first job was as a porter at his new stepfather's grocery store, which was just a front for moonshine and beer drinkers; he later became a bouncer at a rough bar. Irsina is a town and comune in the province of Matera, in the Southern Italian region of Basilicata. ... A street corner in the ancient Sassi di Matera as it looks today. ... Nickname: Location in the state of New York Coordinates: Country United States State New York Boroughs The Bronx Brooklyn Manhattan Queens Staten Island Settled 1625 Government  - Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) Area  - City  468. ... Manhattan is a borough of New York City, New York, USA, coterminous with New York County. ... Categories: Manhattan neighborhoods | Stub ... Shine Road The name tells the history of this back road in Hemingway, South Carolina Revenue men at the site of moonshine stills, Kentucky, 1911 or before Moonshine (sometimes known as Poitín, mooney, moon, creek water, hooch, Portuguese grape juice, white lightning, and many others) is a common slang... Beer in the glass Schlenkerla Rauchbier direct from the cask Beer is the worlds oldest[1] and most popular[2] alcoholic beverage. ... For other uses, see Bouncer (disambiguation). ...


As a teen, Torrio became the leader of a youth street gang called the James Street Gang. He saved enough money to open a billiards parlour for the group, out of which grew illegal activities such as gambling and loan sharking. His shrewd business acumen caught the eye of Paolo Vaccarelli (a.k.a. Paul Kelly), the leader of the famous Five Points Gang. In 1905, the James Street Gang was transformed into the Five Points Juniors, a sort of "training ground" for future Five Pointers, and Torrio eventually became Kelly's number-two. Torrio greatly admired Kelly, who taught him much about organized crime culture; he convinced the younger man to dress conservatively, stop swearing, and set up a front as a legitimate entrepreneur. The lessons Torrio learned from Kelly stayed with him throughout his career, and in time earned the moniker of "The Fox" because of his cunning and diplomatic ways. This article is about the various cue sports. ... The term gambling has had many different meanings depending on the cultural and historical context in which it is used. ... Usury (from the Latin usus meaning used) was defined originally as charging a fee for the use of money. ... The Five Points Gang was a 19th-century criminal organization based in the Sixth Ward (The Five Points) of New York City. ... 1905 (MCMV) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar). ... Organized crime or criminal organizations are groups or operations run by criminals, most commonly for the purpose of generating a monetary profit. ...


Soon, however, Torrio formed a splinter operation of his own on the Brooklyn docks. It ran legitimate businesses, but its main concern was the numbers game, supplemented by incomes from bookmaking, loan sharking, hijacking, prostitution, and opium trafficking. Torrio often paid younger neighbourhood kids to run errands for him; one of these boys was Al Capone, whom he soon came to trust immensely. Capone was a member of the Juniors and soon graduated up to the Five Points Gang itself, and Torrio hired him to bartend at the Harvard Inn, a bar on Coney Island owned by Torrio's business associate Francesco Ioele (a.k.a. Frankie Yale). Brooklyn (named after the Dutch city Breukelen) is one of the five boroughs of New York City. ... The Numbers Game or Policy Racket is an illegal lottery played mostly in poor neighborhoods in U.S. cities, wherein the bettor attempts to pick three or four digits to match those that will be randomly drawn the following day. ... A bookmaker, or a bookie, is an organisation or a person that takes bets and may pay winnings depending upon results and, depending on the nature of the bet, the United States, with Singapore and Canada, the only legal bookmaker is state_owned and operated. ... Usury (from the Latin usus meaning used) was defined originally as charging a fee for the use of money. ... For the 1967 film, see Robbery (film). ... Whore redirects here. ... This article does not adequately cite its references. ... For other uses, see Coney Island (disambiguation). ... Francesco Ioele (1893 - July 1, 1928), better known as Frankie Uale or the alias of Yale, was a Brooklyn gangster and original employer of Al Capone, before the latter moved to Chicago to start his own gang. ...


Life in Chicago

In 1909, Torrio was summoned to Chicago by his aunt, Victoria Moresco, who was a highly successful madam there. The life of her husband, crime boss and pimp Giacomo "Big Jim" Colosimo, was being threatened by Black Hand extortionists who had been bothering him ever since he made it big. Torrio arranged for payment to be made to the Black Hand, but when they attempted to collect it on Archer Avenue, they were murdered by Torrio-led gunmen. Yale became Torrio's chief lieutenant, and took care of The Fox's NYC operations after the latter left for the Windy City. Torrio became manager of the headquarters of Big Jim's gang, Colosimo's Cafe, located at 2126 South Wabash Avenue. In 1919, he would open a new saloon, gambling den, and whorehouse called The Four Deuces, situated just up the street at 2222 South Wabash, and move his operations there. He also married a Jewish girl named Anna Jacob, whom he loved dearly and never cheated on, although he never let her know of his business dealings. 1909 (MCMIX) was a common year starting on Friday (see link for calendar). ... James Big Jim Colosimo (1877[1] – May 11, 1920) (born Giacomo Colosimo) immigrated to Chicago, Illinois, from Cosenza, Calabria, Italy, in 1895. ... Black Hand was a type of extortion racket. ... Year 1919 (MCMXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar). ... For other uses, see Jew (disambiguation). ...


In 1918, Frankie Yale contacted Torrio and requested him to take Capone into Chicago; "Scarface" was on the lam from a murder investigation and needed to tidy up his image. Capone joined the racket as a bouncer at one of Johnny's brothels and soon rose to become manager of The Four Deuces. Two years later, Prohibition came into effect, making all manufacture, purchase, or sale of alcoholic beverages illegal. Torrio immediately realized the immense profits bootlegging could bring and urged Colosimo to enter the business. Big Jim, however, would have none of it; he was happy pimping and felt expansion into other rackets would only draw more attention from the police and rival gangs. In addition, he had fallen in love with pretty young singer Dale Winter, for whom he divorced his wife Victoria, remarrying three weeks later. Dale convinced him to settle down, dress more conservatively, and stay out of the news. All of this, Torrio believed, was a serious impediment to the mob's fortunes. With approval from Colosimo allies, the Genna and Aiello brothers, he invited Frankie Yale to Chicago to kill Big Jim. The murder took place on 11 May 1920, right in the main foyer of Colosimo's Cafe. No one was ever prosecuted, and with the killing, Torrio took over his mentor's vast criminal kingdom and ventured into bootlegging. 1918 (MCMXVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. ... The term Prohibition, also known as A Dry Law, refers to a law in a certain country by which the manufacture, transportation, import, export, and sale of alcoholic beverages is restricted or illegal. ... Rum-running is the business of smuggling or transporting of alcoholic beverages illegally, usually to circumvent taxation or prohibition. ... The Genna crime family was one of the major players in the Chicago gangland wars of the 1920s. ... Joe Aiello Giuseppe Joe Aiello (1891 - October 23, 1930) was a Sicilian-American mobster during the 1920s and early 1930s. ... May 11 is the 131st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (132nd in leap years). ... 1920 (MCMXX) was a leap year starting on Thursday. ...


As the 1920s progressed, Torrio, with Capone as his lieutenant, presided over the expansion of his outfit, as it raked in millions from gambling, prostitution and, now, bootlegging. It soon came to control the Loop (Chicago's downtown area), as well as much of the South Side. However, it was also intent on seizing the profitable Gold Coast territory, which drew the ire of the North Side Gang led by Dion O'Banion. The two sides began a fragile alliance, but tension between O'Banion and the Gennas (who were Torrio/Capone allies) over territorial rights mounted and, furthermore, O'Banion double-crossed Torrio in a brewery acquisition deal. Torrio ordered O'Banion killed, and the hit was carried out on 10 November 1924, in the Irishman's North Side flower shop by Frankie Yale, John Scalise, and Albert Anselmi. This sparked a bloody, brutal gangland war between the North and South Sides that would last throughout the decade. The 1920s is a decade that is sometimes referred to as the Jazz Age or the Roaring Twenties, usually applied to America. ... The term gambling has had many different meanings depending on the cultural and historical context in which it is used. ... Whore redirects here. ... Rum-running is the business of smuggling or transporting of alcoholic beverages illegally, usually to circumvent taxation or prohibition. ... The Loop is what locals call the historical center of downtown Chicago. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Community areas of Chicago. ... The Near North Side is the part of Chicago, Illinois just north of the downtown central business district (the Loop). ... The North Side Gang (also known as the North Side Mob) was the dominant Irish-American criminal organization (although a large number of Polish and German-American were members as well) within Chicago during the Prohibition from the early to late 1920s and principal rival of the Johnny Torrio-Al... Dean Charles OBanion (also Dion OBanion) (8 July 1892 - 10 November 1924) was an Irish-American mobster who was the main rival of Johnny Torrio and Al Capone during the brutal Chicago bootlegging wars of the 1920s. ... November 10 is the 314th day of the year (315th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 51 days remaining. ... 1924 (MCMXXIV) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar). ... John Scalise (1900-1929) was an organized crime figure in the early 1900s. ... Albert Anselmi (1884-1929) was a Prohibition gangster during the 1920s. ...


O'Banion's friends and gangmates (Hymie Weiss, Vincent Drucci, and George "Bugs" Moran) were hell-bent on seeking revenge for their leader's murder and almost got it on 24 January 1925. Torrio was returning to his apartment at 7106 South Clyde Avenue from a shopping trip with Anna when a hail of gunfire from automatic pistols and shotguns came from Weiss and Moran greeted his car, shattering its glass. His chauffeur was struck in the leg, and Torrio himself was struck in the jaw, lungs, groin, legs,and abdomen. Moran attempted to deliver the coup de grace into Torrio's skull, but was out of bullets. Drucci soon signalled that it was time to go, and the three North Siders split. Earl Hymie Weiss Earl Hymie Weiss (1898 - October 11, 1926) was a Chicago mobster and rival of Al Capone. ... Vincent The Schemer Drucci (1898–April 4, 1927), was a prominent organized crime figure from Chicagos Prohibition era, a lieutenant under Dion OBanions North Side Gang. ... The name George Moran may refer to two different individuals: Bugs Moran was a gangster whose real name was George Moran. ... January 24 is the 24th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1925 (MCMXXV) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Coup de Grace was a a multimedia project under which Michael Moynihan released recordings and print. ...


Torrio, having undergone emergency surgery, recovered slowly from the assassination attempt. Capone had men guarding The Fox around the clock to make sure his beloved mentor was safe. Throughout this entire ordeal, Torrio never mentioned the names of the assailants. After his release, he served a year in jail for Prohibition violations. Throughout his reign as boss of the Chicago mob, Torrio witnessed the massive increase in violence amongst organized crime. The near-death experience, prison sentence, and increasing difficulty in his work, forced Torrio into retirement. He moved away to Italy with his wife and mother, where he no longer dealt directly in mob business. He turned over his entire outfit to his number-two man, Al Capone. “Capone” redirects here. ...


Later years

"Papa Johnny" returned to the U.S. in the 1930s to testify in Capone's trial. He also suggested to top New York City-based crime lords such as Lucky Luciano that they should create one huge crime syndicate instead of all the smaller gangs constantly being at each other's throats. His idea was well-received and he was given great respect, as he was considered an "elder statesman" in the world of organized crime. Once Luciano implemented the concept, the National Crime Syndicate was born. In his later years, Torrio returned to America to live in the city where he was raised, New York City. In 1957, he had a heart attack while sitting in a barber's chair waiting for a haircut and died several hours later in an oxygen tent. The media did not find out about his death until three weeks after his burial. Face The 1930s (years from 1930–1939) were described as an abrupt shift to more radical and conservative lifestyles, as countries were struggling to find a solution to the Great Depression, also known in Europe as the World Depression. ... Nickname: Location in the state of New York Coordinates: Country United States State New York Boroughs The Bronx Brooklyn Manhattan Queens Staten Island Settled 1625 Government  - Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) Area  - City  468. ... Charles Lucky Luciano (born Salvatore Lucania) (November 24, 1897 – January 26, 1962) was a Sicilian-American mobster. ... Organized crime or criminal organizations are groups or operations run by criminals, most commonly for the purpose of generating a monetary profit. ... The National Crime Syndicate was the name given by the press to a supposed loosely-organized organized crime syndicate, set up in the 1930s, by Charles Lucky Luciano and based in New York City. ... Nickname: Location in the state of New York Coordinates: Country United States State New York Boroughs The Bronx Brooklyn Manhattan Queens Staten Island Settled 1625 Government  - Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) Area  - City  468. ... 1957 (MCMLVII) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Acute myocardial infarction (AMI or MI), commonly known as a heart attack, is a disease state that occurs when the blood supply to a part of the heart is interrupted. ...


Further reading

  • McPhaul, Jack. Johnny Torrio: First of the Gang Lords. New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1970.

External link

Preceded by
Jim Colosimo
Chicago Outfit Boss
1920-1925
Succeeded by
Al Capone

  Results from FactBites:
 
The American Mafia - Torrio (674 words)
Torrio is credited with being one of the organizers of the national crime Syndicate.
Torrio, believed to have been a nephew of Big Jim Colosimo of Chicago and the son of a widowed mother, grew up in New York and was a member of Five Points gangs until heading across the river to a leadership position alongside gangster Frank Yale.
Torrio was sentenced to a prison term, but before he was sent away, rival gangsters decided to try to send him to the morgue.
AMERICAN ORGANIZED CRIME: Johnny Torrio (2315 words)
Johnny Torrio was born in the village of Orsara near Naples, Italy in 1882.
Torrio often paid local kids to run errands for him, and through this practice he met a youngster who was destined to become the most infamous gangster of them all: Alphonse Capone.
Johnny arranged for payment to be made to Chicago’s Black Hand, but when the extortionists attempted to collect their money at Archer Avenue, they were gunned down by Torrio and a gang of hirelings.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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