Vengeance Achieved

Recent research has proven that Al Capone did not willingly leave his hometown of CaponevsLonerganBrooklyn. In fact, he was forced out by a local Irish gang called the White Hand (named in opposition to the “invading” Italian Black Hand).

In 1899, the year Al Capone was born, Brooklyn was a heavily populated industrialized and manufacturing hub. All along the waterfront area there were gigantic sugar refineries, coffee storage houses, weapons manufacturers, soap manufacturers, cardboard box makers and canned food shippers. . . the list goes on and on. Ten years earlier New York City had taken over London as the busiest port city in the world and the longshoremen trade (loading and unloading steamships) employed thousands of rough and tumble men. 

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Look for Divide the Dawn (Fall, 2019), which features Pegleg, Capone and the White Hand Gang.

The longshoremen trade had been dominated in Brooklyn by the Irish since their arrival in the 1840s due to the Great Hunger (commonly known as the potato famine). 95 Navy Street, where Capone was born, was on the outskirts of a neighborhood known as “Irishtown,” just south of the Navy Yard in an outlying Italian Cammora neighborhood.

But Irishtown dominated. It was the location of the Irish White Hand’s headquarters, the Dock Loaders’ Club at 25 Bridge Street. No one could get a job as a longshoremen without checking in the Dock Loaders’ Club. And most Italians had to go south of the Gowanus Canal to work on the docks at the Bush and Grand Army Terminals where Frankie Yale, a Johnny Torrio protege, held court.

As a teen, Capone worked at the Harvard Inn, a bawdyhouse in South Brooklyn’s burgeoning Coney Island, which is where he got his scar and famous nickname, “Scarface.”

Wanting to muscle in on “tribute racket” in North Brooklyn, (tribute is what the White Hand Gang charged all longshoremen to work) Capone and others started talking to stevedore employees, ship captains and pierhouse managers in the White Hand’s territory.

That did not make the Irish happy. According to family sources, Dinny Meehan, leader of

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“Pegleg” Lonergan and another on the cover of a Brooklyn newspaper superimposed over the Adonis Social Club (the blood trailing from inside to the curb)

the White Hand, dispatched his deadliest weapon to deal with the invading Italians in the form of Richie “Pegleg” Lonergan.

Pegleg (19 years old in 1919) had lost a leg to a Brooklyn trolley when he was eight. Renowned in Irishtown as a wildly successful fistfighter and a murderer who could kill without emotion, the war was set. Lonergan vs. Capone.

Torrio had moved to Chicago by this time and when he heard that Lonergan and the powerful White Hand were going to kill his most prized protege, he ordered Frankie Yale to send him to Chicago with his tail in between his legs.

Willie Sutton was born and raised in Irishtown. In fact, the opening words of his biography were “Irishtown made me.” Sutton went on to great fame as an ingenious bank robber and public personality. Having grown up in Irishtown, he got the inside scoop concerning the Lonergan vs. Capone rivalry. Below are his words:

“Scarface Al Capone was a member of the (rival) Italian mob,
and it was common knowledge in later years that he had gone to
Chicago because the Irish mob played too rough.”

The fact that Capone ran from the Irish in Brooklyn haunted him for many years and in Chicago, he was known as a brutalizer of the Irish (he had Dean O’Banion and others murdered). But he simply could not get over the japes about him running out of Brooklyn from Lonergan. He needed revenge.

In 1925, seeking the best doctors in the country for his son’s surgery, Al Capone came back to Brooklyn. On Christmas Eve, he and some buddies were having a drink at a local bawdyhouse called the Adonis Social Club in South Brooklyn (4th Avenue & 20th Street). Guess who walks in? You got it, Richie “Pegleg” Lonergan and some friends.

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Bodies being removed from the Adonis Social Club

Whether Pegleg was lured there, or just came by happenstance is up for debate, but the explosive results are not.

Pegleg and his cohorts were demeaning and shaming the Irish prostitutes that worked in the Italian club. They also were casting racial slurs at the Italian patrons. At some point the lights went out and immediately there were gunshots. When the lights came back on, Pegleg and two others were dead (Lonergan still had a toothpick in his mouth), another was badly wounded. When the police showed up, no one saw a thing, of course.

Capone and others were arrested, but were soon released. And so, vengeance achieved.

 

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Novel: Divide the Dawn

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Divide the Dawn is a stand-alone historical novel for publication Spring, 2020.
Critics see this coming:

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Fertile hope springs from Despair 

♠    “A master storyteller’s tale that churns in the conflicted hearts of its characters.”
♠    “This book belongs in the elite company of world-renowned classics like The Maltese Falcon, Game of Thrones and The Godfather.
♠    “Mystery courses through the body of the storyline, the suspense toe-curling.”

       When World War I ends and the industrialized Brooklyn waterfront takes an economic dive, the Spanish Influenza sweeps through the old Irish shacks when a snowstorm arrives. Afterward, an old Irish prophecy resurfaces. Gang wars and blood feuds erupt. Big business collides with unions, a police officer disappears all while the South Brooklyn Italian “Black Hand” gropes northward where the Irish “White Hand” has long controlled longshore labor. Worst of all, men who had thought to have died appear after the storm to haunt and divide them. The sweep of events that alter their lives had been foretold by the aging survivors of the Great Hunger (Irish potato famine). Now a cataclysmic event is prophesied to be coming that will see a hero ascend “like the rising of the moon.”

The characters’ surnames and bloodlines are branches that stretch through our own family trees and into this story. Their stories, their struggles, their passions, hopes, promises and pledges teeter in this volatile environment. And when they peer into a looking-glass, the city is always in the reflection.

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At dawn, when the darkness of the past and the light of the future clash. . .

          Divide the Dawn has elements of Historical Fiction, Suspense, Crime Fiction, Horror and Fantasy, but Loingsigh (sounds like Lynch) is calling it a Ghost Story.

“The ghosts of the old world haunt the Irish. History, myth, prophecy and even hope colors our forebears’ decisions in 1910s New York to create a fascinating account about the ancestors of 40 million Americans. Don’t be afraid of the dark, it’s there you’ll find the light.”MyBooks2

Divide the Dawn continues the story begun in the publication of Light of the Diddicoy (2014) & Exile on Bridge Street (2016), but author Eamon Loingsigh has been quoted that Divide the Dawn can and should be read first as a stand-alone novel.

In the meantime, find character art & bios HERE.

There is also a Facebook page for HERE for updates.

 

 

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Oliver Cromwell – Ireland

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Black ’47 – Review

It is a rare moment indeed when a lie that has been passed as history can be righted. But B471that is exactly what Black ’47, directed by Lance Daly, has done.

For 171 years a lie persisted, and even though it cannot be fully overcome, at least the healing may begin.

What happened in Ireland from 1845-1852 should never be deemed simply a “famine.” It was no more than a blight on a single crop, the potato. The deep truth, hidden for so long, is that a cold economic program by a colonial power wielded the blight like a weapon against the Irish. To move them off the land. At the heart of this story is the horrific malevolence of the English foreigner and their true intentions to murder and displace millions of innocents. 

The enmity, trauma and dismay of the Irish people who suffered the consequence, as well as having to suffer the lies, are represented by the anger in James Frecheville’s seething character “Feeney.” And most importantly, that anger is righteous. Feeney is shown to have destiny on his side when he is utterly fearless as guns are pointed at him. When they misfire, destiny allows him to continue his revenge killings.  B47poster

Clint Eastwood was never this angry, and never this justified.

Please, please watch this movie. It is now available in Ireland & UK on Netflix.

A true ‘must see’ film.

Eamon

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Dinny Meehan – Divide the Dawn

Dinny Meehan – Character in Divide the Dawn

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Dinny Meehan, leader of the gang known as The White Hand (art by Sebastian MacLaughlin).

“Eyes green in the enveloped saloon light of amber and black. A child’s eyes. An ancient’s eyes. Sometimes I wonder if he ever really did exist, Dinny Meehan. I even doubt it at times, it was so long ago that all this passed. But there he is in my thoughts.”
~Liam Garrity

Dinny Meehan (b. 1889) is the leader of the White Hand Gang whose motives, origins and existence is shrouded by the veil of Irishtown’s Code of Silence. Some claim he is of gypsy blood, some call him a working class hero while storytellers describe him as a Demiurge, and speak of how he was summoned by pre-Christian prayer to bring back “the auld ways from the aulden days” to care for the survivors of Ireland’s Great Hunger who founded Irishtown in the 1840s. What is known is that he has never lost a fistfight, draws inspiration from the past and has never been seen eating or sleeping and seems to have no concept of time. His father came to New York in 1847 as an “exiled child” from County Clare, Ireland. His uncle was Red Shay Meehan, leader of a West Manhattan gang called The Potashes. But by 1900, Dinny’s family was decimated by the Hudson Dusters, forcing him to flee to Brooklyn as an eleven year-old with his dying father. According to The Gas Drip Bard, a storm came at dawn and capsized the ferry they were in, and young Dinny drowned keeping his father afloat. Somehow the boy was brought back to life and by 1912, Dinny had organized all the Irish-American gangs on the Brooklyn waterfront to join him in overthrowing the King of Irishtown, gold-toothed larrikin Christie Maroney.


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Get your copies: Click the hyperlinks on the titles to the right.

Light of the Diddicoy By the time Liam Garrity picks up the story, it is 1915 and the gang is under attack by many elements; big businesses, the Italian Black Hand, the law, the longshoremen’s union and revolt from within his gang. Liam sees that Dinny is cunning and shrewd, and yet the gang leader spends all of the profits he earns on the poor and needy of Irishtown. When news breaks of the 1916 Easter Rising, Dinny has ideas of his own for an uprising in Brooklyn. In a stroke of genius, The White Hand ferociously strikes against all of its enemies at once in multiple attacks and takes back power in Brooklyn during the Donnybrook in Red Hook.
Exile on Bridge Street
Although the gang again is in power, Dinny cannot seem to stop time as the White Hand is one of the last powerful street gangs in New York. Again the gang’s enemies assemble against him when one of his dockbosses, Wild Bill Lovett, joins forces with Jonathan G. Wolcott of the New York Dock Company in revolt against him, seceding from the gang and taking the profitable Red Hook territory. Vulnerable, Dinny finds out his childhood friend Tanner Smith backstabbed him and his righthand The Swede attempted suicide. Again though, Dinny outsmarts everyone by making a three-way pact with the International Longshoreman’s Association and the Italian Black Hand and violently puts down the revolt. Charged with murder, Lovett agrees to a plea that sends him to the Army and World War I where he dies in combat. Dinny then replaces Lovett in Red Hook with his prodigious cousin Mickey Kane and robs a local shoe factory after an Irishtown child dies with one shoe on his foot, passing out boots to all the poor Irish families. But by 1919 Dinny is furthered weakened. The gang has lost many members to the Great War, the Spanish Influenza, coal shortages and worsening poverty. During the Storm of Slanting Snow, Lovett mysteriously resurfaces in Brooklyn and has Dinny’s cousin Mickey murdered, touching off a horrific gang war and a blood feud with Lovett.

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Mickey Kane – Divide the Dawn

Mickey Kane – Character in Divide the Dawn

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The heinous murder of Mickey Kane precipitates a blood feud and gang war (art by Thomas Kerr).

“It must have been Dinny’s plan from the start. Mickey is Dinny’s last surviving family member loyal to him. Tall and powerfully built with a big head of blond hair, he follows Dinny’s orders closely. Mickey Kane is blood. His mother’s blood, and many of us feel as though one day Mickey will replace The Swede at his right side. Dinny’s most-trusted.”
~Liam Garrity

Mickey Kane (1894-1919) was the cousin of White Hand leader Dinny Meehan, and the gang’s golden boy before being horrifically murdered when Wild Bill Lovett resurfaced in Brooklyn during the Storm of Slanting Snow.  Tall, muscular and dauntless, he was an accomplished bareknuckle boxer as many in Brooklyn spoke of him as being a “fair scrapper, brisk fighter.” A cousin on Dinny Meehan’s mother’s side, Mickey was spared the wrath of the The Hudson Dusters of Greenwich Village, who decimated the Meehan family in the late 1890s, forcing eleven year-old Dinny Meehan and his dying father to flee to Brooklyn in 1900. After Meehan became King of Brooklyn’s Irishtown in 1912, he called for his eighteen year-old prodigy cousin and mentored him in preparation to one day become his righthand.


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Get your copies: Click the hyperlinks on the titles to the right.

Light of the Diddicoy
In 1916, Meehan convinces Lovett to take Mickey in as his righthand in the Red Hook Terminal. Kane took part in the Donnybrook in Red Hook when the White Hand gang took back power on the Brooklyn waterfront.
Exile on Bridge Street
In 1917, after Tanner Smith backstabbed Meehan and the White Hand gang, Kane accompanied his cousin back to their old neighborhood, Greenwich Village, Manhattan. The two of them beat members of The Marginals and confronted Smith, battering him as well and banishing him from the underground. After putting down a revolt and sending Lovett to World War I, Kane became dockboss of the profitable Red Hook Terminal. In 1919 when Meehan, The Swede, Vincent Maher and Lumpy Gilchrist were arrested for robbing the Hanan & Sons shoe factory, Kane and Cinders Connolly were left in charge at the Dock Loaders’ Club. But Kane became anxious and went back down to Red Hook during a terrible snow storm where Lovett mysteriously came back from the dead and had him killed, starting a ferocious gang war and blood feud.

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Bill Lovett – Divide the Dawn

Bill Lovett – Character in Divide the Dawn

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Summoned from the dead, the Black Hand sarcastically calls Bill Lovett “Pulcinella” because he looks like a crazy clown of Italian classical lore (art by Sebastian MacLaughlin)

“Ya know, people talk. And they’re sayin’ one day the gang could be all Lovett’s. Can ya imagine the take fer us if ya was his righthand? Like the Romans we’d live! But that Bill Lovett’s a wild one.”
~Mary Lonergan


Bill Lovett
(b. 1894), also known as Wild Bill or Pulcinella in South Brooklyn, was reported to have been killed in combat in World War I by the US Army. But during the Storm of Slanting Snow, he resurfaces in Brooklyn and has Mickey Kane murdered, sparking a gang war for leadership of the White Hand. He is a violent drunk who carries a loaded .45 caliber, has a soft spot for animals (killed a man for pulling a cat’s tail), and hates the Italians that live in the dock territory he runs. In the early 1900s, Lovett was the leader of the Jay Street Gang that paid tribute to Christie Maroney. In 1912 Lovett (along with many other gang leaders) struck a deal with Dinny Meehan and allowed one of his followers, Pickles Leighton, to accompany him in shooting Maroney on the streets of Brooklyn. But during the trial for Maroney’s murder, Pickles was the only one convicted. Rightfully blaming Meehan, Lovett swallowed his pride and took over as dockboss in the profitable Red Hook Terminal under Meehan’s White Hand gang, but decided to keep Pickles as his man inside of Sing Sing to one day supply him with paroled soldiers in a revolt against Meehan.


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Get your copies: Click the hyperlinks on the titles to the right.

Light of the Diddicoy
Realizing the importance of ruling Sing Sing, Meehan had his righthand man McGowan plead guilty to a charge in order to kill Pickles in Sing Sing, in what became known as the War for the Inside. But Lovett paid a screw (prison guard) through Pickles to beat McGowan to death in his cell, winning the proxy war and creating a tense relationship with his gang boss, Meehan. After the gang took back power on the Brooklyn docks during the Donnybrook in Red Hook, Meehan sought to weaken Lovett and pinned the death and destruction on Lovett’s righthand Non Connors.
Exile on Bridge Street
When Connors is arrested, Lovett makes an alliance with New York Dock Company president, Jonathan G. Wolcott and plays a game of tug-of-war with Meehan over the loyalty of Richie Lonergan‘s crew. In 1917, Lovett has Lonergan murder Meehan’s enforcer Tommy Tuohey and together they secede from the White Hand gang in Red Hook, with Wolcott providing extra protection. Paranoid of a Meehan attack, Lovett goes on a drunken binge while Lonergan’s family life becomes tumultuous after his six year-old brother dies. Meehan makes a pact with the International Longshoreman’s Association and the Italian Black Hand, who send an assassin to Red Hook to kill Lovett. But Lovett survives and kills the assassin, yet is charged with murder and reaches a plea, which forces him to sign up with the Army’s 77th Infantry Division. In France during World War I, it is reported Lovett was killed in combat. His death causes of his followers to lose hope such as his biggest supporters Anna Lonergan and Darby Leighton. Shockingly, Lovett resurfaces in Brooklyn and gives Lonergan his .45 to kill Mickey Kane, Meehan’s cousin, starting a blood feud and gang war for control of the Brooklyn waterfront.

 

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