||Chicago| Genna Brothers
Birth: All six of them born in early 1900 or late 1800
Death: All of them are dead.
The "Terrible" Genna's
Vincenzo "Jim" Genna
Angelo "Bloody Angelo" Genna (picture above)
Antonio "Tony the Gentleman" Genna
Mike "Mike the Devil" Genna
The Genna family was one of the major players in the Chicago gangland wars of the 1920s. It consisted of six Sicilian brothers. They came to Chicago somewhere in 1910 with their parents. The Genna brothers were known to be so violent and hot-tempered that they became known as the Terrible Gennas. The most violent one of them all was said to be the youngest, Angelo Genna, who began his carreer as a gunman for Anthony D'Andrea in the 19th Ward, later known as Little Italy.
When tensions in the 19th ward ran high between Anthony D'Andrea and Johnny Powers during election day, Angelo Genna was hired to shed some blood. He was suspected of killing Harry Raimondi as well as Paul Labriola in 1921, 2 supporters of Johnny Powers who won the elections. 'Bloody' Angelo was arrested and trialed for the murder of Labriola. He was defended by a lawyer who happened to be a friend of D'Andrea. In 1922 Angelo was again prosecuted for the murder of Paul Notti, who identified Genna at his deathbed. In both cases Angelo walked away as a free man. However, in November 1922 Genna was again arrested and convicted to a year in prison for the prostitution of a 15 year old girl.
When Prohibition became federal law in 1919, the Gennas, like many other criminals around the country, found that there was plenty of money to be made in bootlegging. They managed to get a federal license to manufacture industrial alcohol, which they would later re-distill and sell illegally. They eventually came to control the area known as Little Italy (situated immediately west of The Loop), with a three-story warehouse on Taylor Street serving as their headquarters. When demand for the Gennas brothers cheap rotgut booze outgrew supply, Henry Spignola (a lawyer whose young sister Lucille would eventually marry Angelo Genna) devised a plan by which stills would be placed in households throughout Little Italy. The family would hire "still watchers," who would earn $15 a day. The Gennas' power in Little Italy grew; they eventually backed the area's Republican Party boss, "Diamond Joe" Esposito, and had many policemen on their payroll.
Soon, the Gennas had a surplus of booze due to their successful basement distilleries, and began marketing it outside of their designated territory. This produced a clash with the North Side Gang of Dion O'Banion, who resented the Gennas' reduction of the price of their product in order to compete with that of O'Banion. Since both the North Siders and the Gennas were members of a huge Chicagoland bootlegging combine orchestrated by South Side boss Johnny Torrio, O'Banion complained to Torrio about the Gennas' tactics. While Torrio and local Unione Siciliana boss Mike Merlo managed to get the Gennas (Torrio's allies) to back off a bit, Torrio refused any concrete help to O'Banion. Undeterred, "Deanie" hijacked a shipment of Genna whiskey, and later double-crossed Torrio in a North Side brewery acquisition deal, causing Torrio go to jail. Torrio and the Gennas decided to kill O'Banion; the hit was carried out on November 10, 1924 by Unione Siciliana national director Frankie Yale and assassins John Scalise and Albert Anselmi. The Genna family was represented in the hit by Mike Genna, who drove the getaway car for the three Italian gunsels.
However once O'Banion was killed, Chicago erupted in gang war. Johny Torrio, the Southside boss, was ambushed by the North Siders current leaders; George "Bugs" Moran, Hymie Weiss, and Vincent Drucci. Torrio was gunned down outside his home and left for dead. Although he survived, the North Siders had Torrio fearing for his life and the Italian boss fled to Italy, turning his operations over to Al Capone. The North Siders also went after Capone, killing friends and family members of his and also ambushing him frequently. Capone was near pushed over the edge by the aftermath of O'Banion's slaying. The Genna brothers however, weren't so lucky. The North Siders vowed to kill every one involved in O'Banion's slaying and that included the Genna brothers. Ambushed by Moran, the leader of the Genna crime family, Angelo Genna, was shot to death in his car after a high speed chase in May of 1925. After the shooting, the family lost the it's once powerful and smart leader. A couple of weeks later Mike Genna set up an ambush for Moran and Drucci. Genna's men wounded Bugs Moran and Schemer Drucci, then fled the scene. Mike Genna was recognized by police, who pursued them down Western Avenue. When their car crashed, the gangsters fled on foot, exchanging gunshots with police. The others escaped, but Mike was mortally wounded, dying in the ambulance. On July 8th of that same year, "Tony the Gentleman" was asked to meet with one of his men, Guiseppe Nerone ("The Cavalier"). As Nerone shook Tony's hand in front of a grocery store, an unidentified man stepped forward and shot Tony five times in the back. He died in the hospital without being able to name his killer. Nerone had set up Tony in much the same way O'Banion was killed. He himself was gunned down in a barbershop days later. The power of the Genna clan was broken. Jim, Sam, and Pete fled Chicago. Eventually, they all did return, but lived the remainder of their lives in obscurity.
After their deaths, all six of the Genna brothers would be laid to rest at Mount Carmel Cemetery in the Chicago suburb of Hillside, Illinois, joining other organized crime figures such as Al Capone.
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