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|Chicago|  Jack MgGurn

Birth: 1905 - Licata, Sicily

Death: February 15, 1936












Battling Jack
Jack McGurn was actually born as Vincenzo Antonio Gibaldi in Licata, Sicily. On November 24, 1906, one year old Vincenzo moved with his mother Giuseppa Verderame (b. 1882), his 10 Jack McGurn months old brother Anthony and cousin Francesco (b. 1898) to meet up with his father in New York. Vincenzo grew up to become a boxer during 1921 and 1923 and changed his name to 'Battling Jack McGurn' to sound more Irish, because Irish boxers got the biggest bookings, but most of all to avoid shame on his family. Somewhere in the early 1920's McGurns father was murdered by White Hand gangmembers who had mistaken the man for Willie Altierri. The legend goes that the young teenage McGurn soaked his hands in the blood of his murdered father and swore revenge on his killers. It is claimed that McGurn killed White Hander Joseph Behan in 1922 as revenge and in January 1923 shot and wounded White Hand leader Wild Bill Lovett in his Brooklyn apartment. More likely the hit on Lovett was done by 2 unhappy White Hand gangmembers who wanted Lovett out of the way. Because McGurn had a common enemy with notorious gangleader Frankie Yale, Yale took him under his wing. By the time Vincenzo was 21 they had killed most of the men involved in his fathers death.

McGurn made his first appearance in the newspapers after he was shot on March 29, 1926, under the alias James Gebhardt, and could not give any information about the attempt on his life to the police. After Al Capone heard about the young McGurn he wanted to take him over to Chicago and Yale agreed. McGurn was at first a member of the Circus Café gang, which also included Tony Accardo. Soon Capone saw his abilities as a gunman and bodyguard. McGurn always stayed in good shape, frequently going to the gym and always dressing fine. He was well liked by Capone and was frequently used as a bodyguard. McGurn was also starting to make big money which he used to buy himself in into legal business.

The Green Mill
The Green Mill was one of the oldest jazz clubs in Chicago, founded in 1907. The Green Mill During the 1920's the club became mobster territory. Jack McGurn bought himself 25% ownership of the club. During this period a singer and comedian named Joe E. Lewis (1902-1971) was a frequent performer. Somewhere in 1927 Lewis descided to stop his current contract with the Green Mill to go and perform in an other club. The owner of the Green Mill asked McGurn if he could persuade Lewis to stay at the Green Mill and to renew his contract, but Lewis did not agree. 8 days after Lewis started in the new club, he answered a knock on his door and was confronted by three men, two carrying pistols. The third carried a knife and proceeded to carve up the comic's face, neck and tongue. Lewis survived the attack but it took him ten years to learn how to talk again and climb his way back to the top of the nightclub comedy circuit. During this time the Capone gang was allready in a heavy war with the North Siders. On March 7, 1928, McGurn was almost slashed in half by machinegun fire while standing in a smokeshop in the McCormick hotel. The gunmen were North Side brothers Frank 'Tight Lips' and Peter Gusenberg who formed one of the most feared gunmen duo in Chicago. In April the same year he again escaped death when a North Side hitteam of 4 men tried to murder him, probably as a retaliation for Joe E. Lewis (Lewis was probably going to a sign a contract to perform at a North Side club). McGurn ran out of his Lincoln Sedan while being shot at. His car was riddled by bullets. Both boss Al Capone, McGurn and others of the Chicago Outfit came up with a cunning plan to get rid of the North Siders and it's boss, Bugs Moran.

The St. Valentines Day Massacre
It is claimed that Al Capone gave the order to McGurn and his cohorts from the Circus gang to set up a trap for the North Siders. This was also a good oppurtunity to get rid of the Gusenberg brothers who earlier tried to murder McGurn. It was February 14, 1929, as 7 men were found slaughtered in a garage on the North Side of Chicago. Amongst the 7 men were both the Gusenberg brothers. The main target, Bugs Moran, however was not amongst the murdered men. The massacre soon reached newspapers all across the country. All Capone at the time of the massacre was in Florida, so he had a alibi (although he was immediatly seen as the leading figure in the massacre). But also McGurn had an alibi by the name of Louise Rolfe (1906-1995), who would become infamous as the Bonde Alibi. She claimed they were at the Stevens Hotel, making some valentine's love all day. The police nonetheless charged him with 7 counts of murder. He beat those charges by marrying Louise, thus avoiding her to testify against him. Before he married Louise he was allready married for 7 years with a woman named Helen. He divorced her just days before marrying Louise.

Downfall
Jack shot dead In 1930 McGurn was arrested for carrying a weapon, while he was sitting in a cab next to Tony Accardo, and in 1931 he was again arrested for speeding while he was heading towards a golf course. That same year boss Al Capone was jailed due to tax evasion. At one time McGurn participated as a professional in 1933 at a Golf tournament and almost finished first. But besides his good golfing, good looks and fine clothes, many started to dispite McGurn. His investments also took a dive together with the market crash. During that time McGurn was being squeezed out of major Outfit business. He reputidly went to see Frank Nitti to ask for a job in the Chicago Outfit. But he was told he was finished. So McGurn started to work sidelings, without permission of the Chicago Outfit. He heavily started to drink and used to mouth off alot during that period. It was clear to the Outfit that they needed to get rid of McGurn. On February 15, 1936, McGurn was walking in a bowling ally with 2 so called friends. Suddenly another man who entered the ally yelled 'You move, you die!'. Suddenly the man and McGurn's so called friends shot and killed Machine Gun Jack. Police found a note which was left at the reception, it stated:
You've lost your job,
You've lost your dough,
Your jewels and handsome houses.
But things could be worse, you know,
At least you have your trousers.

This gave the newspapers plenty to speculate about. Many would think McGurn was murdered as revenge for the St. Valentines Massacre by hitmen of the North Siders. But most likely this was a Outfit operation. McGurn new to many and wasn't a part anymore of the organisation. Without the immunity of Al Capone he wasn't protected anymore. 2 days later his brother Anthony was also murdered, most likely to prevent any revenge actions. His funeral was simple, not like other major gangland funerals. His cascet however was covered with about 40 or more floral tributes. 27 vehicles with family and friends followed the hearse towards the cemetary. The mother of Al Capone was said to have attended the funeral.
(Source: Myalcaponemuseum.com)


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