Salvatore "Frank" Capone (1895 - 1924)

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Birthplace: Brooklyn, NY, USA
Death: Died in Chicago, IL, USA
Cause of death: Gunshot wounds in a "gun fight."
Managed by: mi² Anderson, (c) ♥
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About Salvatore "Frank" Capone

Frank Capone

Some Capone historians believe that had Frank Capone lived he would have been the brother to take the lead role in the family's affairs. Of all the brothers he fit the Torrio mold the best.

Salvatore Capone, always called Frank, was born in 1895. He was two years younger than Ralph and four years older than Al. Of the seven brothers, Frank by far had the most promise. Tall and lean, with thick wavy hair, he was described as the best looking. When the Torrio/Capone gang moved into Cicero in 1922, Frank was the most visible of the Capone brothers. He served as the front man for the gang and represented the organization in its dealings with the Cicero town council. Frank was mild mannered compared to both Al and Ralph and took on the air of a respectable businessman, always attired in a neat suit.

In exchange for allowing the gang's gambling dens and brothels to operate without interference from the local police, Frank made sure that on election day cooperating office seekers achieved victory by an overwhelming majority. Once, one of the Capone- sponsored candidates found out that he, as a member of the Cicero Town Board, was making less money than one of the lower-ranking members of the gang. He then demanded a percentage of the Torrio-Capone income. Al responded by berating Frank for choosing such a stupid candidate.

April 1, 1924, was primary-election day in Cicero and the Capone mob was voting Republican. Although the early morning hours saw many Democratic election workers out supporting their candidates, by midday an alarming amount of them had disappeared. Some had been kidnapped, some beaten, others were just frightened off. Voters at the polls had ballots jerked from their hands by Capone gunmen to see how they were voting. Women were scared off and many voters were sent home without having cast their ballots. When word of this reached Chicago, a special contingent of Chicago policemen were deputized to go to Cicero and restore order. The policemen, all in plain clothes, drove to Cicero in the same type of large black touring sedans the gangsters used.

When the police caravan arrived in Cicero, newspaper editor Robert St. John described what happened:

"I set up my observation post on the Cicero side of Forty-eighth Avenue near a public telephone booth. In a few minutes I saw the cavalcade approaching. At the same time I saw a neatly dressed man leave a building on the Cicero side of the street. He might have been a banker or a prosperous dry-goods-store owner. As he came closer I recognized him as Frank Capone. About the same time I recognized him, the driver of the first police car recognized him too. As the driver of the first car slammed on his brakes, the drivers of the other nine black touring cars were forced to come to a quick stop to avoid piling into the first one. In those days when brakes were applied to a car going 50 miles an hour the noise was slightly disturbing to the ears. I was not able to interview Frank Capone later, but it was not difficult to imagine what had gone through his mind in that split second when life and death hung in a delicate balance. He heard the screaming of the brakes, turned quickly, saw 30 or 40 men in ordinary street clothes leaping from a long line of black touring cars. With that instinct for self-preservation . . . he reached for his right rear trousers pocket. His hand was still on the revolver, which was still in his pocket, when we rolled over the corpse. For the first time I understood that newspaper cliché about a body riddled with bullets."

At the inquest the police told a much different story of the day's events. They said Frank had "lured" them into a pitched gunfight and had fired at least twice at them. Despite St. John's testimony to the contrary, the jury returned a verdict that Frank had been killed while resisting arrest.

Frank's funeral proved to be the grandest of any of the Capone brothers. Laid out in a silver-plated coffin he was surrounded by $20,000 worth of floral arrangements. The funeral cortege consisted of no fewer that 100 cars, 15 of which carried flowers.

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Salvatore "Frank" Capone's Timeline

1895
January 1895
Brooklyn, NY, USA
1924
April 1, 1924
Age 29
Chicago, IL, USA