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Irish Gangs in America

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  • Michael j. Spillane (1934 - 1977)
    Mickey Spillane the gentleman gangster Mickey Spillane (1959-1979)- Mickey Spillane inherited the rackets that McGrath left behind. Spillane also inherited an alliance with the city's La Cosa Nostra ...
  • Dean Charles O'Banion (1892 - 1924)
    Irish-American Gangster. He was the head of the North Side Gang in Chicago during the bootlegging wars of the 1920s. Until his death he was the leader of the gang that was the chief rival of the South ...
  • Owney Madden (1891 - 1965)
    Owney "The Killer" Madden (December 18, 1891 – April 24, 1965) was a leading underworld figure in Manhattan, most notable for his involvement in organized crime during Prohibition. He also ran the famo...
  • Jack "Legs" Diamond (1897 - 1931)
    Legs Diamond Gang member of the Hudson Dusters Also known as Gentleman Jack, was an Irish American gangster in Philadelphia and New York City during the Prohibition era. A bootlegger and close asso...
  • Eddie Diamond (1902 - 1930)
    New York mobster and brother of Jack "Legs" Diamond

Irish Gangs in America

Aim of this project is to create a collection of profiles of Irish gang members, please feel free to add anyone not already listed in this project.

The Irish Mob is one of the oldest organized crime groups in the United States, in existence since the early 19th century. Originating in Irish American street gangs of the 19th century

Irish gangs date at least to the mid-19th century when street gangs waged battles for control of New York City neighborhoods with colorful names like Dead Rabbits and 40 Thieves. A new kind of Irish gangster emerged during Prohibition in the 1920s when rival organizations fought for bootlegging and gambling operations.

New Threat

Irish gangs conducted criminal operations unrivaled for most of the 19th century until the 1880s when Italian immigrants began to arrive and established the Black Hand and later the Cosa Nostra.


Jewish and Italian mobsters encroached on Irish bootlegging, dog racing and gambling operations in Chicago, leading to a bloody war that fostered the modern gangster.


Italian mobster Al Capone planned the St. Valentine's Day Massacre on Feb. 14, 1929, in which six members of Bugs Moran's Irish gang and a bystander were killed in a dispute.

The gangs:

  • Dead Rabbits 1850 New York
  • The Whyos 1860-1890 New York
  • Five Points Gang
  • The Gopher Gang, 1890s-1910s
  • The Westies, 1968-1986
  • The Roach Guards
  • The Patsy Conroy Gang
  • 19th Street Gang, during the 1870s and 1880s
  • Forty Thieves
  • Boodle Gang, 1850s-1890s
  • Bowe Brothers, 1840-1860
  • Dead Rabbits, the 1850s, and originally were a part of the Roach Guards.
  • The Ducky Boys, 1950s and 1960s
  • Grady Gang, sneak thief gang during the 1860s.
  • Hudson Dusters, Formed in the late 1890s
  • Kerryonians existed in New York about 1825, one of the earliest organized crime gangs. The members headquarted on Center Street (now Worth St.) at Rosanna Peer Grocery Store. The Kerryonians spent most of thier time mugging and beating up English.
  • Marginals, also called the "Paddy Irish" gang, was a New York street gang during the early 1900s.
  • Potashes, active in Greenwich Village and the New York waterfront during the early-to mid 1890s.
  • Rhodes Gang, 1890s–1910s
  • Swamp Angels, dominated the dockyards of New York Harbor from the 1850s into the post-Civil War era. Until eventually they merged with the rival waterfront gangs into the White Hand Gang at the end of the century.
  • White Hand Gang, was a collection of various Irish American gangs on the New York, Brooklyn, and Red Hook waterfronts from the early 1900s to 1925 who organized against the growing influence of Italian gangsters.
  • Yakey Yakes, a 19th century street gang, prominent in New York's underworld during the late 1890s and early 1900s. Based in the neighborhood of Catherine and Madison Streets
  • Plug Uglies

Gang leaders and members: