Understanding the way in which corrupt organizations are formed, romanticized and sometimes revered allows for a continued understanding of the culture and heritage of an aspect of the United States.
The Mafioso presence in the United States most likely began during the 19th century when an influx of Italian immigrants can be measured through records from Ellis Island. Giuseppe Morello is most likely the first ‘boss of bosses’ in New York, having arrived there in 1867 when he was running from charges in Italy that he had been part of cattle rustling and had committed murder. He held this title until 1910. In the year 1900, he there
are records of charges that include counterfeiting, murder, and the suspected kidnapping and disappearance of a teenage girl. There are extensive records of similar charges, including suspicion of his involvement in over 60 murders that follow until 1910 when he was imprisoned for ten years. Upon his release he was supposedly given a death sentence by the Mafia, but this was overturned and he acted as an advisor until 1930 when he was finally murdered by rival Mafioso gang members (Dash xvii)
Morello was called “the Clutch” because his right arm had a deformity from birth. The arm was shortened and had only the little finger, missing the thumb and other three digits. The most infamous murder of the time was called the Barrel Murder. This murder was the landmark occasion that brought the Mafioso to the direct attention of the authorities. A man named Madonio was a rival of Morello. It is unknown his direct crime that landed him in such great peril, but while at an eating establishment, Morello had his men grab him, take him to a sink, then cut his throat so that the head was almost severed. The body was then stuffed into a three foot high barrel and left as a warning to anyone else who would dare to cross Morello (Dash 7-9).
Thus began the conflict