The End of the White Hand Gang (1925 – 1931)
In this fourth and final video, part four, I will take an in-depth look at what happened to the gang after the death of Richard “Peg Leg” Lonergan, who died at the Adonis Social Club on Christmas night in 1925.
Lonergan assumed control of the gang after “Wild” Bill Lovett’s death, due to him being Lovett’s friend and brother in law, his death created a vacuum in the leadership.
Traditionally, it was thought and written about that there was a battle for control of Brooklyn’s docks and rackets between the Irish and Italians, that the Italians won and wiped out the Irish gangs on the docks. Its said that after the death of “Peg Leg” Lonergan the gang faded away into history.
But nothing could be further from the truth, in fact the gang war only intensified for the battle of leadership with the body count rising to equal of the body count in the days of Meehan, Lovett and Lonergan. Another rumor that has turned out not to be true was that Eddie Lynch had set up and double crossed “Peg Leg” Lonergan leading to his death, however based on research, Eddie Lynch had been in prison since 1922 and released in 1927, missing out on both the deaths of Lovett (1923) and Lonergan (1925)
A point to note is that the newspaper mention that Eddie Martin was murdered and that he was Matty Martin’s brother, that is wrong, Eddie Martin is actually Eddie McGuire, McGuire and Matty Martin were not related.
Further research has brought to light the rivalry between the Irish and Italians was pretty much fiction and sensationalized. The truth may not be as sensational and less dramatic. In every case, except for one, gangsters with Irish names were arrested for the murders of other gangsters, apart for Lonergan’s murder.
The White Hand Gang was in fact a collection of smaller gangs under one umbrella, the main factions being the Warren Street Red Onion Gang and the Jay Street Gang, who fought among themselves for control of the rackets and docks. It would be helpful if you could leave some feedback if you find it useful or if I have left anything out. Or leave your thoughts in the comments below.
As the Brooklyn Irish community was notoriously secretive about talking to authority, it made it difficult to piece this together. I have tried to gather as many newspaper clippings and articles in order to shed some light on the subject. Some photos have been used for informational purposes.
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