Tanner Smith and the Marginals were closely associated with a young Owney “The Killer” Madden while he was the leader of the Gopher Gang based in Hell’s Kitchen. Smith and Madden also ran the Winona Club together until it was shut down by the NYPD.
Together the Marginals and Gophers had a common enemy, the Hudson Dusters all three gangs territories met along their boundaries. The Marginals also formed an alliance with a smaller gang that operated within the territory, the Pearl Buttons, who became a junior partner in the Marginals Gang when the Hudson Dusters were finally defeated and their territory taken over.
On the night of July 26, 1919, Smith was playing poker at the Marginal Club when he was shot in the back and killed by an unknown assailant. It was speculated by police that Smith had been murdered in an underworld “gang feud”.