With Dinny Meehan out of the way, “Wild” Bill Lovett assumed control of the White Hand Gang. Although there was no evidence to link Lovett to Meehan’s murder, it didn’t stop the talk around the docks, with the dock loaders and stevedores speculating as to who Meehan’s murderer was.
The men gathered in the bosses office in Bridge Street, Brooklyn’s felt they had guessed correctly when “Wild” Bill Lovett walked into the room. The men that were gathered in the room parted as Lovett walked through them, nodding to those who parted and walked straight to Meehan’s chair and sat down and looked in their eyes and said “From now on I’m boss in here. I’ll be detained up at the police station for a day or two but when I come back I’m going to be boss.”
The police did come and take Lovett away to the station, but no matter how hard they tried they couldn’t connect any evidence of Meehan’s murder to Bill Lovett. Meehan’s wife had been awoken with the pain of being shot in the arm, but she couldn’t identify anyone and the killer left no trace and so they had to let Bill Lovett go.
Like most of The White Hand Gang’s leaders, they all claimed leadership by bloody succession, the men on the docks looked upon Lovett with a new reverence, he was already a war hero due to his actions during World War I, when he gave an order, it was obeyed. His authority was never questioned by the dock loaders and stevedores, however there would be a couple of attempts to remove Lovett.
Lovett introduced a new pay scale, if the pay was $6 Lovett would get 2$, if they pay was $4 he would get $1, anyone who wanted a job on the docks had to do so with Lovett’s say so and nobody held out on paying the boss. The first offence for not paying was a beating, the second offence for holding out was being sent to the hospital with a broken leg or arm, a couple of bodies were found lying around the docks, presumably the penalty for the third offence.
Not everyone was happy with this new arrangement, Dinny Meehan was respected and still had friends who looked at Lovett and didn’t like what they seen. And wanted to avenge the friend and leaders death. Tim Montague, a big burly Irishman was one of Meehan’s old crew. Montague wasn’t afraid, he spoke his mind about Meehan’s death, at first he got away with it and soon when others in Meehan’s old crew saw Montague get away with his talking began to talk too, but none of it escaped Lovett. Lovett spoke sharply to Montague who in turn spoke sharply back.
That night as Montague drank in a bar near the docks he was boasting of his little outburst with Lovett, the more he drank, the more he spoke and then he eventually said “that he wasn’t afraid to meet him now and have it out with him”. Montague finally left the bar after some time and some talking, a bit unsteady on his feet he made it down the steps when three bullets were put into him from the shadows. Nobody in the bar left to see what had happened and no one on the street came to his aid, he was eventually found by people leaving the bar. Montague was brought to hospital where his wounds were described as serious but not fatal.
Nobody in the bar heard anything or seen anything, however “Wild” Bill Lovett was brought to the station and put in a cell. The police did everything they could to put the shooting on Lovett but there was no evidence to say he was near the bar that night and Montague couldn’t or wouldn’t say who shot him, while members of the gang and the workers on the docks knew nothing of a disagreement between Lovett and Montague. Lovett was let go.
Lovett left the station and was looking for a taxicab to take him back to his office on Bridge Street. he walked down the street and turned the corner, not paying attention to the car that was following him. As the car pulled up alongside him two shots rang out and “Wild” Bill fell as the car sped off. A crowd gathered round Bill, while an ambulance came to take him to the hospital. While the police questioned him at the hospital, “Wild” Bill said nothing. Tim Montague had the same friends as Dinny Meehan.
Six months after the failed attempt on “Wild” Bill, the first clue as to who the assassin was, Garry Barry. Garry Barry’s body was found stabbed to death in a New York street. But try as they might, they couldn’t link Lovett to Barry’s death.
Barry had been in Meehan’s faction of the gang, he once challenged Dinny Meehan to a fight for leadership of the gang but Meehan knocked Barry out cold, retaining leadership. Barry himself wasn’t afraid of doing a bit of work for the gang, he was suspected as being one of the gunmen that tried to kill Frankie Yale, a rival Italian mobster, Yale was ambushed in Lower Manhattan. One of Yale’s bodyguards was killed and the other wounded, with Yale himself sustaining a severe lung wound. Yale pulled through after an extended recovery.
With Meehan, Barry and Montague all taken care of one way or the other, there was peace, internal disputes within the gang that popped up occasionally but mostly it was peaceful until Dan Gillen fell out with “Wild” Bill, what the dispute was is not known. Gillen began to take precautions, never being alone, never walking alone, even bringing in smuggled alcohol he would make sure to with the crowd. One night at the bar where the gang drank, Gillen was enjoying a few drinks, the bar was full of longshoremen and the atmosphere was merry. There was drinking and singing, the bar erupted for the chorus and some say they heard what sounded like a smack, nobody took much notice until Dan Gillen stumbled forward saying “He got me-He got me.” “Right in the crowd he got me.” and Gillen fell on the floor and died.
Again “Wild” Bill was brought in, leading him to say “Can’t anybody be murdered in this district by somebody else? I can’t kill ’em all.” “Wild” Bill was freed without charge but the murder on Brooklyn’s docks didnt end there