Monday, April 7, 2008

A Little Taste Of History (7)

19th Century Thugs and Gangs

The Plug Uglies: They got their name because of the Hugh plug hats they wore, which stuffed with wool and leather scraps, was pulled down over the ears to serve as a most effective helmet. They were feared in 1825, as they carried bricks and heavy bludgeon, a pistol in their belt and hobnailed boots, with which they trampled their victims or enemies. They took part in the Civil War Draft Riots of 1863.

Big Mike Abrams (?-1898) The most notorious of the while killers of the Chinatown Alleys was Big Mike Adams, who performed beatings and killings for pay. If work was slow, Abrams would take to street killings. Sometimes he operated opium-smoking dens on Pell Street and in Coney Island. One of his big time most-celebrated murders were the knife decapitations of three Chinese before the horrified eyes of onlookers on Pell Street. Police found Big Mike dead in bed, his room filled with gas. Foul play suspected.

Bowery Boys:-One of the toughest gangs in New York during the early 1800s was the famed Bowery Boys, who, as native Americans, did battle with the dreaded Irish gangs, especially the Dead Rabbits and their satellites. The average Bowery Boy was a burly ruffian who worked as a butcher or apprentice mechanic or perhaps a bouncer in a Bowery saloon or dance cellar. The Bowery Boys' hatred of Irish gangs and of foreigners in general was implacable, and they campaigned for candidates who ran against naturalization laws and favored their repeal so that Irish voters could be stripped of their citizenship. During the Draft Riots the Bowery Boys took part in much of the criminality loosed on the city.

Daybreak Boys: New York Criminal Gang-Although no member was much over the age of 20, the Daybreak Boys were among the most desperate New York gangs in the 1850s. It was said that no one could join the gang until he had killed at least one man, but this was an exaggeration since some members were as young as 12 or even 10 and hadn't yet advanced to homicide. Once in the gang, they were initiated into the practice. By the end of 1859 the gang broke up.

Dead Rabbitt:New York Gang-From the 1820's until their final decline in the 1870's, the Dead Rabbits were a huge gang of criminals who controlled much of the Lower East Side, excluding the Bowery, and were famous as thieves and thugs. When they went to battle with other gangs, or do their crime they would carry a dead rabbit on a pike. They were also political sluggers, supporting pro-Irish candidates. The main foes of the Dead Rabbits were the Bowery Boys, who were aligned with the anti-Irish Native American Party. The Dead Rabbits resented descriptions of themselves as criminals.

Eastman, Monk (1873-1920)-He was known as the "prince of gangsters". The boss of a Jewish street gang in New York City. His home was in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, where his father owned a restaurant. Eastman and his men took over much of the crime on the Lower East Side, involved in robberies, burglaries, assault, muggings and murder for pay. In December 1920, He was shot dead by a corrupt Prohibition agent. Source: (9)

Sources Utilized to Document A Little Taste Of History

Contact: or

No comments: