Public Enemy Number One, the most notorious gangster of all time, Al Capone was once one of America’s wealthiest men during Prohibition — an era where he made his fortune from alcohol trafficking, racketeering and bookmaking, among other illegal activities, as the head of a crime syndicate known as the Chicago Outfit.
Although he was thought to be responsible for many murders and never tried in court, even today Al Capone’s name is synonymous with organized crime in American history. However, few people know that there were actually 10 surprising things about Al Capone – here they are.
Although his parents immigrated to the United States from Naples, Italy, they never learned English and so spoke only Italian at home. As a result, their son grew up speaking both languages fluently. He attended school in New York City until he was fourteen years old when his family moved to Chicago.
Alphonse Gabriel Capone was born to Gabriele and Teresa Capone on January 17, 1899. He was the fourth child of Gabriele and Teresa Capone. His father, Gabriele, had been a barber and his mother, Teresa, had been a seamstress in their village in Italy.
When they came to Chicago to establish themselves as an American family, they both worked hard as laborers in the garment district.
His father was a barber and his mother was a seamstress. He had one older brother named Vincenzo, who died in infancy from pneumonia. When he was 12 years old, Alphonse left school to help support the family by working at odd jobs. In 1917, when he was 18 years old, he joined the U.S.
His parents, Gabriel and Teresa Capone, were both Italian immigrants who had arrived in the U.S. within a year of each other with little money or education. Alphonse dropped out of school in the sixth grade and got his start as a hustler, running errands and selling items on the streets for local merchants.
Alphonse Gabriel Capone was born on January 17, 1899 in New York City, the youngest child and only son of Italian immigrants Gabriele and Teresina. Shortly after his birth, his family moved to Chicago to take advantage of the booming economy there.
He joined the Brooklyn Rippers street gang at the age of 14, quickly climbing up through the ranks to become a leader by age 17.
Al Capone moved to Chicago in 1919 and joined the Five Points Gang. He is believed to have committed his first murder in 1921, when he shot a man named Joe Howard who was said to have insulted one of Al’s friends.
Al Capone married Mae Coughlin in 1925. They had a son, Albert Francis Sonny (1927-1965). Mae was born in 1900 and died on November 10, 1974. She is buried at Mount Carmel Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois.
The marriage didn’t last long – it was annulled just a year later.
After his father died, he moved to Chicago with his mother and two brothers. There he became involved in a number of criminal activities and eventually became the head of the Chicago Outfit after the death of Johnny Torrio. He was responsible for bootlegging alcohol during Prohibition, which eventually gave him and his associates enormous power over politics in Chicago and nationwide.
Alphonse Gabriel Capone, was also commonly known as ‘Scarface’ due to a large scar across his face.
He was arrested for tax evasion in 1931 and sentenced to 11 years in prison. His criminal empire stretched from Boston to Chicago, and would have been much larger if not for the intense law enforcement efforts that successfully stopped him before he could turn it into a national organization.
He is believed to be responsible for up to 50 murders or planned murders.
He maintained ties with other mobsters while in prison, but was not involved with any criminal activity until his release on November 16th, 1939.
Al Capone died at his Palm Island home in Miami Florida on January 25, 1947, he was 48 years old at the time of his death. His death certificate states that he died from coronary thrombosis and myocardial degeneration.