Al Capone was one of five boys; he had four other brothers and one sister.
He joined the Navy Street Gang as an auxiliary, but was too old to keep up with its younger members and didn’t do much more than loiter. Soon thereafter he was expelled.
The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre severely dented his reputation, and yellow journalism combined with Hollywood sensationalism and anti-Italian prejudice rendered him Public Enemy Number 1. However, his siblings stood behind him and provided support during this critical period.
Early Life and Education
Millions of readers around the world know Mafalda – the dark-haired, soup-hating, diabolically smart and hilarious child character created by Argentinian cartoonist Joaquin Salvador Lavado Tejon (Quino), who passed away September 30 at age 88.
In the 1920s, Al Capone gained widespread admiration for his disregard of federal prohibition laws, becoming an icon among Chicago’s poor neighborhoods due to his lavish generosity to strangers. Additionally, Eliot Ness of Treasury Department agents known as ‘The Untouchables’ noticed him and monitored his activities closely – ultimately leading him to capture by federal agents for Prohibition laws violations.
Capone amassed significant illegal income through liquor, gambling, rackets and intimidating witnesses; to evade prosecution he intimidated witnesses and paid off city officials to remain unseen by law enforcement officials. He is interred at Mount Olivet Cemetery on Chicago’s South Side between his father and brother’s graves.
Al Capone married Mae Josephine Coughlin in 1918 and gave birth to two children; Albert Francis “Sonny” and Mafalda. Al was best known for his wheeler-dealing and extortion activities both within Chicago and elsewhere.
Capone emerged as a prominent mobster during Prohibition-era Chicago and led its Chicago Outfit, becoming involved in bootlegging, prostitution and gambling activities.
Bair’s book stands out from its competitors due to her access to members of Capone’s large family who share memories and stories about him, providing invaluable insight into his paradoxes; for example, as a criminal who tried hard to create the image of a gentleman; taking extra precautions against poisoning himself before eating, such as asking his cook to taste food before giving it to him; making substantial donations to charities etc.
Achievement and Honors
Although she never participated in racketeering herself, Mafalda Capone remained true to her family and supported them during their careers. She was an incredible source of strength and courage – something her devoted family members, friends, and neighbors will greatly miss.
Al Capone arrived in Chicago as an eccentric leader with a distinct style of leadership and an enthusiastic following, drawing cheers from spectators at baseball games and giving money to charitable causes. However, his public image suffered following the Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre of 1929 as influential citizens demanded government action and newspapers dubbing him Public Enemy No. 1.
Mafalda married John J Maritote, an army lieutenant from Al’s army. Their wedding took place peacefully in Cicero far from 22nd Street zone for fear of mob retaliation.
Mafalda Capone placed her family first. She loved being an auntie to six of her grandchildren and their families and would garden and cook meals for all of them and friends, including starting an annual tradition by planting potatoes and string beans in her garden that her family could enjoy as dinner!
During Prohibition, Al Capone became known for his vast wealth derived from illegal gambling and liquor sales, lavish generosity toward strangers and charity work; some even saw him as the modern-day Robin Hood.
On April 13, 1930, Al Capone’s younger sister Mafalda married John Maritote in what was described as an intimate ceremony. Contrary to reports suggesting an arranged union had occurred, Mafalda and John Maritote’s union was indeed genuine: Al had taken time away from fighting federal income tax forces so as to give Mafalda his blessing in marriage.
At his peak as Chicago’s top mobster, Al Capone earned over $100 million through illegal booze, gambling and racketeering activities. To carry out his operations he employed 600 gangsters.
Capone was not known for being thrifty, spending his fortune lavishly. He purchased luxurious hotel suites and homes across Chicago and Florida without filing tax returns; consequently he was charged with 22 counts of tax evasion.
They had nine children together, including Raffaele James Capone AKA Ralph “Bottles” Capone; Salvatore Capone; and Ermina Capone, whom John Maritote, an affiliate of the Capone organization who had no children of their own and whom Ermina eventually divorced without having grandchildren of her own. Ermina died early 1988 with her personal estate being distributed among family members.