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Meyer Lansky Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-114645).

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Lansky, Meyer (28 Aug. or 4 July 1902–15 January 1983), bootlegger and gambling entrepreneur, was born Meyer Suchowljansky in Grodno, Belorussia (then Russia), the son of Max Suchowljansky, a garment presser, and Yetta (maiden name unknown). Lansky’s father emigrated to New York City in 1909 and brought the family over two years later. Meyer, who left school in 1917 at age fourteen, was fascinated by the street life and crap games of the Lower East Side and while still a teenager associated with other hustlers, such as ...

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Luchese, Thomas (01 December 1899–13 July 1967), garment manufacturer and criminal entrepreneur, was born Gaetano Luchese in Palermo, Sicily. While neither the names nor occupations of his parents is known, they immigrated to New York in 1911, bringing their son with them. The family settled among other Sicilians in the predominantly Italian sections of East Harlem. Luchese learned the rudiments of reading and writing and became a plumber’s helper and apprentice machinist. Sometime between 1915 and 1919 he lost his right index finger in an ammunition plant accident. In 1921, when Luchese was first arrested, a policeman jokingly referred to him as “Three-Finger Brown,” an allusion to a well-known baseball player, ...

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Mackintosh, Ebenezer (20 June 1737–1816), shoemaker and mob leader, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Moses Mackintosh, who served on occasion as a soldier during the 1730s and 1740s, and Mary Everet. The family name has also been spelled MacIntosh, McIntosh, and McKintosh. Mary died in 1751, and Moses left town, leaving young Ebenezer in the care of his uncle Ichabod Jones, a shoemaker to whom he was apprenticed. Ebenezer enrolled in the militia in 1754 and served on the British-colonial expedition to Fort Ticonderoga in 1758....

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Rowe, John (1715–17 February 1787), merchant, smuggler, and political trimmer during the American Revolution, was born in Exeter, England, the son of Joseph Rowe and Mary Hawker (occupations unknown). He took up residence in Boston, Massachusetts, by 1736 and remained there throughout his life. In 1743 he married Hannah Speakman, the twin sister of the first wife of the wealthy Cambridge merchant and future Loyalist Ralph Inman; they had no children. His wife’s family had helped to found Trinity Church, Boston’s second Anglican parish, and Rowe served on its vestry from 1761 until his death. These family associations may have helped to moderate Rowe’s initial vigorous support of the patriot cause....