restricted access 7 Workhouse Widow
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When Gus went to the workhouse he was faced with a $500 fine, payable before his release. He left me with just $600, out of which I was determined to save enough for the fine. However, shortly after Gus was imprisoned his attorney came to me saying he could “fix” the case and “spring” Gus for $500. I gave him that amount, took the rest of the money and paid our bills, then sat down to wait for Gus to come home. GusdidnotgetoutandIheardnothingmorefromhis“mouthpiece,” so in a few days I became desperate. Tommy O’Connor knew I was in financial difficulty, and asked me what became of the money. I told him about giving it to the attorney. He was white with anger at the story. “That damned lip thinks he can get away with that just because Gus is on ice,” Tommy said. “Just sit tight baby, I’ll get that sugar back.” A few days later the money was returned. Tommy told me that the ganghadinformedthelawyerthat,unlesshesentitback,theywouldpay him a personal call. Knowing gangland methods the attorney wasted no time in drawing a conclusion. GratefultoTommyforhisaid,andknowingthathetoohadnowork or money, I rented a small apartment on Enright Avenue and invited Mr. and Mrs. O’Connor to share it with me until our circumstances improved. OnthefirstworkhousevisitingdayGuslearnedthatIwassavingthe money for his fine. He became angry and insisted I use the money to live on, saying he would have the fine added to his term. 7 Workhouse Widow 39 40 al capone and his american boys But Gus was in and I was out, and my own boss, and I told him flatly the fine would be ready. I never missed a visiting day. From my meager supply of money I bought him tobacco, food, magazines and other articles. But worry exacted its toll, I became ill, and was bordering on a nervous collapse. EventuallyTommyO’Connorfoundajobandmovedtoanewlocality with his wife, while my sister came to live with me. None of Gus’ friends could go to see him for the most of them were either sought by police, or were heckled to such an extent they did not care to risk being seen. Even his relatives avoided him while he served his sentence. However, as the end of the term drew near the boys planned a celebration for him. Lou McConroy, the practical joker, and Tommy O’Connor were the schemers. Their idea was to kidnap Gus as he came out of the workhouse, and takehimtotheircottageontheMerrimacRiveroutsideSt.Louis,before I could get to him. A workhouse guard tipped me off to this scheme, and the warden told me that if I would come a half hour early he would turn Gus over to me—that is, if I could pay the fine. I was on the dot with the money, and had Gus at home a half hour before three cars filled with the party crowd drew up in front of the workhouse. They were sighted immediately by a police squad, which ran them down on general principles. One car was stopped and the boys taken to jail for twenty hours. However, the other two cars stopped at our house, and the boys started roughing it up to such an extent Gus told me to get my dog and we would go with them. The cottage had been converted into a jail yard scene. In the middle of the floor was an immense boulder, surrounded by many smaller stones. The boys presented Gus with a big sledge hammer, bearing a tag “To our pal, so he will feel at home.” The carousing finally reached such a point that Gus told me that if I would take the dog and slip out to the car, he would follow me and we would escape. Gus came out as soon as the motor started, but the rest of the boys piled out too, got into another car, and started in pursuit. None of them Workhouse Widow 41 could drive as well as Gus, so when they were sighted by a cruising police car, they were crowded into the curb, and the whole gang taken to headquarters and held for the lineup. In spite of my condition, when I saw a card in a Childs restaurant window seeking the services of an experienced night waitress, I went in and lied expansively about experience I had never had. I got the job. Frankly, if the restaurant had not served on trays I would have broken every dish in the place. Mr. Lee...


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Subject Headings

  • Crime -- Illinois -- Chicago -- History -- 20th century.
  • Murder -- Illinois -- Chicago -- History -- 20th century.
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